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First-of-its-kind survey of thousands of cannabis and CBD users across the United States to explore the potential role of cannabis in reducing anxiety and improving quality of life during COVID-19.

Study Overview:

Wholistic Research and Education Foundation (Wholistic), in partnership with the UC Institute of Predictive Technology (UCIPT) and UC Irvine (UCI), will conduct an exploratory survey of thousands of cannabis and CBD users across the United States to assess the potential role of cannabis in reducing anxiety and other co-morbid conditions, such as depression and insomnia. This is especially pertinent in the current environment, given the significantly higher levels of anxiety experienced due to COVID-19.


With a goal to understand current attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding cannabis use for anxiety, depression and insomnia, the survey will collect data on types of cannabis/CBD products currently used, as well details on dose, frequency, timing of use, and delivery methods most associated with therapeutic benefit. This broad-based usage data, combined with responses regarding other medications or supplements used as well as demographic, geographic and other data points, is expected to yield unique and valuable insights on the potential health benefits of cannabis during this unprecedented time. The insights from the horizontal survey of thousands of users will be shared broadly with the public and medical professionals; these insights will also be shared with the FDA in an effort to inform the agency with additional data on the safety and efficacy of CBD for potential policy reform.

Distribution / Recruitment For Survey Research:

The survey will be shared with hundreds of thousands of CBD / cannabis users via numerous email distribution lists and online forums, including PINCHme, Project CBD and Reddit CBD user forum well as customer lists of partner manufacturers.

  • PINCHme: An online program that mails targeted members free samples of products from major brands and then requires members to review. With over 6 million subscribers, PINCHme combines member data and product feedback to provide rich insights.  For this study, we plan to target the over 2 million PINCHme subscribers who have reported actually using CBD or indicated interest in CBD products.
  • ProjectCBD: A California-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical uses of CBD and other cannabis compounds.
  • Reddit r/CBD: The fifth most visited website in the U.S., Reddit is a self-regulating crowdsourced platform, democratizing online content, with highly engaged on-line communities. Over 100k active subscribers and contributors, who are part of this open source subreddit online community for CBD, would be targeted with this survey. 


UCIPT and UCI serve as co-principal investigators for this first-of-its-kind study, which will be IRB approved by UCI.

  • UCIPT: Bridges together researchers across UC campuses in areas of Medicine, Public Health, Humanities, Social Science, Business, and Computer Science/Engineering to study how large amounts of data combined with machine learning can be used to predict real-world events such as disease outbreaks, car accidents, and health behaviors.

Study Lead & Design:

The Study Lead and survey developer is Dr. Sean Young, Executive Director of the UCIPT. Dr. Young is also Associate Professor in the UCI Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics, and Associate Professor in Family Medicine at UCLA. He has previously worked for NASA and Cisco, and has been a consultant / advisor to many cannabis-related companies.

Research Analysis:

UCIPT will deliver an initial analysis and descriptive statistics on the survey results within 3 weeks of receiving survey data.   A more detailed peer-reviewed analyses of associations will be published by Dr. Young and his team later in 2020.