Does CBD Help Treat Panic Attacks? [Exploring the Truth]

CBD Studies are shedding some light on this topic.
MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on September 14, 2017

CBD for Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are more common than what you may think. They are actually so common that approximately 1.5% of the U.S population over the age of 18 can experience a panic attack in a given year. Furthermore, those who suffer from panic attacks often suffer from co-occurring disorders or physical illnesses, which intensifies their attack.

Whether panic attacks are linked to anxiety, or they are caused by some other stress factor, panic attacks are real, frightening or worse, emotionally debilitating. Generally speaking, doctors will tend to treat panic attacks with psychological therapy, medication or even both, but thanks to recent research a third option has come into the light. Scientists are now agreeing that CBD is proving to be an effective treatment for panic attacks.

What are Panic Attacks?

While often thought to be the same thing, panic attacks and anxiety attacks are quite different. Anxiety attacks are mostly caused in reaction to a stressor. For example, a person may feel apprehensive or fearful of a certain situation. Anxiety attacks are short lived and when the stressor goes away so does the anxiety.

Panic attacks, on the other hand, aren’t related to a stressor. A panic attack is unpredictable and can strike out of the blue. During a panic attack, a person may feel as if they are going to die or lose complete control over a situation. This will lead to a variety of physical symptoms including, chest pains, dizziness, and nausea.

Common symptoms of panic include:

  • Racing or pounding heart
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Chills
  • Tingling in different body parts
  • Terror
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying
  • Nausea or upset stomach

While panic attacks tend to only last for a couple of minutes the aftermath is devastating and can lead to depression and helplessness. Recurring panic attacks may lead to significant behavioral changes that can last for a few months. Panic attack suffers will often seek treatment in the emergency room, as panic attacks often feel like a heart attack.


Traditional Medicine to Treat Panic Attacks (Not Related to CBD)

If you decide to go down the traditional route to treat a panic attack then it’s important to understand that doctors will tend to prescribe two types of medicine:

Antidepressants – This is generally the first choice of doctors. When taken regularly, they alter neurotransmitter configurations which in turn help to block symptoms.

Anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines) – The use of benzodiazepines for panic attacks is an extremely controversial topic among researchers. For example, while The American Psychiatric Association found positive evidence and claim that benzodiazepines can be used based on the individual patient’s history, The National Institute of Clinical Excellence came to a different conclusion, concluding that benzodiazepines were not effective in the long-term for panic disorder. According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, benzodiazepines should not be used for longer than four weeks for panic disorder.

Substances to Avoid When Experiencing a Panic Attack


  1. Caffeine – Caffeine is a known stimulant and can trigger various emotions including nervousness, nausea and light headedness.
  2. Artificial and Refined Sugars – Although sugar is located in virtually everything we eat these days, it’s important to be conscientious about it. Studies have shown that sugar creates changes in your body which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
  3. Alcholol – While thought to be a stress reliever by some, Alcohol is a toxin that leads to improper physical and mental functioning, by impacting the levels of serotonin in the brain.
    It also effects the nervous system and can cause increased heart rate.
  4. Trans Fat – Trans Fat, aka hydrogenated fat, is one of the worst foods for your health. Unfortunately, it is also one of the tastiest. Studies have found that Trans Fat, located in foods such as french fries and candy can increase your risk of depression. Furthermore, it can lead to more anxiety-like symptoms.

CBD and Panic Attacks

As of now, it is known that THC can have a calming and soothing effect on the human body, proving to provide relief for panic attack suffers. This occurs when the anandamide in our bodies react with the THC in Cannabis. Recent studies, however, are showing that a different cannabinoid, known as CBD is also having a miraculous effect on panic suffers.

In 2015, a study conducted by Esther M. Blessing, Maria M. Steenkamp, Jorge Manzanares, Charles R. Marmar (Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Oct; 12(4): 825–836) concluded that CBD can be used as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely.

Other studies have found an indirect connection to panic attacks through research on anxiety. In a small study of 40 people, CBD was found to reduce anxiety in people subjected to stressful situations.

In 2011, it was found that pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech helping them to deal with anxiety and panic attacks.

In a publication by de Mello Schier et al. (2014), it was concluded that CB1 and CB2 receptors remained inactive after CBD administration. This suggested that anxiolytic benefits were most likely achieved through binding to the 5-HT1A receptor. This indicated that CBD appeared efficacious as an anxiolytic.

Your Experience with CBD for Panic Attacks

If you’ve been diagnosed with a panic attack disorder and have tested CBD oil as a form of treatment, please share your experience in the comments section below. Please include the type of problem you have, the dosage you took and how effective it was for attenuating your panic attack (on a scale of 1 to 10).

It’s important to understand that while CBD appears effective and safe, it still warrants further investigation – especially when used long-term.


Does CBD Help Treat Panic Attacks? [Exploring the Truth]
September 14, 2017
4.8 27
  1. Chloe

    I’m 16 and suffering from panic disorder after the death of a close family member. I have never taken any medication for it as I am very scared to feel unlike myself. Last night, I took one 15mg CBD capsule and I don’t know if this is because I was tired, nervous about taking it or the actual CBD but I felt a little spacy and out of it. Nothing traumatic but now I am hesitant to try it again as it was not particularly pleasant. Is that a common reaction? should I just try again?

  2. Dara

    I’ve had severe panic disorder for 12 years. I can’t smoke thc as it gives me panic attacks. I want to know if there is a resource for which cbd works best and if it is on a case by case basis, is there research or a doctor/s that treat panic disorder with cbd?

  3. Michelle

    I have suffered from severe panic attacks for the past 17 years. Along with anxiety phobias and ptsd. I took Zoloft in the past and hated it. Got off for many years and got back on in march. I know zoloft is just a bandaid so i quit cold turkey. I was on 50 mg for 3 months and my body is having a bad reaction to getting off Zoloft. Im having mahor panic attacks. I cant sleep at night i can’t drive..especially over bridges. I tried the oil but was given a small dose and I didnt feel any relief. Any suggestions of a good dose to start on. I’m going crazy….

  4. Kellie

    I’m 18 years old and am currently suffering from panic attack disorder. I’ve smoked marijuana for about 2 years now and have been using CBD oil for about 6 months. I saw some questions in the comments about it that I wanted to address.

    CBD oil has helped my symptoms, however, if I miss a dose, I’m sent into a downward spiral. I’m guessing because I’ve technically been supplementing CBD for two years, and my cannabinoid system is very much dependent on it. I went on vacation recently and forgot my CBD oil and am now paying for it!! My anxiety is at an all time high because of the withdrawal from CBD.

    You do not smoke cbd oil. CBD oil is present in marijuana as well as THC, but there is not THC in CBD so you will not feel ‘high’. CBD oil can be taken in a capsule form or by just swallowing the oil. I prefer capsules (from Charlotte’s Web) because the taste/consistency of the oil is definitely not enjoyable. You can also just buy the oil and encapsulate it yourself (you can find empty capsules on amazon for cheap). Typically when people have bad experiences with marijuana it is caused by the THC. THC does sometimes have calming effects it can also increase my anxiety and feel like I have no control over my body.

    I’ve never had a problem purchasing CBD oil online, and I live in Virginia (medical marijuana has just become legal but recreational marijuana has not).

    Hope this helped! And remember you’re never alone!!! We’re all in this together.

  5. Samantha Nowell

    Lately anxiety and panic attacks have taken over my life and as a 21 year old this has caused a bit of depression as well.

    Could someone please explain to me more about CBD oil? Is it something you smoke or ingest? Can it be ordered through the mail? I’ve smoked weed maybe 3 or 4 times in my life, and each time ended in horrible depersonalization and panic attacks that almost sent me to the hospital and lasted for weeks. So I’m hesitant to try something similar, but I’m curious because it seems to have really helped a lot of people.

    1. Iris

      This is in response to Samantha: I can totally relate. I had a most horrible panic attack/depersonalization experience years ago while stoned. Unfortunately, panic attacks and anxiety almost rule my life. My doctor has suggested CBD but, of course, I am terrified. I have been on anti-anxiety meds for years.
      My doctor explained that the panic attack, while stoned, most likely resulted from the THC in the marijuana. I am excited – yet terrified -about the idea of CBD. What did you decide, Samantha?

  6. Lauren Ferguson

    Panic attacks are quite difficult to handle but CBD oil works wonders

  7. john

    I’m 16 and started smoking cannabis when I was 12 on my part it was very stupid and I was working my way towards not smoking it at all until the day came I found my mother nearly dead from overdosing and I didn’t know how to deal with it at all and about a month after i experienced my first panic attack and thought I was dying and that was the day I stopped smoking it and the anxiety, panic attacks and ptsd took over me and still are to this day, at the time I was getting 5-15 full scale panic attacks everyday and then I started smoking it again and it did reduce the symptoms happening regularly but recently theyve became an everyday thing now and don’t know what to do I was thinking about just trying the cbd and hoping it will help if anyones in the same situation please tell me if it works!

  8. Kori Kwiecinski

    I have suffered from serious PTSD since I was 5 compounded y several more very traumatic experiences. I have also survived multiple physical traumas which add too extreme chronic pain and as I’ve gotten older my panic attacks effect my limbs also. My limbs shake uncontrollably, my mind races into fight or flight, tight chest etc. I am at the point where I’m having close to 5 or more per week without warning. I have tried many medications and many psychiatric treatments. It affects my relationships and entire life. Sometimes I feel very helpless. I have just started a regimine of cbc oil because it is legal where I live and marijuana is not. I feel very lost and don’t know what else to do. I believe in a few weeks the cbc oil should really start working, I hope. I just had to double dose it with my medication and I stopped at the attack from going full bore. Any help or comments will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Adam

      Which state do you live in?

  9. Andrea

    My son (18) suffers from anxiety and sometimes has horrible panic attacks. He has been using Hindu Kush to help him sleep at night. Yesterday, he had a horrible panic attack. I gave him the kush and it literally stopped the attack within 5 minutes. He is beginning the process of getting a medical marijuana license this week. If I ever had ANY doubt that marijuana was a medicinal option, yesterday squashed that doubt.

    1. chantal

      Which is better CBD by itself or the 1:1 ratio CBD and THC. (12.5 % of each) for anxiety and panic attacks? Thanks

  10. Chloe Cantrell

    Panic attacks are terrible. I want to get rid of them. Please could you suggest the right strain for me?

  11. Meagan

    I just ordered a 500ml tincture from Hempworx to help with my panic attacks. I am currently taking a benzo which helps me but I wanted to get off all meciation. I tried the cbd oil yesterday, I was recommended to do 5 drops under my tongue, which I did. The feeling was nice but I had mild anxiety the whole time, i guess because its something new. So i took the first drops around 4 after work and i took another set of drops around 9 with my magnesium and calvium to help me sleep because with my anxiety i cant sleep. I remember falling asleep and then about an hour later i woke up in the middle of a bad panic attack, i had to get out of bed to throw up because my chest was so tight. I normally have anxiety waking up not in the middle of the night so it freaked me out. Im wondering if i took too mamy drops? Im a little scared now to take it again.

  12. Steve

    I am writing this so everyone doesn’t get the wrong impression of cannabis for panic attacks, I am no cannabis veteran but I know for a fact high THC will induce a panic attack. What you want is a low THC respectively below 3% and a high CBD around 16%. Start off wirh a small amount a quick puff will suffice (don’t over do it!) wait a few hours to be sure that your body is not going to overreact, (I psyched myself out the first time and inadvertently induced a mild panic attack). I also have PTSD, anxiety, agoraphobia and extreme lower back and shoulder pain. I have been this way since I was 16, minus the shoulder and back pain. I am now in my mid 30s and I am fed up with medications. Never would I have thought this could be the cure for me, I still don’t know since I am in the early stages of the process. But I will keep anyone updated that is interested.

  13. Alexandria Penn

    I have suffered from panic attacks for years. CBD has been a saving grace. I don’t know what I would do without it but I would probably be addicted to prescription medication if it weren’t for CBD.

    1. Tashia

      Have you ever been treated with benzos for the disorder and if so, how do they compare? So far nothing has helped my panic attacks or anxiety other than the benzos.

  14. Twila Mitchell

    Blessed to have this strain. It controls my panic attacks, it really does.

  15. Oliva Bartlett

    Really grateful to CBD as it treated my bad panic attacks. Thanks.

  16. Susan Hunt

    I have tried all the traditional treatments but cbd works best for me. It saved me from terrifying panic attacks. Thanks.

  17. Herby

    I used to smoke a ton of weed in college, however after the age of 30 I developed an extreme sensitivity to all stimulants. Coffee and nicotine make me feel like I’m having a heart attack. I tired smoking weed for the first time in years and I had to go to the ER for the worst panic attack I’ve ever had. Is CBD a stimulant? I’m looking for a non-valium solution to help when I accidentally ingest a stimulant. However, I’m terrified after my experience smoking weed.

    1. Adam

      No it is shouldn’t have that effect on you. What could cause that could be the THC. If you are thinking of trying CBD I would defiintely contact the company you are thinking of purchasing from beforehand to discuss this with them. They will know how their product effects in different ways.

    2. Kayla Heffernan

      I have the same exact situation happen to me. In my late teens I smoked weed (after smoking for years) and had the worst panic attack I have ever experienced. Since then I have been terrified of experiencing it again, so much that I create irrational situations in my head whenever weed is around. I really want to try CBD as well, but have a similar question. Thanks!

      1. Adam

        Hi Kayla, smoking cannabis can cause anxiety. It depends on the THC levels. That is what most of the time effects people. CBD is different.

  18. Cora Castillo

    Being a freelancer brings in a lot of problems along. I usually get panic attacks when my work is pending and the deadline is whirling on my head. Thanks to cbd oil, it relaxes me and I can concentrate more on what I do.

  19. Brian Abbott

    I’m a 30 year old patriotic Cyber Security Major who has Crohn’s Disease, bipolar, Schizophrenia and panic disorder.

    My first panic attack was triggered by THC. In my life I can count on one hand the amount of times THC has caused a panic attack. It is possible though, and smoking a joint is not what I would want to do when having a panic attack.

    That said I discovered CBD oil and I’ve been able to stop taking Xanax.

    I plan to get a medical card for my state (Georgia). I’m in remission with Crohn’s but I will use CBD oil for panic attacks. It’s not cost effective If I don’t get a card.

    This stuff is going to be very helpful.

    I’m open about how Marijuana improves my quality of life and I hope there is less and less of a stigma.

  20. Amanda Page

    How to sensibly buy LEGAL cbd oil online? Because I got a letter saying customs has confiscated my package two times already and I’m pissed.

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