MAR 07, 2024 11:59 AM PST

CBD More Effective than THC for Reducing Anxiety Symptoms

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Cannabis products with high levels of the nonintoxicating cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) may reduce symptoms of anxiety more effectively than products high in intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The corresponding study was published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

For the study, the researchers recruited 300 participants with anxiety symptoms. Among them, 42 did not use cannabis, whereas the remaining 258 participants used cannabis flower roughly 3-4 times per week. Cannabis users were randomly assigned to one of three legal market cannabis conditions for four weeks: THC-dominant (24% THC and less than 1% CBD), THC and CBD (12% THC and 12% CBD), and CBD-dominant (less than 1% THC and 24% CBD). 

Over the four-week period, participants were told to use cannabis products as often as they wanted to. The researchers drove a mobile laboratory to their homes and tested them before and after they smoked cannabis. Cannabis-using participants reported using their designated products three times per week on average. 

Ultimately, the researchers found that all four groups reported less anxiety at the end of the study period. However, the cannabis groups reported greater reductions in perceived anxiety than the non-cannabis group, and those using CBD-dominant strains reported the most improvement. Those in the CBD-dominant group also felt less tense immediately after smoking and were less likely to experience paranoia immediately after smoking than those in the two remaining cannabis groups with higher levels of THC.  

“Our findings suggest that THC did not increase anxiety long-term and that CBD-dominant forms of cannabis were associated with acute tension reduction that may translate to longer-term reductions in anxiety symptoms,” said study author Gregory Giordano, a professional research assistant at the CU Center for Health and Neuroscience, Genes and Environment (CUChange) at the University of Colorado Boulder, in a press release

“We need more data before we can say conclusively that there are long-term, beneficial effects, but the short-term effects were very clear: CBD was associated with tension and anxiety relief with limited harm,” said senior author Dr. Cinnamon Bidwell, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, in a press release

“Our study suggests that CBD products may be able to relieve anxiety in the moment for adults who use them, and possibly longer-term, in a way that is meaningful and doesn’t necessarily produce the same risks or harms of THC or prescription medications. We need more data before we can make conclusive recommendations, but this is promising news,” she concluded. 


Sources: EurekAlertCannabis and Cannabinoid Research

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...