CBD and Mental Health - Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia

CBD and mental health - anxiety, depression, insomnia


Mental health has become a very hot topic in recent times. The pandemic has only further thrust mental health into the forefront of our social discussions, and increasingly, people are getting more comfortable opening up about their mental health struggles. Our current climate is a far cry from recent history where mental health was once stigmatised, with individuals discouraged from speaking about it, as it supposedly portrayed a sense of “weakness”.


It is perhaps no surprise that as the overall social fabric has encouraged discussions around mental health, the popularity of products such as CBD and essential oils have also boosted.

But mental health is a vast expansive topic encompassing several different conditions of varying severity. Whilst it’s grossly inaccurate, and honestly irresponsible, to suggest that CBD is the cure for mental health as a whole, more and more people are turning to it for therapeutic relief. Below we outline the three most popular mental health issues that people are increasingly using CBD for.



Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues. At one point or another, we will all deal with anxiety in our lifetimes. And yet anxiety is a varied, multi-layered issue in itself. There are five basic types of anxiety: generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety (social phobias). As people, we may experience one or a number of these at any given stage of our lives.


A 2015 study published in the journal Neurotherapeutics analysed the existing preclinical studies on the use of CBD for anxiety and found that CBD was effective for all of the above-listed types of anxiety. The authors of the study, however, note that whilst the substance has vast potential, more research is necessary to determine how exactly CBD affects the brain on a neurological level as well as the long-term effects.



Another very common mental health disorder is depression, and unfortunately, it is on the rise particularly amongst millennials. There are already a whole host of treatment options that exist, including medications like anti-depressants, psychotherapy, as well as choices such as acupuncture and acupressure.


One study carried out in 2018 found that CBD produces anti-depressant-like effects by affecting the way the brain responds to serotonin that is already present in the body. How exactly this happens, we still are unsure, but what scientists are confident about is that CBD influences how the brain responds to chemical stimuli.


Insomnia and sleeping difficulties

Although insomnia (the inability to sleep) itself may not be rigidly fit the definition of a “mental illness”, often sleep difficulties arise from a number of mental health problems. Anxiety, depression and stress can all affect our ability to get deep, good quality sleep. Also, those who do have sleeping difficulties are twice as likely to develop depression. Put simply, sleeping disorders and mental illness go hand-in-hand.


Because of its calming effects, CBD may also hold promise in treating sleeping disorders. Whether it is directly or indirectly linked to sleeping we still do not fully understand but if, for example, it helps to reduce one’s anxiety, a less anxious mind will simultaneously promote an opportunity for better sleep.



The body of anecdotal evidence surrounding CBD concerning many mental health issues is vast. This is positive as throughout our lifetimes all of us will struggle with different forms of mental health issues at some point. Whilst the science is still catching up, early studies support the anecdotal data. In an ever-changing, fast-moving world, mental health issues will only continue to on the forefront of our social and cultural imagination, and CBD may soon play an integral role in supporting and promoting better overall health.