The Role of Cannabis in Treating Anxiety: An Update

Michael Van Ameringen; Jasmine Zhang; Beth Patterson; Jasmine Turna


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2019;33(1):1-7. 

In This Article

Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol

Although over 100 phytocannabinoids have been isolated from the cannabis plant,[7] two constituents have been the focus of mechanistic investigation and interactions with body systems: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is a partial agonist for cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1R) and cannabinoid receptor-2 (CB2R), the two primary G-protein coupled receptors of the endocannabinoid system.[8] THC's psychoactivity is largely because of its agonist effects at CB1R and interaction with CB2R is thought to mediate its immunological or anti-inflammatory effects.[8] On the other hand, CBD was originally proposed to be a negative allosteric modulator of CB1R and CB2R, however there are numerous nonendocannabinoid systems it may interact with to explain its vast array of biologic effects.[8] Recent findings have pointed to specific interactions between CB1R, 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, and transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 receptors.[8–10] The various interactions of CBD and THC with the endocannabinoid system have connected them closely with emotion regulation and anxiety management.[10]