Background—Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of the marijuana plant. In the past few years, there has been great interest in the therapeutic effects of isolated CBD and it is currently being explored for numerous disease conditions (e.g., pain, epilepsy, cancer, various drug dependencies). However, CBD remains a Schedule I drug on the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Despite its status, there are no well-controlled data available regarding its abuse liability.

Methods—Healthy, frequent marijuana users (n=31) were enrolled in this within subject, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multisite study that administered oral cannabidiol (0, 200, 400, 800 mg) alone and in combination with smoked marijuana (0.01%, 5.3-5.8% THC). Participants received one dose combination across 8 once-weekly outpatient sessions (7.5 hrs). The primary findings on the drug interaction effects were previously reported (Haney et al., 2016). The present study is a secondary analysis of the data to examine the abuse liability profile of oral cannabidiol (200, 400, 800 mg) in comparison to oral placebo and active smoked marijuana (5.3-5.8% THC).

Results—Active marijuana reliably produced abuse-related subjective effects (e.g., high) (p < .05). However, CBD was placebo-like on all measures collected (p > .05).

Conclusions—Overall, CBD did not display any signals of abuse liability at the doses tested and these data may help inform U.S. regulatory decisions regarding CBD schedule on the CSA.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, v. 172, p. 9-13.

© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

This manuscript version is made available under the CC‐BY‐NC‐ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

The document available for download is the author's post-peer-review final draft of the article.

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Funding Information

Grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA009236, U10DA013727, U10DA13732) and the National Center for Research Resources and National Center for Advancing of Translational Sciences (UL1TR000117-04 [UK CTSA]; KL2TR000116-04) provided support for this research.