Objective: Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the non-psychotomimetic compounds of Cannabis sativa, causes anxiolytic-like effects in animals, with typical bell-shaped dose-response curves. No study, however, has investigated whether increasing doses of this drug would also cause similar curves in humans. The objective of this study was to compare the acute effects of different doses of CBD and placebo in healthy volunteers performing a simulated public speaking test (SPST), a well-tested anxiety-inducing method.
Method: A total of 57 healthy male subjects were allocated to receive oral CBD at doses of 150 mg (n=15), 300 mg (n=15), 600 mg (n=12) or placebo (n=15) in a double-blind procedure. During the SPST, subjective ratings on the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and physiological measures (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate) were obtained at six different time points.
Results: Compared to placebo, pretreatment with 300 mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety during the speech. No significant differences in VAMS scores were observed between groups receiving CBD 150 mg, 600 mg and placebo.
Conclusion: Our findings confirm the anxiolytic-like properties of CBD and are consonant with results of animal studies describing bell-shaped dose-response curves. Optimal therapeutic doses of CBD should be rigorously determined so that research findings can be adequately translated into clinical practice.