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Low-dose CBD may reduce anxiety and seizures due to ‘entourage effect’

Researchers have found evidence of the ‘pharmacokinetic entourage’ effect.



Low-dose CBD products appear to reduce anxiety and are anticonvulsant agents against seizures. 

Researchers exploring how low-dose CBD products can be used to treat anxiety and seizures have found evidence of a “pharmacokinetic entourage effect”. 

Pharmacologists at the University of Sydney have found clues as to why low-dose CBD products, containing a full-spectrum of cannabinoids, seem to have therapeutic impacts at relatively low doses.

Researchers say their study shows that cannabinoids in a cannabis extract interact to produce much higher concentrations of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) in the bloodstream, than when CBDA is administered alone as a single molecule.

The cannabis extract delivered 14-times higher CBDA concentrations in the bloodstream when administered orally to mice.

Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, said: “Our study has shown how this operates pharmacologically for the first time. 

“Hemp extracts provide a natural vehicle to increase the absorption of CBDA into the bloodstream via the interaction of cannabinoids at specific transport proteins in the gut. 

“The entourage hypothesis holds that cannabis constituents interact to engender greater effects but there is little scientific evidence to support such an assertion. 

“Our study shows that different cannabinoids interact to alter plasma levels of cannabinoids themselves due to what we call a ‘pharmacokinetic entourage’ effect”.

Low-dose CBD products appear to reduce anxiety and are anticonvulsant agents against seizures. 

But it remains unclear how these products produce these results.

Lead author of the study, Dr Lyndsey Anderson, said: “Our results suggest CBDA might play a greater role in the effects of these low-dose CBD products than previously thought. 

“Our own preclinical studies show CBDA reduces anxiety and seizures. This result provides us with a pathway to explore why some cannabis extracts yield pharmacological effects in humans at lower doses.”

The team is continuing to work on how this “pharmacokinetic entourage effect” might lead to observed therapeutic outcomes for cannabinoids in people.

The study is published in Scientific Reports.

Full reference: Lyndsey L. Anderson et al, Cannabis constituents interact at the drug efflux pump BCRP to markedly increase plasma cannabidiolic acid concentrations, Scientific Reports(2021).  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-94212-6

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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