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

Cannabis and Anxiety: Ongoing Studies on Clinicaltrials.Gov

Currently, two trials listed on ClinicalTrials.Gov directly investigate the relationship between cannabis use and anxiety. The first is a prospective study of changes in anxiety, negative affect, and inflammation following self-directed use of smoked cannabis flower and edibles.[29] Particularly, the study aims to understand differences between the anxiolytic effects of THC-based strains versus CBD-based strains versus strains that contain different ratios of THC and CBD (1 : 0, 1 : 1, or 0 : 1). The second trial assesses the efficacy of CBD oil for the treatment of several anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and agoraphobia. Participants will be randomized to receive CBD oil or placebo for an 8-week period and assessed based on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A).[30]

Several other current studies indirectly assess the relationship between anxiety and cannabis use. One trial investigates the anesthetic potential of nabiximols in presurgery settings and assesses anxiety as a secondary outcome using self-assessed a visual analog scale.[31] Another trial assesses the effectiveness of cannabis oil in relieving cancer-related anxiety.[32] Finally, another open-label trial involves the use of a high CBD:low THC solution for the treatment of behavioral symptoms in older adults with Alzheimer's dementia, in which anxiety will be assessed with the Anxiety Domain on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Clinician scale and the GAD-7.[33]