Should We Go Low With Cannabidiol?

Author: Cilla Zhou on February 07, 2023


Low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) products will soon be available over-the-counter in Australia; however, high quality evidence to support its efficacy is sparse.

The recent review from The Lambert Initiative of Cannabinoid Therapeutics, published in Clinical and Translational Science (CTS), evaluated the efficacy and safety of oral CBD, at doses less than or equal to 400 mg per day in adults.

“There is an evidence gap with low-dose CBD products, particularly at the doses that will be available over-the-counter. Despite this, there is enormous worldwide use of low-dose CBD products as health supplements, ‘wellness’ products, and nutraceuticals,” said lead researcher Professor Jonathon Arnold, Deputy Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative of Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney.

The study found the strongest evidence for CBD in treating anxiety, but only in the higher range of 300-400 mg. Likewise, the effectiveness of CBD in treating insomnia and addiction was only found in the higher dose range. While medicinal cannabis is most commonly prescribed for pain in Australia, the study found little evidence of low dose CBD in reducing pain. However, there were no high quality, placebo-controlled clinical trials of CBD for chronic pain identified in this study, which indicates an urgent need for more research in this specific area.

The authors did find that CBD appears to be a remarkably safe drug, even at high doses of up to 6,000 mg per day. The most reported side effect was diarrhea. “Another recent study of ours found that up to 1,500 mg of oral CBD had no impact of people’s driving or cognitive abilities. While there are no studies on patients who have consumed CBD over months or years, it is clear that the safety profile should not hinder the development of more robust clinical trials,” says Dr. Danielle McCartney, a researcher from the Lambert Initiative.

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