Since the mid-2010s, CBD has emerged as an alternative solution for numerous ailments, including anxiety. Many people opt for safe, versatile, and discreet CBD tinctures, but how long does CBD oil take to work for anxiety?
In this guide, we will discuss the science behind CBD and different types of anxiety, the variety of hemp-derived CBD oils on the market, and how to use tinctures. My job is to leave you informed and prepared for your CBD journey!
Let’s start with a short-form analysis before getting stuck into the details.
The Quick Answer
CBD oil consumed under the tongue (sublingually) takes effect within minutes. However, orally-ingested CBD (i.e., CBD oil mixed with food or drink) can take up to an hour to kick in, depending on various factors.
The route of administration affects how quickly CBD passes into your bloodstream. Technically, vaping or smoking CBD has a faster onset of effects than sublingually-absorbed tinctures – but these consumption methods come with health risks.
The Science Behind Taking CBD Oil for Anxiety
Admittedly, we have heard plenty about CBD’s health benefits for almost every condition you can name. The internet is awash with dodgy claims not backed up by scientific evidence. We don’t do that here at CBD Genesis.
Firstly, cannabidiol (CBD) is not a clinically-proven anxiety treatment, and nor is it regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But cannabis scientists have studied CBD’s usefulness for anxiety in some depth, and their findings are exciting.
Let’s check out the most consequential studies on CBD for generalized and social anxiety published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
In 2015, the Neurotherapeutics journal featured a paper assessing CBD’s therapeutic value for several anxiety disorders. The study’s authors agreed that the existing evidence suggests CBD has “considerable potential” and that more research is needed.
The researchers identified specific brain regions and receptor mechanisms where CBD’s presence may be soothing generalized anxiety. Without getting too geeky, CBD appears to calm activity in the midbrain dorsal periaqueductal grey (DPAG).
CBD also generates an anxiolytic effect as a GABAA receptor agonist. GABA is the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and is crucial to moderating brain excitation. Research suggests CBD helps the brain by increasing GABA levels.
Social anxiety is a different and often much more frustrating beast. You might feel fine one minute, but a sudden social situation can send you spiraling the next. And if you have a looming social engagement, your brain could be gaming out worst-case scenarios.
But some researchers are optimistic that CBD could end the nightmare of social anxiety or at least make it more manageable. The first significant study came in 2011 when Italian researchers showed that CBD could boost performance in a simulated public speaking test.
In 2019, experts from Kyoto University in Japan demonstrated that CBD could reduce social anxiety symptoms in Japanese late teenagers. The double-blind study involved treating some participants with 300mg CBD per day and others with a placebo.
Interestingly, the 2011 study used a 600mg CBD dose, so it’s great to see that 300mg remained effective from a consumer perspective. This indicates that lower and more affordable daily dosages could still have a sustained anti-anxiety effect.
Ultimately, if CBD is ever going to be approved as an anxiety treatment, we need large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) - the gold standard for scientific research.
But you don’t need to wait to see if CBD could work for you. Thousands of positive anecdotes show that people are already getting excellent results with the high-quality, hemp-derived CBD oils on the market today.
What is the Best Type of CBD Oil for Anxiety?
Newcomers often find the CBD world a little complex, with several types of tinctures and hemp extracts to choose from. CBD isolate, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum hemp are the big three, and there is a clear ranking order for remedying anxiety.
Since researchers typically use pure CBD in their studies, CBD isolate is my preferred option. These products deliver CBD and nothing but, with no extra cannabinoids or terpenes in the mix to interfere with your experience.
Broad-spectrum CBD is an intriguing extract that could be more effective for anxiety than CBD isolate. Vitally, broad-spectrum hemp is THC-free, but it contains other non-psychoactive cannabinoids which complement the CBD.
Theoretically, the likes of cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) may bolster a tincture’s anti-anxiety properties. Products infused with linalool and other calming terpenes could also help. However, we cannot say either with confidence.
Full-spectrum CBD oil is a double-edged sword for anxiety. The entourage effect created by a whole-plant hemp extract may be beneficial, but that means tolerating a little THC (up to 0.3%), which could be problematic.
THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid behind cannabis-induced anxiety and paranoia. It’s strictly limited in hemp products and heavily outweighed by CBD. But a few users have reported anxiety and panic attacks after taking full-spectrum hemp.
How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work for Anxiety?
Now we have examined why CBD could alleviate anxiety and the different CBD oils you can buy, let’s circle back to the title question. So, how long does it take for CBD oil to work for anxiety?
There are two methods to unpack – sublingual administration and oral ingestion.
If taking CBD oil sublingually, you should start experiencing relief after a few minutes. The CBD skips the first-pass metabolism, absorbing directly into the bloodstream via the sublingual glands under your tongue.
The effects will steadily increase in intensity before plateauing after 30 to 45 minutes and wearing off after three to four hours. If you want continued relief, consider a top-up serving roughly two hours after your first.
Swallowing CBD oil or blending it with a beverage or meal provides longer-lasting effects but a slower and less predictable onset. The lengthy benefits make this consumption method cheaper but trickier to find an optimum dosage regimen.
However, CBD tinctures will work faster if orally ingested on an empty stomach and if you have a fast metabolism.
How Should I Take CBD Oil For Anxiety?
It depends on the anxiety you have and when symptoms come on. You can utilize both methods – and a little experimentation will help you establish what works.
If your anxiety lingers and causes bother throughout the day, and you don’t have the opportunity to top-up often, oral ingestion is an excellent and extra-discreet choice. But if you can re-dose whenever you like, sublingual administration is more efficient.
For social anxiety, fast-acting sublingual effects are more convenient, particularly when your anxiety spikes without warning. In these scenarios, waiting for up to an hour to get relief is unhelpful and will do nothing for you when you need it.
That said, if you know about an upcoming social interaction and can foresee it lasting many hours, pre-empting this with orally-ingested CBD is a smart move.
The more experience you gain with tinctures, the better you will be at using them! Anxiety impacts everyone differently, so playing around with dosing ideas and plans – and keeping a record of the results – is the best way to enjoy success with CBD oil.
CBD Oil Dosage Chart for Anxiety
There is no perfect CBD oil dosage for anxiety that will work for everyone. However, research suggests that large serving sizes are more likely to yield beneficial results. I have drawn up this dosage chart to give you an idea of how much to take.
|Bodyweight (lbs)||Medium Dosage||High Dosage|
|100 to 130||20mg||30mg|
|131 to 160||30mg||40mg|
|161 to 190||35mg||45mg|
|191 to 220||45mg||55mg|
|221 to 250||50mg||60mg|
|251 to 280||60mg||75mg|
|280 and above||70mg or more||85mg or more|
I have left out lower dose recommendations, but feel free to consume smaller amounts if you only have mild anxiety. Although bear in mind that the bigger you are, the more CBD you will need.
Can I Take CBD Oil with My Anxiety Medication?
No. Never combine CBD oil with prescription anti-anxiety drugs, as cannabinoids interfere with how your body metabolizes these medications.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) anxiety drugs and CBD both engage with cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver. Therefore, CBD’s presence can affect how long your anxiety medication remains active, potentially leading to excess use.
Overdosing on SSRIs can cause blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting, although it is rarely fatal. However, the risks associated with mixing CBD oil and anxiety drugs bring our attention to the harms of pairing cannabinoids with any medication.
CYP450 enzymes metabolize many prescription meds. Never combine CBD oil with any of the following (at least not without consulting a doctor):
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Calcium channel blockers
- Sedative / hypnotics
This isn’t an exhaustive list. And if you take any prescription drugs, speak with a medical professional before starting on CBD.
CBD Oil Side Effects
CBD oil can also have side effects – these are more likely with the medium and high dosages most take to soothe anxiety. We discussed the issues with full-spectrum CBD and THC-induced anxiety and paranoia, but what about CBD itself?
Many people don’t get side effects from CBD oil, no matter the hemp extract used. But the following side effects have all been linked to CBD oil usage:
- Appetite changes
- Dry mouth (cottonmouth)
- Nausea and vomiting
But if you don’t suffer side effects, you can confidently take enormous quantities of CBD. Research shows that even a 1500mg daily CBD dosage is safe and well-tolerated in humans – although there is no reason to consume anywhere near that much.
Staying Safe with CBD Oil Products for Anxiety
So far, we have exclusively concentrated on genuine CBD oil products. However, not every brand operating in the unregulated hemp industry is legit. Unfortunately, many CBD oil products fall short on safety, THC amounts, and CBD quantities.
And if you have an illegitimate CBD tincture with impurities or illegal THC levels, it could trigger anxiety rather than ease it. Thankfully, the honest side of the hemp industry has the answer: third-party testing.
CBD oil tested by an independent laboratory comes with safety and quality assurances. Lab reports produced by the manufacturer are meaningless, but an analysis from a respectable third party gives a tincture a valuable seal of approval.
Don’t be tempted by suspiciously cheap CBD tinctures and promises that seem too good to be true. If you are lucky, these products might just be fakes. But at worst, they could contain dangerous ingredients. In short, don’t go there.
Furthermore, avoid CBD oil blended with delta-8, delta-10, or other intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids. These products are legit and perfect if seeking euphoria and a cannabis-like high but unsuitable if trying to tackle anxiety.
Buy Premium, Third-Party Tested CBD Oil at CBD Genesis!
We are pleased to confirm that we only stock hemp-derived products with third-party lab approval. Safety is paramount at CBD Genesis, and our strict lab-testing policy allows customers to buy CBD oil for anxiety with confidence.
Our CBD tincture range is extensive, and I have picked one of our popular THC-free, broad-spectrum CBD oils to feature here.
Active CBD Oil – Water Soluble CBD Oil Tincture (900mg)
Enjoy potent CBD relief with this water-soluble tincture from Active CBD Oil. The 900mg (15mg/ml) strength is somewhat deceiving, as the water-soluble traits make CBD more bioavailable, boosting its intensity and effects.
At 60ml (2oz), this large-sized, extra-strength CBD oil isn’t cheap, but it’s perfect for daily medium and high-dose users. Indeed, if used often, it is more affordable than some of the lower-cost but weaker CBD oils out there.
Active CBD Oil’s Water-Soluble CBD Tincture comes in three tasty flavors, but an unflavored option is also available. Flavor: Berry, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Unflavored