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CBD has grown in popularity over the past several years, and the trend is only expected to continue. Many people use this natural chemical to treat all types of ailments. In many cases, CBD is used for stress, anxiety, and sleep. If you are considering CBD for your anxiety symptoms, you may have heard that some people can have panic attacks after using CBD products.
Understandably, someone struggling with anxiety would be put off by this bit of information- but is there more to the story?
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of 100+ active chemicals in cannabis. It is usually derived naturally from hemp plants, but can also be made in a laboratory.
CBD can get a bad rep due to being associated with marijuana, a drug that is still illegal in many states and parts of the world. However, CBD is not the component that causes the user to feel “high”.
In fact, CBD provides great value in various therapies, such as the management of pain and inflammation, anxiety and depression, epilepsy, skin conditions, and addiction management.
While some side effects exist, they are relatively minor compared to other prescription treatments, and are generally well-tolerated.
Types Of Hemp-Derived CBD Extract
CBD isolate contains only CBD. All other compounds, including THC, are removed from the cannabis plant leaving just the cannabidiol.
This is a good option for those wanting to avoid having any THC in their system, while still experiencing the many benefits CBD can offer.
Full-spectrum CBD will contain all the compounds in the cannabis plant including THC, which will be present at low levels.
This can have some psychoactive properties and can result in feeling high, depending on the dose and the person’s tolerance. However, THC does have medical benefits as well, especially with regard to nausea.
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain compounds of the cannabis plants with the exception of THC. The combination of these additional compounds can have more significant benefits than CBD alone.
This is mostly due to the presence of cannabinol (CBN), which is known for potentially having antibiotic, anti-seizure, and anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s also important to note that THC can still be present in trace amounts, so anyone requiring drug testing may want to stick with CBD isolate.
Can Too Much CBD Cause Panic Attacks?
Studies show that CBD is helpful for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders, and there is little evidence that CBD isolate can cause an increase in anxiety even at high levels.
On the other hand, THC has been shown to decrease anxiety at low levels but increase it at higher concentrations.
However, it is possible for full-spectrum CBD to cause panic attacks. This usually results from people using high doses, or in those more susceptible to its effects.
Why and How Full-Spectrum CBD Can Cause Anxiety
Even though full-spectrum CBD contains less than 0.3% THC – the only part of the plant known to cause anxiety – this amount may be enough to cause anxiety in certain predisposed individuals.
Certain types of people are more likely to experience anxiety following THC ingestion. This can be due to genetics, personality traits, and normal anxiety levels.
Individuals that are highly susceptible to THC-induced anxiety should avoid a full-spectrum CBD product, and opt for a CBD isolate or broad-spectrum product instead.
Can CBD Oil Cause Panic Attacks?
CBD isolate oil will not cause panic attacks.
Full-spectrum CBD oil may cause panic attacks if taken at too high doses, or if used by someone sensitive to these effects due to the low levels of THC present.
Can Smoking CBD Cause Panic Attacks?
Another way to take to CBD is by inhaling it. This can be done by smoking a joint with a high-CBD cannabis flower, or vaping it with a CBD oil cartridge.
The result will be the same: CBD isolate will not cause panic attacks regardless of the dosage, while full-spectrum CBD can cause feelings of anxiety at high doses.
If you are experiencing panic and anxiety after smoking a product you believe contains only (or mostly) CBD, make sure your product comes from a trusted source.
Can CBD Dabs Cause Panic Attacks?
Dabbing is just another way to consume CBD. The method of taking CBD will not change the side effects that you experience.
How To Avoid Panic Attacks With CBD
- Take doses twice daily. Stick with a structured routine of when to take it to avoid overuse.
- Start with just a few milligrams a day. You can slowly increase your dosage as required for your symptoms, but you should stop once you get relief.
- Use the oil sublingually, rather than smoking or dabbing. This is an easier method for controlling how much you are taking.
- Use CBD isolate products only, if you are highly susceptible to THC anxiety.
- Keep an eye on your dosages. It’s good to monitor the amount you are taking, and stick to the minimum level that provides relief.
- Take the product in calm environments and situations, such as when you are home and relatively relaxed.
Research On CBD And Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- CBD has been noted to be a promising alternative therapy for individuals with anxiety disorders, including PTSD.
- It has also been shown to help individuals with social anxiety disorder to speak publicly.
- Similarly, another study showed decreased anxiety during public speaking in adults without anxiety disorders.
- The majority of CBD users report improvements in stress, anxiety, and sleep.
- Teenagers with social anxiety disorders and avoidant personality disorders had improvement in anxiety levels when taking CBD oil.
- 80% of participants taking CBD capsules showed improvement in anxiety scores within the first month of treatment.
The Bottom Line
CBD treatments are proving to be a safe and effective option for many types of medical issues and mood disorders such as anxiety.
CBD on its own cannot cause a panic attack or trigger anxiety, but care must be taken when using a full-spectrum product as some people may react to even the low levels that are present.
People susceptible to anxiety may wish to start with a CBD isolate oil. They can then move to a broad spectrum if required, and then move up to the full spectrum with very controlled doses and see how they react.