Former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plaummer takes a dose of cannabidiol in Colorado in 2016. CBD oil, often dispensed under the tongue with a dropper, has been regulated as a supplement in the U.S., not a medicine. So strength and purity may vary from brand to brand, or even bottle to bottle, scientists say. Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images hide caption
As the brain ages, the creation of new neurons slows down significantly. In order to maintain brain health and prevent degenerative diseases, new cells need to be continuously created. A 2008 study showed that low doses of CBD- and THC-like cannabinoids encouraged the creation of new nerve cells in animal models, even in aging brains. CBD also benefits the brain by helping to prevent other nerve-related diseases like neuropathy and Alzheimer’s disease.
Following cloning of the endogenous receptor for THC, namely the CB1R, endogenous CB1R ligands, or “endocannabinoids” (eCBs) were discovered, namely anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (reviewed in ). The CB1R is an inhibitory Gi/o protein-coupled receptor that is mainly localized to nerve terminals, and is expressed on both γ-aminobutryic acid-ergic and glutamatergic neurons. eCBs are fatty acid derivatives that are synthesized on demand in response to neuronal depolarization and Ca2+ influx, via cleavage of membrane phospholipids. The primary mechanism by which eCBs regulate synaptic function is retrograde signaling, wherein eCBs produced by depolarization of the postsynaptic neuron activate presynaptic CB1Rs, leading to inhibition of neurotransmitter release . The “eCB system” includes AEA and 2-arachidonoylglycerol; their respective degradative enzymes fatty acid amide hydroxylase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase; the CB1R and related CB2 receptor (the latter expressed mainly in the periphery); as well as several other receptors activated by eCBs, including the TRPV1 receptor, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, and G protein-coupled 55 receptor, which functionally interact with CB1R signaling (reviewed in [21, 24]). Interactions with the TRPV1 receptor, in particular, appear to be critical in regulating the extent to which eCB release leads to inhibition or facilitation of presynaptic neurotransmitter release . The TRPV1 receptor is a postsynaptic cation channel that underlies sensation of noxious heat in the periphery, with capsacin (hot chili) as an exogenous ligand. TRPV1 receptors are also expressed in the brain, including the amygdala, periaqueductal grey, hippocampus, and other areas [26, 27].
CBD exerts several actions in the brain that explain why it could be effective in treating anxiety. Before we dive in, it’s important to note that most research describing how CBD works is preclinical and based on animal studies. As the saying goes, “mice are not men” — and, results from animal studies don’t always neatly transfer to human therapies. However, preclinical studies provide insights that move us in the right direction:
This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
To get an idea of the benefits of CBD, just take a look at video of CBD oil helping with a form of childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. The first use of CBD for Dravet’s syndrome was given to a patient who was having 300 seizures a week. I first talked about this video last year Is Weed Healthy? The Controversial Truth About The Science Of Marijuana…
CBD is the major nonpsychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD benefits including acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia. (1)
 S. Maione, F. Piscitelli, L. Gatta, D. Vita, L. De Petrocellis, E. Palazzo, V. de Novellis, and V. Di Marzo, “Non-psychoactive Cannabinoids Modulate the Descending Pathway of Antinociception in Anaesthetized Rats through Several Mechanisms of Action,” British Journal of Phramacology 162, no. 3 (2011): 584. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01063.x.
To meet legal standards in the United States, CBD oil and other products may contain up to 0.3% THC; low enough to avoid all psychoactive effects, but enough to potentially appear on a sensitive drug test. Kat’s Naturals, however, sells CBE products of the utmost purity, containing 0% THC, and free from pesticides, chemicals, and contaminants. The company works with organic hemp cultivated in the Netherlands, and extracts its CBD using a broad-spectrum critical CO2 process, retaining a high amount of omega 3’s and 6’s (heart-healthy fats), vitamins, and phytochemicals. Kat’s Naturals is also big on using synergistic essential oils- also organic- to enhance their CBD’s therapeutic effects. The best CBD for anxiety in their lineup is Relax, a tincture that combines 300 mg CBD, Organic Hempseed oil, and wild orange essential oil, along with Hops oil, a potent calming botanical which has been used to promote sleep since ancient times. Kat’s Naturals recommends this product explicitly as a great CBD for anxiety, as well as for promoting sound sleep, making this an excellent choice for anxiety-induced insomnia.
In fact, numerous studies have looked at the relationship between CBD and pain, and the results are promising. Researchers have looked at various kinds of pain – from joint pain to cancer pain. One finding is that CBD increases levels of glutamate and serotonin – both neurotransmitters that play a role in pain regulation. And CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties help by tackling the root cause of much chronic pain.
The CBD utilized in our tinctures is extracted from industrial hemp cultivated in the United States. To further ensure quality and purity, our industrial hemp goes through a supercritical CO2 extraction process to obtain the best possible CBD solution. This solution is then formulated by our board-certified pharmacists into finished products and sent out for third-party testing. Our CBD oil is made with high-quality CBD extracted from natural hemp that is abundant in naturally produced terpenes, oils, vitamins, omega fatty acids, and other components.
CBD products with a ratio of 20:1 or higher are recommended and administered as drops, capsules, or edibles. Specifically, products made with Valentine X or Electra 4 are more energizing, helping relieve depression. When low energy is an issue, sativa or other stimulating strains can be helpful for improving energy and focus when THC can be tolerated. Varieties that are high in the terpene limonene are recommended for mood elevation.
Stress is an important contributor to anxiety disorders, and traumatic stress exposure is essential to the development of PTSD. Systemically administered CBD reduced acute increases in heart rate and blood pressure induced by restraint stress, as well as the delayed (24 h) anxiogenic effects of stress in the EPM, partially by 5-HT1AR activation [67, 73]. However intra-BNST microinjection of CBD augmented stress-induced heart rate increase, also partially via 5-HT1AR activation . In a subchronic study, CBD administered daily 1 h after predator stress (a proposed model of PTSD) reduced the long-lasting anxiogenic effects of chronic predator stress, partially via 5-HT1AR activation . In a chronic study, systemic CBD prevented increased anxiety produced by chronic unpredictable stress, in addition to increasing hippocampal AEA; these anxiolytic effects depended upon CB1R activation and hippocampal neurogenesis, as demonstrated by genetic ablation techniques . Prior stress also appears to modulate CBD’s anxiogenic effects: microinjection of CBD into the prelimbic cortex of unstressed animals was anxiogenic in the EPM but following restraint stress was found to be anxiolytic . Likewise, systemic CBD was anxiolytic in the EPM following but not prior to stress .
Although cannabis can be used to make marijuana, CBD itself is non-psychoactive—meaning that it doesn’t get you high the way smoking or eating cannabis-related products containing THC (the plant's psychoactive compound) can. Still, there’s a lot doctors don’t know about CBD and its effects on the body, and a lot consumers should understand before trying it.
 A. C. Campos, Z. Ortega, J. Palazuelos, M. V. Fogaça, D. C. Aguiar, J. Díaz-Alonso, S. Ortega-Gutiérrez, H. Vázquez-Villa, F. A. Moreira, M. Guzmán, I. Galve-Roperh, and F. S. Guimarães, “The Anxiolytic Effect of Cannabidiol on Chronically Stressed Mice Depends on Hippocampal Neurogenesis: Involvement of the Endocannabinoid System,” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 16, no. 6 (2013): 1407–1419. doi:10.1017/S1461145712001502.
That headache study cites research linking CBD to lower rates of anxiety. (Since anxiety often produces headaches, the authors say, CBD could be a plausible headache remedy if those anti-anxiety benefits are legit.) Grant says he’s looked at the literature on CBD and anxiety, and some of it is enticing. He mentions a Brazilian study, for instance, that found people with a fear of public speaking felt less anxiety and less discomfort about their phobia after taking CBD, compared to those who took a placebo.
Food and beverage products containing CBD were introduced in the United States in 2017. Similar to energy drinks and protein bars which may contain vitamin or herbal additives, food and beverage items can be infused with CBD as an alternative means of ingesting the substance. In the United States, numerous products are marketed as containing CBD, but in reality contain little or none. Some companies marketing CBD-infused food products with claims that are similar to the effects of prescription drugs have received warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration for making unsubstantiated health claims.
REM behavior disorder: REM behavior disorder (RBD) is a parasomnia disorder characterized by shouting, becoming physically agitated, or otherwise acting out during sleep. For many, RBD is a symptom of a larger, more serious condition or disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease or PTSD. CBD oil minimizes the symptoms of RBD, and also alleviates the anxiety and painful symptoms that often accompany disorders that lead to RBD.
In the United States, approximately 70 million people suffer from insomnia, insufficient sleep or another sleep disorder. CBD extracts have been mistakenly described as sedating, but I haven’t found that to be the case with my own use and neither has research. Although it’s true that if you take a bunch of CBD (I’ve found 30mg+ of a good, absorbable CBD will do it for me) you will fall asleep like a baby, in modest doses, CBD is mildly alerting, and simply provides a calm, relaxed focus.
In the United States, non-FDA approved CBD products are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that production, distribution, and possession of non-FDA approved CBD products is illegal under federal law. In addition, in 2016 the Drug Enforcement Administration added "marijuana extracts" to the list of Schedule I drugs, which it defined as "an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant." Previously, CBD had simply been considered "marijuana", which is a Schedule I drug.