April 21, 2024

CBD Demonstrated to Alleviate Anxiety Without the Risks of THC

The latest research from the University of Colorado Boulder suggests that cannabis products containing high levels of the nonintoxicating compound CBD may be more effective in reducing anxiety compared to THC-dominant products, and without the associated side effects. The study, which involved 300 participants and was published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, is the first randomized trial to investigate the impact of legally available cannabis on anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety disorders affect one in five U.S. adults, making it the most common mental health condition in the country. With the increasing number of prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications, there is a growing need for alternative treatments.

The senior author of the study, Cinnamon Bidwell, emphasized that while more data is required to confirm the long-term benefits, the short-term effects observed in the study were significant. CBD was found to alleviate tension and anxiety with minimal adverse effects.

The research revealed that adults often turn to cannabis for anxiety relief, alongside issues such as sleep and pain. However, previous studies on the efficacy of cannabis for anxiety have produced mixed results. Some studies have indicated that frequent use of cannabis or products with high levels of THC could exacerbate anxiety over time. Conversely, adding CBD to THC-heavy products may counteract some of the negative effects, such as impairment and paranoia.

To assess the short-term and long-term effects of both CBD and THC, the study recruited 300 individuals with anxiety, with some being non-cannabis users and others having prior experience with cannabis. Participants were divided into three groups, each using a different cannabis flower product: THC-dominant, CBD-dominant, and a balanced CBD/THC product.

Due to federal regulations prohibiting the use of cannabis on college campuses, participants were required to purchase their assigned product from a designated dispensary and consume it off-campus. Over a four-week period, participants were allowed to use the products as desired. On average, participants used the assigned products three times per week.

The study found that all groups experienced a reduction in anxiety levels by the end of the study. However, the groups using cannabis reported greater anxiety relief compared to non-users, with the CBD-dominant group showing the most improvement.

Participants in the CBD-dominant group reported feeling less tense and paranoid immediately after use, without experiencing impairment. The research team suggested that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in reducing anxiety by alleviating inflammation in the brain and nerves. Even a small amount of THC (1%) was noted to have a rapid impact on mood.

While traditional pharmaceuticals for anxiety often come with side effects and dependency risks, CBD products offer a promising alternative for acute and potentially long-term anxiety relief. The study highlights the potential of CBD in managing anxiety without the same risks associated with THC or prescription medications. Bidwell emphasized the need for further research to solidify these findings but expressed optimism about the potential of CBD products in anxiety treatment.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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