A new study suggests cannabidiol (CBD) could be a suitable medicine to help people suffering from anxiety who have found other forms of therapy unsuccessful.
Dr Lewis Jassey, medical director at Leafwell, who was not involved in the research, toldMedical News Today: “Anxiety can lead to both mental and physical problems. Anxiety is often comorbid with depression, with more than 70% of patients with lifetime generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) also having major depressive disorder (MDD). [F]urthermore, being under constant stress and anxiety can lead to a dampened immune system, which can increase the likelihood of suffering from an infection.
Common procedures to control anxiety include psychotherapy, stress management techniques and speaking to support groups.
But they aren’t always productive which is why CBD could be another alternative, despite being cannabis it does not have the psychedelic effects associated with the drug.
The study saw 31 volunteers aged between 12 and 35 who met the criteria for DSM-5 ( an anxiety disorder where a person can experience excessive anxiety which they find difficult to control) and who have not benefited from other forms of treatment.
After the trial participants saw an improvement in their social and occupational engagements, their level of depression eased and there was an overall 40% drop in their anxiety.
Responding to the results, study author Professor Paul Amminger said: “There’s a lot of hope that a novel compound which is benign, like cannabidiol, could ease mental health problems. I think that the most exciting finding of the study was that the anxiety severity, which was on average severe to very severe, dropped by 50% at the end of the trial.”
Study author Emily Li further said: “A lot of people reported [a] decrease in tension. They have reported just feeling generally more relaxed. They reported[ fewer] panic symptoms. They also reported a feeling of calmness.
“Others have reported that because of the effect of the CBD, they no longer needed to, perhaps, use illicit substances to self-medicate.”
It’s looking positive, but bear in mind the trial only consisted of a small group of participants and lasted just twelve weeks.
There were also reported side effects such as fatigue, cold chills, hot flashes and low mood episodes.
Professor Amminger said: “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.
“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.”
Although Dr. Jassey believes over time CBD could be a genuine solution for people suffering from anxiety.
“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,” he said.
An unrelated study showed 22% of people don’t trust CBD, but 68% of CBD users find it effective.
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