A recent review of studies on cannabidiol (CBD) indicates the non-intoxicating cannabinoid could be of benefit in treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders.
“This chemical isn’t linked to the cannabis ‘high’ and is safe for people to use, so it might be helpful for alleviating certain symptoms of these disorders without having unwanted side effects of cannabis,” said Dr. Carl Stevenson, senior author of the review.
The review notes a growing number of pre-clinical studies indicating cannabidiol reduces fear memory expression when administered acutely.
“Importantly, CBD results in an enduring reduction in learned fear expression when given in conjunction with fear memory reconsolidation or extinction by disrupting the former and facilitating the latter.”
This, says the study’s authors, makes CBD a potential candidate as an adjunct to psychological therapies or behavioural interventions used in treating PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and various phobias.
Interestingly, the regular administration of CBD for a longer term indicates mixed results with regard to fear learning.
Regardless, “converging lines of evidence have established that acute CBD treatment is anxiolytic* in both animals and humans,” says the review.
In relation to the potential for treating substance abuse, unlike the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, studies have demonstrated CBD lacks any rewarding effects of its own. However, it has been suggested that CBD may impair the formation of “memory” of some addictive drugs and also have a potential antipsychotic action.
CBD has already been proven to counter the effects created by THC.
The review has been published in the journal British Journal of Pharmacology. The full document can be downloaded here (PDF).
Cannabidiol’s anti-anxiety properties will be put to the test in Australia soon in a clinical trial involving young people subject to severe and chronic anxiety or depression disorders that haven’t responded to conventional treatment.
An extensive trial in the USA that commenced last month is examining the effects of varying ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol on PTSD patients.
While cannabidiol has been grabbing headline space frequently in the last year, it was actually isolated way back in the 1940’s and it’s nature further clarified in 1963.
*anxiolytic – relieve anxiety