Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Reference: Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Article in Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics · September 2015

Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Fear and anxiety are adaptive responses essential to coping with threats to survival. Yet excessive or persistent fear may be maladaptive, leading to disability. Symptoms arising from excessive fear and anxiety occur in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Notably, PTSD and OCD are no longer classified as anxiety disorders in the recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5; however, excessive anxiety is central to the symptomatology of both disorders.

Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. These anxiety-related disorders are associated with a diminished sense of well-being, elevated rates of unemployment and relationship breakdown, and elevated suicide risk [1–3]. Together, they have a lifetime prevalence in the USA of 29 % [4], the highest of any mental disorder, and constitute an immense social and economic burden [5, 6]. Currently available pharmacological treatments include serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressant drugs, and partial 5-hydroxytryptamine (5- HT)1A receptor agonists. Anticonvulsants and atypical antipsychotics are also used to treat PTSD.

These medications are associated with limited response rates and residual symptoms, particularly in PTSD, and adverse effects may also limit tolerability and adherence [7–10]. The substantial burden of anxiety-related disorders and the limitations of current treatments place a high priority on developing novel pharmaceutical treatments. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid constituent of Cannabis sativa that lacks the psychoactive effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD has broad therapeutic properties across a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, stemming from diverse central nervous system actions [11, 12]. In recent additional TRP channels, and glycine receptors [11, 12, 19, 21]. In the current review of primary studies, the following receptor-specific actions were found to have been investigated as potential mediators of CBD’s anxiolytic action: CB1R, TRPV1 receptors, and 5-HT1A receptors. Pharmacology relevant to these actions is detailed below in Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.

Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety