You might be thinking, “Wait, marijuana? Doesn’t that make you high?” But let’s set the record straight: unlike CBD’s counterpart delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it doesn’t alter your cognitive state.
Setting yourself up for sleep
However, many of these studies suggest there could be some benefit to using CBD as a sleep aid, and it’s worth researching. “For example, there’s evidence that CBD can be helpful in managing anxiety . If someone’s anxiety is creating their sleeping problem, a CBD product may benefit them,” Conroy says.
Similar to THC though, CBD can help you relax and people are wondering if it will help them finally get some good shut eye.
A retrospective chart review was conducted of adult psychiatric patients treated with CBD for anxiety or sleep as an adjunct to treatment as usual at a large psychiatric outpatient clinic. Any current psychiatric patient with a diagnosis by a mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) of a sleep or anxiety disorder was considered. Diagnosis was made by clinical evaluation followed by baseline psychologic measures. These measures were repeated monthly. Comorbid psychiatric illnesses were not a basis for exclusion. Accordingly, other psychiatric medications were administered as per routine patient care. Selection for the case series was contingent on informed consent to be treated with CBD for 1 of these 2 disorders and at least 1 month of active treatment with CBD. Patients treated with CBD were provided with psychiatric care and medications as usual. Most patients continued to receive their psychiatric medications. The patient population mirrored the clinic population at large with the exception that it was younger.
The sampling frame consisted of 103 adult patients who were consecutively treated with CBD at our psychiatric outpatient clinic. Eighty-two (79.6%) of the 103 adult patients had a documented anxiety or sleep disorder diagnosis. Patients with sole or primary diagnoses of schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and agitated depression were excluded. Ten patients were further excluded because they had only 1 documented visit, with no follow-up assessment. The final sample consisted of 72 adult patients presenting with primary concerns of anxiety (65.3%; n = 47) or poor sleep (34.7%; n = 25) and who had at least 1 follow-up visit after CBD was prescribed.
These results must be interpreted cautiously because this was a naturalistic study, all patients were receiving open-label treatment, and there was no comparison group. Concurrent psychiatric medications were employed as in routine clinical care. This is both a limitation and strength, as very few publications exist in this population. Other researchers have noted that the large societal notoriety about cannabis and medical marijuana probably contributes to a larger-than-normal placebo effect.20 Any study that explores efficacy in this therapy probably will struggle with a potentially inflated placebo effect that will make these determinations more difficult. Likewise, the clinical population in this case series is skewed younger than typical for our clinic, and future studies could explore the possible selection bias inherent in this treatment option. Most patients were also taking psychiatric medications and receiving other mental health services, such as counseling, which limits the ability to make any causal links to CBD treatment. Clinical attrition is evident in the dataset. The reason for this might be related to CBD ingestion or not, so the overall component remains unclear. Furthermore, patients at our clinic often express a desire to reduce or to avoid use of psychiatric medications, which may contribute to an enhanced placebo effect or additional bias. The length of clinical monitoring may help to decrease this concern. However, the clinical data in this analysis show a trend toward clinically significant relief of anxiety upon the start of CBD treatment.
Setting and Sample
Given the promising biochemical, physiologic, and preclinical data on CBD, a remarkable lack of randomized clinical trials and other formal clinical studies exist in the psychiatric arena. The present study describes a series of patients using CBD for treatment of anxiety or sleep disturbances in a clinical practice setting. Given the paucity of data in this area, clinical observations can be quite useful to advance the knowledge base and to offer questions for further investigation. This study aimed to determine whether CBD is helpful for improving sleep and/or anxiety in a clinical population. Given the novel nature of this treatment, our study also focused on tolerability and safety concerns. As a part of the evolving legal status of cannabis, our investigation also looked at patient acceptance.