CBD flower beats THC flower for anxiety reduction

Anxiety is a common reason given for medical cannabis use in our research project (2nd only to Pain). This is one of the few studies that looked only at cannabis flower and its effects on anxiety. It was published in January 2024 in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

A total of 300 participants with anxiety symptoms were divided into 4 groups:

  1. Did not use cannabis
  2. Used THC-dominant cannabis flower: 24% THC, <1% CBD (Type 1)
  3. Used balanced THC/CBD cannabis flower; 12% THC + 12% CBD (Type 2)
  4. Used CBD-dominant cannabis (hemp) flower: <1% THC, 24% CBD (Type 3)


Over 4 weeks, the participants' changes in anxiety symptoms were measured using the Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) scale and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS). They also measured changes in the patients' perception of their mood changes after taking cannabis using several subscales of the Profile of Mood States (POMS).


all participants reported anxiety reductions over the 4-week study on the PGIC and DASS anxiety measures

ad libitum [as needed] CBD-dominant cannabis use was associated with lower scores on the DASS anxiety subscale compared to THC-dominant use

acute CBD-dominant cannabis use was associated with lower scores on the POMS tension and paranoia subscales 


In summary, CBD-dominant cannabis flower (hemp) seemed to work best at lowering anxiety, tension, and paranoia when compared to THC dominant and balanced CBD/THC cannabis flower. Their results also showed that overall, THC did not increase anxiety.

The authors' concluded:

This study provides novel information on the impacts of legal market cannabis with varying ratios of THC to CBD in indviduals with anxiety symptoms.

Findings suggest that THC did not increase anxiety and that CBD-dominant forms of cannabis were associated with acute tension reduction that may translate to longer-term reductions in anxiety symptoms.


The article abstract is here at PubMed.



Bidwell LC, Martin-Willett R, Skrzynski C, Lisano J, Ortiz Torres M, Giordano G, Hutchison KE, Bryan AD. Acute and Extended Anxiolytic Effects of Cannabidiol in Cannabis Flower: A Quasi-Experimental ad libitum Use Study. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2024 Jan 22. doi: 10.1089/can.2023.0187. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38252547.