Help! CBD Makes Me Anxious!

WRITTEN by Caleb

 | Last revised

“CBD makes me anxious” sounds like an autocorrection that doesn’t make sense. Like you start typing “CBD makes me,” and it suggests “CBD makes me pregnant.”

But is there a link between CBD and anxiety?

You can find articles about CBD’s benefits for anxiety or depression. But if you’re searching terms like “CBD gives me anxiety,” odds are you don’t want references to studies highlighting its anti-anxiety effects.

So what’s going on here? Is it a case of too much CBD? Or not enough? Or is it the product you’re using?

CBD Makes Me Depressed – Maybe it’s the THC?

Many CBD enthusiasts (including ourselves) recommend full-spectrum products for various reasons.

The main reason is the entourage effect of consuming terpenes and other cannabinoids alongside CBD. Research shows this makes CBD more active in the body.[1]

But full-spectrum CBD means there will be a trace amount of THC.

THC is, of course, the cannabinoid people usually think of when they hear the words cannabis or “marijuana.” THC gives you the high or stoned feeling cannabis is famous for.

Research suggests THC has a biphasic effect on anxiety. This means that in low doses, THC can reduce anxiety.[2]

But in high doses, it can make your anxious condition worse.

So if you’re searching phrases like “CBD makes me depressed” or “CBD gives me anxiety,” it could be the THC.

Some people are more sensitive to THC than others. Consider a 30:1 CBD-to-THC ratio, where each dose of 30mg CBD also has 1mg of THC.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of THC. But everybody’s physiology is different. Your cannabinoid receptors may be too delicate for phytocannabinoids like THC.[3]

No THC, It’s CBD. Too Much CBD Gives Me Anxiety!

The case of too much CBD causing anxiety is a head-scratcher.

For starters, many CBD studies on anxiety start with higher doses. One double-blinded placebo-controlled study on using CBD for anxiety gave patients 400mg per session.[4]

If anything, CBD has a negligible effect on your already existing anxious condition. Because the fact is, there are zero studies suggesting CBD makes anxiety worse.

Of course, if you find CBD is causing you anxiety (or failing to relieve the anxiety you already have), the issue could be your source of CBD.

Not all CBD makers are created equal.

A less-than-reputable company may mislabel how much CBD is in their product. It may not even be on purpose. Not every company tests every batch of hemp or cannabis.

When looking for a CBD product, you should always check for a certificate of analysis.

Another issue might be the other ingredients put in with CBD. You may have found a reputable seller, but maybe you’ve reacted negatively to gelatin or MCT oil.

As well, the bioavailability of the product may be poor. Bioavailability is how much CBD gets into your system.

Studies suggest oral ingestion is a poor delivery method. Vaping works better. [5]

Are you already on medication? CBD can interact with certain medications. You may be experiencing an adverse drug interaction.

CBD Makes Me Anxious! Why Are You Talking About Histamine?

CBD making your anxiety worse? It may be your allergies or interaction with your allergy medication.

Histamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for numerous functions. Like expelling the body of allergens, causing some people to sneeze or itch.

That’s why antihistamines come in handy as allergy medication.

But histamine is also responsible for our motivation, alertness, and stress management (among other things).[6]

Someone who is hyper-alert and overly focused sounds like someone who has anxiety. Obviously, there’s more to anxiety than a couple of symptoms (as well, there are different types of anxiety).

But, generally, if you find “CBD makes me anxious,” it could be a histamine issue.

Are you taking antihistamines due to seasonal allergies? CBD and antihistamines use our body’s P-450 system to break them down.

Taking both together will result in an antihistamine being present in your system longer than it would be without CBD.

While there is no evidence to confirm this, anecdotal reports online link histamine sensitivity with anxiety. And there has been some research.[7]

One solution would be to try CBD isolates. Although we recommend full or broad spectrum for its benefits, you might want a CBD isolate product if you’re allergic to terpenes.[8]

Turned over bottle of CBD capsules on a wooden table covered in cannabis leaves

Nocebo, No problemo

It is improbable that “CBD makes me anxious.” All our evidence to date suggests it helps with anxiety.

So why do some people feel more anxious? It could be the nocebo effect.

We imagine you’ve heard of the placebo effect. Give someone a sugar pill, say it works for insomnia, and people may feel more tired when they take it.

The nocebo effect is like that but in reverse.

You can give someone a safe substance, like CBD, but their preconceived notions of “marijuana” make them feel worse.

Like the placebo effect, researchers consider the nocebo effect psychogenic. But it can still induce biological changes in a person.[9]

CBD Won’t Make Your Anxious

If you’re finding CBD isn’t working for your anxiety, or if it appears to make it worse, then there are several things you can do that we’ve outlined here.

  • Change the brand
  • Check for certificates of analysis.
  • Reconsider delivery method (vaping works better than taking capsules)
  • Change the dose
  • Consider a broad spectrum product if you’re sensitive to THC
  • Consider a CBD isolate if you think you may have an allergy to terpenes
  • Keep track of your other medications and possible interactions they might have

It can be challenging to make these choices if you go through the TGA. Medical cannabis products in pharmacies are limited.

You could use the Australian “green” market to find reputable CBD brands that cater to different needs and conditions. Despite its black market status, Australians can find plenty of high-quality products there.

You can always discuss with a medical professional why you think CBD might be worsening your condition.

But we suggest you don’t give up just yet. Scientists have studied CBD’s role in anti-anxiety and found positive results.[10]

If you find CBD makes your anxiety worse, there’s likely another culprit.

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1. Sari Goldstein Ferber, Dvora Namdar, Danielle Hen-Shoval, at el., "The "Entourage Effect": Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders".
2. Sagnik Bhattacharyya, Alice Egerton, Euitae Kim, at el., "Acute induction of anxiety in humans by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol related to amygdalar cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptors".
3. Sarah-Lena Puhl, "Cannabinoid-sensitive receptors in cardiac physiology and ischaemia".
4. José Alexandre S Crippa, Guilherme Nogueira Derenusson, Thiago Borduqui Ferrari, at el., "Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report".
5. Simon Zhornitsky, Stéphane Potvin, "Cannabidiol in Humans—The Quest for Therapeutic Targets ".
6. Jasmine Foster, "17 Histamine Health Effects: Cognition, Inflammation & Sleep ".
7. Pinar Guzel Ozdemir, Ayşe Serap Karadag, Yavuz Selvi, "Assessment of the effects of antihistamine drugs on mood, sleep quality, sleepiness, and dream anxiety".
8. N/A, "Terpene Sensitivity and Allergies: Should You Be Concerned? ".
9. Karin Meissner, "Placebo, nocebo: Believing in the field of medicine".
10. María S García-Gutiérrez, Francisco Navarrete, Ani Gasparyan, "Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders".

1 Comment

  1. Kalki

    There are different types of terpenes. While some may trigger a reaction, some actually works good against anxiety. I recommend trying limonene and myrcene. They can relieve pain and restlessness.


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Disclaimer. While we strive to relay the most factual education available, this shouldn’t replace official medical or legal consultation and recommendation. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Happy days.

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