Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Susanne Brummelte

Second Advisor

Scott Bowen


There has been a recent surge in popularity for cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychotropic constituent of cannabis, due to numerous claims of potential therapeutic properties, which include, but are not limited to, anxiolytic, antinociceptive, and anti-inflammatory effects. However, as previous scientific literature on CBD's effectiveness in providing such therapeutic effects is limited, this project was aimed to evaluate the potential beneficial properties of a hemp derived 99% pure CBD compound provided from Ellipse Analytics (Denver, CO) in a rodent model. We analyzed the pharmacokinetics of this CBD product as well as the behavioral outcomes after acute and chronic administration. Pharmacokinetics of CBD were assessed by administering CBD to adult male rats (n=10/group) using oral gavage at 0, 5, 10, 20 or 40 mg/kg in sesame oil for 10 days while drawing blood 1hr, 2hr, and 4hrs post administration on the 1st, 5th and 10th day to measure plasma CBD levels. In a second and third cohort of rats (n=6-16/group), CBD was administered by oral gavage at a 0, 20, or 40 mg/kg in sesame oil over 10 days, with behavioral assays being run on the 1st, 5th, and 10th day to assess outcomes associated with pain response, sleep behavior, anxiety response, and stress levels. Our results showed a dose dependent increase in CBD bioavailability with plasma levels peaking between the 1st and 2nd hour post-administration, and significantly decreasing by the 4th hour across all groups. There was a minimal effect of CBD on sleep, pain, and anxiety-like outcomes, however 40 mg/kg CBD significantly decreased corticosterone levels during restraint stress as compared to controls. These findings provide evidence for a potential therapeutic effect of CBD on hypothalamic pituitary axis function and thus stress regulation. Further analysis is necessary to assess the potential for dose dependent increases in overall therapeutic effectiveness with acute or prolonged exposures in males and females.