CBD is widely known for its ability to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, for example, diseases that emerge during childhood and can be challenging to treat.
But research now suggests CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis and hemp plants) can have therapeutic effects in many different conditions, offering us an abundance of health and wellbeing benefits beyond the treatment of epilepsy.
The body of research on CBD (cannabidiol) and other cannabinoids found in the cannabis and hemp plant has grown exponentially in the past decade.
Given the possibilities for this newly discovered molecule, there are now hundreds of active scientific studies for CBD (and other cannabinoids found in the cannabis and hemp plants) in the U.S., not to mention the abundance of studies internationally.
So what do we know so far about using CBD and how it can help support our wellbeing and health?
Here are 3 of the top therapeutic uses of CBD Oil according to the current scientific research
Therapeutic use of CBD oil #1: CBD helps with pain
One of the top reasons people use CBD is for pain and chronic pain in particular.
Just about all of us feel pain from time to time, but once the acute injury that causes the pain heals, you stop hurting. But chronic pain is different. Your body keeps hurting weeks, months, or even years after the injury. Doctors often define chronic pain as any pain that lasts for more than 3 to 6 months.
As you could imagine, being in chronic pain for extended periods of time can have real effects on your daily enjoyment of life, mental health, and overall wellbeing.
Before CBD, people suffering from chronic pain generally had two options:
- Opioids (i.e., Oxycontin, Morphine, Codeine). These have been used for decades – and still are today. They are potent drugs used for decreasing pain, but they carry a significant risk of addiction and death by overdose.
- Prescription or over the counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): For years NSAIDs (i.e., Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Aleve) thought to have little to no side-effects. Lately, they’re among the most controversial. Why? It turns out; they increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
But now CBD is showing itself to be a third option.
And guess what? CBD does not carry the risk of overdose or fatality. According to the DEA, “No deaths from overdose of [cannabis] have been reported.” As describes by the NIH’s National Cancer Institute, this is because “cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are NOT located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration – lethal doses from cannabinoids do not occur.”
Here’s how CBD works.
A recent animal study in pain describes how CBD may interact with serotonin receptors, which are believed to play a role in pain, depression, and anxiety.
And a number of recent studies have demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system (CBD interacts with this internal “homeostatic” system in our body) is centrally and peripherally involved in the processing of pain signals.
A 2011 study, discovered that CBD and CBC (another non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp) affect the transmission of pain signals from the affected region to the brain (ascending) and from the brain to the affected region (descending) by stimulating the descending pain-blocking pathways in the nervous system and caused analgesia (the inability to feel pain) by interacting with several target proteins.
Therapeutic use of CBD oil #2: CBD helps maintain brain health
As we age, the creation of new neurons in our brains slows down.
In order for our body to prevent degenerative diseases and to maintain brain health, we need to create new cells.
As it turns out, CBD and THC are “neurogenic” substances that both promote neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons form in our brains.
A 2019 Brazilian study showed that “cannabinoid signaling modulates several aspects of brain function, including the generation and survival of neurons during embryonic and adult periods.”
The neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids appear to be related to several actions they have on the brain, including the removal of damaged cells and critical homeostatic processes.
CBD also has anti-inflammatory effects on the brain and is presently under intense preclinical research in numerous neurodegenerative disorders.
Therapeutic Use of CBD Oil #3: CBD helps reduce anxiety
Stress is a part of all of our lives. It comes and goes depending on what is happening in our lives.
But anxiety disorders encompass more than temporary strains and worries or fears.
People with anxiety disorders feel excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry that is out of proportion to the actual danger.
The feelings experienced are ongoing senses of panic and impending doom, trouble concentrating, increased heart rate, and overall depression.
In the U.S. alone, almost a third of Americans will experience anxiety disorders in their lifetime.
Before CBD came into the picture, people suffering from anxiety disorders generally had two options:
- SSRIs – serotonin reuptake inhibitors – (i.e., Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft): These drugs can be incredibly useful for many people, but some people either find these drugs do not help, or they come with too many unwanted side effects, like sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and interference with sleep.
- Benzodiazepines tranquilizers (i.e. Valium and Xanax): Although the calming effects of tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax can help reduce anxiety symptoms, they do not deal with the underlying issue, and can be highly addictive.
Now CBD is showing itself to be a third option.
Although research on CBD oil is in its early stages, there is a mounting amount of evidence that CBD can provide relief for people suffering from anxiety.
In a 2015 research review of CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders, they concluded that current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.
These findings and many other current studies on humans and mice appear to support that the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect of CBD, “exerts therapeutically promising effects on human mental health such as inhibition of psychosis, anxiety, and depression.”
Scientists are at the beginning stages of uncovering how CBD acts in our brain, and to validate CBD’s efficacy as an anti-anxiety treatment.
But with the statistically massive amount of people suffering from anxiety disorders in the U.S., CBD is showing itself as a new player on the mental health scene, with significant abilities to treat a whole host of anxiety-related disorders.
And the added beauty of CBD is its highly favorable safety profile.
As awareness of CBD’s therapeutic potential has spread into our cultural awareness, the pace of scientific research into cannabidiol (CBD) has accelerated at a rapid rate as well, which means there is some pretty exciting stuff on the horizon for CBD research!
In case you’re interested in what’s currently going on in CBD research, or maybe even becoming involved in one of the current studies on CBD, we’ve included a list of the current CBD studies, and in particular, studies looking for patients to join their research.
NEW CBD Studies
The most exciting aspect of this expansive research into CBD is its potential therapeutic applications in a multitude of diseases and areas of health and wellness, both behaviorally and physiologically.
It is important to note that there are several different types of research, trials, and studies.
For example, two types of studies are:
This type of study focuses on evaluating CBD’s efficacy in the treatment of diseases and disorders in animals. These studies can be the foundation for knowledge, initial breakthroughs in research, and lead to preclinical and clinical trials in humans.
This type of study focuses on evaluating CBD’s efficacy in the treatment of diseases and disorders in humans. Essentially, preclinical trials are the foundation upon which clinical trials are born. In clinical trials, in addition to validating the preclinical and anecdotal evidence of CBD’s therapeutic value, this research may reveal new applications for CBD and provide clarity around dosing for different conditions.
Currently, ClinicalTrials.Gov lists over 300 clinical trials examining CBD as an intervention for a variety of conditions.
Of those 300 clinical trials, 56 are actively recruiting patients. You or someone you care about may fit into one of these trials.
Some of the conditions and diseases currently being recruited for patients:
- Substance use disorder/cocaine dependence disorder
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Chronic pain
- Parkinson’s disease
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Drug-resistant epilepsy
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic pain
- Crones disease
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Stroke Rehabilitation
- Alzheimers disease
While research is ongoing in its examination as to how and why cannabidiol (CBD) works in our bodies – and to what extent it plays in or overall health and wellbeing – one thing we do know is that its overall safety profile make the CBD research boom heartening!