CBD Can Help Your Social Anxiety: [Research Based Review]

What is Social Anxiety?

Social Anxiety Disorder is a fairly common mental disorder where a person feels discomfort, fear, and increased self awareness while in normal social situations. This condition usually onsets between the ages 14 - 21 and causes difficulties in the daily functioning of the individual suffering from it. 

What triggers social anxiety?

Social anxiety can be triggered by many things. It is usually linked to a repetitive or traumatic series of events experienced in the social life of an individual. It could be caused by a new social situation such as changing schools, moving to a new city. Other factors include bullying, harassment, embarrassment, and lack of experience in social situations.

What does social anxiety feel like?

The feelings associated with social anxiety are usually fear of being judged, or constantly criticized for every action they make. Many people with social anxiety prefer to omit social situations which actually can make the anxiety worse over time. There is also a strong fear of failure as the person with social anxiety disorder does not want to feel embarrassed or laughed at for making a mistake.

Can social anxiety be cured?

There are many forms of treatment available for social anxiety disorder. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), social skills training (SST), and relaxation techniques such as meditation. Most often, people are prescribed medications such as Beta blockers or benzodiazepines. Although these may be helpful initially, over time a tolerance builds up and they begin to lose their efficacy.

CBD as a treatment for social anxiety disorder

There are many preclinical studies which show that CBD reduces the activity in the amygdala of the brain. The amygdala is most famously known for its role in the “fight or flight” response which has been linked to social anxiety and it has been shown to be highly active during stressful situations.

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of many cannabinoids found in the hemp and marijuana plant. Unlike it’s cousin THC, cannabidiol does not produce a feeling of being “high” and actually reduces the paranoia and anxiety sometimes caused by THC. It is a fairly new discovery in science however cannabis has been used in ancient medicine for thousands of years for treatment of various illnesses. Science continues to show that there are many benefits of using CBD oil for anxiety.

How does CBD help with Social anxiety?

In a 2011 study researchers observed the effects of CBD oil on a group of 24 people with untreated social anxiety disorder public speakers. They were tested using a simulation public speaking test (SPST). The group was split into two groups of 12 where one half was administered a placebo oil and the other was given 600mg of CBD oil before performing their public speaking activity. The researchers found that the cannabinoid was able to “significantly reduce” anxiety, discomfort and cognitive impairment during their speech. 

Due to the small sample size, further studies are needed to verify the use on a larger scale. However these results are promising along with other research that has been done on CBD for anxiety treatment.

Which CBD is best for Social Anxiety?

Whether you want to use CBD oil, gummies or even CBD chocolate you should always how many milligrams of CBD you are getting and whether it is Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, or CBD Isolate.

  • CBD Isolate: made of 99% CBD, isolate provides a consistent experience from dose to dose due to lack of interaction with additional cannabinoids or terpenes.

  • Broad Spectrum CBD: additional cannabinoids and terpenes paired with CBD provide a powerful blend of health benefits minus the additional THC. Chances of testing positive for THC on a drug test are much lower.

  • Full Spectrum CBD: Additional cannabinoids and terpenes combine with CBD to create the "Entourage Effect: providing more complete benefits. For example CBD combined with other cannabinoids like CBG can counteract potential anxiety/paranoia that is associated with consuming THC products. 


More research needs to be conducted but CBD shows to be a promising choice for people experiencing social anxiety disorder. The studies have shown cannabidiol to be effective at relaxing the mind of worry and negative thinking patterns. This effect has been indicated to be caused by reduced activity in the amygdala, therefore calming the “fight or flight” reaction in the brain.