select search filters
roundups & rapid reactions
factsheets & briefing notes
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

expert reaction to phase 2a clinical trial of cannabidiol (CBD) in treating people with cannabis use disorder

A study, published in Lancet Psychiatry,  looked at cannabidiol (CBD) in treating people with cannabis use disorder.


Prof Sir Robin Murray, Professor of Psychiatric Research, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London (IoPPN), said:

“This is an excellent study by well-regarded researchers.

“The press release is accurate and modest.

“This is the first proper randomised trial to assess whether CBD can be useful in the treatment of people with cannabis use disorder.

“Sadly there currently is practically no treatment available for people with cannabis use disorder in the UK.  There aren’t any clinics and few experts really because there haven’t been any specific interventions that help.

“This study shows that high doses of CBD may be helpful (much higher than those in the CBD sold in health shops).

“The main limitation is that it is a small study.  Larger studies would be needed before it could be introduced into regular use in clinics.  However this early study is very promising.”


Prof David Nutt, The Edmond J Safra Chair and Head of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Division of Brain Sciences,  Dept of Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

“This is a very clever study design and seems to indicate there is a useful clinical response.

“The problem currently is that, if cannabidiol does show efficacy in follow up trials for the treatment of cannabis use disorder, the cost makes the treatment out of reach for the NHS at present.”


Prof Michael Farrell, Director of National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), University of New South Wales, said:

“This is an interesting phase 2 study that demonstrates safety, dose range and feasibility of CBD.

“A recent phase 3 study of Sativex by Lintzeris et al indicated promise also and is mentioned in the paper. 

“Having a medication to help in the treatment of cannabis dependence would be helpful. There is a need for further research.”



‘Cannabidiol for the treatment of cannabis use disorder: a phase 2a, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, adaptive Bayesian trial’ by Tom Freeman et al. was published in Lancet Psychiatry at 23:30 UK time on Tuesday 28 July.



Declared interests

Prof David Nutt: Prof Nutt is a member of Drug Science medical cannabis working group

Prof Michael Farrell: No  links to any aspects of the cannabinol pharma industry. Undertook the reviews for the TGA on medicinal cannabis 

None others received.

in this section

filter RoundUps by year

search by tag