7 Uses and Benefits of CBD
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a type of chemical compound called a cannabinoid which is found in the cannabis and hemp, or Cannabis sativa plant. It has gained popularity in recent years as a natural remedy for many common ailments.
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid found in cannabis which is mainly responsible for the psychoactive effects of the plant, and causes the “high” sensation that is common with marijuana use. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and will not get you high.
This feature makes CBD an attractive choice for people who desire relief from pain and other symptoms without the psychoactive properties and side effects of marijuana or many pharmaceutical drugs.
CBD oil is manufactured by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then emulsifying it in a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp seed oil.
CBD is making headlines in the health and wellness space, with many medical and scientific studies showing that it may be used to ease symptoms of conditions like chronic pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
Here are seven potential health benefits of CBD oil that have been studied by the scientific community.
1. May Relieve Pain
The first known use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been traced to the Chinese around 5,000 years ago where it was used to treat pain and muscle spasms.
In recent years, the medical community has discovered that some cannabinoids, including CBD, can produce pain-relieving responses in the body.
Our bodies contain a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates certain functions including pain, sleep, appetite, and immune system response.
The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to receptors in your nervous system.
Studies have shown that CBD may have a significant analgesic effect by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity and reducing inflammation, with little or no side effects.
One study in rats found that CBD reduced pain from surgical incisions, while another rat study found that CBD considerably reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.
Summary: CBD may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation associated with both acute and chronic conditions.
2. Might Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Today, anxiety and depression are some of the most common mental health conditions that can have harmful impacts on health and wellness.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the main causes of disability worldwide, while the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) places anxiety disorders as the most common mental illness in the United States.
Anxiety and depression are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause a number of side effects including withdrawal effects, sexual difficulties, weight gain, feeling emotionally numb, reduced positive feelings, not feeling like oneself, caring less about others, and suicidality.
Additionally, there are well-documented harmful side-effects from long-term use of benzodiazepines for anxiety and depression treatment. These include dependency, cognitive decline and falls.
CBD has shown to be a safe and effective remedy for both anxiety and depression, driving many individuals who cope with these conditions to switch from prescription medications to this natural alternative.
A study performed on 57 male participants showed that a 300mg dose of CBD administered 90 minutes before a simulated public speaking test significantly reduced anxiety during the speech.
CBD oil has been shown to effectively relieve anxiety and insomnia in pediatric patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Animal studies have also shown that CBD has anti-depressant effects in mice, and anxiolytic and antipsychotic properties in mutant mice.
CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior, may be responsible for its antidepressant and anxiolytic properties.
Summary: CBD has been shown to be effective in reducing both anxiety and depression in human and animal studies.
3. Potentially Alleviates Cancer-Related Symptoms
CBD may help relieve symptoms related to cancer and side effects related to cancer treatment such as nausea, vomiting, and pain.
One study looked at the effects of CBD and THC in advanced-stage cancer patients with cancer-related pain who did not experience adequate pain relief despite use of opioid pain medication.
Researchers found that patients who were given an extract with both CBD and THC experienced substantial pain reduction compared to those who received either a placebo or only THC extract.
CBD may also help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are among the most common and persistent in quality of life reducing chemotherapy-related side effects despite antiemetic treatment.
A human study found that a combination of CBD and THC administered orally reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than the standard antiemetic therapy alone.
One in vitro study showed that CBD may have induced programmed cell death in breast cancer cells, showing its potential as an antineoplastic gent against tumor cells. Another study with mice found that CBD seemed to decrease the expression of metastatic breast cancer cells, leading to the down regulation of tumor aggressiveness.
Summary: CBD has been shown to reduce symptoms caused by cancer and cancer treatments, and may even have cancer-fighting properties. However, more research is needed to assess its efficacy and safety for treating cancer in human patients.
4. May Reduce Acne
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States and can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or race. It often causes significant physical and psychological problems such as permanent scarring, poor self-image, anxiety, and depression.
Acne is caused by excessive oil production, clogged sebaceous glands, bacteria, and excessive activity of androgen-type hormones.
Scientists have recently shown that CBD has the potential to be an effective acne treatment because of its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production.
One in vitro study found that CBD reduces the production of excessive serum in human sebaceous gland cells. CBD also exerted anti-inflammatory effects on the cells and showed promise as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne.
Summary: CBD may be beneficial to people suffering from acne due to its anti-inflammatory effect and its ability to regulate the production of sebum in sebaceous glands.
5. Possibly Has Neuroprotective Properties
The ability of CBD to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems has led scientists to believe that it may prove beneficial for people suffering from neurological disorders.
There have been several studied on CBD use in treating neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. The research in this area is still new, yet multiple studies have shown positive effects.
One study found that Sativex, an oral spray consisting of CBD and THC, reduced spasms in 75% of patients with multiple sclerosis who were experiencing muscle spasticity that was resistant to medications.
Another study gave patients with severe epilepsy were given 2-5 mg/kg of CBD orally per day, titrated up to a maximum of 25 or 50 mg/kg per day depending on the study site. The median reduction in monthly motor seizures was 36.5%.
An additional study found that CBD considerably reduced seizures in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder that is associated with drug-resistant seizures and a high mortality rate.
It is important to note that some people in the studies experienced adverse reactions with treatment, including diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Research has also shown CBD has the potential to be effective at treating many other neurological conditions.
For patients with Parkinson’s disease, studies have shown that CBD treatment improved quality of life measures and improved rapid eye movement sleep.
Animal and in vitro studies have shown researchers that CBD may help decrease inflammation and help prevent neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
In one long-term study involving mice, scientists administered CBD to mice genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it helped prevent social recognition deficit.
Summary: Although research is limited, CBD has been shown to ease epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease-related symptoms, and was also shown to reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Might Benefit Heart Health
Medical research has recently associated CBD with multiple heart and circulatory system benefits, including the ability to decrease hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is a leading global disease risk factor for a number of health conditions such as stroke and heart attack.
One recent study showed that 600mg of CBD given to nine healthy male volunteers in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study reduced resting blood pressure and blood pressure increase to stress associated with increased heartrate.
Additionally, a recent mouse study demonstrated that CBD reduced oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with heart disease.
Summary: Although more human studies are needed, CBD may be beneficial to cardiovascular health in several ways, including by reducing hypertension and preventing heart damage.
7. Other Potential Benefits
Although more human studies are needed, CBD has been shown in studies to possibly provide the following health benefits:
- Antipsychotic properties: Studies demonstrate that CBD may provide relief for people suffering from schizophrenia and other mental conditions by reducing psychotic symptoms.
- Substance abuse management: CBD has been shown to adjust circuits in the brain related to drug addiction in rats with morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior.
- Diabetes prevention: A study on mice showed that CBD led to a reduction in the rate of diabetes by 56% and considerably decreased inflammation.
Summary: Some studies suggest that CBD may help with diabetes, substance abuse, mental disorders and certain types of cancers. However, more research in humans is needed.
Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?
CBD is generally well tolerated and is considered safe; however, it may cause adverse reactions in some people.
The most commonly experienced side effects in studies include:
- Changes in appetite and weight
CBD has drug interactions with some medications. Speak to your medical practitioner about CBD safety prior to starting any treatment.
One mice study showed that CBD-rich cannabis extracts may possibly cause acute liver toxicity. However, some the mice in the study were ministered extremely large doses of the extract.
Summary Although CBD is generally considered safe, it may cause adverse side effects like tiredness and diarrhea in some people. It may also interact with certain medications.
CBD has been studied by the scientific community for its potential in alleviating the symptoms of many common health issues such as pain, anxiety, depression, cancer-related symptoms, acne, and heart disease.
Although more research is needed, the knowledge gained from recent studies show that CBD may be a, effective and safe natural treatment for many health conditions.