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Studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) consumption may lead to neuroprotective effects. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a circulating biomarker of neural health and studies exploring the effects of CBD on BDNF concentrations are limited. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine whether a longer-term CBD intervention would significantly change BDNF concentrations in human serum. Methods: This study used a double-blind placebo-controlled design where thirty-five healthy adult participants were randomly assigned into two groups. Participants were 25.94 ± 6.5 years of age with a body weight of 72.35 ± 13.89 kg and a body fat percentage of 22.61 ± 7.95%. One group (CB, n=18) ingested a 50mg CBD gel capsule orally once a day for 8 weeks while the control group (PL, n=17) group consumed a calorie-matched placebo (PL) over the course of the same 8-week period. At pre intervention and post intervention time points, participant body size, body composition was obtained. Blood was also collected at both time points and serum was used to determine BDNF concentration using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). An ANOVA was used to determine whether there were differences at the pre-intervention time point and the way CB and PL groups responded to the intervention. Significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: There were no differences between groups at the pre-intervention time points or as a result of the intervention. Mean concentrations of BDNF at the pre-intervention time point were 25.35 ± 7.3 ng/ml and 23.03 ± 5.2 ng/ml in the PL and CB groups, respectively. Conclusion: Eight weeks of daily, low-dose CBD does not improve BDNF concentrations in healthy people. Future studies may want to explore a higher dose in individuals with impaired neural health.


bdnf, CBD, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, cannabidiol