Researchers at a Dutch university are investigating whether CBD can help people overcome their phobias.
Dr Johanna Baas and her team will conduct the first study of its kind over the course of eight weeks. The study will explore whether CBD could be used to enhance the endocannabinoid system and reduce anxiety symptoms resulting from hormone imbalances.
72 patients with social phobia or panic disorder will be given exposure therapy along with 300mg of CBD or a placebo. They will then complete a ‘fear questionnaire’ three and six months after the study is completed.
Dr Baas wrote:
“Evidence-based treatments [for phobic anxiety disorders] are relatively successful in the majority of patients, especially exposure therapy.
“However, a substantial subset of patients fails to achieve or stay in remission.
“Preclinical and genetic research have yielded evidence that the cannabinoid system is involved in the extinction of fear, presumed to underlie the beneficial effects of exposure therapy in phobic disorders.
While Trilby Breckman, National Director of the charity Triumph over Phobia, is sceptical that CBD alone could help people overcome their phobias, she believes that it could be beneficial when used in conjunction with exposure therapy.
“If you can take something, such as CBD oil, which can reduce anxiety, it could make a patient more able to cope with the exposure therapy process and also more receptive to the treatment.
“If someone’s feeling really anxious, they have to take exposure therapy in very short bursts. But if someone’s feeling more relaxed, they can move at a quicker pace.”