Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on the Brain

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Auburn University
Updated on 1 October 2021


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid that is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It is derived from the hemp plant, and may treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety. CBD is a critical component of medical marijuana and does not cause the "high" typically associated with cannabis. According to the World Health Organization, CBD has shown no evidence of abuse or dependence potential. However, to the investigator's knowledge, there have not been many acute clinical studies to characterize the effects of CBD in the brain. Despite the rapid influx in CBD readily available to the public, very little is known about such effects. Some studies have shown alterations in resting state connectivity, while others have described changes in specific regions of the brain, or in networks associated with various cognitive functions. For example, CBD has been shown to increase fronto-striatal connectivity and reduce mediotemporal-prefrontal connectivity, suggesting that CBD may affect brain regions involved in salience processing. Unfortunately, few studies have examined CBD in isolation. Additionally, several studies have suggested that CBD may have a neuroprotective effect when it comes to individuals at high risk for psychiatric conditions. In this study, the investigators propose an acute administration, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which 100% THC-free CBD will be compared to placebo (https://foliumbiosciences.com/). To the investigator's knowledge, the acute effects of this specific product have not been tested. Specifically, the investigators will examine: 1) the neurometabolic and neurophysiological effects of CBD compared to placebo and 2) the behavioral effects of CBD on measures of working memory and response inhibition. Participants will be recruited to take encapsulated, THC-free CBD provided by Folium Biosciences, in which they will have a pre- and post-ingestion scan. Each participant will have a 72-hour washout period after which they will be asked to come back for a placebo scan (however, the order will be counterbalanced so that equal numbers of participants will receive placebo/supplement and supplement/placebo). Individuals will be randomized into the supplementation group, as well as the order.

Condition Cannabidiol, Inhibition, Carbidopa, Fear
Treatment Placebo, Cannabidiol
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04831294
SponsorAuburn University
Last Modified on1 October 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

between 21-50 years of age
no current diagnosis of psychiatric or neurological conditions
no history of heart disease or stroke
generally healthy
pass a screening test for the MR environment

Exclusion Criteria

contraindications to the MR environment
use of psychotropic or neurological medication
history of heart disease or stroke
diabetes or other metabolic conditions
self-reported high blood pressure
history of concussions
any diagnosed psychiatric or neurological condition
have consumed alcohol in the 24-hour period prior to a scan
consumed pain relievers in the 12-hours prior to a scan
consumed food or drinks (except water) and/or nicotine/caffeine an hour prior to any scanning
have used or take THC/CBD
exercised within an hour of a scan
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