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Tackling the gender research gap: First results from women’s wellness CBD study

The consumption of CBD led to ‘significant’ reductions in anxiety in women.



The study is the first to focus exclusively on CBD's potential to support the wellness of women

The first results from a landmark study into women’s wellness has found that CBD consumption led to ‘significant’ reductions in anxiety.

Women-led US brand Rae Wellness has published the first findings from its groundbreaking Women’s Health and CBD study.

More than 1,200 women, aged between 21-44, completed the 60-day in-home use test (IHUT), the vast majority – 97 percent – reported experiencing at least one symptom of anxiety. 

The study aimed to compare the effects of eight different Rae Wellness CBD products on the women’s well-being, mental health, physical health, digestive health, sleep quality, and sexual satisfaction.

The Phase I results underscore the anti-anxiety potential of CBD, finding that the consumption of at least 15 mg a day of CBD product led to ‘significant’ reductions in anxiety within 30 days of initiating daily use.

These reductions mainly occurred within the first 30 days of use, and were sustained for at least another 30 days.

Similar reductions were observed for all products and across different levels of CBD dosage (15-30 mg), THC concentration (0 percent or up to 0.3 percent) and mode of delivery (oil or capsule).

The study, conducted with healthtech company Radicle Science, is one of the first and largest longitudinal controlled studies on the effects of commercial CBD products.

The company used various statistical and machine learning models to determine the results, including calculating the mean change in each participant’s GAD-7 anxiety score from baseline to day 60.

“While there are thousands of CBD brands being used by tens of millions of Americans, there is virtually no data on which formulations, used in what manner, for which types of individuals, may offer the most benefit,” said Dr Jeff Chen MD/MBA, founder of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative and Radicle Science CEO.

“We are grateful to Rae Wellness for allowing us to analyse their data and publish insights, which to our knowledge represents the largest controlled study of non-prescription CBD formulations to date. 

“We’re hopeful these findings can help consumers better understand which products and usage patterns might work best for their individual needs.”

It also represents the first-ever study focused exclusively on cannabidiol’s potential to support the wellness of women, an often-underrepresented population in scientific research. 

Many new CBD users are women, who are increasingly turning to alternative therapies to manage a wide range of symptoms, from endometriosis and PMS to the menopause. 

The prevalence of anxiety disorders among women is thought to be nearly twice the rate of men in the US.  

However, to date the majority of pre-clinical and clinical research has been conducted using males only. 

A paper published last year highlighted the “knowledge gap” on sex and gender differences in the “effectiveness of CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety” and called for future research to focus on this area.

Previous studies have also found that women are more likely to swap their prescription medication for alternative medicines, including medical cannabis.

But despite evidence suggesting that cannabis affects women differently to men, due to the influence of sex hormones on the endocannabinoid system, there has been little further research into this area.

“Most research on the neurological effects of CBD has been conducted among men. Indeed, women have historically been—and continue to be—underrepresented as subjects in medical research,” said Pelin Thorogood, Radicle Science co-founder and executive chair. 

“Thus, it is unclear how various supplements, including CBD, may impact women’s health and if gender-related factors may influence their effects.

“This large-scale, groundbreaking study on CBD and Women’s Health conducted in collaboration with Rae Wellness is a major step in filling this evidence gap. We are deeply grateful for Rae’s support of research, especially with respect to addressing diversity and inclusion issues in health outcome data.”

The final phase of analysis, to be released in fall 2021 in the extended whitepaper, will evaluate the effects of CBD products on women’s physical health, digestive health, sleep, and sexual satisfaction.

Angie Tebbe, Rae’s co-founder and CEO added: “At Rae we’re fundamentally dedicated to supporting all consumers – especially underrepresented individuals – to feel their best from the inside out through a holistic universe of supplements that are effective, evidence-based, and attainably-priced, and the philosophy behind the launch of our hemp-derived supplements is no different. 

“While existing studies suggest that cannabidiol has considerable potential to support wellness, there was a glaring gap in research dedicated to guiding effective product development. 

“We collaborated with the renowned medical experts and data scientists at Radicle Science to better understand CBD’s potential as an ingredient and, in particular, its effect on women, an often-underrepresented population in health research studies.”

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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