Marijuana is not a drug most people think about when talking about different drugs that can help with social anxiety. In fact, marijuana use can make anxiety worse in many individuals. While taken as a whole marijuana may not help anxiety it does have a compound called cannabidiol (CBD) which may help reduce generalized social anxiety in many individuals. This article will discuss the current research on the effect of cannabidiol (CBD) on people suffering from generalized social anxiety.
Evidence Showing Cannabidiol (CBD) Helps with Social Anxiety
A study of ten young adult males found that CBD helps with social anxiety. Subjects were given 400 mg of CBD and their cerebral blood flow was measured before and after taking the drug (1). Those that took CBD experienced a reduction in anxiety symptoms and subsequent beneficial changes in the functional activity of brain areas associated with the onset and processing of anxiety.
A 2011 study measured the effects of CBD on stimulated public speaking in patients with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorders (2). A group of 24 patients with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorders were given 600 mg of CBD and then asked to perform a public speaking test. Those that took CBD before the test reported lower rates of anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance when compared to the control group that did not take CBD.
How Does Cannabidiol (CBD) Improve Anxiety Symptoms?
Using data from animal and human studies researchers believe they know how cannabidiol (CBD) helps reduce anxiety in subjects. It is believed that cannabidiol (CBD) acts as an anti-anxiety agent and affects the limbic and paralimbic brain areas, both of which have been shown to be related to anxiety and depression (3).
CBD appears to be a viable candidate for helping those that suffer from an anxiety disorder. A 2015 review on cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for anxiety concludes, “Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations (4).
- Crippa, J. A. S., Derenusson, G. N., Ferrari, T. B., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F. L., Martin-Santos, R., … & Filho, A. S. (2011). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), 121-130.
- Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H. C., Chagas, M. H. N., De Oliveira, D. C. G., De Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., … & Martín-Santos, R. (2011). Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naive social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219.
- Schlund, M. W., Verduzco, G., Cataldo, M. F., & Hoehn-Saric, R. (2012). Generalized anxiety modulates frontal and limbic activation in major depression. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 8(1), 8.
- Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.