Anxiety, Social Anxiety Disorders & CBD.


In the past decade research on the effects of cannabis on both animal and human models have become of great interest to scientists and medical doctors alike. Cannabidiol (CBD), a derivative of cannabis has been explained to have anxiolytic effects, meaning it has shown to significantly suppress anxiety and social anxiety interactions by acting on regions of the brain that control the responses to our environment.


Cannabis research in the area of human applications and interactions in recent years have been extremely scarce, but animal models have been showing so much promise that research has been shifting the focus towards human interventions.

A research study conducted in 2011 was one of the first to examine both CBD impacts on anxiety and the underlying brain mechanism associated with the anxiolytic effects. Subjects with social anxiety disorders were given either 400mg/day of CBD or a placebo. The effects of the CBD were measured by neuroimaging and by quantification of regional cerebral blood flow. Based on specialized statistical mapping the investigators were able to determine that CBD was in fact associated with a significant decrease in subjective measures of anxiety. These findings would suggest that CBD possesses anxiolytic application in the limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain, which are responsible for emotions, memories and arousal, Crippa et al., 2011. 

The findings in the pervious study have also recently been supported by a study published in 2017, journal of psychopharmacology. The purpose of the study was to determine dose responses to CBD in individuals that underwent a public speaking intervention in a real life situation (TPSRS) and were assessed using the visual analogue mood scale (VAMS). There were a total of sixty subjects randomized in 5 groups that received either, a placebo, clonazepam (1mg) and CBD (100, 300, and 900mg/day) Zuardi et al., 2017.


The results indicated that acute administration of CBD produced anti-anxiety effects with a dose-dependent response in healthy subjects as seen in animal models. This was indicated by data analysis that explained subjective anxiety measures were reduced with CBD 300mg, but not with CBD 100mg and 900 mg, post intervention (TPSRS) Zuardi et al., 2017.

Studies are continuing to demonstrate the positive effects on cognition with CBD administration in both animal and human models without adverse effects. It is believed that once the federal government abolishes federal legislation over cannabis completely clinical trials will then be able to take place. This would enable CBD to be utilized in a wide range of clinical applications, including anxiety and stress and has potential for a whole new avenue of natural treatment.


  1. Crippa JAS, Nogueira Derenusson G, Borduqui Ferrari T, et al. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: A preliminary report. J Psychopharmacol2011;
  2. Zuardi AW, Rodrigues NP, Silva AL, et al. Inverted U-shaped dose-response curve of the anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol during public speaking in real life. Front Pharmacol2017;