Infectious Disease

Cannabidiol reduced anxiety severity in adolescents, young adults

August 12, 2022

1 min read

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures:
The authors report no relevant financial disclosures. The study was funded by a grant from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics.

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Orally administered cannabidiol reduced anxiety severity in adolescents and young adults with treatment-resistant anxiety disorders, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

“Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders affecting young people globally,” Maximus Berger, MD, PhD, of the Center for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues wrote. “Cannabidiol (CBD) a cannabinoid found in the plant cannabis sativa, has received significant attention in recent years due to its emerging putative physical and mental health benefits.”

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Berger and fellow researchers sought to investigate safety and efficacy of CBD for treating anxiety disorders in young people who previously failed to respond to standard treatment.

The open-label trial occurred between May 2018 and June 2019 and included 31 participants from across Australia, aged 12 to 25 years, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and who saw no clinical improvement despite treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or antidepressant medication.

All participants received add-on oral CBD capsules for 12 weeks on a fixed-flexible schedule and initiated with 200 mg per day and titrated up to 800 mg per day, then were gradually weaned for 1 week. The primary outcome was improvement in anxiety severity, measured with the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS), at week 12. Secondary outcomes included comorbid depressive symptoms, Clinical Global Impressions scale (CGI) score, as well as absence of anxiety disorder as Diagnosed by one of six additional rating scales. Raw scores of outcome measures were calculated, including score changes from baseline to week 12 and from baseline to 26-week follow-up.

Results showed that mean OASIS scores decreased from 10.8 at baseline to 6.3 at week 12, corresponding to a 42.6% reduction. Analysis of CGI ratings demonstrated 26 of 30 participants showed improvement while 16 of 30 showed substantial improvement by week 12. Depressive symptoms and functioning improved significantly. By treatment’s end, the number of participants rated either markedly or severely ill fell from 17 to five.

Adverse events were reported in 25 (80.6%) of 31 participants and included fatigue, low mood, and hot flushes or cold chills. There were no serious and/or unexpected adverse events.

“The findings of this trial suggest that further investigation of CBD for anxiety in conjunction with usual care is warranted,” Berger and colleagues wrote.

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