Cannabidiol and Anxiety

Studies and peer-reviewed research into the effects of CBD and Anxiety

Anxiety

CBD as an anxiolytic drug

From the abstract: 

Future clinical trials involving patients with different anxiety disorders are warranted, especially of panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorders. The adequate therapeutic window of CBD and the precise mechanisms involved in its anxiolytic action remain to be determined.

 

Antidepressant-Like and Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Cannabidiol: A Chemical Compound of Cannabis Sativa

 From the abstract:

Anxiety and depression are pathologies that affect human beings in many aspects of life, including social life, productivity and health. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent non-psychotomimetic of Cannabis sativa with great psychiatric potential, including uses as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound. The aim of this study is to review studies of animal models using CBD as an anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like compound. Studies involving animal models, performing a variety of experiments on the above-mentioned disorders, such as the forced swimming test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM) and Vogel conflict test (VCT), suggest that CBD exhibited an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed. Experiments with CBD demonstrated non-activation of neuroreceptors CB1 and CB2. Most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.

 

CBD reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients

From the abstract:

Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety conditions with impairment in social life. Cannabidiol (CBD), one major non-psychotomimetic compound of the cannabis sativa plant, has shown anxiolytic effects both in humans and in animals. This preliminary study aimed to compare the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on healthy control (HC) patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients who received a single dose of CBD or placebo. A total of 24 never-treated patients with SAD were allocated to receive either CBD (600 mg; n=12) or placebo (placebo; n=12) in a double-blind randomized design 1 h and a half before the test. The same number of HC (n=12) performed the SPST without receiving any medication. Each volunteer participated in only one experimental session in a double-blind procedure. Subjective ratings on the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and Negative Self-Statement scale (SSPS-N) and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) were measured at six different time points during the SPST. The results were submitted to a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group as assessed with the VAMS. The SSPS-N scores evidenced significant increases during the testing of placebo group that was almost abolished in the CBD group. No significant differences were observed between CBD and HC in SSPS-N scores or in the cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert factors of VAMS. The increase in anxiety induced by the SPST on subjects with SAD was reduced with the use of CBD, resulting in a similar response as the HC.

 

Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of CBD in generalized social anxiety disorder

From the abstract:

Animal and human studies indicate that cannabidiol (CBD), a major constituent of cannabis, has anxiolytic properties. However, no study to date has investigated the effects of this compound on human pathological anxiety and its underlying brain mechanisms. The aim of the present study was to investigate this in patients with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) using functional neuroimaging. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) at rest was measured twice using (99m)Tc-ECD SPECT in 10 treatment-naïve patients with SAD. In the first session, subjects were given an oral dose of CBD (400 mg) or placebo, in a double-blind procedure. In the second session, the same procedure was performed using the drug that had not been administered in the previous session. Within-subject between-condition rCBF comparisons were performed using statistical parametric mapping. Relative to placebo, CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety (p < 0.001), reduced ECD uptake in the left parahippocampal gyrus, hippocampus, and inferior temporal gyrus (p < 0.001, uncorrected), and increased ECD uptake in the right posterior cingulate gyrus (p < 0.001, uncorrected). These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.

 

Central anandamide deficiency predicts stress-induced anxiety: behavioral reversal through endocannabinoid augmentation

From the abstract:

Stress is a major risk factor for the development of mood and anxiety disorders; elucidation of novel approaches to mitigate the deleterious effects of stress could have broad clinical applications. Pharmacological augmentation of central endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) signaling may be an effective therapeutic strategy to mitigate the adverse behavioral and physiological consequences of stress. Here we show that acute foot-shock stress induces a transient anxiety state measured 24 h later using the light-dark box assay and novelty-induced hypophagia test. Acute pharmacological inhibition of the anandamide-degrading enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), reverses the stress-induced anxiety state in a cannabinoid receptor-dependent manner. FAAH inhibition does not significantly affect anxiety-like behaviors in non-stressed mice. Moreover, whole brain anandamide levels are reduced 24 h after acute foot-shock stress and are negatively correlated with anxiety-like behavioral measures in the light-dark box test. These data indicate that central anandamide levels predict acute stress-induced anxiety, and that reversal of stress-induced anandamide deficiency is a key mechanism subserving the therapeutic effects of FAAH inhibition. These studies provide further support that eCB-augmentation is a viable pharmacological strategy for the treatment of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders.

 

Effects of CBD on regional cerebral blood flow

From the abstract:

Animal and human studies have suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may possess anxiolytic properties, but how these effects are mediated centrally is unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate this using functional neuroimaging. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured at rest using (99m)Tc-ECD SPECT in 10 healthy male volunteers, randomly divided into two groups of five subjects. Each subject was studied on two occasions, 1 week apart. In the first session, subjects were given an oral dose of CBD (400 mg) or placebo, in a double-blind procedure. SPECT images were acquired 90 min after drug ingestion. The Visual Analogue Mood Scale was applied to assess subjective states. In the second session, the same procedure was performed using the drug that had not been administered in the previous session. Within-subject between-condition rCBF comparisons were performed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM). CBD significantly decreased subjective anxiety and increased mental sedation, while placebo did not induce significant changes. Assessment of brain regions where anxiolytic effects of CBD were predicted a priori revealed two voxel clusters of significantly decreased ECD uptake in the CBD relative to the placebo condition (p<0.001, uncorrected for multiple comparisons). These included a medial temporal cluster encompassing the left amygdala-hippocampal complex, extending into the hypothalamus, and a second cluster in the left posterior cingulate gyrus. There was also a cluster of greater activity with CBD than placebo in the left parahippocampal gyrus (p<0.001). These results suggest that CBD has anxiolytic properties, and that these effects are mediated by an action on limbic and paralimbic brain areas.

 

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