Most CBD products have anecdotal stories praising how CBD has made a difference in their lives. But have these alleged benefits been backed by scientific studies?
Despite skepticism over CBD’s relationship with marijuana, CBD continues to explode, and for good reason. The more CBD is researched in medical studies, the closer we get to validating its hype. As of early 2019, roughly 70 CBD Oil studies have been made available on PubMed’s database, published since the 80’s. We will explore the main popular studies that have been highly referenced throughout the years.
Early studies conducted on rats established that CBD can produce anxiety reducing drug effects, similar to antidepressants. One famous study focusing on CBD and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) had similar implications. Two groups of subjects diagnosed with SAD were hooked up to an ECT and asked to give a speech. One group had been given CBD prior to the speech, whereas the other group had been given a placebo beforehand. The group that had been given CBD beforehand performed better. There was difference in cerebral blood flow, with the group given CBD exhibiting less activity in parts of the brain that produce anxiety. The conclusion was that CBD does seem to have implications in reducing anxiety, particularly social anxiety.
The studies on how CBD can help attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) patients are not as direct. For example, one major survey conducted in 2014 examines how cannabis use (CBD + THC) has helped ADHD patients. However, as it is a survey, it isn’t scientifically examining how CBD alone can help ADHD. Still, since anecdotal accounts imply it can aid in ADHD symptoms, it is useful to consider CBD in potential studies with ADHD subjects.
Studies focusing on the effectiveness of just CBD have not been conducted. However, studies examining the use of multiple cannabinoids in pain reduction have been conducted. The prescription THC and CBD spray Sativex responded well to pain associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), and neuropathy in clinical trials. 40-50% of the participants of the clinical study also reported better sleep quality because of the pain relief. Although we are unsure which endocannabinoid (THC or CBD) is more directly responsible for the sedating effect, we know CBD and CBG has analgesic properties in higher doses.
In addition to being an analgesic, a number of studies have explored the use of CBD as an anti-inflammatory. Through these studies, we have a deeper understanding of how the endocannabinoid system is set up. The endocannabinoid system extends to immune cells. There are CB receptors on each immune cell that CBD can bind to. After CBD binds to these receptors, the immune system slows down. Additionally, both CBG (another form of CBD) and CBD accelerate the metabolism of immune cells that cause inflammation. Through these two immunosuppressive mechanisms, pain signals are suppressed to the brain, similar to the way painkillers suppress signals to the pain. The difference is that the effects of CBD are less extreme and don’t work on the brain directly. These two reasons are why CBD is thought to be less addictive than painkillers while still effective in treating pain.