Cannabidiol Reduces Anxiety In Social Phobia Patients

  • Cannabidiol has the ability to minimize anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients, according to a study.

    Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety conditions with social life impairment. CBD (cannabidiol), a major non-psychotomimetic compound of the cannabis sativa plant, has demonstrated anxiolytic effects both in humans and in animals.

    Preliminary results of the study aimed for comparing the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on healthy control (HC) patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients who received a single dose of CBD or placebo. In a double-blind randomized design 1 h and a half before the test, a total of 24 never-treated patients with SAD were allocated to receive either CBD (600 mg; n=12) or placebo (placebo; n=12). The same number of HC (n=12) performed the SPST without any medication.

    Each of the volunteers participated in only one experimental session in a double-blind procedure and subjective ratings on the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and Negative Self-Statement scale (SSPS-N) and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) were measured at six different time points during the SPST.

    The obtained results were submitted to a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Pre-treatment with cannabidiol significantly minimized anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly reduced 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.

    However, no significant differences were observed between CBD and HC in SSPS-N scores or in the cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert factors of VAMS while 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.

    Co-authors of the study were Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, de Oliveira DC, De Martinis BS, Kapczinski F, Quevedo J, Roesler R, Schröder N, Nardi AE, Martín-Santos R, Hallak JE, Zuardi AW, and Crippa JA.

    Neuropsychopharmacology 2011 May; 36(6):1219-26

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