Generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety conditions in the United States today. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 15 million Americans suffer from this particular anxiety disorder at any given time.
Social anxiety can range significantly in terms of severity and impact on daily life. While some patients are capable of enduring a mild form of the condition without medical help, others struggle to function in society without significant medical support.
While anti-anxiety medications aren’t new, they are inconsistent in their efficacy and safety. Many patients find that they cause a sedative-like effect. While this may address their anxiety, it is a side effect that most patients would rather live without.
This is why medical researchers continue to examine potential new treatments for social anxiety disorder, in the hopes that they will develop one which is both effective and side-effect free.
One preliminary study aimed to compare the effects of a simulation public speaking test on healthy control patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients who received a single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) or placebo.
A total of 24 never-treated patients with SAD were allocated to receive either CBD or placebo in a double-blind randomized design 90 minutes before the test.
The same number of HC performed the SPST without receiving any medication. Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.
The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group as assessed with the VAMS. The SSPS-N scores evidenced significant increases during the testing of placebo group that was almost abolished in the CBD group.
No significant differences were observed between CBD and HC in SSPS-N scores or in the cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert factors of VAMS. The increase in anxiety induced by the SPST on subjects with SAD was reduced with the use of CBD, resulting in a similar response as the HC.
These findings may not be as clear as researchers had hoped they would be, but nonetheless they do help scientists to formulate a better understanding of the effects of CBD on SAD patients.
These small but significant improvements in understanding will help to inform and formulate newer, more effective and less risky SAD treatments in the future.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.