Victoria Flores

First Advisor

Stewart, Laura K.

Document Type


Date Created



Cannabidiol (CBD) is believed to improve physical and mental health in recreationally active men and women. The purpose of this study was to investigate the biological sex-related differences in physical activity, health-related fitness, mental and cognitive health, and biomarkers of inflammation and neural health before and after an 8-week CBD intervention. Participants (N =49; CBD Treatment Group (CG): n =24; Placebo Treatment Group (PG): n = 25; Females: n = 25; Males: n = 24; Males in CBD Group (CF-M): n = 12; Females in CBD Group (CG-F), n = 12; Males in Placebo Group (PG-M): n =12; Females in Placebo Group (PG-F): n = 13) completed a total of 8 visits, separated by an 8-week intervention period of either 50 mg of CBD or a calorie-matched placebo to consume daily. Before and after the intervention, participants completed a fasted blood draw, psychological and cognitive function questionnaires, and assessments for body composition, peak oxygen uptake, anaerobic fitness, and muscular strength. Isolated serum was used to determine resting concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) using enzyme-linked immunoassays. Data were analyzed with SPSS using independent t-tests and 2 and 3-way mixed analysis of variance (α = 0.05). An interaction (time*treatment) on anaerobic fitness was found in which PG experienced a 9% and 3% decline in mean peak power (p = 0.006) and relative peak power (p = 0.006) compared with CG. Another interaction (treatment*sex) was found on overall CRP concentrations in which CG-F had 92% and 115% greater overall mean CRP concentrations than PG-F (p = 0.026) and CG-M (p = 0.012), respectively. Another interaction (treatment*sex) was also found on overall BDNF concentrations in which PG-F had 43% and 39% greater overall mean BDNF concentrations than CG-F (p = 0.014) and PG-M (p = 0.008), respectively. Results suggest that 8 weeks of CBD does not alter body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular strength. However, results suggest that it may serve as a potential aid in preventing decreases in anaerobic fitness, and that its effect on resting concentrations of CRP and BDNF are different between males and females.


226 pages

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