The CBD industry is flourishing, conservatively projected to hit $16 billion in the United States by 2025. Already, the plant extract is being added to cheeseburgers, toothpicks and breath sprays. More than 60 percent of CBD users have taken it for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 people, conducted by the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm. Chronic pain, insomnia and depression follow behind. Kim Kardashian West, for example, turned to the product when “freaking out” over the birth of her fourth baby. The professional golfer Bubba Watson drifts off to sleep with it. And Martha Stewart’s French bulldog partakes, too.
But he cautions that the side effects could have been because of an interaction with other medications the children were taking to control the seizures. So far, there hasn’t been a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (the gold standard) on sleep disorders and CBD.
What is CBD?
While there is hope for treating other conditions with the plant extract, Epidiolex remains the only CBD-derived drug approved by the F.D.A. Most of the research on cannabidiol has been in animals, and its current popularity has outpaced science. “We don’t have the 101 course on CBD quite figured out yet,” said Ryan Vandrey, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
For students with generalized social anxiety, a four-minute talk, with minimal time to prepare, can be debilitating. Yet a small experiment in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD seemed to reduce nervousness and cognitive impairment in patients with social anxiety in a simulated public speaking task.
More than 60 percent of CBD users were taking it for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 people. Does it help?
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Another study looking at the effects of various drugs on dementia showed that CBD may have positive effects on some of the behavioral manifestations of the disease. There is also some research to suggest that CBD may reduce symptoms of psychosis in people with Parkinson’s disease.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
It is important to note that while cannabidiol shows promise in the treatment of some symptoms and conditions, further research is needed. Additional studies may explore variations in dosages and administration as well as how treatment with cannabidiol compares to other medications and treatment options.
There is increasing evidence that CBD may have potential therapeutic benefits, including anticonvulsive, sedative, hypnotic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective properties. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which in animal studies has been found to be more potent than that of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.