10 Evidence Based
This article is based on scientific evidence, written by an expert. This article contains scientific references linked throughout.
benefits of CBD Oil
Of the hundreds of cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, CBD (cannabidiol) has evolved as the one with the most therapeutic potential. Alongside THC, it has been extensively studied over the last few years in many different ways to try uncover what it can really do —
Unlike THC, CBD will not make you high or cause any sort of lack of control, making it a far more desirable medicinal option for many people.
With our endocannabinoid system spreading through all the main organs of our body, it is easy to understand how CBD can have such a wide reach. In each organ, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks but the goal is always the same, and that is to maintain a stable internal environment, despite fluctuations in the external environment.
Here are 10 of many evidence-based benefits of CBD Oil.
1. Can relieve pain
Using cannabis to relieve pain dates back at least to 2900 BC from Chinese transcriptions.
1While the whole plant has been used for thousands of years, scientists have more recently been able to isolate the key compounds that reduce pain, specifically CBD and THC. These two cannabinoids work thanks to our endocannabinoid system which is important for some key functions including pain, sleep, appetite and the immune system.
A recent report put forth by the National Academies Committee on the Health Effects of Cannabis, in which the authors concluded that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” that cannabis is effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults2.
Studies have shown that CBD could reduce chronic pain through it’s influence on the endocannabinoid receptors, helping to reduce inflammation and interacting with neuro transmitters. Inflammation based pain tends to be where CBD provides its greatest benefit. A study in rats found CBD to reduce pain response to surgical incision, with another reducing nerve pain and inflammation. 3-4Researchers reported that CBD significantly suppressed chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain without causing apparent analgesic tolerance in animals.5
Several human studies have shown the combination of CBD and THC to also be effective in treating pain related to arthritis and multiple sclerosis. While CBD alone can be effective, the combination of the cannabinoids could prove to be even more powerful.
2. Can reduce anxiety
With the growing number of people suffering from anxiety and depression, it is important that a natural, harmless solution becomes widely available. The World Health Organisation quotes depression as the single largest contributor to disability, with anxiety at sixth. 6Generally, these issues are treated with pharmaceutical drugs which can create a whole host of other negative side effects including headaches, drowsiness, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, agitation and digestive issues7.
CBD oil has shown potential as a treatment with anxiety and depression, creating big interest from those who have suffered through the negative side effects of conventional treatment and have been searching for a more natural approach. While a cannabis high is sometimes associated with anxiety, the CBD in cannabis actually helps minimise anxiety, and when taken alone shows a lot of promise. According to a medical review, CBD may reduce anxiety related behaviours in those dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder8.
One study had people with anxiety take CBD before public speaking and found those that received the CBD had significantly less anxiety, discomfort in their speech and less cognitive impairment than the placebo group. 9Furthermore, CBD has been used to treat insomnia and anxiety from those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder10.
3. Can alleviate cancer symptoms
CBD may help alleviate symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment side effects like nausea, vomiting and pain.
A study looked at the effect of cannabinoids on people suffering from cancer-related pain and found those who were given CBD and THC experienced a significantly greater reduction in pain compared to those who only received THC. 11CBD may also reduce chemotherapy induced nausea, one of the most common side effects. 12There are drugs which help but these too can lead to some unwanted side effects resulting in people wanting something else.
Authors of a review published in the British Journal of Clinic Pharmacology found CBD significantly helped to prevent the spread of cancer. 13Another review claimed CBD has been shown to inhibit the progression of many types of cancer including breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer14.
In some test-tube and animal studies CBD has been shown to have anticancer properties and induce cancer cell death15. CBD has killed human breast cancer cells in a test tube and in mice inhibited the spread of aggressive cancer cells. However these are isolated to a test tubes and mice and need further human evaluation.
4. Can reduce acne
Acne can be a very frustrating skin condition than affects more than 9% of the population. With many potential causes, it can be very hard to treat as isolating the root cause can take months and be very difficult. However, present with the majority of acne is inflammation. CBD is regarded as a safe and efficient way to treat acne because of its remarkable anti-inflammatory qualities16. A test tube study also found CBD oil prevented sebaceous glands from secreting excessive sebum, the oily secretion by the skin that is often attributed to the cause of acne17.
5. Can protect the brain
Thanks to the endocannabinoid system and its receptors present in our brain, the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids like CBD could be huge. One of the most well studied uses for CBD oil is for the treatment of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. The US government even owns a patent for the use of CBD oil as a neuroprotector, which they can only be granted with substantial research. The FDA have also approved a prescription cannabidiol drug for Epilepsy18.
One study gave severe epileptics 2-5mls of CBD oil per body weight and found their seizures reduced by a median of 36.5%19. Another found CBD oil reduced seizures in children with Dravet syndrome20. Some studies have also shown CBD improved quality of life and overall sleep for those suffering with Parkinson’s disease21-22.
The inflammatory properties of CBD have shown positive results with fighting against Alzheimers in animal studies23.
6. Can improve heart health
Research has found CBD to have a few heart and circulatory system benefits, including lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation associated with heart disease. High blood pressure in isolate scenarios, like inflammation isn’t a problem, however when it comes chronic, it can lead to complications such as heart attacks, strokes and metabolic syndrome.
One study using CBD oil on healthy men found it reduced resting blood pressure compared to the placebo. When these subjects where stressed to raise blood pressure, the CBD actually reduced the blood pressure spike compared to without it24. Studies suggest that the stress and anxiety effects of CBD oil are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure. Another study found CBD treatment reduced oxidative stress in mice and prevented heart damage25.
7. Can help against diabetes
According to the Ministry of Health, approximately 300,000 New Zealanders suffering from diabetes. Type 1 diabetes happens when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas resulting in inflammation.
A study found CBD can ease inflammation in the pancreas26. One study showed CBD lowers the incidence of diabetes in diabetes prone mice and diagnosed diabetes in only 32% of mice treated with CBD compared to the 100% in the untreated group. Another study showed treatment with CBD helped reduce inflammation and diabetes by 56% in diabetic mice27. Further research suggested CBD may reduce inflammation and protect against the development of diabetes28.
Thanks to this recent research there is promise for CBD reducing the chance of diabetes and helping to manage it but further studies on humans needs to be done.
8. Can help with substance abuse treatment
Cannabinoids produce a variety of pharmacological effects very similar to those elicited by opioids. A growing number of studies show an important role of the endogenous cannabinoid system in the modulation of opioid rewarding and addictive effects. People are taking advantage of CBD and cannabinoids to help minimise the need for pharmaceutical opiods which are known for their addictive qualities and negative long-term side effects29.
In other studies it has been shown to help with addiction to substances such as alcohol, heroin and tobacco30-31-32. CBD also helps counteract the psychoactive properties of THC, meaning it can help those depending on cannabis function better without a high.
9. Can act as an antipsychotic
With cannabidiols ability to influence the brain it has been shown to have antipsychotic properties in patients with schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease33-34. A review of the antipsychotic properties ofo cannabidiol in humans stated that cannabinoids were a highly promising treatment option. Results showed CBD to counteract psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairments associated with cannabis use. Another study found CBD can actually produce similar effects to antipsychotic drugs and could be a much safer and effective treatment for those with schizophrenia35.
10. Can help treat skin burns and wounds
The skin has been found to contain cannabinoid receptors, part of the endocannabinoid system, making it receptive to the therapeutic benefits of CBD36. As a result CBD is being used for a range of skin applications from would healing, topical burns and as an antibiotic.
The endocannabinoid system has been shown to play a direct role in the process of wound healing, with a study in mice showing new receptors formed in cuts and acted as binding sites for cannabinoids37-38.
Cannabinoids like CBD have shown antibiotic action, with a paper showing they have shown potent activity against resistanty Staphyloccus39.
With the known anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and other cannabinoids, they have been found to be effective on serious skin burns which can help with the inflammation and reduce pain.
As you can see, potential for CBD oil as a medicine is huge. As more countries relax laws around the cannabis plant, more doors will open up for researchers with funding and less hoops to jump through, so expect this list to grow in the coming months and years as more studies are published.