This study opens the door for further research into cannabidiol as a treatment option for individuals with severe anxiety.
However, the study had a limited sample size and lasted only twelve weeks. This indicates the need for studies involving more participants and a longer follow-up time.
Participants also reported some side effects from using CBD, including low mood, fatigue, cold chills, and hot flashes, yet, there were no major adverse events. Further long-term research could also monitor participants for any additional side effects of CBD use.
A placebo effect?
The authors also noted that a placebo effect was possible, so further research should include a randomized control trial.
“Our trial was open-label and uncontrolled therefore casual inferences about the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) relative to other influences (e.g., placebo effect) cannot be made with certainty,” said Prof. Amminger.
However, he also noted the data that supported it wasn’t a placebo effect:
“However, given that the patients included in this trial were some of the most severe treatment-resistant with significant functional impairment who had multiple failed treatment attempts prior their participation in our trial, the observed reduction in anxiety severity suggests that cannabidiol has clinically meaningful anxiolytic effects. Nevertheless, randomized controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm the efficacy and longer-term safety of CBD.”
As research continues, researchers will hopefully discover more effective anxiety treatments. Dr. Jassey was optimistic about the findings of this current study and believes pursuing cannabidiol as a treatment option holds promise.
“This study shows that young people reduced anxiety by up to 50%, including feeling more relaxed and less consuming illicit substances for self-medication,” he said.
“Cannabidiol (CBD) treatment holds plenty of promise. For 50% of people, antidepressant medications do not work, on top of taking several weeks of regular intake to find out if they actually work or not. Young people, in particular, may benefit, as CBD is far more tolerable and less impactful on the body than antidepressants, especially the harsher ones prescribed for treatment-resistant anxiety.”
— Dr. Lewis Jassey