Original Article

Neuropsychopharmacology (2011) 36, 1219–1226; doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6; published online 9 February 2011

Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients

Mateus M Bergamaschi1,2,3, Regina Helena Costa Queiroz2,3, Marcos Hortes Nisihara Chagas1,3, Danielle Chaves Gomes de Oliveira1,3, Bruno Spinosa De Martinis3,4, Flávio Kapczinski3,5, João Quevedo3,6, Rafael Roesler3,7, Nadja Schröder3,8, Antonio E Nardi3,9, Rocio Martín-Santos3,10, Jaime Eduardo Cecílio Hallak1,3, Antonio Waldo Zuardi1,3 and José Alexandre S Crippa1,3

  1. 1Department of Neuroscience and Behavior, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil
  2. 2Department of Clinical, Toxicological and Food Sciences Analysis, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil
  3. 3National Institute for Translational Medicine (INCT-TM), CNPq, Brazil
  4. 4Department of Chemistry, School of Philosophy, Science and Literature of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
  5. 5Bipolar Disorder Program, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
  6. 6Laboratory of Neurosciences, Health Sciences Unit, University of Southern Santa Catarina, Criciúma, SC, Brazil
  7. 7Laboratory of Molecular Neuropharmacology, Department of Pharmacology, Institute for Basic Health Sciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
  8. 8Neurobiology and Developmental Biology Laboratory, School of Biosciences, Pontifical Catholic University, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
  9. 9Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  10. 10Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Neurosciences, Hospital Clínic, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence: Professor Dr JAS Crippa, Departamento de Neurociências e Ciências do Comportamento, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Hospital das Clínicas, Terceiro Andar, Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil, Tel: +5 51 63 602 2201, Fax: +5 51 63 602 0713, E-mail: jcrippa@fmrp.usp.br

Received 27 September 2010; Revised 11 December 2010; Accepted 15 December 2010; Published online 9 February 2011.



Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety conditions with impairment in social life. Cannabidiol (CBD), one major non-psychotomimetic compound of the cannabis sativa plant, has shown anxiolytic effects both in humans and in animals. This preliminary study aimed to compare the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on healthy control (HC) patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients who received a single dose of CBD or placebo. A total of 24 never-treated patients with SAD were allocated to receive either CBD (600mg; n=12) or placebo (placebo; n=12) in a double-blind randomized design 1h and a half before the test. The same number of HC (n=12) performed the SPST without receiving any medication. Each volunteer participated in only one experimental session in a double-blind procedure. Subjective ratings on the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and Negative Self-Statement scale (SSPS-N) and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) were measured at six different time points during the SPST. The results were submitted to a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group as assessed with the VAMS. The SSPS-N scores evidenced significant increases during the testing of placebo group that was almost abolished in the CBD group. No significant differences were observed between CBD and HC in SSPS-N scores or in the cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert factors of VAMS. The increase in anxiety induced by the SPST on subjects with SAD was reduced with the use of CBD, resulting in a similar response as the HC.


cannabidiol; CBD; anxiety; simulation of public speaking test; SPST; social anxiety disorder

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