Even in small doses, CBD can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in clinically anxious or depressed individuals, a new study reveals.
Researchers found that the beneficial effects of THC’s sister molecule can be felt at doses as low as 60 milligrams, contradicting the idea that huge doses are absolutely necessary to benefit, argues the research director at Realm of Caring, an organization specializing in cannabidiol (CBD) research.
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“The biggest misconception this study addresses is that CBD doses must be between 400 and 600 mg before positive psychiatric effects can be achieved,” he argues.
More than 500 people, mostly depressed or anxious women with chronic pain issues, participated in the study over a four-year period.
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Every three months, their quality of life, sleep, pain levels, and symptoms of anxiety and depression were analyzed in relation to taking medicinal CBD products.
At baseline, participants reported that the use of CBD products had a positive impact on their depressive symptoms, but not on their anxiety. They also reported that the quality of their sleep improved and the intensity of their pain decreased.
In the months that followed, they gradually associated their use with “a significant decrease in anxiety,” results that were not observed in participants who did not use CBD.
Interesting observations, but not enough
Although he considers these results encouraging, Dr. Didier Jutras-Aswad, who specializes in the effects of CBD on the human body and is head of the Department of Psychiatry at CHUM, mentions that several nuances are necessary.
First, the participants were not only struggling with depression and anxiety but also with chronic pain. It is therefore impossible to establish a clear link between the intake of CBD and the improvements reported in their mood.
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“The study is interesting, but it’s not clear whether the improvements these people reported on their mental health were directly related to CBD, since CBD can relieve pain, and pain can be a cause of depression and anxiety. Would someone suffer exclusively from depression and anxiety have had the same results? That remains to be confirmed,” explains the psychiatrist.
Second, the participants knew what they were consuming and were specifically chosen for that reason. “We should have chosen people at random and included a placebo group in the study to better observe the correlation,” he says.
Does this mean that small doses of 10% cbd oil can’t have an effect on mood? Not quite, answers the expert.
“That’s good because the study comes to confirm that people are reporting beneficial effects, so we shouldn’t ignore that. We just can’t confirm it with hard data at this point,” he says.
Dr. Jutras-Aswad will be looking into this issue in the coming months as he and his team begin studies on the effects of taking CBD in small doses.