9 Health Benefits of CBD Oil Backed by Science
Few therapeutic compounds have the same breath of application as cannabidiol (CBD) does. Major research centers are studying cannabidiol from multiple angles, many of which seemingly are unrelated. For example, CBD oil is being studied as a treatment for chronic inflammation, but also for gastrointestinal disorders.
Potential CBD benefits were unlocked only in the early 1990s, when researchers discovered the mechanism through which cannabis interacts with our brains. This discovery led to the identification of the first endocannabinoid in 1992. Since then the field has exploded, with research into cannabinoids as medicine.
If you are new to the world of cannabinoids, specifically CBD, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information about its health benefits. In fact, because CBD is touted as the next big miracle medicine, it's likely many rational people just dismiss it; it seems too good to be true.
A quick search through the National Institutes of Health’s online archives reveals more than 5,000 articles related to CBD. How does the average person sift through the research to gain a better understanding of the subject?
It would be impossible to summarize the entirety of the research into CBD’s health benefits, there is simply too much to cover. What we can do is provide a rough summary of nine scientifically backed health benefits of CBD. Each serves as a quick example of just how widely applicable CBD oil is.
1. Stress and Anxiety Relief
In one key area of study, CBD has been shown in small clinical trials to reduce test subjects’ anxiety and panic disorders. In one prominent study that subjected with social anxiety disorder to a public speaking test, scientists discovered CBD was able to reduce their anxiety both before and during the speech.
Another study from 2011 found that, compared to a placebo, participants with generalized social anxiety disorder had remarkably lower anxiety levels when taking CBD. Researched based their conclusions on functional neuroimaging of cerebral blood flow.
2. Gastrointestinal Issues
Many digestive system processes are intrinsically linked to and influenced by the endocannabinoid system. In fact, there seems to be a high concentration of CB2 receptors throughout the digestive system. Because of this concentration, research has begun in earnest into CBD's suppression of severe gastrointestinal issues, including Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome. The evidence, based on in-vitro and in-vivo experiments, shows CBD for digestive issues has a significant impact on inflammation, and thus gastrointestinal issues.
Cannabidiol anti-inflammatory effects have been proven over and over again through a variety of studies of gastrointestinal issues, arthritis and immune disorders. While these studies are not connected, they each have determined that CBD is adept at reducing the body’s inflammatory response.
4. Pain Relief
The CB1 receptor primarily found in the brain long has been known to modulate pain perception. While CBD does not directly interlock with the receptor, it does manage to influence its function. Cannabidiol's potential in terms of pain relief is so powerful it often is studied in comparison to opioids. A 2012 study concluded CBD oil was able to “significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain without causing apparent analgesic tolerance in rodents.” Its ability to reduce chronic pain without also creating a dependency has led to its popularity.
5. Neurodegenerative Protection
A quick review of the research surrounding CBD and its neuroprotective potential indicates it could offer relief for diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. According to one review published in 2017, CBD therapy had favorable preliminary results for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. The research points to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and its antioxidant characteristics. Cannabidiol also has a modulatory effect on many neurological receptors and channels that have been linked to the development of neurodegenerative disorders.
6. Anti-Cancer Potential
One of the most exciting areas of research into CBD’s health benefits is its potential as an anti-cancer agent. In numerous in-vitro and in-vivo studies, CBD was shown to inhibit the growth and spread of cells for many types of cancer, including bladder, brain, colon, breast, lung and prostate. One of the main ways that CBD has been found to fight cancer, at least in a petri dish, is by apoptosis, or cell death. Another way is by inhibiting cancer cells’ ability to metastasize.
7. Manages Blood Sugar Levels
Researchers have been exploring how CBD benefits blood sugar levels in animals affected by diabetes. In a 2006 study, CBD therapy reduced the instances of diabetes in laboratory mice. A more recent study on American marijuana users determined that cannabis users were less likely to develop adult-onset diabetes. Cannabinoids promote lower levels of fasting insulin as well as a smaller waistline, both good news for avoiding diabetes.
The benefit that allowed CBD to break through its rather infamous classification was its ability to reduce seizures in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. As far back as 1980, research has concluded that CBD was able to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures. In the original study, four participants out of eight eliminated signs of seizures altogether. Another three participants saw significant reductions in seizure frequency. Since then, the research only has expanded on the issue.
9. Substance Abuse
Finally, CBD may prove extremely beneficial for the treatment of drug addiction, even though until recently it was considered to be a drug itself. Not only has CBD been useful in reducing cigarette addiction, it also has proven itself in the fight against opioid addiction. Studies have shown that CBD inhibits the reward-facilitating effects of morphine (and other opiates). A handful of human trials are being conducted examining CBD's effective in treating addiction, including opioids and cocaine.