Medical Research

CBD & Anxiety: R&D Underway for New Treatment

Written by Paul James

With traditional anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines being highly addictive, there’s been a keen interest in using cannabidiol (CBD) to treat the mental health condition. And there’s a clear need for better treatments, as anxiety currently plagues 18.1% of adults in the US (40 million people). That number has soared over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are two challenges in getting CBD approved for anxiety treatment: a lack of sufficient clinical research into the effects of CBD on anxiety and thus lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, and lack of quality and standardization of CBD products currently on the market. Luckily many researchers are looking to solve these issues by conducting proper studies.

Empower Pharm is a Canadian pharmaceutical company that wants to help those seeking cannabinoid treatment for a number of ailments, including anxiety. A Phase I clinical trial is currently in the works to evaluate out how a synthetic CBD tablet (Empower CBDTM) might help those combatting anxiety.

Aubrey Dan, co-founder and executive chairman of EmpowerPharm, believes that synthetic cannabinoids have the potential to relieve a variety of health issues. By preparing synthetic CBD into an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), they seek to develop a product that is 99.9% pure.

This would differ greatly from products currently available, as most contain a smaller percentage of CBD. For example, Dan explained, the average CBD oil has between 65% to 80% total cannabinoids. Additionally, EmpowerPharm aims to remove all traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

A lack of THC is ideal for anxiety, as some individuals have reported it can actually cause anxiety depending on the dose.

EmpowerPharm was able to source a synthesized CBD API that’s been GMP-approved by Health Canada and the FDA. Within the next few months, Health Canada is expected to perform an inspection and, if things go as planned, Dan and his team will begin their Phase I clinical trial.

Empower Pharm hopes to find significant evidence that this formulation can be used as a safe and effective CBD pharmaceutical for anxiety.

Image Credit: Hal Gatewood

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Paul James