CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural remedy that’s becoming increasingly popular for treating a range of common health issues.
It’s one of more than 100 chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in the cannabis or marijuana plant. Unlike THC, the compound in cannabis that gives you a “high,” CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects.
This makes CBD a popular choice for those seeking relief from pain and other symptoms without experiencing the mind-altering effects that come with marijuana or certain medications.
To make CBD oil, you extract CBD from the cannabis plant and then mix it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
This oil is gaining popularity in the health and wellness community, and some scientific evidence supports its benefits for conditions like chronic pain and anxiety.
Here are seven scientifically-backed health benefits of CBD oil.
1. CBD oil can relieve pain
Marijuana has been a pain relief remedy since as long ago as 2900 B.C.
In more modern times, researchers have found that specific parts of the marijuana plant, like CBD, are what give it its ability to ease pain.
Our bodies have a unique system, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), that helps regulate various bodily functions like sleep, hunger, pain sensation, and immune responses.
This system produces its own chemicals called endocannabinoids that attach to specific receptors in our nervous system.
Research indicates that CBD can alleviate long-term pain by affecting how these receptors work, lowering inflammation, and influencing other signaling molecules in our body.
For instance, one animal study showed that injecting CBD reduced the pain rats felt after a surgical cut. Another study using rats showed that taking CBD orally decreased nerve pain and swelling.
Some research on humans has shown that mixing CBD and THC can effectively treat pain from conditions like multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
There’s an oral spray called Sativex, made of THC and CBD, accepted in various countries for treating multiple sclerosis-related pain.
One investigation with 47 multiple sclerosis patients revealed that using Sativex for a month improved pain, walking ability, and muscle tightness. However, this study didn’t have a comparison group, so we can’t completely eliminate the possibility of a placebo effect.
Another study highlighted that Sativex notably enhanced movement-related pain, resting pain, and sleep quality in 58 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
Summary: CBD, particularly when combined with THC, may effectively reduce pain related to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. CBD oil could reduce anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression are prevalent mental health issues that can seriously affect your overall health and quality of life.
As per the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability globally, and anxiety isn’t far behind, ranking sixth.
Typically, these conditions are managed with prescription medications, which can lead to various side effects like sleepiness, mood swings, sleep issues, sexual problems, and headaches.
Moreover, certain drugs like benzodiazepines can be habit-forming and may result in substance dependency.
CBD oil is emerging as a potential natural remedy for both anxiety and depression, sparking interest among those who are dealing with these mental health conditions.
In a study conducted in Brazil, 57 men were given either CBD or a placebo before a simulated public speaking scenario. The study revealed that a 300-mg dose of CBD was most effective at significantly lowering anxiety levels during the activity.
Lower doses of CBD, or even a placebo, didn’t show much impact on anxiety levels.
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CBD oil has also been found to be a safe way to manage insomnia and anxiety in kids who have experienced trauma.
Animal studies have suggested that CBD has effects similar to antidepressants.
This is thought to be because CBD influences the receptors in the brain that are responsible for serotonin, which is a brain chemical that helps to regulate our mood and social interactions.
Summary: Using CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in both human and animal studies.
3. CBD oil can alleviate cancer-related symptoms
CBD might aid in alleviating cancer symptoms and the side effects that arise from cancer treatments, such as nausea, vomiting, and discomfort.
A specific study analyzed how CBD and THC affected 177 cancer patients who weren’t getting relief from their pain medications.
When given an extract with CBD and THC, these individuals noticed a notable decrease in pain, as opposed to those who were given just the THC extract.
CBD can help manage the nausea and vomiting that often accompanies chemotherapy, common side effects for cancer patients.
While existing medications target these symptoms, they don’t always work for everyone, prompting some to explore other options.
In a study involving 16 chemotherapy patients, a balanced mix of CBD and THC delivered as a mouth spray was more effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting than the standard treatment by itself.
Some preliminary test-tube and animal studies have also suggested CBD might possess anticancer attributes. For instance, one lab study observed that high concentrations of CBD caused the death of human breast cancer cells.
A separate study found that CBD hindered the progression of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice.
Nevertheless, these findings come from lab and animal experiments, offering initial insights. Comprehensive human studies are crucial to draw definitive conclusions.
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Summary: Though CBD has been shown to help reduce symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment, and may even have cancer-fighting properties, more research is needed to assess its efficacy and safety.
4. CBD oil may reduce acne
Acne is a widespread skin issue, impacting over 9% of people globally.
This skin condition is believed to be influenced by various factors such as genetics, the presence of bacteria, inflammation, and excess production of sebum, which is an oily substance created by the skin’s glands.
Recent scientific research suggests that CBD oil could be a potential acne treatment, owing to its ability to reduce inflammation and control sebum production.
One lab study discovered that CBD oil effectively stopped skin cells from producing too much sebum. It also showed anti-inflammatory effects and stopped triggering inflammation-related elements known as cytokines.
Another study echoed these results, stating that CBD could be an effective and safe option for treating acne, largely because of its strong anti-inflammatory characteristics.
However, further research involving human participants is necessary to fully confirm these effects.
Summary: CBD may benefit acne due to its anti-inflammatory qualities and ability to control the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands.
5. CBD oil might have neuroprotective properties
Scientists think CBD’s impact on the endocannabinoid system and other neural pathways could offer advantages for individuals with neurological conditions.
CBD has been extensively studied for its potential in managing neurological ailments like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. While this field of research is relatively new, the findings so far are encouraging.
Sativex, a mouth spray combining CBD and THC, has been confirmed to be a secure and effective treatment for reducing muscle stiffness in people with multiple sclerosis.
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One study noted that Sativex reduced muscle spasms in 75% of 276 multiple sclerosis patients who were not responding well to other medications.
In another research, 214 individuals with severe epilepsy received between 0.9 and 2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound of body weight. The study reported a median reduction in seizures of 36.5%.
Another research found that kids with Dravet syndrome, a complex form of childhood epilepsy, experienced a significant reduction in seizure activity when treated with CBD oil, compared to a placebo.
However, it should be highlighted that some study participants did have adverse side effects from CBD treatment, such as convulsions, fever, and tiredness.
Research on CBD’s potential role in treating other neurological issues is ongoing.
For instance, a few studies have indicated that CBD treatment improved life quality and sleep for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
Additionally, animal and lab studies suggest that CBD might reduce inflammation and help halt the neurodegeneration related to Alzheimer’s disease.
In a long-term experiment, mice that were genetically prone to Alzheimer’s were given CBD, which appeared to help prevent their cognitive decline.
Summary: Though research is limited now, CBD has been shown to ease symptoms related to epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. CBD was also shown to reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in test-tube and animal studies.
6. CBD oil could benefit heart health
Recent studies suggest that CBD could offer various benefits for heart health, notably its potential to reduce high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a significant health concern, increasing the risk of developing conditions like stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome.
Research indicates that CBD can be a useful tool in managing high blood pressure.
In a particular study, nine healthy men were given a single dose of 600 mg of CBD oil. The results showed a decrease in their resting blood pressure levels compared to a placebo.
This study also subjected the men to stress tests that typically cause blood pressure spikes. Interestingly, the dose of CBD seemed to temper the usual rise in blood pressure provoked by these stress tests.
Experts think CBD’s ability to relieve stress and anxiety might be the key factor contributing to its blood pressure-lowering effects.
Animal studies have also shown that CBD could potentially minimize inflammation and cell death related to heart disease, thanks to its antioxidant and stress-reducing features.
For instance, one animal study demonstrated that CBD treatment lessened oxidative stress and averted heart damage in diabetic mice suffering from heart disease.
Summary: Though more human studies are needed, CBD may benefit heart health in several ways, including by reducing blood pressure and preventing heart damage.
7. CBD oil has several other potential benefits
CBD is also being examined for its potential in addressing various other health concerns beyond the ones previously discussed.
While additional research is necessary, here are some of the promising health benefits that CBD is believed to offer:
- Reducing psychotic symptoms: Research indicates that CBD could aid individuals with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions by lessening symptoms of psychosis.
- Aiding substance abuse treatment: CBD appears to alter brain circuits linked to drug addiction. Studies in rats have demonstrated that CBD can reduce dependencies on morphine and curb heroin-seeking behaviors.
- Anti-tumor properties: Laboratory and animal tests suggest CBD has anti-tumor effects. In animal models, it has been observed to hinder the growth of various types of cancers, including breast, prostate, brain, colon, and lung cancer.
- Preventing diabetes: CBD treatment in mice prone to diabetes led to a 56% reduction in the disease’s occurrence and notably curtailed inflammation.
Summary: Research suggests CBD may aid diabetes, addiction, mental health, and some cancers. However, more research on humans is needed.
Are there any side effects of CBD oil?
While CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, it can cause some side effects in certain individuals. Reported side effects include:
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- Fluctuations in appetite and weight
It’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any CBD regimen, particularly if you’re already taking other medications. This is important for ensuring your safety and avoiding harmful drug interactions.
This consultation is even more critical if you take medications with a “grapefruit warning.” Both grapefruit and CBD can disrupt the functioning of cytochromes P450 (CYPs), which are enzymes crucial for drug metabolism.
One study conducted on mice indicated that extracts rich in CBD could potentially lead to liver toxicity. However, it’s worth noting that the mice in this study were given exceptionally high doses of the extract.
Summary: Although CBD is generally safe, it may cause diarrhea, and fatigue, and interact with certain medications.
CBD oil is being explored for its potential to alleviate a variety of common health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, skin issues like acne, and even heart-related problems.
For people dealing with cancer, it might offer a natural option for managing pain and other symptoms.
While research on CBD oil’s health benefits is ongoing, current findings hint at its promise as a safe and effective natural treatment for various health conditions.
If you’re curious about giving CBD a try, a variety of products are available online, from gummies and oils to topical lotions.