CBD reduces anxiety symptoms by up to 50% in young people
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety. However, experiencing too much anxiety can impair people’s ability to cope and work through challenges in day-to-day life. Treatment for anxiety can include the use of certain medications and counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy.
A recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that cannabidiol might be a safe anxiety treatment for young people who have not responded well to other types of therapy.
Anxiety: impact and treatment options
AnxietyTrusted Source is one of the most common mental illnesses.
The National Institute of Mental HealthTrusted Source notes, “For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.”
Dr. Lewis Jassey, medical director at Leafwell, who was not involved in the study, elaborated on the impact of anxiety.
“Anxiety can lead to both mental and physical problems. Anxiety is often comorbid with depression, with more than 70% of patients with lifetime generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) also having major depressive disorder (MDD). [F]urthermore, being under constant stress and anxiety can lead to a dampened immune system, which can increase the likelihood of suffering from an infection,” he told Medical News Today.
“Panic attacks, irritability, headaches, muscle aches, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, breathing problems, upset stomach, insomnia, and chronic fatigue are all common effects of anxiety.”
— Dr. Lewis Jassey
Treatment for anxiety will often involve approaching the problem from multiple angles.
For example, a doctor might prescribe certain medications to help improve symptoms. Treatment may also involve psychotherapy, which involves evaluating and changing thinking patterns to help reduce anxiety. People with anxiety may also benefit from support groups or stress management techniques.
Sometimes, people do not respond well to these treatments and still experience high anxiety levels. Hence, experts are examining additional and alternative treatment methods that may be effective.
CBD for reducing anxiety
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the portion of cannabis that doesn’t have mind-altering effects. The study was an open-label trial that included 31 people between the ages of 12 and 25. All participants met the criteria for a DSM-5 anxiety disorderTrusted Source and had not experienced an improvement in anxiety from previous interventions.
For twelve weeks, participants received the add-on treatment of CBD, with doses increased up to 800 mg/d as needed.
Overall, participants experienced over 40% reduction in anxiety severity based on the Overall Anxiety SeverityTrusted Source and Impairment Scale (OASIS)Trusted Source. Participants also experienced an improvement in social and occupational functioning and a decrease in depressive symptoms.
The study’s results indicate a potential treatment option for anxiety in people who have not responded well to other treatment types.
While discussing the study’s findings, study author Professor Paul Amminger explained:
“There’s a lot of hope that a novel compound which is benign, like cannabidiol, could ease mental health problems. I think that the most exciting finding of the study was that the anxiety severity, which was on average severe to very severe, dropped by 50% at the end of the trial.”
Study author Emily Li further noted:
“A lot of people reported [a] decrease in tension. They have reported just feeling generally more relaxed. They reported[ fewer] panic symptoms. They also reported a feeling of calmness.”
“Others have reported that because of the effect of the CBD, they no longer needed to, perhaps, use illicit substances to self-medicate,” she added,