A cross-sectional study on the use of CBD

What are the most common reasons for using CBD?
What doses of CBD do the respondents take?
What is the assessment of the effects of using CBD by the respondents?

The increase in the popularity of CBD is certainly partly due to the growing number of studies confirming the many potential health benefits of cannabidiol. Unfortunately, studies usually use large doses of this cannabinoid, i.e. from about 300-1200 mg. However, most users take CBD in small amounts, and the effects of taking lower doses will definitely differ from those of using larger amounts. Last year, it was decided to create an online survey in order to get to know and better understand, among others, motives for using CBD, self-assessment of effects and the most frequently used doses [1].

survey - reasons for using CBD

The online survey consisted of 20 questions that could be answered with more than one answer. The information collected included, among others: demographics of people answering the questions, ways and amounts of taking CBD, reasons for using CBD, self-assessment of the effects of using cannabidiol, and the impact of using CBD on anxiety, stress and sleep. Data was collected from January 10 to March 18, 2020. In order to reach users using CBD, cooperation was established with sellers and CBD producers based in the UK, and a survey was published on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Low-dose CBD survey results.

A total of 387 people reported using CBD in the survey. The majority of respondents are women from the UK (Figure 1). It turned out that the majority of people interviewed take the dose sublingually, most often for 3-6 months (Figure 2).

Demographics of 387 adult cannabidiol users

Figure 1 Demographics of 387 adult cannabidiol users [1]

The collected data show that women used CBD for a shorter time than men. Women were more likely than men to say they use CBD when they need it. More than half used a daily dose of less than 50 mg. Most of the respondents used CBD daily or sometimes several times a day. The collected data shows that people using CBD for anxiety and stress take CBD several times a day, and those who use cannabidiol for sleep take one dose a day. Men were more likely to use CBD for general health, well-being and post-workout muscle relaxation, while women were more likely to use CBD for anxiety and insomnia.

Figure 2 CBD use patterns

Figure 2 Patterns of cannabidiol use in 287 users [1]

What are the most common reasons for using CBD?

When it comes to the reasons for using CBD, 42,6% of respondents cited anxiety, 37,5% stress, 37% general health and well-being, and 37% sleep problems. 24,6% cited insomnia as the reason. (Figure 3). Overall, as many as 42,5% of respondents admitted that they use CBD due to sleep problems and to improve it.

Figure 3 reasons for using CBD 1

Figure 3 Reasons for use of cannabidiol among 397 adult cannabidiol users who were allowed to answer more than one option, for a total of 1622 responses. The Y-axis represents the percentage based on all responses [1]


What is the assessment of the effects of using CBD by the respondents?

The survey included questions related to the self-assessment of the effects of using CBD in relation to the most frequently indicated reasons for its use, i.e. feeling stress, anxiety and insomnia.

Effect of CBD on anxiety in respondents

A total of 165 people cited anxiety and fear as the reason for using CBD. When asked “how does CBD affect the level of anxiety”, as many as 86,5% admitted that they felt less anxious, 12,8% felt no difference, while one person felt more anxious.

Effect of CBD on stress in respondents

For 145 people, the reason for using CBD was stress. Among them, the following answers were given to the question "how CBD affects stress levels": 92,2% of people feel less stressed; 7,8% felt no change. No one replied that stress levels had increased.

Effect of CBD on sleep problems in respondents (Figure 4)

A total of 220 people indicated the desire to improve sleep as the reason for using CBD. 73 out of 124 people said that CBD helps them fall asleep faster, 29 out of 124 people did not notice an improvement in this topic.

Figure 4 effect of CBD on sleep

Figure 4 Perceived effects of cannabidiol on sleep among adult cannabidiol users answering the question "How does cannabidiol affect your sleep?" Participants could choose multiple options. The Y-axis represents the percentage of all responses (n = 522) [1]

In the survey, it was possible to report other effects of using CBD that were noticed by users. A total of 960 responses were collected. The most commonly experienced effect after using cannabidiol was sedation - 21,3%, followed by pain relief (19,5%). The next most frequently indicated benefits are the reduction of depressive states and better concentration (Figure 5). Only 27 people experienced no noticeable benefits from using CBD. Interestingly, among the people who noticed an improvement in the sexual sphere, more people were men.

Figure 5 other benefits of CBD

Figure 5 Other perceived benefits of cannabidiol among adult cannabidiol users. Respondents were asked what other benefits or effects they experienced from using cannabidiol. Participants could choose multiple options. The X-axis is the percentage of all responses (n=906). [1]

Side effects of CBD noted by respondents

Regarding side effects, 388 responses were collected. 277 people did not notice any side effects of using CBD, 44 people felt dry mouth after using cannabidiol, and 13 people felt tired. Other side effects such as dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat, diarrhoea, headache, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, sexual problems, and difficulty concentrating were reported by less than 2% of respondents in total. There was no one who reported fainting, vomiting, liver problems, or seizures.

The public is using CBD to improve physical and mental health with good results

This study shows that CBD is now being used by society to improve physical as well as mental health. Most of the people participating in the study admitted that cannabidiol helped them in their ailments, and the doses they used often did not exceed 50mg per day. The most common symptoms that now drive people to use readily available, legal CBD products have been stress, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Unfortunately, the respondents' answers were their subjective assessments, which is why further research on cannabidiol and its impact on human mental and physical health is needed.

[1] Moltke, J., Hindocha, C. Reasons for using cannabidiol: A cross-sectional study of CBD users focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety and sleep problems. J Cannabis Res 3, 5 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00061-5

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