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CBD helps offset anxiety brought on by THC, finds clinical trial

A new clinical shows CBD can help offset some of the unwanted effects of THC.



CBD helps offset anxiety brought on by THC, finds clinical trial
Photo: Elsa Olofsson/Unsplash

Ever experience anxiety or feelings of paranoia after consuming THC? A new clinical shows CBD can help offset some of these unwanted effects.

 Data which has been published in the journal Psychopharmacology this month confirms that CBD can help offset the effects of THC-induced anxiety.

According to the study, people who consume cannabis containing balanced amounts of THC and CBD report feeling less anxious than they do after consuming THC-dominant cannabis.

CBD is thought to have anxiolytic effects, with some previous studies suggesting that consuming cannabis which contains equal ratios of THC and CBD could offset some of the adverse effects of THC, such as feelings of paranoia. 

In a placebo controlled randomised control trial (RCT), Dutch investigators examined the effect of single doses of vaporised cannabis containing high-THC, CBD and a balance of THC and CBD on anxiety levels.

How the study worked 

Researchers collected perceived anxiety levels in 26 participants following single doses of vaporised cannabis. 

Subjects vaporised cannabis samples that were either high in THC (13.75 mg), high in CBD (13.75 mg), contained equal amounts of both, or that contained no cannabinoids.

Both the THC-dominant and balanced THC/CBD samples significantly increased self-rated state anxiety compared to the placebo group.

However, anxiety after THC/CBD was significantly lower than after consuming THC alone.

What the researchers said

The researchers reported: “Combined treatment of THC and CBD delayed the onset of … anxiety, reduced its magnitude and shortened its duration compared to inhalation of THC alone.”

They went on to suggest that a combination of THC and CBD may be ‘more favourable’ when cannabis is being prescribed for medicinal purposes, and indicated that breeders could be encouraged to grow balanced cannabis strains in order to take a ‘public health approach’ in countries where adult-use is now legal.

The authors concluded: “The present study showed that cannabis containing equivalent concentrations of THC and CBD induces less self-rated … anxiety compared to THC-only cannabis in healthy volunteers. … The THC/CBD combination might be more favourable in clinical settings, and it may be a reasonable public health strategy to encourage cannabis breeds containing THC/CBD mixtures where recreational use of cannabis is now legal.”

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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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