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Is CBD Safe For Young People With Treatment-Resistant Anxiety Disorders?

Melbourne, Australia: The adjunctive use of CBD safely and effectively reduces severe anxiety in young people, according to clinical data published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Australian researchers assessed the daily administration of CBD in a cohort of 31 young people (ages 12 to 25) with refractory anxiety. Participants self-titrated their daily doses of CBD (between 400 mgs and 800 mgs) over a 12-week period.

CBD dosing was associated with a “statistically significant reduction in anxiety severity,” as measured on the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS). CBD dosing also “demonstrated an acceptable safety profile, with no serious adverse events reported and no clinically significant deviations to blood cell counts.”

Investigators reported, “Approximately 40 percent of all participants experienced a 50 percent reduction in OASIS score, and two-thirds experienced a 33 percent reduction.” They added, “By the end of treatment, the number of participants rated as markedly or severely ill had decreased from 17 (56.7 percent) to 5 (16.7 percent).”

Authors acknowledged that CBD’s greatest efficacy was observed during the final four weeks of treatment, indicating that a longer treatment regimen may potentially lead “to even greater improvements.”

They concluded: “Given that the patients included in our trial were some of the most severe and treatment resistant and had significant functional impairment and multiple failed treatment attempts, the reduction in anxiety severity observed here suggests that CBD has clinically meaningful anxiolytic effects. … The findings of this trial suggest that further investigation of CBD for anxiety in conjunction with usual care is warranted.”

Other human trials evaluating the use of CBD for anxiety have yielded inconsistent results. A 2019 placebo-controlled trial reported that daily CBD intake reduces symptoms of social anxiety disorder in teens, whereas a 2022 study determined oral doses of CBD to be ineffective at reducing symptoms of moderate-to-severe testing anxiety in college students. A 2018 Brazilian study reported that the consumption of 300mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety due to public speaking, but that higher (600mg) and lower (150mg) had no effect.

Full text of the study, “Cannabidiol for treatment-resistant anxiety disorders in young people: An open-label trial,” appears in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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