A nonprofit dedicated to cannabis research, education and advocacy, the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation , is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind exploratory survey on CBD and cannabis efficacy in reducing anxiety. The University of California, Irvine (UCI), in partnership with UCLA’s UC Institute for Prediction Technology (UCIPT), will conduct the study.
The Cannabinoid Anxiety Relief Education Study (C.A.R.E.S.) will reach millions of CBD and cannabis users across the U.S. to assess the potential role of cannabinoids in reducing anxiety and other co-morbid conditions, such as insomnia and depression. The large-scale research study is especially relevant given high COVID-19 driven anxiety levels nationwide and the many state and local governments which have deemed cannabis businesses “essential” and thus accessible during the pandemic.
“We’re in the midst of a massive uncontrolled human experiment, with tens of millions of Americans turning to CBD and cannabis for anxiety relief,” said Pelin Thorogood, co-founder and president of Wholistic. “Given the lack of rigorous, controlled clinical trials on CBD or cannabis efficacy for these widespread conditions, it’s critical to collect real-world data at scale, across diverse demographics, to learn directly from the experiences of actual users.”
C.A.R.E.S. will do just that, Pelin added, while also establishing the foundational groundwork that will inspire and guide others to follow suit. “We’re deeply appreciative of our generous donors and survey-distribution partners for enabling this first-of-its kind study with UCI and UCIPT,” said Pelin, “and look forward to sharing what we expect will be invaluable findings on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for anxiety and insomnia.”
With the goal of understanding current attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding CBD and cannabis use for anxiety, insomnia, and depression, C.A.R.E.S. will collect and analyze data on types of cannabis and CBD products currently used, as well details on dose, frequency, timing of use, and delivery methods associated with therapeutic benefit.
Further adding to the broad-based usage data, C.A.R.E.S will collect demographic, geographic and other data points, such as medication, dietary supplement, and alcohol use, yielding valuable insights on potential health benefits of CBD and cannabis during this unprecedented time.
Dr. Sean Young, executive director of the UCIPT and the principal investigator for the study, pointed out that the nationwide study is unique because it will use widely accepted indices to assess the severity of anxiety and insomnia levels for each of the participants and their cannabinoid use.
“The large and diverse participant population will enable us to analyze differences in CBD and cannabis use patterns in relation to anxiety levels, demographics, prescription medication and supplement usage to assess how each of these factors may impact perceived health benefits for various segments,” said Young.
Young, an associate professor in the UCI Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics, has previously worked for NASA and Cisco, and served as an adviser to numerous companies.
The insights from the survey will be shared broadly with the public, medical professionals and the FDA.