Cannabis sativa is a medicinal herb with a diverse range of chemotypes that can exert both anxiolytic and anxiogenic effects on humans. Medical cannabis patients receiving organically grown cannabis from a single source were surveyed about the effectiveness of cannabis for treating anxiety. Patients rated cannabis as highly effective overall for treating anxiety with an average score of 8.03 on a Likert scale of 0 to 10 (0 = not effective, 10 = extremely effective). Patients also identified which strains they found the most or least effective for relieving their symptoms of anxiety. To find correlations between anxiolytic activity and chemotype, the top four strains voted most and least effective were analyzed by HPLC-MS/MS to quantify cannabinoids and GC-MS to quantify terpenes. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and trans-nerolidol have statistically significant correlations with increased anxiolytic activity. Guiaol, eucalyptol, γ-terpinene, α-phellandrene, 3-carene, and sabinene hydrate all have significant correlations with decreased anxiolytic activity. Further studies are needed to better elucidate the entourage effects that contribute to the anxiolytic properties of cannabis varieties.
Keywords: CBD; THC; anxiety; cannabinoids; cannabis; synergy; terpenes; terpenoids.