Introduction: Preclinical and clinical studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) found in Cannabis spp. has broad therapeutic value. CBD products can currently be purchased online, over the counter and at Cannabis-specific dispensaries throughout most of the country, despite the fact that CBD is generally deemed a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and renounced as a dietary supplement ingredient by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Consumer demand for CBD is high and growing, but few studies have examined the reasons for increasing CBD use.
Materials and Methods: A self-selected convenience sample (n = 2409) was recruited via an online survey designed to characterize whom, how, and why individuals are currently using CBD. The anonymous questionnaire was accessed from October 25, 2017 to January 25, 2018. Participants were recruited through social media.
Results: Almost 62% of CBD users reported using it to treat a medical condition. The top three medical conditions were pain, anxiety, and depression. Almost 36% of respondents reported that CBD treats their medical condition(s) ‘‘very well by itself,’’ while only 4.3% reported ‘‘not very well.’’ One out of every three users reported a nonserious adverse effect. The odds of using CBD to treat a medical condition were 1.44 (95% confidence interval, 1.16–1.79) times greater among nonregular users of Cannabis than among regular users.
Conclusion: Consumers are using CBD as a specific therapy for multiple diverse medical conditions—particularly pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. These data provide a compelling rationale for further research to better understand the therapeutic potential of CBD.