HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessCBD Shows An Amazing Change In Young People Suffering From Severe Anxiety

CBD Shows An Amazing Change In Young People Suffering From Severe Anxiety

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Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound. This means that unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not result in changes to thought or perception.

Cannabis and cannabidiol are not the same things. Cannabis “hemp” strains have higher concentrations of the active ingredient cannabidiol. Cannabidiol does not cause a “high” like other compounds present in the cannabis plant, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

According to a pilot study conducted by Orygen, Australia’s center of excellence for youth mental health, cannabidiol may be useful in reducing by half the severity of symptoms and impairment brought on by severe anxiety.

The Cannabidiol Youth Anxiety Pilot Study found that after 12 weeks of treatment with cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating component of the Cannabis sativa plant that is frequently referred to as CBD, young people with treatment-resistant anxiety had an average 42.6 percent reduction in anxiety severity and impairment.

Professor Paul Amminger of Orygen, who led the study, described this development as outstanding.

“The young people had fewer panic attacks and could do things which they were previously unable to do like leave the house, go to school, participate in social situations, eat at restaurants, take public transport or attend appointments by themselves,” says Professor Amminger.

“That’s an amazing change in the group which has had treatment-resistant, long-standing severe to very severe anxiety.”

A clinician-rated scale (the Hamilton Anxiety Rating, 50.7 percent) and a self-rated scale (the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale, 42.6 percent) that required participants to complete a questionnaire on symptoms like panic attacks, situational anxieties, worries, and flashbacks were used to measure the reduction in symptoms.

Professor Patrick McGorry, study co-investigator and Orygen Executive Director, said the findings held promise for a significant number of young people. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on 22 July, anxiety was the most common form of mental ill-health in young people, affecting nearly a third (31.5 percent) of those aged 16-24 – nearly double the rate of the general population.

“We’re seeing more and more young people experiencing anxiety – it’s the fasting growing form of mental ill-health in young people and we urgently need innovation in treatment. Cannabidiol is a promising treatment option which appears safe and effective. We need further research to confirm this and explore its value,” adds Professor McGorry.

31 individuals between the ages of 12 and 25 who were chosen from Orygen’s primary care services participated in the pilot trial. Following at least five cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions, the subjects with a diagnosable anxiety condition did not demonstrate a substantial reduction in anxiety severity.

CBT and SSRI antidepressant medications, which are currently the frontline treatments for anxiety, only effectively treat roughly half of those who attempt them, according to Professor Amminger.

“Anxiety disorders are very common so that leaves a large number of young people untreated, struggling with symptoms and developing secondary conditions, for instance, depression and substance use disorders.”

Cannabidiol was discovered to be beneficial in lowering anxiety in adults, therefore Orygen began researching it as an anxiety treatment.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia has approved cannabidiol as a treatment for children with uncommon kinds of epilepsy (Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome).

In Australia, cannabidiol has received approval for clinical trials as a treatment for kids with intellectual disability, Tourette Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and an autistic spectrum disorder.

It’s crucial to emphasize that cannabidiol has no noticeable adverse effects and doesn’t cause any neurological or mental manifestations, according to Professor Amminger.

Cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) so it doesn’t cause alterations in thinking and perception, it doesn’t make you ‘high’ and it’s not addictive. In fact, cannabidiol has been used to treat addictive behaviours in other research trials and can reduce some of the adverse and intoxicating effects of THC.”

Participants in the pilot trial were given a cannabidiol beginning dose of one 200mg capsule per day, which was increased to 400mg after one week. The dosage was increased in 200 mg increments up to 800 mg per day for those who did not exhibit a discernible improvement in their anxiety symptoms. For 12 weeks, all participants received twice-weekly CBT (five sessions).

The most common adverse effects of cannabidiol, according to Professor Amminger’s pilot study, were slight drowsiness and mild weariness, although those effects subsided after a few days. Cannabidiol also helped to lessen anxiety symptoms and was very well accepted.

“We did not see side-effects like suicidal thoughts, irritability or sleep problems, which are not uncommon in people taking SSRIs.”

Even though the results are encouraging, more study is necessary.

“The design of an open-label pilot research has limitations. Although it is heartening to see a treatment impact in the treatment-resistant group, there is still a chance that it is a placebo effect. 

As explained by the authors, “the next step is a randomized controlled trial, which is the gold standard to test a new intervention.”  

To be able to declare with some certainty if there are or are not true therapeutic benefits and impacts, such a trial needs to be conducted on a much bigger group of young people, ideally 200 to 250, according to Professor Amminger.

Image Credit: Getty

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