EducationCan CBD help reduce the symptoms of agoraphobia?

Can CBD help reduce the symptoms of agoraphobia?

7 min read

Sam North

Can CBD help reduce the symptoms of agoraphobia?

Categorised as a complex panic disorder, Agoraphobia is an often misunderstood and misrepresented anxiety condition. While it is most commonly thought of as a fear of open spaces, it actually encompasses much more. Agoraphobia can cause extreme fear, leading to intense panic attacks accompanied by physical and psychological symptoms.


In recent years, we have seen a push towards treating mental disorders with a combination of traditional therapies and natural remedies. One natural remedy growing in popularity among those suffering from anxiety and panic disorders is Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to by its abbreviation - CBD.

Derived from both cannabis and hemp, CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid which is thought to work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This has sparked interest in researching its potential therapeutic applications, particularly in treating psychiatric disorders such as agoraphobia.


  • Is CBD a legitimate treatment for agoraphobia?
  • How does it work, and what can you expect from taking it?

In this article, we are going to dive deep into all the currently available research and lay out all the findings in a concise and easy-to-digest manner.

What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a form of anxiety where sufferers feel intense fear at the idea or possibility of being stuck in a situation or area where escape may be difficult. It can also be characterized as a fear of not receiving effective help in stressful situations.

This can result in a fear of open spaces, but it does not always present itself similarly. Some sufferers may fear crowds, tight spaces, public transport, and being alone, while others simply feel extremely anxious outside their homes.

What causes agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia usually develops due to suffering from a panic disorder, an anxiety disorder involving panic attacks and moments of intense fear. When people experience panic attacks, even just one, they can begin to associate them with the place or situation where the attack occurred. This lead to sufferers avoiding such places or situations, and, eventually, agoraphobia can develop.

It can also develop from a fear of crime, sickness, terrorist attacks, or any number of stressful and dangerous situations, even if there has been no history of panic attacks.

What are the current conventional treatments?

Agoraphobia is typically treated through a stepped approach, where each step focuses on coping with different aspects of anxiety.

The first step is to identify and record triggers, as well as learn relaxation and self-help techniques that can reduce stress and panic levels. If more treatment is needed, most sufferers will then go onto a guided self-help programme, and then onto more intense forms of therapy, often involving cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) combined with exposure therapy.

There are some medications available to control symptoms, but they do not offer a cure and many come with unwanted side effects.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 phytocannabinoids to have been isolated from cannabis. It is non-intoxicating, and many believe it to be safe and free from the majority of the negative side effects typically associated with pharmaceutical options for treating anxiety-related issues.

How CBD works in the body

Humans (and many other animals) have a system in our body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is responsible for a huge range of processes, from pain perception to motor control and memory. The current science suggests that the ECS is at least partially responsible for homeostasis, or balance, within the body.

The jury is still out on exactly how CBD works. The leading theory right now is that, unlike THC (which has a strong interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors), CBD may reduce the efficiency of the enzymes that break down our own endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by the body), allowing for longer and stronger interactions between them and the ECS receptors.

The legality of CBD

CBD products (excluding CBD flowers) are fully legal in the UK, with strict guidelines in place to ensure that only products from reputable and legitimate sources are used. These products must contain no more than 1 mg of THC per container.

With a whole range of new CBD offerings hitting the market in the past few years, it is expected that CBD regulations in the UK will be revised in the near future.

The benefits of CBD for agoraphobia

As with all research and clinical study of cannabis and phytocannabinoids (like CBD), there is still much work to be done before any real concrete claims can be made about the benefits of CBD for treating agoraphobia. The field is still in its infancy, but with the legality of cannabis opening up worldwide, researchers are finding it much easier to get their hands on the drug for study purposes.

While specific studies focusing on CBD and agoraphobia are few and far between, research into the effects of cannabinoids on general anxiety and fear suggest that there is a real possibility that CBD could be administered to treat this condition. The relaxing and calming effects of CBD may help reduce anxiety levels, as well as provide relief from the physical symptoms that accompany it.

A 2017 study titled “Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol” showed that CBD could have a marked positive effect on the panic felt by participants in public speaking situations. A dose of 300 mg decreased the anxiety felt after the public speaking was performed, and a dose of 600 mg produced a “significant reduction in anxiety-related measures obtained during their speech performance”.

The same study also looked into the possibility of negative side effects of CBD. CBD, unlike current anxiety pharmaceutical options like benzodiazepines and antidepressants, poses no threat of dependence or withdrawal symptoms. It is safe and well-tolerated via the oral route (up to 1,500 mg/day).

Another paper, which focuses on patients with social anxiety disorder (a common issue for people suffering from agoraphobia) found that CBD is potentially associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety.

How to take CBD for agoraphobia

OK, so to the burning question. Before we dive into any answer regarding how CBD can be administered to help decrease anxiety and panic in agoraphobic patients, we must stress the importance of consulting with a doctor first. The effects and dosage of CBD will vary from person to person, and it is always advisable that any health concerns be discussed with a medical professional before any action is taken.

Generally speaking, though, it is best to start off with the lowest dosage possible. 

CBD can be taken in many forms, with the most popular being CBD oils. There are also edibles, tinctures, topicals, and capsules available, and the most suitable form for treating agoraphobia will depend on your unique issues, and your lifestyle.

Current laws in the UK state that all conventional treatment avenues must be explored before any doctor can prescribe medicinal cannabis. Only certain conditions are allowed to be treated with medical cannabis, with anxiety disorders being on this list.

Here at Releaf, we make the whole process as straightforward and stress-free as possible. Once you have had your initial consultation with one of our doctors, we provide you with a medicinal cannabis card, which holds all the proof of both your Releaf subscription and your legal rights for the usage of medicinal cannabis.


Agoraphobia is among the most severe and disabling types of anxiety disorders. Although more research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD on agoraphobia, studies so far have produced some promising results. Additionally, there is just so much anecdotal evidence pointing to the fact that CBD may be a viable natural alternative for anxiety and fear.

It is not a cure-all. But, when implemented in conjunction with other treatments for agoraphobia, CBD may be a highly effective addition that can help you get back on the road to recovery.

If you need an alternative approach to manage your health condition, Releaf is here to help. Our monthly packages are based on your cannabis prescription, and we offer specialist consultations for medical cannabis and a unique medical cannabis card for protection.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Sam North, a seasoned writer with over five years' experience and expertise in medicinal cannabis, brings clarity to complex concepts, focusing on education and informed use.

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Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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