A new study from the Centre for Youth Mental Health from the University of Melbourne, Australia is showcasing promising research in endocannabinoid therapy to target the symptoms associated with severe social anxiety, insomnia and major depressive disorder.

Treatment focused on the cannabinoid CBD, “thought to possess antipsychotic, anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory properties while possessing a generally benign side effect profile.”

Progress over a 6 month medical treatment plan saw main improvements in the symptoms of:

Treatment of social anxiety disorder and attenuated psychotic symptoms with cannabidiol

Maximus Berger,1,2 Emily Li,1,2 Günter Paul Amminger1,2

►  Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions in young people in high-income countries.

►  Nearly half of all young people with anxiety disorders do not remit completely with currently available treatments (eg, cognitive–behavioural therapy and selective serotonin receptor inhibitors).

►  Attenuated positive symptoms indicate high risk for psychotic disorders and are frequently comorbid with other psychiatric disorders.

►  Preliminary evidence to date demonstrates that cannabidiol (CBD) is potentially effective for anxiety and psychotic disorders.

►  This case shows that adjunctive treatment with CBD for 6 months led to clinically significant improvements in anxiety severity and attenuated positive symptoms.


Anxiety disorders in young people are frequently comorbid with other mental disorders and respond unsatisfactorily to first-line treatment in many cases. Here, we report the case of a 20-year-old man with severe social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, insomnia and attenuated psychotic symptoms despite ongoing treatment with cognitive behavioural therapy and mirtazapine who was treated with adjunctive cannabidiol (CBD) in doses between 200 and 800 mg/day for 6 months. During treatment with CBD, he experienced subjective benefits to his anxiety, depression and positive symptoms during treatment that were confirmed by clinicians and by standardised research instruments. Findings from this case study add to existing evidence in support of the safety of CBD and suggest that it may be useful for young people with treatment refractory anxiety and for attenuated psychotic symptoms.

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Jamie Rickcord MBBS., BSc., FRACGP