Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public
Speaking in Treatment-Naı̈ve Social Phobia Patients
Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety conditions with impairment in social life. Cannabidiol (CBD), one major non-psychotomimetic compound of the cannabis sativa plant, has shown anxiolytic effects both in humans and in animals. This preliminary study aimed to compare the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on healthy control (HC) patients and treatment-naive SAD patients who received a single dose of CBD or placebo. A total of 24 never-treated patients with SAD were allocated to receive either CBD (600 mg; n¼12) or placebo (placebo; n¼12) in a double-blind randomized design 1 h and a half before the test. The same number of HC (n¼12) performed the SPST without receiving any medication. Each volunteer participated in only one experimental session in a double-blind procedure. Subjective ratings on the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and Negative Self-Statement scale (SSPS-N) and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) were measured at six different time points during the SPST. The results were submitted to a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group as assessed with the VAMS. The SSPS-N scores evidenced significant increases during the testing of placebo group that was almost abolished in the CBD group. No significant differences were observed between CBD and HC in SSPS-N scores or in the cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert factors of VAMS. The increase in anxiety induced by the SPST on subjects with SAD was reduced with the use of CBD, resulting in a similar response as the HC.
Objectives: To review and describe studies of the non-psychotomimetic constituent of Cannabis sativa, cannabidiol (CBD), as an anxiolytic drug and discuss its possible mechanisms of action. Method: The articles selected for the review were identified through searches in English, Portuguese, and Spanish in the electronic databases ISI Web of Knowledge, SciELO, PubMed, and PsycINFO, combining the search terms “cannabidiol and anxiolytic”, “cannabidiol and anxiolyticlike”, and “cannabidiol and anxiety”. The reference lists of the publications included, review articles, and book chapters were handsearched for additional references. Experimental animal and human studies were included, with no time restraints. Results: Studies using animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD. Moreover, CBD was shown to reduce anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder. Conclusion: Future clinical trials involving patients with different anxiety disorders are warranted, especially of panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorders. The adequate therapeutic window of CBD and the precise mechanisms involved in its anxiolytic action remain to be determined.