Best CBD for Anxiety

Learn which CBD products could help relieve tension and stress in this 2023 guide.

by
Last updated: Apr 3rd, 2023
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CBD for Anxiety

Anxiety is an incredibly common issue. According to the American Psychiatric Association, up to 30% of American adults will experience one at some point in their lives. It’s also one of the most common reasons that people try CBD. Despite the fact that its partner cannabinoid, THC, tends to amplify anxiety and paranoia, multiple human studies show promising evidence of CBD’s benefits for calming and soothing anxiety. But finding the right CBD product for your anxiety isn’t exactly straightforward. Some kinds of CBD are better for anxiety than others. Some even include other ingredients that are supposed to work alongside CBD to improve anxiety symptoms further, but it can be challenging to figure out what will work (and what won’t). In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best CBD products for anxiety, including their prices, ingredients, potency, and more.

If you don’t have time to read the whole guide, check out our summary of recommended products below.

Summary of recommendations

Our Top Choice

Five CBD’s Full Spectrum CBD Oil is our top choice for reducing anxiety due to its high potency.

Their full spectrum oil is a whole-plant blend with a high amount of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. Their products are third party tested and made with U.S. grown hemp. Subscribe for monthly delivery and get 30% off.

Table of Contents

In this Review

CBD for anxiety: top considerations

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There are four primary criteria we consider to weed out low-quality CBD products and identify the best options to help you calm your anxiety:

  • Formulation
  • Safety
  • Cost
  • Convenience

Formulation is most important to us. A CBD product with higher dosing or more flexibility in exactly how much you take means you’ll have a better time getting just what you need, and since anxiety can be a complicated concern, products with additional anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) ingredients like ashwagandha and L-theanine earn a special consideration. We also think full-spectrum CBD is your best bet, thanks to the entourage effect, a concept describing the interplay between CBD, THC, and minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBA. Safety is just as important as formulation; if it’s not safe, it’s not worth taking, which means having easy-to-access certificates of analysis verifying CBD quality since there isn’t much federal oversight. But safety is often dependent on the formulation and other added ingredients.

Cost is our next most important criterion since CBD can get extremely expensive quickly. Strong customer service is a nice touch, including everything from a quick response to chat messages to subscription programs and assistance programs for marginalized populations who need CBD but may not be able to afford it otherwise.

Overall, we think Five CBD’s additional 2mg THC makes it a surprising pick for the best CBD-only formulation, whereas Medterra’s inclusion of ashwagandha and L-theanine in its Keep Calm gummies are the best possible additions for a stronger formula. Lazarus Naturals uses organic hemp to make its CBD and provides a comprehensive certificate of analysis, even breaking down terpene concentrations, so it’s our top safety pick. Lazarus Naturals also has the lowest prices per unit among our recommendations — a mere $0.02 cents per milligram of CBD oil if you spring for the larger bottle that’s more expensive up front but still at least $50 less than comparable bottles. It also has the longest return policy and a generous assistance program for veterans and people on long-term disability.

Formulation

Winners: Five CBD and Lazarus Naturals

One of the most well-known things CBD does is decrease anxiety, but not every CBD works the same way. The particular formula of a CBD product — whether it’s a full-spectrum or isolate product, how many milligrams of CBD per serving, and if there are other anxiety-relieving ingredients, for example — will make or break your experience with it. And while no two people are alike, there are some broad trends we know are generally accurate from scientific research. When we consider a CBD product’s formulation, we look at all of these factors, as well as things like the quality of CBD (is it from organic hemp or grown in the U.S.?). We generally prefer full-spectrum CBD extracts over things like broad-spectrum and isolates because of the higher minor cannabinoid content, which we’ll discuss more later, and higher potency products because they last longer and it’s easier to control your dose. But your best choice might not be a full-spectrum product.

Five CBD is our top pick for most people because of one unique difference — it provides 2mg THC in every serving. This is a bit controversial because THC can provoke anxiety in some people rather than calming it, but the slightly higher THC dose does offer more of the entourage effect, helping you distance yourself from your anxiety rather than grapple with it night after night (or stare at it from afar, as some CBD products do). While this CBD is made in the U.S., it doesn’t use USDA organic hemp or boast U.S. Hemp Authority certification like Lazarus Naturals and Medterra. Even so, the vegan formula seems to make a big difference.

If you’re looking to avoid that much THC or you want to include additional ingredients to improve your anxiety levels, Lazarus Naturals’ CBD Relax capsules are going to be your best bet as long as you can take pills without trouble. These capsules are in direct competition with Medterra’s Keep Calm gummies, as both have ashwagandha and L-theanine, two ingredients repeatedly shown to lower anxiety levels at the source. However, the CBD Relax capsules have 50mg more ashwagandha and contain vitamin B6 and chamomile, two more ingredients with anxiety-reducing capabilities (though their abilities aren’t as conclusive in research).

Gummies are convenient, but because they require more effort for our bodies to break down than the exterior of a capsule, what you get from it is less consistent than something in capsule form. We generally recommend capsules if you aren’t taking an oral sublingually, and with four additional anxiety-reducing ingredients and origins in USDA organic hemp, Lazarus Naturals’ CBD Relax capsules stand out as a winner. However, our testing team was very impressed by Medterra’s Keep Calm gummies; though gummies are susceptible to lower effectiveness, these gummies were potent and effective — a very good choice for those who don’t want to swallow capsules.

Safety

Winner: Lazarus Naturals

Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD like they do prescription medications, it’s up to CBD companies to set their own safety standards and follow through. One rule that most good CBD companies comply with is third-party testing and transparency. This means that they pay independent labs to test their products, which check two major categories:

  • Product purity (that it doesn’t have contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, or residue from the extraction process)
  • Cannabinoid content (that levels of CBD and other minor cannabinoids match the label)

This guarantees that you’re getting what you’re paying for. The best companies provide the paperwork (called certificates of analysis) in an obvious place on their website so you can look through them to guarantee quality and safety before you order.

Lazarus Naturals has the most comprehensive safety profile because of the company’s robust certificates of analysis. Each file contains just about everything you could want to know linked to the product page, including the ability to look up specific batch information for previous products (and the CBD you have at home).

The biggest ding against Lazarus Naturals in this category is considerable — it doesn’t have U.S. Hemp Authority certification. While few CBD brands do, this (paid) certification is an indicator that the brand takes extra initiative with high manufacturing standards and best practices; you could think of it as CBD equivalent of using FDA cGMP-certified facilities. Medterra and CBDistillery are the two brands on our list that have U.S. Hemp Authority certification, but neither brand provides as detailed a certificate of analysis as Lazarus Naturals, and it’s easiest to dispense Lazarus Naturals’ oil with a clearly labeled dropper not offered by Medterra or CBDistillery. But the company uses USDA organic hemp to create all of their CBD, meaning you’re even less likely than usual to run into harmful pesticides.

Cost

Winners: Lazarus Naturals and Five CBD

The cost of CBD involves so much more than just the sticker price. While two products may look like they cost wildly different amounts, breaking down the price per milligram of CBD is a much more accurate estimate. And that’s not considering the fact that some CBD products are significantly more potent than others, so you get more CBD per serving, generally at a higher price. A company’s subscription program (which comes with savings and, generally, free shipping), bulk discounts, and assistance programs also play into their cost rating.

At first glance, Lazarus Naturals doesn’t appear to be that inexpensive. Per milligram of CBD, you’ll pay about half the price compared to the average cost per milligram ($0.02-$0.03 versus $0.05-$0.08). Five CBD, the next least expensive option after Lazarus Naturals, charges $55 more for a similar bottle of 6,000mg CBD. However, you can save 30% with Five CBD’s subscription program, dropping the price difference to less than $5.

Lazarus Naturals isn’t perfect — it doesn’t have a subscription program, and its shipping cost is middle-of-the-road. The average CBD company charges between $5 and $8 for shipping on orders less than $50-$75; Lazarus Naturals is on the lower end of that. On the other hand, Five CBD charges $1.99 for shipping on orders under $60. Lazarus Naturals ekes out with a return policy three times longer than average (90 days versus 30) and transparency around how much it saves veterans, low-income households, and people with disabilities in its assistance program.

Assistance programs are common for CBD companies; the only company in our recommendations that doesn’t offer a similar program is CBDistillery. But it’s not often clear how affordable they make products until you’ve gone through the sign-up process, which requires submitting lots of paperwork. Lazarus Naturals makes it clear up-front that its program is worth your time if you qualify, which saves you time and, ultimately, money.

Convenience

Winner: Lazarus Naturals

Convenience includes how easy it is to take each CBD product. But for a CBD product to be worth it, it’s important to consider all of the steps that precede trying to fill a dropper all the way — purchasing the CBD, canceling subscription programs (if they exist), connecting with customer service, delivery, and more.

Lazarus Naturals provides not only the most convenient CBD oil with high potencies and an easy-to-read dropper but also the most convenient capsule (just swallow one small capsule daily or as needed). The company is also highly cognizant of the fact that CBD isn’t FDA-approved to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent any illnesses. The customer service team at Lazarus Naturals is so responsive that it proactively monitors reviews and will replace or add asterisks to phrases that imply (or directly state) that its products treated or cured any conditions, so you don’t get the wrong idea. Our testers received their orders from Lazarus Naturals three days after placing the order from the other side of the country.

The company also gives a whopping 60% discount to veterans, low-income families, and people with disabilities who sign up for its assistance program, which is both a transparent figure (few companies give the full percentage publicly) and a sign that it genuinely cares about the products being accessible and convenient for those who need them most. The only downsides we found are that Lazarus Naturals doesn’t have a subscription program, which would make it significantly more convenient to keep their products stocked, nor a real-time customer service text-based chat option. But with a 90-day return policy, you have a window three times longer than average to try your CBD and decide it’s right for you, making trying it much easier.

Why you should trust us

CBD’s only been federally legal in the U.S. since 2018, meaning there have only been a few years where it’s been possible for us all to become acquainted with the substance — and for online retailers to build a national following.

We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and testing various CBD products, from full-spectrum oils to isolate gummies with herbal additions. Over the course of our studies, we’ve read over 100 clinical studies examining how CBD works in the body and what it can (and can’t) actually do to improve your health, separating CBD oil from snake oil. We’ve tried the anti-anxiety products from Lazarus Naturals, Medterra, CBDistillery, and others to help you know what to expect as a customer and give you the most realistic idea of which CBD might help you relieve tension and relax.

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles. Like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. To keep things up to date, we monitor the CBD landscape and update this page as information changes.

How the top CBD anxiety products compare

To help you quickly assess the CBD landscape, we’ve pulled the most important information about each of the products we recommend to combat anxiety in this guide.

CBD type
Cost
Value ($/mg)
Potency
Total CBD
Bottle size/ count
Flavors
Other ingredients?
Lazarus Naturals High-Potency Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Full-spectrum
$40-$120
$0.03-$0.02
50 mg/mL
1,500-6,000 mg
15-120 mL
3
Lazarus Naturals CBD Relax Capsules
Full-spectrum
$10-$120
$0.04-$0.02
25mg
250-5,000mg
10-200 capsules
1
Ashwagandha, L-theanine, chamomile, vitamin B6
Five CBD Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Full-spectrum
$50-$175
$0.03
50-100mg/mL
1,500-6,000mg
30 mL
2
CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Full-spectrum
$35-$130
$0.07-$0.05
17-83mg/mL
500-2,500mg
30 mL
1
Medterra Ultra Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil
Broad-spectrum
$65-$100
$0.07-$0.05
33-67 mg/mL
1,000-2,000mg
30 mL
3
Medterra Keep Calm gummies
Broad-spectrum
$46-$106
$0.06-$0.04
25mg-50mg
750-3,000mg
30-60 gummies
1
Ashwagandha, L-theanine
PureKana Calm CBD gummies
Broad-spectrum
$50
$0.07
25mg
750mg
30 gummies
1
Passionflower

Since several of these products come from the same company, we’ve also added some important information about the companies themselves below:

Lazarus Naturals
Five CBD
CBDistillery
Medterra
PureKana
U.S. Hemp Authority certified?
Subscription savings?
Assistance program?
Veterans, long-term disability, and low income
Veterans, first responders, and healthcare workers
Students, military, and long-term disability
Active military and veterans, recipients of EBT/SNAP or SSDI
Return policy
90 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
Shipping costs
Free over $50; otherwise, $5
Free over $60; otherwise, $1.99
Free over $75; otherwise, variable
Free over $75; otherwise, $4.49
Free for all orders

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two most common active compounds found in cannabis called cannabinoids. Unlike THC, the other most common cannabinoid, CBD can’t get you high. Instead, it’s the subject of a lot of research — that we’ll get into later — for its potential health benefits, including plenty of well-performed research into its anti-anxiety properties.

CBD is extracted from hemp, a kind of cannabis plant with a very low THC concentration. The federal U.S. legal limit of THC in CBD products is 0.3%, and, generally, hemp plants conform to this limit.

There are several ways you might consume or use CBD:

  • Oils and tinctures
  • Capsules and softgels
  • Edibles (gummies, chocolate, and others)
  • Topicals (creams, balms, bath bombs, and others)
  • Vapes and smoking (oil, cartridges, flower, and pens)

Some people even give CBD to their pets to help calm them and relieve aches and pains, as CBD appears to work similarly in cats and dogs as it does in humans.

Generally speaking, oils and tinctures are the most effective way to get the most CBD into your bloodstream without potentially damaging your health like vaping or smoking CBD can. There are four main ways to administer CBD, each with its strengths and weaknesses:

Oral

Eating (via gummy) or otherwise swallowing (oil or capsule) CBD. This is the most common delivery method for most supplements, and although it’s the most convenient and provides long-lasting effects, it also has a slow onset time and low absorption rates in practice.

Sublingual

Placing CBD oil under your tongue for 30 seconds to a minute before swallowing. This differs from oral administration because it gives close proximity to the blood vessels in the soft tissue under your tongue, effectively kick-starting the absorption process. This is generally considered the best method because of its efficient absorption, fast onset, and long-lasting effects.

Inhalation

Smoking or vaping CBD flower or oil. Because your lungs are an important organ for your blood supply, inhaling CBD quickly and directly brings it to your blood vessels, meaning it has fast and hard-hitting effects, but doesn’t last as long (and suffers from all of the same health concerns as other forms of smoking).

Topical

Applying CBD to your skin, typically as a balm, cream, or roll-on oil. This method works best for local problems like joint pain or post-workout muscle soreness, as researchers are unsure if topically applied CBD makes it into your bloodstream very well.

Not every method is going to work for every person. Since it balances time to onset with efficient absorption and a lower risk profile, we think sublingual administration is generally your best option. But if you’re experiencing a surge of anxiety and need help calming down quickly, an inhaled form of CBD (which takes effect in no more than 10 minutes and can promote longer, slower breathing patterns, which can also help lower anxiety levels) may be a better option than oral or sublingual CBD, which can take up to two hours to kick in. (Of course, take that with a grain of salt — smoking is generally not good for your lungs no matter what it is you’re inhaling.)

Here are the major differences between each kind of CBD ingestion:

AbsorptionTime to Feel Effects (minutes)Average Duration (hours)Products
SublingualMedium15-404-6Oil, spray, isolate
OralLow30-1204-8Capsules, edibles, beverages, isolate
InhalationMedium-high11-4Vape oil, hemp flower
TopicalMedium*10-602-3Cream, body oil, patch

NOTE: Topical CBD is absorbed reasonably well, but scientists still aren’t sure if it makes its way into the bloodstream as well (if at all) for systemic circulation.

For more background on CBD, you can check out our comprehensive guide to CBD.

How CBD works for anxiety

A significant drop in anxiety levels is one of the most common effects people experience when taking CBD. Aside from the anecdotal evidence, much of the research backs up its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties.

If you’re familiar with THC, you may know it can induce fear, anxiety, and paranoia at high doses (or, for some people, even a small dose). However, CBD is responsible for taming THC’s anxiety-provoking effects. It binds to both CB1 cannabinoid and serotonin receptors. CB1 receptors are particularly sensitive in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for your fight-or-flight response. By activating these receptors, CBD reduces the fight-or-flight instinct that drives anxiety. When it comes to serotonin, CBD interacts with both 5-HT1a and TRPV1 receptors. Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that pairs with 5-HT1a receptors in the same way as CBD, for example. TRPV1 is a little more complicated, with less-studied anxiety-reducing effects (they’re more commonly associated with the pain you get from capsaicin-rich spicy foods), but there is some clear evidence that it can reduce anxiety when activated.

CBD can also reduce the breakdown of anandamide, an anxiety-lowering endocannabinoid made by our bodies. Experts agree: CBD has a promising role as an alternative therapy for managing anxiety disorders.

However, CBD doesn’t seem to improve all anxiety disorders in the same ways. It’s most beneficial for:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Panic disorder

It also seems to decrease psychosis for some people, likely from its influence over serotonin (which is implicated in psychotic disorders). CBD’s influence over serotonin may also be an important part of why it causes sleepiness and can improve sleep quality for those who also experience anxiety, as serotonin manages your sleep/wake cycle by creating melatonin.

There’s also some mixed evidence — though still mostly positive — that CBD can support anxiety-like avoidant personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Researchers haven’t yet determined the best dosage strategies to support a calmer mind. A 2020 meta-analysis found doses ranging from 6mg to 400mg improved anxiety symptoms across various populations experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), PTSD, and seasonal anxiety. However, people with anxiety often anecdotally find higher doses of CBD useful. (One genetic test we previously reviewed even suggested one of our testers with a genetic inclination for anxiety take 800mg or more daily.)

Finding the right CBD product

There are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing the best CBD product for you. CBD comes in a few forms, including oils, gummies, and capsules. Some CBD products include additional ingredients for added anti-anxiety benefits, and CBD itself comes in different strengths with or without additional cannabinoids, including THC. Below, we’ll investigate and delineate each of your options.

Product types

CBD oil is the best option for most people seeking anxiety relief because you can dial in exactly the right dose and quickly and efficiently take large doses if necessary. But other CBD products have their own merits, too.

In the chart below, we quickly break down why you might (or might not) want to try your major product options.

AdvantagesDisadvantagesCost-effectiveness
Oils and tincturesHigh absorption, long-lasting effects, easy dosage controlNot as easy to use as other productsHigh
Gummies and ediblesConvenience, taste, long-lasting effectsLow absorption; effects take 30-120 minutes to kick inAverage
Capsules and softgelsConvenience, long-lasting effects, softgels are absorbed better than gummiesLow absorption; effects take 30-120 minutes to kick inAverage
Vape pens and e-liquidsHigh absorption, rapid effectsSerious health concerns; effects don’t last as longAverage

Product formula

Standard CBD products are a great option for anxiety. But you may find that you’re not getting the benefits you’re looking for with CBD alone. If so, you can also consider tailored formulas with other helpful anti-anxiety ingredients.

Here are a few of the most common ingredients you might find in a CBD formula if you’re hoping to combat anxiety:

L-theanine

Most commonly known as the amino acid found in green tea, L-theanine is a potent anxiolytic. It keeps you from developing the same caffeine jitters that you might experience when drinking too much coffee and decreases stress-related symptoms in research studies while also increasing overall cognitive function. One recent study found that L-theanine may also work by binding to CB1, meaning that L-theanine may boost CBD’s effects by teaming up and working together to activate these receptors. Researchers generally find positive results from 200-400mg of L-theanine on its own.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that’s well-regarded in contemporary research for its strong anti-anxiety properties. It’s consistently rated as the botanical that regulates your HPA axis best, decreasing stress and anxiety by calming your fight-or-flight reflex and lowering cortisol levels. 600mg of ashwagandha is a standard dose used in studies, and Shoden branded standardized ashwagandha is higher quality with more active compounds than Sensoril (which has oligosaccharides) and KSM-66 brand ashwagandha.

Lemon balm

Unrelated to the fruit, lemon balm is a kind of lemon-scented mint that’s been used since the Middle Ages to treat stress and anxiety. Contemporary research backs up this use, too — lemon balm may be effective in treating both anxiety and depression, but researchers warn that many of these studies look the same (using the same doses, treatment regimens, size, and populations of participants). It may not be as good as ashwagandha or L-theanine, but it may still make a difference in your anxiety levels without serious side effects.

Chamomile

Similarly to L-theanine, you may be most familiar with chamomile from herbal teas. This herb is widely purported to help you relax and sleep, so the link to anxiolytic effects is a logical next step, but studies suggest that it may not actually decrease your anxiety. A 2019 meta-analysis of randomized trials found that it improved participants’ sleep quality and lowered GAD symptoms but didn’t help with non-clinical anxiety levels. While it isn’t strong, if you’re looking for something that will dual-wield improving your sleep and anxiety levels, chamomile may be a good option.

Black seed oil

Black seed, also known as black cumin or Nigella sativa, is a plant grown in southern Asia and some parts of the Mediterranean. It’s most commonly used in cooking or in supplements for its anti-inflammatory properties. There are a small handful of generally positive studies looking at its ability to decrease anxiety, but there’s not enough research supporting it for us to conclusively state that black seed oil can stabilize your mood or lower your anxiety levels.

Type of CBD

The last (and arguably most important) consideration you’ll make is CBD extract type. CBD products can contain one of three types of CBD:

  • Full-spectrum: Whole-plant hemp extract containing all of the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other natural compounds, including up to 0.3% THC.
  • Broad-spectrum: A whole-plant hemp extract where THC is removed to undetectable levels; similar to full-spectrum CBD.
  • Isolate: Purified cannabidiol; the least effective form.

Generally speaking, we think full-spectrum CBD is the best option. There’s a lot of evidence that the entourage effect provides benefits that just can’t be replicated with CBD isolate, and isolate is also more likely to induce side effects at high doses. However, some people experience more anxiety when taking THC (or need to pass regular drug tests); in those cases, we recommend trying a broad-spectrum CBD to recoup as much of the entourage effect as possible. Our testers noted it took a significantly higher dose of isolate to match the effects they found when trying full-spectrum CBD.

For a detailed comparison of the different kinds of CBD and more information on the entourage effect, take a look at our detailed CBD guide.

Is CBD safe?

CBD is generally considered a safe, non-intoxicating compound. Most of its side effects are mild, including:

  • Fatigue or sleepiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea and nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Changes in appetite or weight

People who use CBD to help them sleep are actually taking advantage of these side effects; anecdotally, people who use CBD for sleep tend to experience the best outcomes if they also suffer from high levels of anxiety.

These side effects are almost exclusively reported in studies using high oral doses of pure CBD, which isn’t how most people take it. You’re most likely to run into these problems when taking CBD for anxiety, though, as it can take higher-than-average doses to quell tension and worries. Taking full-spectrum CBD can also mitigate some of these side effects, so if you’re okay with consuming a very small amount of THC, try something like Five CBD or Lazarus Naturals’ products.

Liver enzymes and CBD

Some brands will warn you against taking CBD if you take any medications that contraindicate with grapefruit. This is because those medications are broken down by certain liver enzymes, called cytochrome P450 enzymes, and consuming CBD (or grapefruit) will stop those enzymes from working.

If you take any of these medications, it isn’t a good idea to try CBD:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Protease inhibitors
  • Anti-infectives
  • Statins
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood thinners
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Antipsychotics

This isn’t a complete list — cytochrome P450 enzymes break down almost half of all drugs. If you’re concerned that one of your medications may make it not a good idea to try CBD, this list from Indiana University’s School of Medicine is robust. Likewise, most medications will have a warning notice on the bottle if you shouldn’t eat grapefruit (or use CBD) while taking them. Other questions should be directed to your doctor or pharmacist, who will know more about your particular situation.

Five CBD

Best overall

Pros

  • High levels of minor cannabinoids
  • Low price
  • Three sizes and two flavors
  • Subscribe and save 30%

Cons

  • Relatively high THC content of 2mg/mL (still a low amount of THC compared to what people consume recreationally)
  • No unflavored option
  • Contains stevia

Five CBD's CBD+THC Oil offers a unique alternative that can either be very effective for reducing anxiety or potentially make it worse: it contains significantly more THC per serving than any other CBD product on our list, with 2mg THC per serving. For those who are highly sensitive to THC, this amount could produce undesirable (though likely mild) anxiety of its own, but for most people, it will only be constructive alongside the CBD. We consider it a gamble worth taking.

Since CBD and THC work synergistically, this higher THC dose piggybacks on CBD’s calming and soothing effects, helping to distance you from too-intense feelings, but it’s still low enough that most people won’t experience any heightened anxiety levels or paranoia. If you’re new to THC or know you have a low tolerance, it may not be your best option. But with such a high THC ratio also comes a higher ratio of minor cannabinoids that do have some proven anxiolytic properties. Most full-spectrum oils you'll find contain a 10:1 or lower ratio of CBD to minor hemp cannabinoids, but Five CBD's tincture has a ratio of 5:1.

This THC dose does mean you’re more likely to experience a psychoactive buzz, though — something on the level of a cup of coffee. It isn’t a good option for people who are regularly drug tested, even if you don’t experience anxiety from THC. It’s such a small amount that it’s highly unlikely to lock you to your couch, but be mindful of your dose size.

Five CBD offers this oil in three different size and potency combinations:

  • 1,500mg total (30mL bottle of 50mg CBD per serving)
  • 3,000mg total (30mL bottle of 100mg CBD per serving)
  • 6,000mg total (60mL bottle of 100mg CBD per serving)

All size options are available in both citrus and mint chocolate flavors; there aren’t any unflavored options for this CBD oil, but these flavors are generally pretty accurate and agreeable. This oil also seems to work best when taken with food. It is also slightly sweetened with stevia, which can be rough on sensitive stomachs.

Five CBD uses U.S.-grown hemp in its vegan CBD and provides certificates of analysis for the latest batch on each product page. (This is all to be expected from a high-quality CBD oil.) The comprehensive analyses provide all of the important information about its purity, potency, and contaminants, though it doesn’t break down terpenes or specific minor cannabinoid content like Lazarus Naturals.

Pricing

Not only is this a strong CBD oil — which is excellent for anxiety — but it also comes at a surprisingly low price. Similar potencies can cost upward of $200 per bottle; even the most expensive from Five CBD costs $174.99 if you purchase it outright. You’ll only pay $0.03 per milligram of CBD, which is one of the lowest prices in the CBD landscape. And if you join their subscription program, you’ll save an additional 30% on all orders and get free shipping every time. One-time orders must reach at least $60 for free shipping; otherwise, you’ll pay $1.99. This is still a significantly lower shipping cost than most CBD brands, which average between $5 and $8.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how much you’ll pay per bottle:

Cost (one-time)Cost (subscription)
1,500mg$49.99$34.99
3,000mg$89.99$62.99
6,000mg$174.99$122.49

Subscription programs aren’t modifiable; you’ll get a new bottle once a month until you skip, pause, or cancel your subscription. Five CBD also offers a 30-day return policy, which is average, and an assistance program with discounts for veterans, students, healthcare workers, and first responders. Overall, we think Five CBD is a great deal with low prices and high efficacy for those who tolerate the additional THC along with their CBD.

Lazarus Naturals

Best budget option and best capsule

Pros

  • Low price
  • Many beneficial added ingredients in capsules
  • Comprehensive certificate of analysis
  • Easy to dose
  • Multiple sizes and oil flavors
  • Uses USDA organic hemp

Cons

  • Shrinking bottle size and flavor list
  • Lacks middle-ground potencies
  • Some information missing from the capsule’s supplement facts
  • Uses ethanol extraction

Lazarus Naturals offers two excellent CBD choices to ward off your anxiety: a high-potency CBD tincture and Relax capsules. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but want to try CBD, either of these products will offer great results, along with larger versions that cost more up-front but are the least expensive picks per milligram of CBD (particularly the CBD oil, which is generally your best option if you’re looking to get the most for your money).

Each product batch has its own certificate of analysis, providing the most in-depth walk-through of any CBD brand we’ve seen. These certificates delineate potency, pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents from extraction, and cannabinoid content, including minor cannabinoids and terpene percentages. It’s a long read, but very worth it to flip through if you’re curious about exactly what you’re taking.

The company doesn’t have any subscription or bulk deals, which is a bummer for a company that is otherwise so convenient and budget-friendly, but they do offer a steep 60% discount for veterans, low-income households, and people with disabilities. Lazarus Naturals grants free shipping on all orders over $50; otherwise, expect to pay $5. They offer the longest return policy, tripling the average for a full 90 days to try your CBD, contemplate the effects, and return the product if it doesn’t work for you.

When we ordered from Lazarus Naturals, the process was straightforward and simple; our packages arrived quickly (three days after placing the order). The company uses inconspicuous, small cardboard boxes.

Full-spectrum, high-potency tincture

This tincture comes in one potency: 50mg/mL, which packs a punch. It’s not the most potent, but it’s the most affordable potent option. It comes in two bottle sizes (30 and 120mL) and three flavors (classic/unflavored, chocolate mint, and strawberry lemonade). Previously, they offered two other bottle sizes (15mL and 60mL); strawberry lemonade is also a new flavor from the last year, replacing French vanilla mocha.

The prices for these tinctures are straightforward: a 120mL bottle (6,000mg CBD) costs $120, and a 30mL bottle (1,500mg CBD) costs $40. This might look a little expensive at first blush, but considering that Five CBD costs $175 for a 6,000mg bottle, and CBDistillery costs $240 for a 5,000mg bottle, Lazarus Naturals’ is an extremely affordable alternative.

Our testers tried the unflavored version of this CBD oil. It had a complex flavor: earthy, somewhat bitter, and vaguely floral, akin to 85% dark chocolate. When they looked at the certificate of analysis for this batch, they noted that it contained 34.8% farnesene, a terpene that’s most commonly found in green apple skins and known for its earthy, bitter taste. So that terpene (and, consequently, minor cannabinoid content) is high enough to be immediately noticeable. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, we recommend opting for one of their flavored options.

Of the CBD oils our testers tried, this was their favorite. It was easy to draw up and measure, and the 50mg serving was strong enough to relax but not strong enough to cause any side effects; the calmness came on within half an hour and lasted about four hours. While it didn’t block out the anxiety completely, it dimmed the feeling and made it significantly easier to cope.

Capsules

Lazarus Naturals’ Relax CBD capsules have the best anti-anxiety formula we’ve seen in a capsule. They combine 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD with:

  • 200mg ashwagandha
  • 150mg L-theanine
  • 150mg chamomile

Each capsule also has a very small amount of vitamin B6; it’s not stated on the package exactly how much is in each serving, which implies it’s a very, very small amount. Recent research shows that taking high doses of vitamin B6 can lower anxiety levels by increasing GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that quiets and calms the brain. However, because the amount of vitamin B6 isn’t listed, it’s hard to say whether or not it’d be enough to make a difference. The other three ingredients, however, have repeated clinical evidence that they lower anxiety. (Lazarus Naturals also doesn’t specify if they use a standardized ashwagandha extract, so it’s difficult to predict exactly how much of that is active compounds your body can use.)

All of these ingredients show clinical evidence that they work, and they are available in doses that are generally lower than, but close to, those used in successful research studies. Ashwagandha is the furthest off, as its solo investigations generally find success around 600mg/day, but our testers found that Medterra’s Keep Calm gummies, which use 25mg CBD, 150mg ashwagandha, and 150mg L-theanine, made a bigger difference in their anxiety levels than high-dose ashwagandha on its own. So it’s likely you’ll find similar success with Lazarus Naturals’ Relax CBD capsules, especially considering the additions of vitamin B6 and chamomile.

These capsules are available in three container sizes:

  • 10 capsules or 250mg: $10
  • 40 capsules or 1,000mg: $32
  • 200 capsules or 5,000mg: $120

This works out to 2-4 cents per milligram of CBD, which is exceptionally inexpensive for a multi-ingredient, full-spectrum CBD product.

CBDistillery

Strongest option

Pros

  • Very high potency options
  • U.S. Hemp Authority certified
  • Low cost per milligram

Cons

  • Website can be difficult to navigate
  • Flavored options are sold as separate products
  • Expensive upfront
  • Only the unflavored full-spectrum CBD oil is U.S. Hemp Authority certified

CBDistillery sells just about every CBD product you can imagine: oils, gummies, capsules, and creams; full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates; and CBD for every major ailment and problem. However, this vast network of products isn’t easy to navigate. Every product is listed separately, even when it’s the same thing in a different size. When it comes to addressing anxiety, CBDistillery’s 5,000mg full-spectrum CBD tincture is your best option. It’s a high-potency oil ranging from 500mg all the way to 5,000mg per 30mL bottle, making it the strongest on our list.

That 5,000mg bottle is our favorite because it packs a hefty punch for people who need a lot of CBD to knock down anxiety levels. It’s not uncommon to need a higher dose to combat anxiety than you might for pain relief or to help you fall asleep; some medical experts recommend up to 800mg/day for people with intense anxiety. Each 167mg serving (1mL or one full dropper) may not quite reach that amount, but it’s certainly more than you’ll get elsewhere. Other CBD oils contain an average of 50-83mg/mL; the next most potent option is Five CBD, which gives you 100mg per serving at its strongest, which is still almost half of what CBDistillery offers here. Of course, Five CBD offers it at a much lower sticker price ($174.99 for a one-time order).

To order one bottle one time, you’ll pay $240. That’s still only $0.05 per mg of CBD, but it’s a steep price that requires a lot of capital upfront. You’ll earn free shipping (available for one-time orders of at least $75), but it doesn’t offset the fact that it costs $65 more than the next most expensive option (Five CBD). You can join CBDistillery’s Subscribe & Save program, which saves you 30% (lowering your price to $168) and also provides free shipping, though that’s less of a deal-breaker here. The subscription program allows you to pick how frequently you want a new bottle:

  • 4 weeks
  • 6 weeks
  • 8 weeks
  • 10 weeks
  • 12 weeks

Another hazard of a full-spectrum product that’s this strong is its taste. If you try a different CBDistillery CBD oil product (CBN + CBD Sleep Tincture, for instance), you may marvel that it doesn’t taste like much at all. (Our testers were impressed by this.) But this particular oil is almost seven times stronger than the Sleep Tincture, and at that strength, it’s almost inevitable that an earthy, funky hemp taste will seep through. CBDistillery doesn’t offer a flavored alternative at this strength, but at lower strengths (1,000mg and 2,500mg), you can get it in a mango flavor year-round or the occasional seasonal flavor, like peppermint.

The unflavored oil is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, but note that it’s one of the only CBDistillery products with such certification. Even the flavored versions of this product aren’t certified. If you opt for another one of the company’s products, it may not be as high in quality. It’s also the only company on our list that doesn’t offer an assistance program for veterans, low-income households, people with disabilities, or anyone else who may not be able to afford CBD. Combined with its high sticker price, it’s not a great choice if you’re on a budget, but it’s worth it if you need a lot of CBD to get through the day and are ready and willing to invest.

Medterra

Best THC-free option and best gummy

Pros

  • Higher than average levels of minor cannabinoids
  • Certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority
  • Gummies are convenient and potent
  • Gummies have an excellent formula with other anxiolytic ingredients
  • Oil comes in three flavors

Cons

  • Slow shipping
  • Confusing customer service
  • Still lower levels of minor cannabinoids than some full-spectrum oils
  • Doesn’t offer larger bottles or high-potency oil
  • Average prices and policies

Even though it plays a big role in the entourage effect, THC isn’t for everyone, particularly for people who are naturally anxious. Since anxious people are more likely to experience heightened anxiety with THC, you might want to steer clear of it altogether (especially if you don’t have experience with THC and aren’t sure how it’ll affect you, even in very small doses present in full-spectrum CBD). Medterra mostly deals in THC-free CBD, focusing primarily on broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, and is a U.S. Hemp Authority-certified company creating high-quality options. The reasonably sized catalog provides a few options for most concerns, including CBD to help you relax.

Medterra offers free shipping on all one-time orders over $75, but expect to pay $4.49 otherwise. Or you can join their subscription program for 30% off, free shipping, and delivery every 1-2 months. It can be difficult to cancel a subscription through Medterra because you don’t have to have an account, which is a bit strange to us. If you’re a student, a member of the military (active and veteran), or on long-term disability, you’ll qualify for its discount program, though it’s not stated how much you’ll save before joining. And, like most companies on our list, they offer a 30-day return policy. You can save some money by choosing Medterra as your CBD, but don’t opt for Medterra for the price alone.

Insider Tip: If you didn’t remember to make an account before checking out, save your order confirmation email — you’ll only be able to manage your subscription through the receipt unless you want to go through customer service, who will ask for your order number.

Note that Medterra’s shipping times are often slower than the website quotes. It took three days for our testers’ orders to process and then another six days for the boxes to show up on their doorsteps. Granted, this was around the holidays, and standard shipping is typically anywhere from two to eight days, but our testers had their products in hand from every other CBD company they tried by the time Medterra’s box shipped.

The company will also offer you some deals when you add items to your cart and again at checkout, including on something you’ve just added or purchased. However, these are add-ons, not coupons; you won’t be able to apply the price to your cart retroactively or in the moment. And while the customer service team tried their best, response times were slow and required several rounds of clarification before our testers got an answer to their questions.

The company uses organically grown hemp, and the most recent certificate of analysis is linked on each product page. These are relatively detailed certificates of analysis, breaking down minor cannabinoid content, pesticides, residual solvents (important considering Medterra uses a proprietary extraction method), and potential microbial and heavy metal contaminants. It doesn’t go as far as to discuss terpenes, but few CBD brands do.

Ultra Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Like Five CBD’s tincture, Medterra’s Ultra Broad Spectrum CBD Oil has a lot of minor cannabinoids (like CBG, CBC, CBN, and terpenes) in a 10:1 ratio of CBD to minor cannabinoids. While you might remember that’s an average figure for full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD typically has fewer minor cannabinoids, a ratio of 20:1. So while it’s average amongst full-spectrum CBD oils, it’s a fantastic option if you want the benefits of the entourage effect without risking coming in contact with a meaningful amount of THC.

This oil comes in three flavors (citrus, strawberry mint, and unflavored) and two strengths (1,000mg or 33mg/mL and 2,000mg or 67mg/mL). Until recently, the strawberry mint flavor was a chocolate mint, but reviewers seem to agree that the strawberry mint is a better fit for the natural hemp flavors in Medterra’s CBD oil.

Here’s a quick look at how much you’ll pay for each strength option either as a one-off purchase or as part of a subscription:

Cost (one-time)Cost (subscription)
Oil - 1,000mg$64.99$45.49
Oil - 2,000mg$99.99$69.99

Keep Calm CBD Gummies

These gummies are a new addition to our list, but they pack a huge punch, beating PureKana’s Calm gummies for our best gummies pick. Each bottle contains 30 or 60 gummies in 25mg or 50mg doses (per gummy), and we think they’re the best product Medterra offers for anxiety relief. These vegan gummies are made with the same broad spectrum CBD as their Ultra Broad Spectrum oil and contain 125mg of Sensoril ashwagandha and 125mg of L-theanine. Both of these ingredients are exceptionally well-studied for their anti-anxiety effects and work with CBD in the same parts of the brain (and, in some cases, the same receptors) for a natural efficacy boost.

125mg of Sensoril ashwagandha isn’t a lot, and Sensoril isn’t our favorite standardized ashwagandha brand. It has 10% (12.5mg) withanolides, the active compound in ashwagandha; most studies and ashwagandha supplements use 600mg or about 35mg of withanolides. However, these studies and supplements look at ashwagandha on its own. In combination with either 25mg or 50mg of CBD, we found it’s enough to make a noticeable dent. And since L-theanine works with CBD to activate CB1 receptors, though that dose is slightly lower than average (successful studies use 200-400mg of L-theanine on its own), it’s extremely likely that it’s effective as one whole package.

In fact, when our testers tried these gummies in 25mg form, they felt more relaxed and at ease than when they tried strong ashwagandha supplements on their own. Solo ashwagandha separated them from feelings of anxiety, but those feelings were still present; Keep Calm gummies worked like a Magic Eraser, though they did make our testers a little drowsy as the gummies’ effects wore off (even the testers with high tolerances). Be careful when taking a whole gummy; we recommend trying one on a day off instead of trying them prior to a stressful or anxiety-provoking experience. See how it affects you.

The gummies come in one flavor, strawberry lemonade, which is pleasant and not overly tart (despite being rolled in citric acid like sour candy). Some CBD gummies can be tough or chewy, but these are relatively soft and smooth because they are made with tapioca starch.

You’ll pay between $1.07 and $1.77 for each gummy, depending on the strength, count, and your decision to join Medterra’s subscription program. This price is about average (if not a little high). Here’s how much you’ll pay upfront:

Cost (one-time)Cost (subscription)
25mg, 30 count$45.99$32.19
25mg, 60 count$69.99$48.99
50mg, 30 count$69.99$48.99
50mg, 60 count$105.99$74.19

PureKana

Pros

  • Vegan formula
  • Easy to cut into smaller doses
  • Includes passionflower extract for an anxiolytic boost
  • Smooth, pleasant texture
  • Broad-spectrum CBD is THC-free

Cons

  • Passionflower isn’t very good at reducing anxiety
  • Only one flavor
  • Only one potency and bottle size

PureKana’s Calm CBD Gummies previously had our recommendation for the best CBD gummies for anxiety. While they’ve been usurped by Medterra’s Keep Calm gummies — L-theanine and ashwagandha are better additional ingredients than passionflower because passionflower just doesn’t have as much research behind it — PureKana’s Calm gummies are still a decent option if you want an anxiety-reducing CBD gummy.

However, these gummies were recently reformulated. They previously contained ashwagandha, black seed oil, and lemon balm; now, they only add passion flower extract for an anxiolytic boost. Unfortunately, this change strips several effective ingredients (ashwagandha and lemon balm) and replaces them with something that just doesn’t have much research supporting it. The research on passionflower is much less broad and successful for anxiety reduction than ashwagandha, which is a gold standard herb for anxiety reduction. Medterra’s Keep Calm gummies are much closer to PureKana’s original formula, making it a better choice now. Both gummies are completely vegan, but PureKana’s the only one who advertises it as such.

Each gummy contains 25mg of CBD and is grape flavored. They’re square, which makes them a little easier to cut if 25mg is too large of a dose for you; this is particularly convenient knowing that PureKana only offers one potency and one bottle size at this time (25mg per gummy, and 30 gummies per bottle). Like their reformulation, PureKana has also cut the number of gummies per bottle from 60 to 30. If you have to take CBD more than once daily, this may not be a great option for you, either. (A CBD oil may be better for you if you need a high dose or frequent applications.)

One bottle costs $49.99 once, or $34.99 if you join their subscription program, where you’ll automatically get a new bottle shipped every two weeks, month, or two months. For what you’re getting, it’s on the more expensive side but isn’t horribly out of line with competitors like Medterra. However, based on the formula alone, we don’t recommend PureKana as your first stop anymore. PureKana does offer free shipping on all orders and has an additional discount for veterans, low-income households, and people with disabilities. Like all good CBD manufacturers, you can find the certificate of analysis linked directly on each product page.

CBD for anxiety FAQ

Alternatives to CBD for anxiety

As much as CBD improves anxiety, it’s not a perfect fix and won’t work for everyone. In some cases, changing the kind of CBD (from isolate to full-spectrum or from gummy or capsule to sublingual oil, for example) may be enough to make a difference. But dozens of other supplements also aim to relieve anxiety, and some make as much of a difference as CBD.

Here are a few alternatives you might consider instead of (or, in some cases, alongside) CBD to improve your anxiety levels.

Amino acids and minerals

We’ve already discussed how L-theanine works similarly to CBD without running the risk of THC impacting a potential drug test. But other amino acids and minerals, such as L-tryptophan and magnesium, may also lower your anxiety levels; L-tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, giving your body more materials to make it on its own, and magnesium can boost melatonin and serotonin levels while decreasing cortisol levels naturally. Even just a standard multivitamin can improve anxiety symptoms, according to a study from 2019.

Botanicals

Ashwagandha is clearly a very strong option if you’re interested in lowering your anxiety levels through herbal means alone. But lavender, valerian root, and saffron may also provide benefits. Valerian root is related to catnip and found in many kinds of sleep-inducing teas alongside chamomile, and it’s a great option if your anxiety keeps you up at night (or wakes you up repeatedly during the night). Lavender and saffron are better for anxiety overall, though; lavender can either be taken orally or used topically, both of which perform better in studies for reducing anxiety levels than smelling lavender. If you’re just experiencing anxiety, lavender will probably be your best bet. Lastly, you may know saffron as an expensive grocery store spice, but it’s also a reasonably priced supplement that works surprisingly well in research studies against depression (which is often comorbid with anxiety) but works less well for anxiety alone. And, like valerian root, saffron also improves sleep quality.

GABA

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that quiets nerve impulses. Some researchers think that GAD may be caused by not having enough GABA circulating in the brain. While you can get more GABA through medications like Gabapentin or anti-epileptic medications (not enough GABA can also lead to seizures, which is a more serious condition you should talk with your doctor about), you can also take a GABA supplement for anxiety. GABA supplements are straightforward, with surprisingly high efficacy and fewer potential side effects than most herbal options, but you shouldn’t take them if you take any kind of psychiatric medication.

Prescriptions

There’s no shame in trying a prescription medication for your anxiety. Most kinds of anxiety are easy to manage through prescription medications, whether you have panic attacks and need a strong, fast-acting benzodiazepine that you can take as needed (like Xanax or Klonopin) or something you can take daily to knock your average anxiety level down (which will be a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, or Zoloft). You might even try something like hydroxyzine, a Benadryl-like antihistamine that is surprisingly effective at lowering anxiety levels short-term. However, prescription medications require you to go through your doctor, a psychiatrist, or a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and there’s a wider range of side effects.

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Innerbody uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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