Can CBD help reduce public speaking anxiety?

If you feel nervous before getting on stage to perform or speak in front of an audience, CBD may provide a solution. There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence suggesting that it can be helpful in such situations, and even placebo controlled trials to support this. Being prone to public speaking nerves, we decided to investigate the evidence backing up these claims.

Two clinical studies have been conducted to assess the potential of CBD for public speaking anxiety. Both concluded that certain doses provided considerable relief. The first study, published in 2011, concluded that for patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) a 600mg dose of oral CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and distress during speeches.  A more recent study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry (2019), demonstrated that 300mg of oral CBD was optimal for reducing public speaking anxiety and associated symptoms in healthy volunteers. It is clear that more research needs to be carried out to determine the optimal dose of CBD for this particular use, but until this is done, it is worth considering how to utilise CBD for this purpose

 A 300mg dose is still on the high side for most people and would be prohibitively expensive if used regularly. Doses of CBD commonly range between 10mg and 50 mg per day and advice is often to start low and increase your dose until you hit your particular ‘sweet spot’ (meaning the effective dose range for you). However, bioavailability should be considered in relation to dosage because in the mentioned studies, participants were administered gelatine caps orally, which we know results in a considerable amount of CBD being broken down, or deactivated, by the gut and liver, resulting in only a small percentage making it to the bloodstream.  The World Health Organisation reported that only 6% is absorbed by the bloodstream if taken orally. Although we don’t know the precise figures for vaping or sublingual administration, a review of research on CBD pharmacokinetics suggested that 31% is absorbed when CBD is smoked.

It is difficult to draw conclusions from this limited data, but research suggests that the route of administration will influence the dose needed. Oral administration needs a slightly higher dose to reach the same effects as a lower dose that is vaped, smoked or held under the tongue. Instead of 300mg orally, one might want to aim somewhere between 50mg and 100mg vaped, smoked or sublingually applied. Everybody responds differently to CBD and because the current level of research is insufficient to give clear guidelines on dosing and use, dosage requires some experimentation. However, vaping, smoking or sublingual administration will likely provide a faster, more efficient way of reducing those nerves during a public presentation.

Hattie Wells

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