What are the Benefits of CBD?
Countless studies have shown CBD to have a wide range of benefits. In fact, CBD is the active ingredient in two licensed medicines, Sativex and Epidyolex. Sativex is mainly prescribed to Multiple Sclerosis sufferers to treat muscle stiffness and spasms. It was used in a recent study, to compare the bioavailability of standard CBD and water soluble CBD. The water soluble CBD compound increased bioavailability by 131% compared to Sativex. Epidyolex is prescribed to children suffering from severe forms of epilepsy. Epidyolex has be shown to drastically reduce both the frequency and severity of seizures.
Other potential therapeutic benefits of CBD shown in studies include;
CBD and Anxiety
Anxiety is, perhaps, the biggest reason people turn to CBD. Many studies have shown CBD to be effective at reducing anxiety. One of the most compelling of these studies measured the effect of CBD at reducing the anxiety people experience during public speaking. The study took 24 Social Anxiety Disorder sufferers and gave half a placebo and the other half a dose of CBD. The study concluded ‘’Pre treatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.’’
Another study used 40 subjects and the same method, half given CBD and half a placebo. The study concluded ‘CBD has anxiolytic (anti anxiety) properties in human volunteers submitted to a stressful situation’.
Furthermore, a 2009 study investigated the effects of CBD on brain activity. The aim was to identify why it has an effect on anxiety. The study group exposed the subjects to fearful images designed to illicit an emotional response. Then, MRI scans captured images of brain activity. Significantly, CBD was found to reduce activity in the amygdala. This part of the brain activates the fight or flight response. The study noted that reducing activity in the amygdala was ‘consistent with behavioural evidence that CBD has anxiolytic (anti anxiety) effects’. The results were confirmed and repeated by a later study. People with anxiety disorders generally have an over active amygdala. The fact that CBD has been proven to reduce activity in this area of the brain makes it an ideal treatment option.
CBD and Pain Relief
Chronic pain is also a common reason for people reaching for CBD. Many studies have shown potential for CBD being used for pain relief, especially as an anti-inflammatory. A 2013 study looked into the potential use of CBD in treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The study concluded it saw ‘CBD as a potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs.’
Moreover, a 2015 review of previous studies looked at 24 previous studies into using CBD for chronic pain relief. 11 studies were excluded as they didn’t meet the criteria for consideration. The results of the remaining 13 led the review to conclude ‘CBD may provide effective analgesia in chronic pain conditions that are refractory to other treatments.’
Inflammation and oxidative stress are both involved in the formation of many human diseases. Unfortunately, they usually come in pairs. Notably, a 2011 study concluded ‘CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further drug development given its anti-oxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells’.
Chronic pain is also a common reason for people trying CBD. Many studies have shown potential for CBD being used for pain relief, especially as an anti-inflammatory
CBD and Sleeping Problems
CBD has been shown to help with sleeping problems. One 1981 study, gave insomniac subjects either a dose of CBD (40, 80 or 160mg) or a placebo. The recipients of the 160mg dose reported having slept significantly more than the placebo, with less dream recall. Additionally, a 2019 study tracked the sleep of 72 adults over 3 months. Over the course of the three months 70% of the subjects had an increase in their sleep score.
A review of previous studies, in 2020, concluded that ‘It is becoming evident that endocannabinoids play a prominent role in sleep, and cannabinoid drugs alter these processes.’ Interestingly, this offers a scientific explanation as to why CBD promotes healthy sleep patterns. CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid systems. This system plays an important role in regulating sleep.
CBD and You
Many people use CBD everyday. It is easy to see why, studies point to a wide range of therapeutic uses and none have found any side effects. Also, it doesn’t seem possible to develop dependence or tolerance. Some sources online refer to CBD as snake oil or a fad. But, studies show that CBD can be helpful treating a wide range of ailments.
Also, the fact that two licensed medicines contain CBD as the active ingredient is important. Furthermore, the mountains of studies that point towards the physical and mental benefits of CBD are compelling. One thing is for sure, CBD does something. What will it do for you? There is only one way to find out…