Researchers plan new study to determine exactly how CBD affects anxiety and sleep

Researchers plan new study to determine exactly how CBD affects anxiety and sleep

Anxiety and sleep are some of the most common reasons people consume CBD products. However, there is not much scientific data available on the exact effects CBD has on these issues.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem across the industry. There is a significant shortage of formal research on CBD in general, but this is a problem that the University of Colorado Boulder is trying to change — at least when it comes to research on CBD’s ability to improve sleep and reduce anxiety.

“Disturbances in sleep are one of the highest complaints that physicians hear, and it’s largely associated with the everyday stresses and anxieties of life . . . It’s critical research,” said Dr. Monika Fleshner, the study’s lead researcher.

Filling gaps in the existing research

Fleshner reportedly told local media that she acknowledges that there is evidence that CBD has medicinal qualities, but she feels that there is a need for more research.

“Overall, in the United States, due to longtime DEA regulation, there was very limited work done,” Fleshner said. She explained that Canada and Israel have been producing more robust cannabis research recently than the United States has.

However, it is important to the university’s research partner that this study is completed in the United States. According to media reports, CBD brand Charlotte’s Web is reportedly helping to fund the study and would like to see it occur in the U.S. to further legitimize the results.

“Because there’s been a prohibition, the research hasn’t advanced that much,” Charlotte’s Web president Tim Orr reportedly said. “The industry kind of took off and ran with all that, and there really isn’t any sophisticated, modern, randomized and controlled study that’s been done, and that’s what this ultimately will be.”

How the experiment will be conducted

This research involves surgically implanting a monitor into the brains of rats, and using that monitor to measure how the electrical activity in their brains change because of CBD.

“After they heal, there’s no wires or anything; they just live in their cages,” Fleshner reportedly said. “Underneath the cage is a device that receives radio signals from the brain, so we can monitor their brain waves, as well as continuously measure their core body temperatures and movement in the cage.”

“What we’re hoping is that by using these animal models and producing a disturbed sleep pattern in them, we can understand how ingesting CBD can actually affect their sleep,” she further explained.

Eliminating the placebo effect

It is important to Fleshner that this study uses only animal models. The surgical implant is undoubtedly one reason to avoid human test subjects. However, Fleshner explained another reason.

She explained that by using animal models in the test, researchers are able to avoid any potentially misleading test results caused by the placebo effect. She told local media that self-reporting isn’t a reliable source of data because the expectations of human test subjects can cause biases and unreliable reporting.

“I wanted to test the real experimental question using pre-clinical models. So we’re studying laboratory rats, not humans, to try and really understand how ingesting these complex extracts orally might actually change sleep architecture and impact the brain in ways that people have been claiming it does,” Fleshner reportedly said. “Laboratory rats don’t have these placebo effects because they don’t know what they’re eating.”

However, rats apparently do not like the taste of cannabis, so the extracts will need to be flavored. Fleshner’s team of scientists are still working out some experiment logistics like this.

Fleshner reportedly expects the preclinical study to begin in the fall. She expects the study’s results to be published near the end of the year.