It is no longer news that there is a lot of excitement around cannabidiol (CBD) for its several perceived benefits. This buzz around CBD, however, seems to be ahead of science. Vendors of CBD-related products, many of whom have never stepped into a CBD testing lab, keep on marketing CBD as a miracle substance for so many conditions. Conditions such as pain, seizure disorder, cancer, addiction, and even to induce fast weight loss. We know for sure that many of these claims are exaggerated, with some completely unsubstantiated. To give you a clear view of CBD’s evidence-backed effects, we have collated some fascinating studies on the subject.
WHAT IS CBD
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabis sativa plant, popularly known as marijuana. And no, CBD doesn’t get you high. This is because CBD, unlike its cousin THC, is a non-psychoactive compound. This lack of habit-forming effects is one reason the substance has become such an exciting subject of scientific study. CBD can be derived from the two dominant cannabis plant species: marijuana and hemp. However, only CBD derived from hemp is legal in the US because it contains very little THC.
THE STATE OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY ON CBD
Before we dive into some of the studies on CBD that are available, you should know that research on CBD is quite restricted, which has resulted in a few high-quality studies. Chief of these restrictions is the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, which makes research unnecessarily burdensome. Also, the government has retained a stronghold on the legal production of marijuana for research. The University of Mississippi remains the only DEA-authorized marijuana supplier despite researchers’ complaints that the cannabis grown there is of low quality.
Despite these restrictions, there are still some CBD studies you might find compelling. Here are some of them.
1. This study is titled “Cannabidiol: its use in refractory epilepsies.” The study, which was published in 2017, explores CBD’s use as a therapy for patients with seizures who have been unresponsive to prior treatments. The study was performed on a group of 15 patients who received CBD for one month to one year. It was found that the frequency of seizures decreased in 40% of patients and disappeared in 27%. In addition to this, 60% of patients were found to have had more control over half of their seizures.
2. This is one of the most impactful studies on CBD, especially since it prompted the FDA to approve a CBD-based drug. Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug, was studied in three randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. The studies involved 516 patients with either Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet Syndrome. Epidiolex was found to have reduced the frequency of seizures in patients by 50%.
3. This study is one of the few human trials evaluating CBD anxiolytic effects, and it was published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry in 2019. The study was conducted by giving 57 men either CBD oil or placebo before a public-speaking event. Investigators found that men who consumed 300 mg of CBD exhibited less anxiety than those given a placebo. Interestingly, the same results were not obtained from those who consumed 100 mg or 600 mg of CBD oil.
4. This was a 2016 case study published in The Permanente Journal that looked at the effectiveness of CBD oil for Anxiety and Insomnia resulting from PTSD. The patient was a little girl who suffered from anxiety and insomnia related to PTSD. Having tried other medications with only slight improvement, the girl was placed on CBD oil. An evaluation of the patient in the following five months revealed considerable improvements with her anxiety and sleep disorder.
5. This 2019 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine examines CBD’s potential for psychosis and addiction treatment. The study revealed that using CBD as a singular therapy or in conjunction with regular antipsychotic medication improved symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Besides, a combination of CBD and THC showed positive effects in reducing short-term withdrawals and craving in cannabis use disorders.
6. This study examines the use of Sativex (a drug based on CBD and THC) for multiple sclerosis. The study was published in Eur Neurol in 2016. This was an observational study of 433 patients with resistant MSS. It was found that Sativex provided symptomatic relief of MSS and related troublesome symptoms.
7. This 2017 study looks at CBD oil’s effectiveness in reducing the risk of heart disease by alleviating hypertension in certain people. This study, which was published in JCI Insight, involved nine healthy men. The men were given either 600 mg of CBD or 600 mg of placebo. The researcher found that those treated with CBD had lower blood pressure before and after exposure to stressful stimuli such as exercise and extreme cold. Also, the stroke volume was significantly reduced, which means the heart was pumping more efficiently.
8. This 2015 study was published in the European Journal of Pain using an animal model. This study examines the efficacy of transdermal CBD for a reduction in inflammation and pain in rats. It was found that transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling and spontaneous pain. The study concluded that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for the relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.
The future is bright for CBD. CBD studies have revealed that CBD shows a lot of promise for various conditions, although they show contradicting results for some purported effects like the inducement of fast weight loss. Nevertheless, we can only hope that more discoveries will be made, as CBD studies’ quality progresses. With the CBD industry estimated to reach $15 billion in the US by 2025, it is not hard to imagine a proliferation of CBD testing labs, and consequently, a normalization of CBD medication.