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Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Kaplan, Joshua Steven

Second Advisor

Grimm, Jeffrey W. (Behavioral scientist)

Third Advisor

Rose, Jacqueline K.


Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-intoxicating component of the plant cannabis, has shown various promising therapeutic effects in treatment of anxiety and depression in both humans and animals. One potential beneficial effect of CBD is restoration of social interaction deficits following chronic stress. Here I investigate the potential for CBD to be used as a treatment in animal models of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), as well as potential mechanisms of action by which CBD may produce these effects. Mice exposed to 10 days of chronic social-defeat stress were administered vaporized CBD in a single 30 minute session before being tested behaviorally. Mice exposed to CBD showed significantly higher levels of social interaction as measured by the three-chamber test compared to mice exposed to vehicle VG/PG vapor, and comparable levels of interaction to unstressed mice. Contrary to my hypothesis, restorative effects of CBD on social interaction were unrelated to levels of BDNF in the hippocampus. These results provide a foundation for the development of novel and improved treatments for chronic stress-related disorders, including social anxiety disorder. These studies also contribute to a growing body of literature on the potential therapeutic effects of CBD and its targeting of various neurobiological pathways in the treatment of chronic stress-related disorders.




Cannabidiol, CBD, Stress, Social Anxiety Disorder, SAD, Social Avoidance, Vaporization, Vape Chamber, Chronic Stress, Social Defeat Stress, CSDS


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Cannabinoids--Therapeutic use; Social phobia--Treatment; Depression, Mental--Treatment; Stress (Psychology)--Treatment




masters theses




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