CBD has shown some promise in anxiety and panic disorders, from public speaking to schizophrenia. A group of London researchers followed up on these results with an experiment published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
The researchers selected a group of anxious patients and immersed them in a virtual reality simulation “which recreates the social experience of being on a London Underground train.” The virtual trek made around 40% of participants feel paranoid and persecuted. The scientists wanted to test if ingesting a large dose of CBD (600 mg) would reduce these anxious feelings. Unfortunately for morning commuters, CBD wasn’t helpful in this experiment. In fact, the people given CBD tended to be more anxious than their placebo-treated counterparts. (This trend shouldn’t be overinterpreted — the result wasn’t statistically significant and, arguably, the use of two-tailed hypothesis testing was inappropriate.)
It’s important that the researchers chose to use 600 mg of CBD; previous work has shown that CBD loses it’s effect when the dose is too large. The researchers recognize this limitation and describe some changes they’ve made for subsequent experiments. For now, the solution to commuters’ anxiety rests on fellow passengers on the tube, not CBD.