Cannabidiol, a cannabis extract also know as CBD, is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits.
This naturally occurring extract of cannabis sativa plant’s popularity can be gauged from multiple forms they are available in. They are available as sweets, patches, pain-relief cream, vape oil, compounds and capsules.
It’s marketed as a compound that can help relieve anxiety — and, perhaps, help ease aches and pains, too. CBD is the most promising compound from both a marketing and a medical perspective. It first came to public attention in a 2013 CNN documentary called Weed.
CBD is a booming industry available across shops and supermarkets in the U.S. According to Brightfield Group, the CBD market research group, this industry will be as huge as $5.7billion by 2019 and by 2022, it will turn into a whopping $22 billion industry.
In 2016-17, the industry’s largest player, Charlotte’s Web Holdings grew by 172% and poised to grow as large as $89 million in 2018.
The big players in the food and beverage industry are already watching the developments with keen interest. Coca Cola, for instance, is observing the application of the non-psychoactive CBD in functional wellness beverages.
A restaurant in New York’s Astoria, Adriaen Block has already emerged as the first CBD restaurant and bar anywhere in the world. The founder of this restaurant, Zsolt Csonka wanted to experiment with cocktails with lower alcohol content using herbs including the CBD oil used in the 16th and 17th century.
Csonka claims that just a drink or two infused with CBD is an excellent relaxant making your stress level down. He makes sauces with CBD to go with the dishes such as the peppercorn sauce.
However, the science is yet to come to any conclusive evidence on the therapeutic properties of CBD, but favorable evidences have begun to pour in. There are many individual CBD users who are confident that this drug has helped them relax and sleep well.
In marijuana plant or Cannabis sativa, there 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoid. One of these is CBD. The main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is associated with marijuana and causes the sensation of getting high. The important point to note here is that CBD is not psychoactive unlike THC.
Therefore, those looking to therapeutic uses of marijuana such as pain relief and relief from other symptoms without its mind altering impacts have found CBD an appealing option.
CBD from the cannabis plant is extracted in order to prepare CBD oil which is then diluted with hemp seed or coconut oil.
CBD oil is gaining some traction with the scientific community with some evidence in favor coming in for ailments like anxiety and chronic pain.
Here is the list of seven benefits of CBD oil with scientific evidence tilting favorably:
1. Pain Relief
Nearly 5000 years ago, marijuana was commonly used to treat pain.
Scientists have today discovered that the pain relief property of marijuana comes from CBD and some other components. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) with the human body regulates a variety of functions like immune response, pain, appetite, and sleep management.
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters produced in the body that bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.
CBD can, according to the studies help reduce the chronic pain due its property of impacting the endocannabinoid receptor activity and interaction with neurotransmitters leading to the reduction in inflammation.
Studies on rats provide some favorable evidence. One study for instance indicated reduced pain response to surgical incision. Oral CBD treatment in another study in rat demonstrated reduced inflammation and sciatic nerve pain.
Human studies have also indicated effective pain reduction in arthritis and multiple sclerosis with combined action of CBD and THC. Several countries have already approved Sativex, an oral spray that is a combination of THC and CBD.
Studies conducted on subjects suffering from multiple sclerosis indicated remarkable improvement in muscle spasms, walking and pain when the group was treated for a month with Sativex. The placebo group, however, showed no improvement.
There have been other studies on Sativex indicating improvement in pain and improved sleep quality in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
In sum, it may then be concluded that CBD and THC in combination may be therapeutically useful in combating pain related to certain diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Depression and Anxiety Relief.
The health and well being of a large population is impacted by common mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
As a WHO report puts it, depression has turned out to be our number one contributor to disability while anxiety takes the sixth rank.
Currently there are pharmaceutical drugs to treat anxiety and depression disorders but they are not without side effects. Among the side effects, there is a clear evidence of sexual dysfunction, insomnia, headache, agitation and drowsiness.
Some medications being addictive such as benzodiazepines can lead to substance abuse. However, CBD oil has shown promising results against anxiety and depression.
In a study with 24 subjects showing symptoms of social anxiety disorder the subjects were introduced to a public speaking test. The group that received 600 mg of CBD showed reduced anxiety, cognitive stress, and stress related to speech performance in comparison to the placebo group.
CBD has been found to be an effective remedy against children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related anxiety and insomnia. Several animal studies have consistently shown anti-depressant properties of CBD.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with social behavior and mood regulation. CBD acts on brain receptors for serotonin.
Evidently, then it can be affirmed that the use of CBD is effective against depression and anxiety as indicated in several animal and human studies.
3. Effective Against Cancer Like Symptoms
Symptoms related to cancer can be alleviated with CBD including some of its side effects such as pain, nausea, and vomiting.
In a study 177 people with cancer-related pain, who didn’t report relief with pain medication were subjected to CBD and THC. The group that received the treatment with a combination of the two compounds experienced substantial pain reduction in comparison to the group that was treated with only THC extract.
Cancer patients also experience nausea and vomiting as a result of chemotherapy. CBD has been found to combat effectively against these symptoms. Many patients do not benefit from the traditional drugs against these symptoms.
In a study with 16 people taking chemotherapy treatment, it was found that their chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting was considerably reduced with CBD and THC administered through mouth spray in one to one combination in comparison to the standard treatment.
CBD may likely have anti-cancer properties as found through test-tube and animal studies. In a test-tube study, for instance, it was noticed that CBD in its concentrated form induced cell death in breast cancer cells in human. The aggressive spread of the breast cancer cells was seen to be effectively checked in mice by the CBD, in another study.
However, while these test-tube and mice studies are positive indicators, we need more human studies to arrive at a conclusive finding.
In other words, symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment is shown to be reduced with CBD, more human studies are needed to determine the safety and efficacy.
4. Effective Against Acne
Nearly 9% population is affected by acne, a common skin condition. A number of factors including bacteria, genetics, over production of sebum by the oil glands have been attributed as causal agents.
Recent studies have indicated the positive role of CBD oil in treating this condition with its ability to combat inflammation and to reduce the production of sebum. In a test-tube study, there was a clear finding that CBD oil could help check the over secretion of excessive sebum. It was also noted that CBD checked the activation of cytokines, which is a pro-acne agent.
There was another study that also arrived at the same conclusion, that is, CBD was safe and efficient for acne treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Despite these promising results, human studies to determine the effects of CBD on acne may be needed.
In effect, there is no doubt that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and the quality to check the over production of sebum.
5. Neuroprotective Properties
It is hypothesized that CBD may have beneficial properties to treat those with neurological disorders because of its ability to act on the brain signaling systems including endocannabinoid system.
The two neurological disorders studied extensively to verify the uses of CBD are multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Promising results in this area are trickling in even though it is a relatively new area of study.
The newly developed medication Sativex has proven safe and effective. It is an oral spray consisting of CBD and THC, and helps reduce muscle spasticity in the victims of multiple sclerosis.
These studies go on to show that those who were resistant to mainstream drugs for treating muscle spasticity benefited from Sativex. Nearly 75% subjects in a study consisting of 276 people suffering from multiple sclerosis reported reduced spasms.
In another study of 214 people with severe epilepsy were found to have reduced seizures by a median of 36.5% when administered 0.9–2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound (2–5 g/kg) of body weight.
Dravet syndrome is a complex childhood epilepsy disorder in which a study indicated the efficacy of CBD oil. Seizure activity in children were significantly reduced with CBD oil in comparison to the placebo group.
It may, however, be noted that in both of these studies some people experienced adverse impacts such as diarrhea, convulsions, and fever as a result of CBD treatment.
Nonetheless, CBD is being constantly studied for its efficacious effects in neurological disorders. For instance, CBD use among people with Parkinson’s disease were found to have improved sleep quality and improved quality of life.
Animal and test-tube studies have also gone on to indicate that Alzheimer’s victims show decreased inflammation and prevention of neurodegeneration with CBD use. The evidence of cognitive decline with the use of CBD was shown in mice genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s.
In other words, despite limited research CBD is shown to be effective against epilepsy and Alzheimer’s symptoms. The progression of Alzheimer’s with CBD has been shown in test-tube and mice studies.
6. Benefits For Heart
There is a strong evidence that indicates that CBD can be beneficial for the circulatory system including the health of heart. It has the ability to lower high BP. It is known that high blood pressure can lead to several health risks including heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome.
CBD, according to studies can be a natural and effective medication to reduce the high blood pressure.
Compared to the placebo group in a study, it was found to have reduced resting blood pressure among 10 healthy men in the study group with one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil.
When subjected to the stress tests in the same study designed to increase blood pressure, it was found that men experienced a slight blood pressure hike than normal with a single dose of CBD.
According to researchers, CBD has stress and anxiety reducing properties which help reduce the blood pressure.
However, a number of animal studies indicate that CBD can be effectively used in heart disease as it reduces inflammation and cell death. This is due to its powerful stress-reducing properties. In addition, it is an anti-oxidant.
One study, for instance, in diabetic mice with heart disease found that CBD prevented heart damage and reduced oxidative stress.
Nevertheless, more human studies may be needed despite the fact that CBD benefits heart in multiple ways including prevention of heart damage and reduction of blood pressure.
7. Several Other Benefits
The efficacy of CBD has been reported in several more health issues that the ones already outlined. Some of these health benefits are outlined below, even as more studies may be needed.
- Antipsychotic Properties: People with schizophrenia can be helped with CBD as it reduces psychotic symptoms and for the same reason several other mental disorders can also be addressed with CBD.
- Treatment for Substance Abuse: The use of CBD has shown to modify brain circuits associated with drug addiction. Morphine dependence and heroin seeking behavior in mice has been shown to be reduced with CBD.
- Treatment of Tumors: Anti-tumor properties of CBD has been shown in animal and test-tube studies. Cancers of lung, colon, brain, prostate and breast cancers has been shown to be prevented from the spread.
- Anti-Diabetic Properties: The incidence of diabetes in diabetic mice were seen reduced with CBD by up to 56%. Their inflammation was also significantly reduced.
The conclusion of these studies in a nut-shell shows that CBD can effectively treat or manage certain types of cancers, mental disorders, substance abuse and diabetes. However, it must also be stated that more human studies may be needed before CBD is used clinically.
Side Effects, If Any
Overall, the studies so far have shown CBD considerably safe and well tolerated, yet there are indications of adverse impacts in some people. Some of these studies identify the following among the side effects:
Change in appetite
In addition, CBD may likely interact with other medications, so it is best to discuss with your physician to ensure safety before you begin using CBD oil.
In conclusion, CBD oil has been studied for its beneficial impacts in treating and managing a number of health issues including acne and heart disease, depression, and anxiety. It can relieve pain and associated symptoms of cancers. In addition, its beneficial potential has been acknowledged against a number of other health ailments.
The ongoing research on CBD oil may likely result in its approved therapeutic uses. Overall, it can be considered to be safe and powerful natural treatment against many common ailments.