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CBD is scientifically proven to help with a range of mental and physical conditions. Science shows that taking CBD regularly can help relieve the symptoms of anxiety, making the condition more manageable. In this post, we’re sharing everything you need to know about social anxiety and CBD.

What is social anxiety?

According to Anxiety UK, social phobia is the fourth most common anxiety condition in the UK.[1] Social anxiety is the fear of social interactions. Whereas shyness is a personality trait whereby you might be more reserved and quiet around other people, social anxiety is a mental health condition.

People who suffer from social anxiety can have the condition their entire lives, or it may develop at a particular stage. Many people begin experiencing social anxiety during their teenage years, and it continues into adulthood. Unfortunately, this condition will rarely disappear on its own, and those who have it usually need to seek treatment. 

The condition not only impacts your social interactions but your life as a whole. People who have social anxiety may struggle, avoid or worry about the following activities:

  • Daily interactions and conversations with strangers
  • Phone calls
  • Criticism
  • Going to the shops
  • Attending parties
  • Eating in front of new people
  • Having conversations with new people
  • Doing something they find embarrassing (e.g. blushing or sweating)

They may also be preoccupied with the belief that people are constantly watching or judging them. As a result of social anxiety, sufferers might also exhibit low self-esteem and confidence.

Physical symptoms of social anxiety include heart palpitations, feeling sick, sweating, panic attacks, shaking or trembling.

The science behind CBD and anxiety

Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is one of the many compounds in hemp plants. The other well-known cannabis compound is THC, often used recreationally to achieve a high. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t give you a high. However, it can be used to positively impact your mental and physical wellbeing.

When we consume CBD, it binds to receptors in our body and brain. These receptors are part of our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system involves endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. It’s responsible for regulating a range of bodily functions including sleep, appetite, memory, mood and fertility. Different receptors link to different mental and physical occurrences in the body. Studies show when we consume CBD the cannabidiol compound reacts to our type 1 cannabinoid receptor. The type 1 receptor regulates the release of neurotransmitters. These are chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and glutamate, which are responsible for healthy brain function.

Serotonin and anxiety

There’s conflicting research around serotonin and anxiety. Previous studies have shown that those who suffer from anxiety and other mental conditions have low levels of serotonin compared to the average person. However, new research suggests this might not be true. Scientists are now exploring whether too much serotonin can lead to increased anxiety.[2] Despite the contrasting research, one thing is certain: serotonin has a role to play in mood regulation and anxiety conditions. When we take CBD, it binds to our type 1 cannabinoid receptor and helps regulate the levels of serotonin, reducing the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety.

How to use CBD to treat social anxiety

Frequently taking CBD can help significantly reduce the impact anxiety has on your life. By taking CBD, you can begin to feel more in control of your body and mind through regulating unbalanced chemicals.

CBD can be taken in a variety of ways; through food, in supplements, and as a dissolvable substance. You can purchase oil-based or water-soluble CBD. Water-soluble CBD has a quicker absorption rate, meaning you feel the effects of it quicker and more intensely. In comparison, oil-based CBD needs to be digested, requiring assistance from enzymes and the digestive system. Not only does this process take longer, but it means you’re absorbing a less concentrated compound. For quick and efficient CBD absorption, we recommend using water-soluble products, especially if you’re heading out to a social gathering and want to feel the effects of CBD as soon as possible. Adding a teaspoon of CBD powder into your drink can help alleviate some of the pre-socialising anxiety people may experience.

Social anxiety can feel like an immeasurable burden on your life. Not only does it make socialising difficult, but it can hinder your ability to complete daily tasks, achieve at work and might lead to other mental health conditions. If you’re searching for ways to limit the hold social anxiety has over your life, CBD is the solution. Taking CBD regularly can help minimise social anxiety symptoms and make you feel in control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.

DISCLAIMER – Information provided in this document is based on referenced research and is not medical advice. We do not give medical advice and CBD should be taken with caution and with a medical professionals advice if you have pre-existing medical conditions.


[1] Anxiety UK, 2020. Key facts and figures 2020 – Anxiety UK. Available at: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Key-Facts-and-Figures-2020.pdf

[2] Uppsala University, 2015. Individuals with social phobia have too much serotonin — not too little. ScienceDaily. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150617115327.htm

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