Researchers from Canada have found that long-term use of cannabidiol (CBD) is linked to improved symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with moderate to severe symptoms of each symptom. The study was published in the Journal of Cannabis Research.
"CBD is a primary component in the cannabis plant; however, in recent years, interest in CBD treatments has outpaced scientific research and regulatory advancement resulting in a confusing landscape of misinformation and unsubstantiated health claims." write the researchers.
Despite growing interest in CBD as a treatment for a variety of health conditions, no real-world data studies had investigated how CBD affects symptoms of depression, pain, anxiety, and general wellbeing.
As such, the researchers behind the present study decided to assess the impact of CBD on symptom burden according to the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System- revised (ESAS-r). ESAS-r is a brief, self-reporting tool of symptom severity for nine symptoms common in patients with advanced cancer: pain, tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, appetite, wellbeing, shortness of breath.
For the study, the researchers included 279 participants aged 18 and above. Each had been prescribed CBD from dedicated medicinal cannabis clinics in Quebec. Surveys assessing symptom severity were carried out as the treatment started, three months into it, and six months into it.
The researchers found that patients who reported moderate to severe symptom severity at the beginning of the study experienced significant improvements after 3 months. However, among those with mild symptoms of pain, anxiety, and wellbeing at the beginning of the study, symptom severity increased at the 3-month mark. The researchers noted that in both groups, there was little difference in symptom severity between the three and six-month marks.
“The results of this study contribute to address the myths and misinformation about CBD treatment and demand further investigation,” write the researchers in the paper.