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Does CBD Oil Trigger Panic Attacks for Anxiety Sufferers?


CBD oil and anxiety attacks

In recent years, CBD oil is gaining popularity and is known for its potential health benefits. I personally know several people who use it to help manage anxiety disorders, panic attacks, other mental health conditions and even chronic pain. I have personally tried it after recommendations from my integrative doctor. Honestly, my personal experience is what prompted me to start questioning why my anxiety levels worsened after taking CBD, so I started to research. 

It seems that there is increasing worry about whether CBD oil can cause panic attacks and anxiety attacks, particularly in people who already suffer from anxiety. I didn’t realize this was already a topic of discussion! So I decided to start my own research. In this blog, I will share insights on using CBD for anxiety and panic attacks, as well as information on relevant clinical trials.

Understanding Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders affect millions of people worldwide. I struggled with severe anxiety attacks for decades. If you have trauma, you are far more like to have anxiety symptoms. These disorders can cause severe anxiety symptoms that interfere with daily life.

Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). Understanding these conditions is essential when we want to explore the potential impact of CBD oil on anxiety sufferers. Keep in mind, that you can have multiple types of anxiety disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry about various aspects of daily life. Do you know that constant inner turmoil you feel about life? That’s generalized anxiety. People with this condition often feel anxious most days and may experience physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle tension, and trouble sleeping. It physically and mentally wears you down.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder involves intense fear or anxiety about social situations. People with this disorder worry about being judged or embarrassed in front of others, which can lead to avoiding social interactions altogether.

With social anxiety, your anxiety levels spike when you think about going into social situations. For me, I struggled deeply with social anxiety and, for a long time, avoided social interactions because of it.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is marked by recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense fear that peak within minutes.

These attacks can include symptoms like heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, and a sense of impending doom.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. 

What Are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear and anxiety. They often include physical symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, sweating, and shortness of breath. Panic attacks can be terrifying and can occur unexpectedly, significantly impacting a person’s quality of life. For those with anxiety disorders, managing panic attacks is a critical aspect of their treatment. Please know that taking anti-anxiety medications to manage panic attacks can be a huge step in healing and doesn’t have to be permanent. 

CBD oil for panic attacks and anxiety

The Rise of CBD Oil

CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant. It has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as a natural remedy for various health issues, including anxiety.

CBD oil is the part of the cannabis plant that doesn’t lead to the “high” effect that most people associate with marijuana. THC, is the compound found in cannabis that leads to the psychoactive effects. Hence, CBD oil is an appealing option for those seeking anxiety relief without the high associated with marijuana use.

How CBD Oil Works

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body. The ECS plays a role in regulating various functions, including mood, pain, and anxiety levels. By influencing the ECS, CBD may help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve overall well-being. However, the effects of CBD can vary from person to person, and it’s crucial to understand both the potential benefits and risks. (I wish someone had told me this a long time ago!)

Potential Benefits of CBD for Anxiety & Other Mental Health Issues

Many people report experiencing relief from anxiety symptoms after using CBD oil. Some potential benefits of CBD for anxiety include:

  • Reduced anxiety levels
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Decreased frequency of panic attacks
  • Enhanced overall mood
  • Anxiety relief without psychoactive effects

Potential Side Effects and Risks of CBD Oil

While CBD oil may offer benefits for anxiety sufferers, it’s not without potential side effects and risks. Some users have reported adverse effects, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Gastrointestinal issues

It’s also important to note that CBD can interact with other medications, including anti-anxiety medications. Therefore, consulting with a healthcare professional before starting CBD is essential.

This is what someone would have told me when I started to look at CBD oil for anxiety. I have no idea there could be side effects; I didn’t think to ask. So, for years, I tried different variations of CBD oil. Most recently, I tried gummies. They make me nausea and give me a horrible stomach ache.

I thought I could tough it out by taking small doses each day and gradually increasing the amount to reduce the side effects. However, this turned out to be a terrible idea. After three days of trying this, I ended up breaking out in hives. It was no joke.

So, apparently, some people can be allergic to CBD oil.

Can CBD Oil Trigger Panic Attacks?

I didn’t even know to ask this question when my doctor first told me about CBD oil for anxiety disorders. Yet, it turns out that a growing concern among anxiety sufferers is whether CBD oil can trigger panic attacks. Research on this topic is still limited, but some studies and anecdotal reports suggest that the effects of CBD can vary. While some people find relief from anxiety, others may experience increased anxiety or panic attacks after using CBD. I am one of the people who has an adverse reaction to CBD oil, and it took me many years of experimenting with products to finally realize I was having adverse effects!

Clinical Studies and Research of CBD Oil on Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Several clinical studies have explored the effects of CBD on anxiety and panic disorders. For instance, one study found that CBD reduced anxiety in study participants with social anxiety disorder. However, another study suggested that high doses of CBD could cause increased anxiety in some individuals. (Me, that’s me!) More research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD on anxiety and panic attacks, so just be mindful of this.

Factors Influencing CBD’s Effects

Several factors can influence how CBD affects anxiety sufferers, including:

  • Dosage: The amount of CBD taken can significantly impact its effects. While low doses may reduce anxiety, higher doses might have the opposite effect.
  • Individual differences: Each person’s body chemistry is unique, meaning CBD can affect individuals differently.
  • Quality of the product: The quality and purity of CBD oil can vary between products, influencing its effectiveness and potential side effects.

The Role of State Laws

The legality of CBD oil varies by state (here’s a website where you can check the legality by state). The legality obviously can affect access and usage. State laws determine whether CBD products can be legally purchased and used. It’s essential to be aware of your state’s CBD laws to ensure you comply with local regulations. Some states have more restrictive laws, while others have embraced CBD for medicinal and recreational use.

The Effects of THC and CBD

While CBD is known for its non-psychoactive properties, THC, another compound found in cannabis, is psychoactive and can alter mood and perception. The effects of THC can include euphoria, altered senses, and changes in mood. For some, THC may increase anxiety and the risk of panic attacks, especially in high doses. Understanding the difference between CBD and THC is crucial for those seeking anxiety relief.

Managing Potential Risks of CBD Oil

For those considering CBD oil for anxiety, it’s crucial to manage potential risks. Here are some tips to ensure safe use:

  • Start with a low dose and gradually increase it.
  • Choose high-quality, hemp-derived CBD products.
  • Monitor your body’s response to CBD.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you’re taking other medications.
  • Be aware of the potential effects of THC if using full-spectrum CBD products.

Anxiety Relief with CBD: Real-Life Stories

Many people have found anxiety relief with CBD oil. Here are a few real-life stories:

  • Sarah’s Experience: Sarah, a college student, struggled with social anxiety disorder. After starting CBD oil, she noticed a significant reduction in her anxiety levels, allowing her to participate more in social activities.
  • Tom’s Journey: Tom, a veteran with PTSD, found that CBD oil helped him manage his anxiety symptoms and reduce the frequency of his panic attacks. He credits CBD with improving his overall quality of life.
  • Linda’s Story: Linda, a busy professional, used CBD oil to help manage her generalized anxiety disorder. She found that it helped her stay calm and focused during stressful workdays.
CBD oil for panic attacks and anxiety

The Importance of Personalized Treatment

When considering CBD for anxiety relief, it’s essential to recognize that each person’s needs are unique. What works for one person may not work for another.

Personalized treatment plans, developed with the guidance of a healthcare professional, can help ensure the best outcomes.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

As with any supplement or medication, CBD oil may cause potential side effects. Some reported side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, and changes in appetite. It’s also important to note that CBD can interact with other medications, including anti-anxiety medications. Therefore, consulting with a healthcare professional before starting CBD is essential.

The Importance of Quality and Dosage

The quality and dosage of CBD oil play a significant role in its effectiveness and safety. Low-quality products may contain contaminants or inadequate levels of CBD, while high doses may increase the risk of adverse effects. Starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it, as well as choosing high-quality, hemp-derived CBD products, can help mitigate these risks.

Future Research and Developments

The field of CBD research is still in its early stages, and much remains to be discovered about its effects on anxiety and panic disorders. Ongoing studies aim to better understand how CBD interacts with the body and its potential therapeutic uses. Future research may provide more definitive answers and improve the safety and efficacy of CBD treatments.


CBD oil has shown promise as a natural remedy for anxiety disorders, but it’s essential to approach it with caution. While many people find relief from anxiety symptoms, others may experience adverse effects, including panic attacks. By understanding the potential benefits and risks, anxiety sufferers can make informed decisions about using CBD oil to manage their condition.

Always consult with a healthcare provider to ensure that CBD is a safe and appropriate option for you. As state laws evolve and more research becomes available, the understanding of CBD’s role in anxiety relief will continue to grow, offering new insights and opportunities for those seeking help.

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