Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant that has been gaining traction in recent years due to its purported health benefits. Unlike its cousin, THC, CBD isn't intoxicating or psychoactive. Proponents of CBD oil and other CBD products claim that it can be used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, inflammation, migraines, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, depression and anxiety. CBD is often extracted from the cannabis sativa plant in the form of an oil and mixed with an inert carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil, for consumption.
In fact, of the 60% of adults in the United States who claim to have consumed CBD before, 55% of them use CBD oils and tinctures specifically, according to a recent Forbes Health survey conducted in 2000. Here are nine ways studies suggest that CBD oil could benefit your health.
Seizures. Three well-examined studies provide the basis to support the FDA's decision to approve Epidiolex, a prescription drug containing CBD for treating two rare forms of epilepsy. In these trials, 516 patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome received Epidiolex or a placebo.
Epidiolex, when taken together with other prescription medications, decreased the frequency of participants' seizures compared to placebo.
Pain Relief. When introduced topically, CBD oil does not affect the systemic problem as it would if introduced directly into the bloodstream. Topical CBD, on the other hand, is more localized and treats pain in a specific area. Since it is more direct, it can have a more pronounced effect.
In another small study, 13 patients with type 2 diabetes who were not being treated with insulin received both CBD and a placebo (instead of insulin). Researchers found that CBD reduced their levels of resistin (which causes insulin resistance) and increases their levels of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (a hormone that ensures sufficient insulin release from digested foods) compared to their reference values before they started the test.
Anxiety and Depression. On the one hand, patients treated with CBD did not experience much change in pain compared to patients treated with placebo. On the other hand, there were statistically significant differences between the group that received the 250 milligram dose and the placebo group when measuring the average weekly improvement of their worst pain levels and their physical function score on the WOMAC (arthritis index of the universities of Western Ontario and McMaster).
In addition, men appeared to benefit from CBD more significantly than women in this test.
Sleep. It is also marketed to promote sleep. Part of CBD's popularity is due to the fact that it purports to be “non-psychoactive” and that consumers can get health benefits from the plant without the high (or cravings for pizza at midnight).
Cancer Treatment. CBD may help with nausea, vomiting and weight loss caused by chemotherapy treatments.
The FDA has approved three cannabis-related products to help alleviate these symptoms, as well as to help increase the appetite of people with AIDS. All of these medications contain some level of THC or synthetic THC and are not exclusively CBD.
Heart Health. The ECS and its receptors are found everywhere in our body, including the nervous system, immune system, bloodstream, and brain cells. It can control our mood, appetite, stress levels, pain, inflammation and more.
When we consume CBD, it is believed to be absorbed by our ECS and transported to different receptors in the body to provide certain benefits.
Diabetes. Currently, the only CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration is a prescription oil called Epidiolex. It is approved to treat two types of epilepsy. In addition to Epidiolex, state laws regarding the use of CBD vary.
While CBD is being studied as a treatment for a wide range of conditions such as Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety; research supporting the drug's benefits remains limited.
Neuropathic Pain. People use CBD oil and other CBD-based products for a variety of reasons such as reducing pain; managing anxiety; controlling seizures; alleviating anxiety; depression; PTSD; nausea; vomiting; weight loss caused by chemotherapy treatments; heart health; diabetes; neuropathic pain; psychosis; cancer treatment; and more. While nothing is as important as dietary and lifestyle changes to benefit heart health; research shows that CBD plays a role in supporting some aspects of heart health.
Some research has linked CBD to several benefits for the heart and circulatory system including the ability to lower high blood pressure. Many of these proposed benefits are associated with its interaction with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). They concluded that CBD is a cannabinoid that improves quality of life and provides a small analgesic benefit to people with neuropathic pain (NP). Researchers suggest potential benefit of CBD on cardiovascular function and improved blood pressure in both studies but point out that more studies should be completed.
While some studies have shown promise there have been no large studies that demonstrate the benefits of CBD oil as a cancer treatment. When THC and CBD work together they create what is called an “entourage effect” which complements each other's benefits and potency.