CBD has been hailed as a miracle drug in recent years, with a multitude of scientific and anecdotal evidence claiming it can cure and alleviate an array of conditions and ailments. With that in mind, Medical Cannabis Network brings you our top five potential health benefits of CBD.
CBD – otherwise known as cannabidiol – is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant and is the second most active ingredient in cannabis. However, unlike cannabis itself, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not cause those who use it to become “high” due to CBD lacking the most active ingredient in cannabis – Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Estimates suggest that there are around 1.3 million regular users of CBD in the UK alone, who all consume the compound in various ways, such as vaping, edibles, rubs and balm, drops, capsules, and sprays.
Health benefits of CBD
1: Improve mental health
One of the many benefits of CBD is that it potentially has a profound effect on a variety of mental health disorders, offering an alternative treatment for millions worldwide who struggle with their mental health. A systematic review1 of 23 studies provided a Grade B recommendation for using CBD to treat schizophrenia, social anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The analysis also gave a Grade C recommendation for CBD as a remedy for insomnia, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Tourette syndrome. An additional study published in The Permanente Journal found that in a cohort of anxiety patients, 79% of the individuals experienced a reduction in their anxiety when using CBD.
2: Reduce epileptic seizures
A benefit of CBD solidified in a recent study is the compound’s ability to reduce seizures caused by epilepsy. The Midori-no-wa (Green Circle) programme for children with intractable epilepsy2 was initiated in Japan in 2020 in a collaborative project between Green Zone Japan and Always Pure Organics to analyse if CBD could reduce epileptic seizures.
The programme included 50 participants, 50% of which reported improvements, and 10% experienced significant effects. One of the participants – a two and a half-year-old girl who continued to suffer seizures even after brain surgery – is now seizure-free following the CBD treatment.
3: Anti-cancer properties
CBD may have beneficial effects even for the most severe diseases such as cancer. Although research is limited and inconclusive, one case from the UK illuminates that CBD may contain anti-cancer qualities.3 An 80-year-old woman in the UK was diagnosed in June 2018 with non-small cell lung cancer. She was a smoker and also had mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure.
At the time of diagnosis, her tumour was 41 mm in size and had no signs of local or further spread. However, the patient refused traditional surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy treatment and was placed under “watch and wait”, where she received CT scans every three to six months. By February 2021, her tumour had reduced by 75% in maximum diameter to 10 mm. During this period, she used 0.5 ml of CBD oil three times per day, and although the mechanisms behind the phenomena are not fully understood, CBD may have played a role in tumour regression.
4: Enhance sleep
There is a broad range of sleep aids on the market to make nodding off easier, such as herbal remedies and melatonin pills. However, research suggests that CBD could be an effective method for optimising your sleep.
The American Sleep Association explained that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in regulating sleep and circadian rhythms and contains a network of cannabinoid receptors. Research suggests that CBD may interact with specific receptors that potentially affect the sleep cycle.
A further study analysed the benefits of CBD on patients with anxiety and sleep disorders. 4 The investigation included 103 adults, with the final samples consisting of 72. The results demonstrated that while using CBD, sleep scores improved during the first month in 48 of the participants (66.7%), although this fluctuated over time.
5: Pain relief
The benefits of CBD for pain relief are somewhat ambiguous due to limited experimental human evidence of the drug’s effectiveness. However, researchers at Syracuse University tested these queries in the first systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental research on the effects of CBD on pain.5 When comparing pure CBD isolate against a placebo drug to reduce pain, the researchers discovered that CBD did not reduce the volume of pain but instead made the patient’s perception of pain less unpleasant. Further studies have shown that CBD may alleviate pain by reducing inflammation, interacting with neurotransmitters, and influencing endocannabinoid receptor activity.