MAR 14, 2024 9:00 AM PDT

CBD Eases Anxiety without THC's Side Effect Risks

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A University of Colorado Boulder research study found that cannabis products high in the cannabinoid compound cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce anxiety more effectively than tetrahydrocannabinol or THC-dominant products and have a lower risk of potential side effects. The study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research is the first randomized trial to examine how legal cannabinoid products affect anxiety symptoms.

The participants included 300 people with anxiety. Forty-two were non-cannabis users. Two hundred fifty-eight participants had tried cannabis at some point in their lives.

The researchers assigned the larger group to use one of three flower products:

  • a THC-dominant product (24% THC and 1% CBD);
  • a CBD-dominant product (1% THC, 24% CBD);
  • or one with 12% CBD and 12% THC.

During the four-week data collection period, participants could consume cannabis products as much and as frequently as they needed. The study participants used the designated products three times per week on average. The researchers drove a mobile laboratory to each participant’s home to test them right before and immediately after product consumption in the privacy of their homes.

All groups reported decreased anxiety. Participants in the cannabis use group saw more significant reductions in perceived anxiety than the non-cannabis group, and those using CBD-dominant products showed the most improvement of all.

The participants in the CBD-dominant group reported that they did not feel impaired, although they experienced greater relaxation immediately after smoking. They were also less likely to experience paranoia than those in the other cannabis groups.

CBD has more potent anti-inflammatory properties than THC, so CBD-dominant products potentially lessen anxiety by minimizing inflammation in the brain and nerves.

More research is needed to investigate the effects of CBD on anxiety, and whether chronic cannabis consumption or using high-potency THC products can potentially intensify anxiety long-term.

Sources: Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, CU Boulder Today, Eureka News Alert


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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