Generalised Social Anxiety Disorder, often referred to as SAD, is the 3rd largest mental health problem in the world today affecting approximately 7% of the population at any given point according to epidemiological data . The defining feature of SAD is an intense fear or anxiety of being judged, negatively evaluated or rejected in social and performance situations . For people suffering with SAD, a fear of speaking in public is said to be one of the cardinal manifestations .
SAD is associated with the impairment of social adjustments to daily life, increased disability, dysfunction and a loss of productivity  . Furthermore, generalised social anxiety follows a long-term and incessant course, and is rarely resolved without treatment  .
Despite the guidelines and consensus statements issued by bodies such as the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the pharmacological treatment of SAD remains problematic. Only around 30% of people ever achieve true recovery without remission or residual symptoms, leading them to search for alternative treatments, such as cannabis .