CBD is one of 80 chemicals in cannabis. It does not provide the “high”; typically associated with cannabis, which is derived from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
In the first double-blind, placebo-controlled study (where neither participants nor researchers know who is receiving the actual treatment or placebo), Tom Freeman of the University of Bath in the UK and colleagues sought to determine the optimal dosage of CBD prescription cannabis disorder.
Prescription or prescription CBD is produced in high purity and does not contain fillers and other toxic additives; it can also be much more powerful than the freely available version.
The study found that a dose of 200 milligrams was ineffective, but both 400 mg and 800 mg per day significantly reduced marijuana dependence compared with placebo.
People in the study took cannabis about half a day less a week when they received 400 mg of CBD a day, and just under a third of the day a week less than 800 mg of CBD a day.
But don’t do it at home – the researchers warned against self-medication of commercial CBD products, which usually contain about 25 mg of CBD.
Freeman and colleagues measured the effect of CBD on cannabis use by measuring urinary THC, and the average number of days per week volunteers were able to go without cannabis use. The team found that CBD was more effective than placebo treatment in both accounts. Participants also received six counseling meetings to help stop cannabis use.
Although a monthly study of 82 participants was not designed to determine the duration or effectiveness of CBD treatment, the findings suggest that CBD may help people reduce cannabis use, the researchers said.
No serious adverse events occurred during the study and the researchers claim that the use of CBD is safe. They believe that their findings could have implications for the treatment of cannabis-related disorders, as medical and recreational cannabis use is becoming more and more legalized.
Experts agree that the results of the study are promising.
“Sadly, there is currently virtually no treatment for people with cannabis use in the United Kingdom,” said Robin Murray, a professor of psychiatric research at King’s College London who did not take part in the study. “This study shows that high doses of CBD can be helpful.”
Freeman and colleagues call for further research to determine the duration and effectiveness of CBD in the treatment of cannabis use disorders. They argue that further research could also help determine whether CBD directly reduces cannabis use or other mental health problems that could indirectly affect cannabis use.