CBD oil has become popular to treat anxiety & depression, but does it work? Learn about the pros & cons of this alternative treatment. People in the UK are turning to CBD oils for help in relieving pain, anxiety, sleep and a host of other issues. Here are the best 5 brands to trust. Does CBD help anxiety? How might taking CBD help with anxiety? Here's everything you need to know about using CBD oil to help anxiety.
CBD Oil for Anxiety & Depression: The Pros & Cons
Everyone’s talking about it, so we’re here to help you weigh up the pros and cons, without bias.
The pros & cons of taking CBD oil:
1. Depression & Anxiety
With symptoms like excessive worry, extreme self-consciousness, chest pain, and panic attacks, anxiety can be a debilitating condition. Depression can be equally destructive—feeling sad, with little interest in the activities you once enjoyed.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of options for treating anxiety and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are popular, but they come with a host of side effects. Others have the risk of addiction.
Many people search for a safer, more natural way to treat anxiety and depression, so new options are being developed and researched all the time.
One emerging treatment is CBD oil. It’s becoming more popular with each passing day, but there are still major questions about how effective it is at treating anxiety and depression—and how exactly it helps.
As a fairly new and little-understood product, it’s important to learn as much as you can about CBD oil for anxiety and depression—and speak to your mental health provider—before you decide to try it.
2. What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a type of cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemicals that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is extracted from the plant and made into an oil.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another type of cannabinoid. It’s the chemical responsible for the “high” one feels after using marijuana. Because CBD is not THC, you cannot get high from using CBD oil.
CBD oil is suggested to have positive effects for people with:
- and other mental health disorders
- in addition to depression and anxiety
- Studies have shown inconclusive results for most of these uses, with the exceptions of epilepsy, anxiety, and depression
3. How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD oil for depression and anxiety is still being studied and doesn’t have as much research to back it up as many other treatments do. Make sure you talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good fit for you and how to incorporate it into your treatment plan.
4. CBD for anxiety
It isn’t known exactly how CBD oil combats anxiety, but it’s thought to work with a receptor in your brain called CB1. Researchers believe the interactions between CBD oil and CB1 alter serotonin signals.
The core problem at the heart of anxiety disorders is low serotonin—a neurotransmitter related to mood and well-being. SSRIs, for instance, work by blocking the absorption of serotonin in your brain, meaning you get more serotonin. CBD oil may do something similar.
Studies have shown that CBD oil can be effective in treating various types of anxiety, including:
- Social anxiety disorder (PTSD)
Behavioral symptoms of anxiety and physiological symptoms of anxiety, like rapid heartbeat, were reduced in some studies. It’s also been shown to be effective against anxiety-related insomnia.
5. CBD for Depression
CBD oil works similarly for people suffering from depression because depression happens when serotonin levels are low. Increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain has a positive effect on your emotions and motor skills.
CBD oil may also affect the hippocampus, which plays a large role in regulating your emotions. When you have depression, your hippocampus doesn’t function as well. CBD oil may help promote neurogenesis or the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus.
6. How to use CBD
You take CBD oil by either putting a few drops under your tongue with a dropper or mixing it with food. CBD gummies are also becoming popular.
7.Disadvantages of CBD Oil
While CBD oil for anxiety and depression holds promise, there are significant disadvantages to its use.
First, it isn’t widely available. You can only buy CBD oil in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Second, no CBD oil products are approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety or depressive disorders. Only one CBD oil product is FDA-approved, and that is for the treatment of epilepsy.
Without the oversight and regulation of the FDA, CBD oils vary widely in quality. Manufacturers can more or less put whatever they want on labels.
According to Marcel Bonn-Miller, adjunct assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 43% of CBD oil products contain too little CBD, while about 26% contain too much.
Due to its lack of regulation, approximately one in five CBD products contain THC, meaning they could give you a high. THC can increase anxiety instead of reducing it. The additional risk in taking CBD oil is that even if the product contains trace amounts of THC, you could still test positive for marijuana on a drug test.
Quality CBD oil is considered safe, but it does come with a few side effects.
- Dry mouth
- Sleeping problems
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
More concerning than these side effects is the potential harm CBD oil can inflict on your liver. About 10% of people taking CBD in studies showed increases in liver enzymes. This increase could indicate potential liver damage. These concerns were severe enough for 2% to 3% of participants in the study to drop out due to concerns from the people running the study.
There is also the potential for dangerous drug interactions when taking CBD oil with another medication. If you are taking an antidepressant or any other medications, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking CBD oil.
8. Other Alternative Anxiety & Depression Treatments
Although CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety disorders and depression is a potentially viable option, there are alternative treatments—besides medication—that are safe and effective.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is one such treatment. It offers hope for patients with anxiety disorders by restoring the neurons in the amygdala—the part of your brain involved in the fight-or-flight response—to a normal level of functioning. In those with depression, TMS stimulates the thalamus and hippocampus, which work to control the brain’s emotional responses.
TMS does this by stimulating your brain using electromagnetic pulses. It has very few side effects, and results can be felt in just two weeks.
Explore TMS side effects
Many people are searching for natural treatments for anxiety and depression, and it isn’t hard to see why.
It’s always a good idea to be open-minded to new treatments, especially when there is clinical evidence to back them up. The most important things to do are conduct thorough research and discuss any options you’re considering with your doctor.
Where to Find the Best CBD Oil in the U.K.
CBD, one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant, has been getting a lot of attention recently. Some of it good and some of it bad. Increasingly, people in the UK are turning to CBD oils for help in relieving pain, anxiety, sleep and a host of other health issues. Find out which brands made our list of the best CBD oil in the U.K. below.
While CBD is gaining in popularity, and more products are becoming available on the high street and online, there is little scientific research to back the claims made by some CBD product manufacturers. That’s why if you’re going to buy CBD oil it is important to understand what you’re purchasing and to choose products from brands that lab test their products and make the results available to customers.
To help you find the best CBD oil available in the UK, we’ve done all the hard work and created a list of the best CBD oil brands and products that are available online for you to choose from.
Our Top Picks for Best CBD Oils in the U.K.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
How We Chose the Best CBD in the U.K
To create this list of CBD oil producers and sellers, we’ve:
- Spoken with over 100 different producers
- Tested over 50 products for potency, quality and accuracy of labelling
- Tried every product on the list
We’ve tested CBD oils for taste, consistency, cannabinoid profile, value, and accuracy of lab test results to compile our list of the best CBD oils available online today.
Our readers also provide feedback on the brands they’ve tried and like or don’t rate so much. We take our readers’ feedback into consideration when we make our Buyer’s Guides.
We also work directly with many of the leading CBD brands to bring you their latest offers and discounts, so it’s worth checking back to see how you can continue to get the best value CBD oils for your money.
It is important to note that the details for the products listed here are not intended for diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing any particular disease. If you take prescription medicines you should speak to your GP or other healthcare professional before you take CBD oil about possible drug on drug interactions.
In this buyer’s guide to CBD oils in the U.K., you’ll find:
- A list of the brands we trust most
- A price comparison chart to help you find the best value CBD oil
- The potential benefits that you can derive from CBD oil
- CBD dosage recommendations
- How to pick the best CBD oil for your needs
CBD oil works differently for everyone and just because something works well for a friend or colleague doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be as effective for you. Fortunately, there are many options out there to choose from. The CBD market is growing fast, however, quality can vary between brands, which is why we have conducted our own research to compile a list of CBD products that we think are the best.
Evopure CBD drops are independently tested and they offer a line of broad spectrum hemp oil in multiple concentrations. As a bonus, all of their oils are extracted from organically grown US hemp on farms that use sustainable farming practices. The Flow blend is best for stress and anxiety. Evopure also has a sleep blend available.
Why buy: Since these drops use broad spectrum CBD oil, they contain zero THC while still providing you with all of the other benefits of a full spectrum oil. They are also organic, vegan, and non-GMO.
If you’re looking for a tasty CBD oil, there are various flavours available at Love Hemp, including natural, peppermint, and orange. Their CBD products are also certified THC free, and have a precise amount of CBD for easy dosing.
Why buy: Love Hemp is the leading CBD brand in the UK and for good reason, we haven’t found a better product for the price.
CBDistillery offers a range of CBD products, including oil tinctures, softgels, gummies, and topicals. Their most popular product is the Relief + Relax CBD oil, made with full spectrum CBD in several different potencies.
Why buy: All products from CBDistillery use CBD sourced from non-GMO industrial hemp grown using natural farming methods in the U.S. The CBD oil they use is CO2 extracted and tested by independent third-party labs.
aire tinctures are natural, organic, and ethically sourced. The oils contain no THC and are tested by the Cannabis Trade Association approved testing laboratories. Each 10ml bottle contains 1500mg of CBD.
Why buy: Since this is a stronger blend, aire recommends the 015 bottle for more experienced CBD users.
As the most popular tincture from Blessed CBD, this 1,000mg formula is potent and full-spectrum, but still contains less than 0.2% THC. This family run business spent 12 months searching for the best hemp source, eventually settling on a hemp extract from organically grown, non-GMO, hemp plants in Colorado. This ensures that each drop of CBD oil contains rich cannabinoids and terpenes for enhanced effects.
Why buy: We didn’t find a single negative review online, which speaks volumes for the quality and effectiveness of their products.
For a tincture with a high potency, the No. 30 CBD oil from Eir Health contains 3000mg of CBD in one 30mL bottle. This equates to 100mg per serving.
Why buy: This full spectrum oil is packed with cannabinoids and terpenes that come from organically grown European hemp plants.
The key numbers to look at are the cost of CBD per mg (how much you’re paying for your CBD) and the mg of CBD per mL (how much CBD you’re getting per milligram). Where possible, compare each brand’s 1,000mg product. It’s worth bearing in mind that a higher strength bottle may be more cost effective in the long run.
For instance, Eir Health’s 30ml 3,000mg bottle works out at £0.04 per milligram and delivers 100 milligrams per milliliter. So if you’re looking for a higher strength bottle which will last you, paying slightly more initially would be beneficial. It’s worth bearing in mind that a higher strength bottle may be more cost effective in the long run. For instance, Eir Health’s 30ml 3,000mg bottle works out at £0.04 per milligram and delivers 100 milligrams per milliliter. So if you’re looking for a higher strength bottle which will last you, paying slightly more initially would be beneficial.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is short for cannabidiol and is a chemical compound found in all varieties of the cannabis plant. CBD oil has become popular in recent years due to changing worldwide legislation. In the UK specifically, there were several high-profile medical cases relating to medicinal cannabis and the treatment of children with epilepsy and other health conditions. CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis and, it’s thought, the primary cannabinoid that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system promotes homeostasis, or balance, and regulates physiological and cognitive functions such as mood, appetite, and how we feel pain caused by inflammation.
CBD oil is produced using a range of extraction methods, including CO2 or ethanol extraction, and then added to a carrier oil, such as MCT coconut oil, to create a tincture with a broad range of possible health benefits. CBD oil is just one form that this cannabinoid can be found in and is different to hemp seed oil, which is generally used as a dietary supplement for the essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals it imparts. Hemp seed oil is produced by cold pressing hemp seeds and creating a dark coloured oil with the nutrient-rich composition described above. CBD, on the other hand, is extracted from the flower and leaves of hemp plants.
CBD is wildly popular for its potential therapeutic effects, which some clinical trials and animal studies have found to help with a number of symptoms and conditions that CBD may help alleviate, including:
Benefits of CBD Oil
- Chronic pain
The most common health and lifestyle issues that people turn to CBD oil for are:
- Anxiety – CBD oil has been found to relieve symptoms of anxiety in people in several small studies. This is not restricted to one form of anxiety as social anxiety, generalised anxiety, panic attacks and some forms of depression have all been found to be relieved with CBD oil. It’s thought that this is achieved by changing the way the brain reacts to anxiety.
- Pain – CBD oil for pain is another area that anecdotal evidence and limited medical studies show people may find relief. CBD may help reduce inflammation in the body and therefore, relieve pain. Chronic pain, back pain and generalised pain have all been shown to be relieved with CBD oil.
- Sleep – Falling asleep and staying asleep for longer periods may be enhanced with CBD oil. Both direct and indirect benefits for sleep can be derived from CBD oil. An oil or edible form of CBD can help to calm the mind (indirect) and in some cases, taking CBD can make the user drowsy (direct).
While there are a wide range of benefits that may be derived from CBD oil, the MHRA – which stands for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and is the equivalent to America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – has taken the stance that unless a CBD product has been approved as a medication it cannot make any medical claims on its packaging or in its marketing. This means producers need to hold a product licence to legally sell, supply or advertise them as medicine in the UK. However, no licences for selling CBD oil as a medicine have been granted by the MHRA to date. The MHRA advises people to speak to their GP or other healthcare professional if they are considering taking CBD products.
Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?
Yes, but there is some confusion. In the UK and EU, CBD products are completely legal, as long as they have been derived from industrial hemp and contain no more than 1mg of THC per product. But the general advice is that UK CBD oil should contain no more than 0.01% THC, as current testing standards may not be able to detect 1mg of THC.
It has been reported that CBD Oil in the UK with no more than 0.2% THC is legal but this only applies to the cultivation of hemp and not CBD oils, which are hemp derivatives. Also, any THC contained in CBD products must be difficult to separate from the rest of the product. There are two exceptions to this law; one for Sativex, a 50% CBD and 50% THC product approved by the MHRA as a medication for treating multiple sclerosis symptoms, and for the prescription of cannabis derived medicinal products by specialist clinicians. The second exception came into law in November of 2018 after several cases were brought to court requesting the use of medical cannabis products to alleviate severe epileptic symptoms in two children.
CBD Strength and Concentrations
Concentrations of CBD in oils vary from 1mg of CBD per millilitre to 50 or 400mg per millilitre.
If a bottle has 1000mg of CBD in a 10ml bottle, this means that 100mg of CBD is dissolved in every 1ml of liquid. You can work out the number of milligrams of CBD in each millilitre by dividing the milligrams (weight) of CBD by the millilitres (volume) of the bottle; for this example, that’s 1000 divided by 10 which works out at 100mg per ml.
Many UK-based brands highlight the percentage of CBD in their products, such as 5% or 10% CBD. This simply refers to the weight of the drug by volume measured in grams in 100 millilitres. Using the example above, we need to convert 1,000 milligrams to grams, which is 1 gram of CBD, that’s our weight. And as the bottle is 10ml, we divide 1 gram by 10 millilitres, and multiply by 100 to get our percentage, which is 10%.
How to Dose with CBD Oil
Advice on how much CBD oil you should take varies. It’s almost impossible to find a definitive answer based on clinical guidance so people need to experiment in order to find out what works best for them. It’s wise to start with a low dose and work your way up to find a dosage that works for you. Understanding different product types and labelling will help you to properly measure the amount of CBD to take.
Because dose guidelines are limited, it’s best to start low and work your way up to a dose of CBD oil that works for you. One resource we’ve found suggests starting at 1 – 6mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. This would mean an average UK woman weighing 11 stone, could take anywhere between 15 – 92mg of CBD per dose. This could be broken into smaller doses throughout the day instead of taking all in one go.
Typically, 10ml works out to approximately 200 drops. Using the same example above, we know 1ml contains 100mg of CBD. That would mean to take 100mg of CBD you would need 20 drops of the CBD Oil. We got to that number by dividing 200 by 10. To get 15mg of CBD you would need to take only 3 drops.
What is the Correct CBD Oil Dosage?
How to take CBD and the concentrations for each does will vary depending on the condition you are looking to find relief from. For example, if you’re taking CBD oil for anxiety, regular, lower doses seems to be appropriate. CBD oil for sleep calls for a single, higher dose no more than an hour before bed. That’s not medical advice, that’s what we’ve gleaned from people who use CBD products.
Dosing is the most common question people have about CBD oil and other products. It’s also the question we’re most often asked. We cannot overstate the fact that there is no one definitive answer.
With that being said, here is a typical dosing guide to help you get started:
CBD oil for anxiety: Does CBD help anxiety?
If you’re someone who regularly experiences anxiety – uh! hello! me too! – then you’ll likely have tried a 101 different methods in the hope of easing your symptoms. From meditation to yoga, therapy or medication, there are so many options out there when it comes to managing your anxiety.
Another option to add to that list is CBD – or, to put it scientifically, cannabidiol. “CBD is a chemical substance found in cannabis that has medical benefits,” the NHS website explains. “It will not get you high, because it does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in cannabis that makes you high.”
What is anxiety?
If you’re on this page, you probably already know the ins and outs of anxiety, but here’s a recap of the symptoms just in case.
“Anxiety symptoms may vary from person to person but often will include a racing heart, sweating, headaches, difficulty sleeping, irritability and fatigue,” Dr Balu, founder of the Emotional Wellness Clinic and scientific advisor at Cannaray, tells Cosmopolitan UK.
“Persistent or chronic anxiety can elevate the levels of stress hormones, which can disrupt many natural processes in your body,” the expert adds. “It can make you more susceptible to a variety of medical conditions such as digestive problems, depression, headaches, memory/concentration impairment, heart disease, weight gain and sleep problems.”
Dr Balu continues: “The causes of anxiety often cannot be pinpointed to one specific thing and anxiety may be caused by a mental health condition, a physical trauma, a life experience or a combination of all of these.”
Does CBD oil work for anxiety?
“Taking CBD is a great natural supplement that has proven effects on lowering anxiety and stress levels,” Dr Balu says. “CBD is a natural ingredient that is being increasingly used and recommended to help calm symptoms of anxiety.”
Importantly though, the expert notes that taking CBD oil isn’t a one-size-fits-all cure for anxiety, rather it “may be a very useful addition to the long list” of things you can do for your mental health.
How might taking CBD help with anxiety?
“Studies have shown that CBD reduces the behavioural symptoms of anxiety and physiological symptoms,” Dr Balu notes, adding that: “Some people have reported lowering of anxiety levels resulting in better control over emotions and feeling more relaxed while taking CBD.”
How to take CBD
CBD comes in many forms, so if you fancy giving the natural remedy a go there are options to choose from. CBD oil can be taken via drops under the tongue or in a drink, or you can opt for a CBD vape or take your CBD in the form of a vitamin gummy. There’s also the option to buy CBD creams that are applied directly to the skin.