CBD in Research -

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and Depression Overview

Anxiety and depression are mental health conditions that can progressively become worse particularly when left untreated.  Despite this it is a common and natural part of life to experience symptoms of anxiety such as nervousness, stomach butterflies and general unease in new or unfamiliar situations. Modern society has posed an increase in both illnesses which scientists believe may be down to an increase in stress, illness, worry and pressures.1, 2 It is therefore imperative that measures to improve mental wellbeing are prioritised to ensure we are all able to thrive in life.


Medical professionals have stated that exercise, eating well and having routines can help to improve anxiety and depression.1, 2 However, sometimes pharmaceuticals, prescribed by doctors, may be required to help alleviate symptoms to improve quality of life. Should you or anyone you know be affected by anxiety or depression it is important to seek professional medical advice and/or try to understand the underlying causes through therapy.


CBD Effect on Anxiety and Depression

Emerging research has identified CBD’s ability to potentially negate anxiety symptoms due to its anxiolytic (anxiety preventing) effects leading experts to call for further investigations using clinical trials.3 The power of CBD was displayed in a human trial (double blind randomised design) within a cohort of subjects diagnosed with social anxiety disorder when performing a public speaking task. The group which consumed CBD had significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort in speech performance and decreased alert in their anticipatory speech when compared to the control and placebo groups.4 In addition to this a review paper also indicated its promising effects for an anxiety condition called panic disorder due to its anxiolytic effect in both humans and animals.5 It has been hypothesised it works by simultaneously activating and deactivating portions of the brain associated with panic onset.6, 7


A recent study published in 2020 showed that anxiety and depressive like behaviours were significantly reduced in addition to improving social behaviours with the researchers identifying no adverse functions or effects.8 An article published to the journal of physiology and behaviour identified that oral consumption of CBD in depressed rats was able to significantly increase their rate of survival when performing a swimming task by significantly increasing their mobility and swimming for a longer duration.9 The authors suggested that CBD may be a promising drug for treating depression as new approaches are necessary and it is plausible that it can aid with symptoms of helplessness and anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure).



  1. Generalised anxiety disorder in adults. www.NHS.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/diagnosis/. Published 2018. Accessed June 9, 2020.
  1. Tips for coping with depression. www.NHS.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/diagnosis/. Published 2018. Accessed June 9, 2020.
  1. Blessing E, Steenkamp M, Manzanares J, Marmar C. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1 
  1. Bergamaschi M, Queiroz R, Chagas M et al. Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6
  1. Soares V, Campos A. Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2017;15(2):291-299. doi:10.2174/1570159x14666160509123955
  1. Crippa J, Derenusson G, Ferrari T et al. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2010;25(1):121-130. doi:10.1177/0269881110379283
  1. Silote G, Sartim A, Sales A et al. Emerging evidence for the antidepressant effect of cannabidiol and the underlying molecular mechanisms. J Chem Neuroanat. 2019;98:104-116. doi:10.1016/j.jchemneu.2019.04.006
  1. Patra P, Serafeimidou‐Pouliou E, Bazelot M, Whalley B, Williams C, McNeish A. Cannabidiol improves survival and behavioural co‐morbidities of Dravet syndrome in mice. Br J Pharmacol. 2020;177(12):2779-2792. doi:10.1111/bph.15003
  1. Shbiro L, Hen-Shoval D, Hazut N et al. Effects of cannabidiol in males and females in two different rat models of depression. Physiol Behav. 2019;201:59-63. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.12.019



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