Fear and anxiety are adaptive responses essential to coping with threats to survival. Yet excessive or persistent fear may lead to a disability in many people. Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis sativa constituent, is a pharmacologically broad spectrum drug that in recent years has drawn increasing interest as a treatment for a range of brain disorders as it has an anxiolytic like effect. Preclinical studies have shown that medical cannabis can treat anxiety when administered acutely. Human studies have shown evidence that CBD relieves social anxiety disorders, although this only works for acute dosing. There is a need for further study to determine CBS’s potential on the chronic and therapeutic effects in clinical populations.
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Low doses of CBD can reduce chronic anxiety
In a 2011 study in the United States, it was shown that the effects of CBD at high doses are ineffective, however low doses reduced anxiety in rats. In one study, CBD was induced daily after predator stress and this reduced long term effects of chronic predator stress. In a chronic study, CBD prevented increased anxiety produced by chronic unpredictable stress and increased the level of AEA in the brain, which is a constituent of medical marijuana and has an anti anxiety effect.
CBD products shown to eradicate PTSD, SAD and enhance Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBD is shown to enhance the eradication of post traumatic stress (PTSD) in rats. This has lead to a new memory that avoids dramatic fear responses in training sessions. Fear memories, when reactivated by re-exposure, enter into a labile state in rats when CBD is administered. At oral doses CBD reduces experimentally induced anxiety in healthy controls, without affecting generalized anxiety disorder levels, and reduces anxiety in patients with seasonal anxiety disorder (SAD). Limited results in healthy subjects also support the efficacy of CBD as it is appearing to have an antidepressant like anxiolytic effect and this also enhances cognitive behavioral therapy.
Preclinical evidence demonstrates the use for CBD oil in anxiety disorders such as PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD, without any further anxiety. Human experimental findings support preclinical findings, and also suggest a lack of further side effects of anxiety, minimal sedative effects, and an excellent safety profile. Current preclinical and human findings mostly involve acute CBD dosing in healthy subjects, so further studies are required to establish whether chronic dosing of CBD has similar effects in relevant clinical populations. Overall, this review emphasizes the potential value and need for further study of CBD in the treatment of anxiety disorders.