Author conflicts of interest may influence cannabidiol conclusions
Most articles published between 2014 and 2019 discussing the characteristics, use, and therapeutic effect of cannabidiol (CBD) are supportive, with supportive conclusions in more studies with CBD-related industry funding, according to a research letter published online March 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Emma C. Deary, from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and colleagues examined authors' relationships with the CBD industry and study conclusions in articles assessing the characteristics, use, or therapeutic effect of CBD. A total of 417 articles published between 2014 and 2019 were included, of which 99 were human studies.
The researchers found that 20.6 percent of the articles disclosed any CBD-related industry funding; 50.0 percent of these studies received support from the same company. Overall, 119 articles (28.5 percent) disclosed CBD-related conflicts of interest (COIs) and 65 (15.6 percent) had an author employed by the CBD industry; 149 (35.7 percent) had any CBD-related COI. Sixty-one of the 99 human studies (61.6 percent) had any CBD-related COI. About two-thirds (65.7 percent) of the conclusions of the articles were supportive of CBD, while 7.0 percent were unsupportive. Supportive conclusions were found in 79.1 percent of studies with CBD-related industry funding and 62.2 percent of studies without such funding.
"Given the potential for industry bias, sponsorship, and author affiliations, conflicts should be taken into account when the legitimacy of health-related claims from CBD studies is evaluated," the authors write.
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