Over the last few years, cannabidiol (CBD) has grown in its medicinal use. One of the 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, CBD does not have psychoactive properties like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis that’s often associated with marijuana – does.
CBD is perfect for treating common ailments and providing relief from pain and discomfort without affecting the mind, as marijuana and some pharmaceutical drugs do. The oil is formed by extracting CBD from the plant and diluting it with oil, most often coconut or hemp seed oil.
Scientific studies have found seven health benefits from CBD oil
People have been using marijuana to treat their pain since 2900 B.C., but scientists have just recently discovered what components of marijuana are responsible for its pain-relieving effect. Within our bodies is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which mainly regulates sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response.
As our bodies produce endocannabinoids, they bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. Recent studies have shown that CBD could help reduce chronic pain by affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity. As a result, it reduces inflammation and interacts with neurotransmitters.
A study with rats injected with CBD showed that their pain from a surgical incision was relieved by a CBD injection; another rat study observed the impact oral CBD treatments had on reducing sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.
Meanwhile, many human studies have seen positive results from combining CBD and THC to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis. Currently, several countries have approved an oral spray called Sativex, which is a combination of THC and CBD, to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis.
Out of the 47 people tested with multiple sclerosis, those who received Sativex for a month saw significant improvement in their pain level and muscle spasms while those with a placebo saw no change. Another study found that Sativex significantly improved pain during movement, pain at rest, and sleep quality in 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Reduce Anxiety and Depression
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders are ranked sixth. Anxiety and depression can have devastating impacts on the health and well-being of those they affect.
Usually, the treatment doctors prescribe is a pharmaceutical drug with numerous side effects such as drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and headaches, just to name a few, and many of these drugs can become addictive.
On the other hand, CBD oil has been shown not only to successfully treat depression and anxiety, but also insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A study was done where 24 people were either given 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test. Those who were given the CBD were significantly less anxious, cognitively impaired, and uncomfortable; several animal studies have also displayed its anti-depressant effects.
Alleviate Cancer-Related Symptoms
CBD has shown itself to be helpful in reducing cancer-related symptoms and side effects. One study tested 177 people who hadn’t experienced relief from pain medication. Some were treated with an extract containing compounds of both CBD and THC while others only received THC extract. The former experienced significantly more pain reduction.
Many drugs help to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, but sometimes they are ineffective. It seems that using CBD as an alternative has been successful in a study of 16 people. All were undergoing chemotherapy and found that a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC imbibed through a mouth spray reduced their symptoms more than standard treatment did.
In addition, one test-tube study found that concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells while another showed it inhibited the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice. Many more test-tube and animal studies showed its anticancer properties; however, more human studies must take place before these findings are solidified.
Acne is presumed to be caused by any number of factors, from genetics to bacteria to underlying inflammation and the overproduction of sebum (an oily secretion formed by sebaceous glands in the skin), and it affects over 9% of the population.
Recent scientific studies have illustrated that CBD oil, with its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production, may have a positive effect on acne.
One test-tube study found that CBD oil kept sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum, displayed anti-inflammatory actions, and prevented the activation of “pro-acne” agents like inflammatory cytokines. As another study showed similar findings, it can be concluded that CBD may effectively treat acne; however, human studies are still necessary, though the tests thus far are promising.
Research in this area is still relatively new and yet to be conclusive, but researchers believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems may provide benefits for those with neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
The oral spray we discussed earlier, Sativex, reduces muscle spasticity in those affected by multiple sclerosis; one study testing 276 people with the condition found that Sativex reduced spasms in 75% of those tested. Another study gave 214 people with severe epilepsy 0.9–2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound (2–5 g/kg) of body weight. Their seizures reduced by a median of 36.5%.
A third study discovered that children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder, had less seizure activity after taking CBD oil compared to those taking a placebo. However, it’s important to note that some people in both these studies experienced adverse reactions associated with CBD treatment, such as convulsions, fever, and diarrhea.
Many other neurological diseases are being looked into as well, and CBD has shown itself potentially effective in improving quality of life and sleep in people with Parkinson’s disease and in decreasing inflammation and helping prevent the neurodegeneration Alzheimer’s disease through human, test-tube, and animal studies.
Benefit Heart Health
One of the most prevalent ways that CBD has shown itself to be beneficial in recent research is its ability to lower high blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to higher risk of stroke, heart attack, metabolic syndrome, and many other health conditions, but CBD may be a natural, effective treatment.
One recent study treated 10 healthy men with one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil and found it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to a placebo. These same men were later administered a stress test that would normally increase blood pressure, but with a single dose of CBD, they experienced a smaller blood pressure increase than normal.
Most likely, the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties CBD possesses are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.
In addition, several animal studies showed that CBD helped to reduce cell death and inflammation associated with heart disease. For example, one study found that treatment with CBD reduced oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with heart disease.
Assist Athletes with Their Exercise Routine
Any high impact exercise causes wear and tear on your body over time, so it is key that you protect your muscles while simultaneously improving your fitness.
How do you do this? By increasing their ability to recover.
CBD Oil can help by speeding up tissue, nerve, and bone recovery, reducing pain and inflammation, alleviating anxiety and stress, reducing nausea and muscle spasms, and regulating your sleeping pattern.
Other Potential Benefits
These seven ways that CBD can improve health are just the start; many more health issues can be treated naturally and effectively by CBD. More studies on the following health benefits must be done before they are conclusive, but CBD is thought to have antipsychotic effects with those diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental disorders, substance abuse treatment, anti-tumor effects, and diabetes prevention.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Overall CBD is received well by those it is administered to, but some people may react adversely, displaying diarrhea, changes in appetite, and fatigue. Additionally, it is known to interact with several medications, so before you start using CBD oil, be sure to consult your doctor.
The Bottom Line
Hundreds of tests have been administered to research the positive effects CBD oil has on our health, and it has great potential to aid in anxiety, depression, acne, heart disease, and several more health issues. It may even bring relief to those suffering with cancer.
Further possibilities have yet to be discovered, and CBD will be researched and tested hundreds of more times in the years to come. This simple extract has much to offer as a safe and powerful treatment for many health issues.