Benefits of CBD Oil: Based on Academic Research

The FDA recently recommended[1] the approval of Epidiolex, a drug derived from cannabis. Although a good number of people have been legally using cannabis-derived products over the years for medicinal purposes[2], this was a first in the United States history.

This recommendation by the FDA marked an official turn in the long-standing fight to legalize cannabis-derived medicines and products. The recommendation solidified the belief that CBD oil and cannabis-derived products are good and beneficial to human health.

What is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, commonly referred to as marijuana or hemp. The cannabis Sativa plant has over 80 compounds, the cannabinoids.

The primary ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but cannabidiol is obtained mainly from hemp. Hemp contains minimal amounts of THC. 

In 2018, the passage of the Farm Bill made it legal in the U.S to sell hemp and hemp-derived products. However, not all hemp-derived cannabidiol products are certified as legal.

Since CBD has been studied and seen as a new drug, it is illegal to include it in food or dietary supplements or products marketed as therapeutic products. Cannabidiol is only to be included in cosmetic products, and THC contained in CBD products should be less than 0.3%[3].

Luckily, the Farm Bill also preserved the oversight of products derived from cannabis to the Food and Drug Administration[4].

CBD is a non-psychoactive component, which means that it doesn’t cause the euphoric sensation or “high” generally associated with marijuana or cannabis.

Is CBD Legal?

Though the exact legal status of CBD is in flux, you can readily obtain cannabidiol in most parts of the U.S. CBD has been legalized in all 50 states[5] with varying degrees of restriction. Hence, while the federal government still considers cannabidiol in the same group as marijuana, it can’t habitually enforce it.

Even so, there are still many people obtaining CBD from online platforms with a medical cannabis license. With the current bipartisan consensus in Congress trying to make hemp crops legal, the legality of CBD is expected to eventually change.

However, the government’s position[6] on CBD depends in part on whether it comes from marijuana or hemp. The real question yet, is what the benefits of CBD are? We look into the benefits of CBD, and which health issues and conditions can be alleviated with CBD use:

Physical Treatment Benefits

1. Can Relieve Pain

At some points in our lives, we have to experience pain, whether acute or chronic. According to the GSK Global Pain Index 2017[7], 95% of the global population has experienced body pain, while 86% of people experienced head pain at some point.

Anyone who has been afflicted with some form of pain has, in one way or another, showed interest in CBD. Cannabidiol is believed to offer potential therapeutic benefits, pain relief being the most prominent.

CBD tends to interact with a massive range of proteins in the central nervous system and body, including components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), like the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and brain, as well as the CB2 cannabinoid receptors found in the immune system and spleen.

THC strongly binds to these receptors, but CBD has the opposite effect. CBD inhibits the absorption of a natural cannabinoid molecule called anandamide[8], which regulates pain as well as correlates with feelings of happiness and well-being. When anandamide signaling is enhanced by CBD, the levels in the bloodstream increase, and help reduce pain throughout the body.

The research found that CBD tends to target alpha-3 glycine receptors[9] to reduce inflammation and suppress chronic pain, which is associated with dysfunctional glycine receptors, responsible for targeting pain processing in the spine.

The British Journal of Pharmacology published a 2014 study[10] that found that the analgesic properties of CBD are mediated by the TRPV1 receptor, hence concluding that CBD could be used as a pharmacological alternative in treated chronic pain related to certain diseases.

The Journal Neurotoxicology published another study[11] in their September 2015 edition that found that CBD also inhibits glutamate levels in the spinal cord and brain. Glutamate is associated with transmission and increased sensations of pain.

Growing research continues to demonstrate that CBD is an effective method of treatment for a wide range of pain-related conditions. The European Journal of Pain published in a 2016 animal study that various dosages of transdermal CBD gel (6.2 mg & 62.3 mg administered to lab rats) were effective in reducing arthritis pain and inflammation.

Various studies have also reached a similar conclusion. The Journal of Pain published a2017 study that found that the development of nerve damage and joint pain could be prevented in rats induced with osteoarthritis

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD has successfully helped people deal with and suppress chronic pain.

1.1 Potential for Helping Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia was first described as fibrositis by Sir William Gowers. It is a condition characterized as soft tissue pain that wanders in the body and is aggravated by tissue overuse.

This condition is known for its painful nodules referred to as trigger points prevalent in the neck and shoulder that are often severe to even limit physical activity. It also has a clear association with anxiety and depression.

Women with fibromyalgia experience migraines that also disrupt sleep as well. This disorder is the most common diagnosis[14] in American rheumatology practices. In Italy, the authors noted that this condition, like migraines, can be associated with secondary hyperalgesia[15] (a lowered threshold to pain in primarily affected areas).

The authors proposed that CBD treatments could be used to ease the pain. Cannabinoids have been utilized by fibromyalgia patients to treat some of the myriad symptoms. Nine patients were administered with doses of 2.5 – 15 mg THC daily for three months in an uncontrolled trial[16].

However, the ethics committee wouldn’t permit the placebo used in this study. Hence, all but four patients left the study early due to THC side effects. Those who completed the study, though, have reductions in subjective pain.

A survey was done[17] on the efficacy of regulatory body-approved pharmaceutical treatments for fibromyalgia versus CBD. The prescription medicines were poorly effective compared to CBD.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD has successfully helped people fibromyalgia.

1.2 CBD for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS or Spastic Colon is a disorder often characterized by GI (Gastrointestinal) pain, discomfort, spasm, and altered bowel movements, which could either be predominantly constipation or diarrhea or sometimes the two states alter between each other.

IBS attacks are highly correlated with anxiety, and the episodes can either be triggered by dietary indiscretions like overeating or specific foods. If gastrointestinal insults like antibiotics or food poisoning are significant, the attacks may persist but only indefinitely.

GI secretion, propulsion, and inflammation in the human gut are modulated by the ECS (Endocannabinoid System), which makes it rational for IBS treatment candidates to consider CBD. Unfortunately, at the same time, many patient reviews have indicated the benefits of CBD when A treating IBS symptoms[18], and there is a lot of anecdotal support on the internet. There is little clinical work to establish that CBD can help relieve IBS symptoms. However, the modulation of the gut ECS may help provide a useful therapeutic target for IBS.

Summary: Partly Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

1.3 May Help With Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, autoimmune condition where the immune system eats and attacks the protective covers over the nerves in the human body. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

In the case of MS, treatment is mainly focused on alleviating the pain and slowing the disease progression. One of the most common symptoms is muscle spasms that are sometimes significant enough in some people to cause constant pain.

As per one report[19], the short-use of CBD could help reduce the levels of spasticity multiple sclerosis patients experience. The results were modest. However, many people claimed a reduction in symptoms. Even so, more studies are needed to prove the usefulness of CBD in treating MS.

Summary: Partly Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help with multiple sclerosis.

2. Reduce Inflammation

The Journal of Experimental Medicine published a study[20] that showed that CBD could significantly reduce chronic inflammation and pain in some rats and mice. As per the survey, the non-psychoactive compounds in CBD could help alleviate inflammation.

Hence, CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect because when Cannabinoids engage with the Endocannabinoid system present in most organs throughout the body, inflammation is reduced systematically. Seeing as inflammation is involved in many diseases, the therapeutic potential of CBD is impressively wide-ranging.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information[21], chronic inflammation leads to many non-infectious conditions like cancer, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even autoimmune diseases. Research shows that CBD can help reduce inflammation and help alleviate some of these diseases.

Summary: Partly Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help with multiple sclerosis.

3. Lower Blood Pressure

In a study to investigate if CBD[22] lowers blood pressure in humans, nine healthy male volunteers were administered with 600 mg CBD in a randomized placebo-controlled crossover study. Using a laser Doppler and finometer, the cardiovascular parameters were monitored.

Subjects who had taken CBD had lower blood pressure both before and after stress, increased heart rate, and decreased stroke volume. In response to cold stress, those who received CBD had blunted blood pressure and an increased heart rate with lower total peripheral resistance.

The data showed that a single dose of CBD helps reduce resting blood pressure as well as the blood pressure response to stress, especially cold stress.

Summary: Partly Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help with lower blood pressure.

4. Can Alleviate Cancer-Related Symptoms

In addition to this illness, cancer patients have to live with uncomfortable symptoms like depression, pain, and sleep deprivation. On top of that, treatment often results in chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea. Luckily, CBD helps relieve cancer symptoms[23].

Some cancer patients find it hard to respond to traditional pain meds such as opioids, and those who do could become addicted to some of these drugs.

CBD provides an alternative form of treatment that is more effective and non-habit forming according to research. As per this study[24], CBD can help reduce pain 30% more effectively than THC alone or traditional medication.

The most common and feared symptoms of chemotherapy are vomiting and nausea. They can be so intense, causing 25%-50% of cancer patients to refuse or delaying treatment. CBD can significantly reduce or control these symptoms.

In another study, researchers administered a daily CBD spray or placebo to cancer patients during the five days following chemotherapy. Those who were given the CBD spray experienced a 49% reduction[25] in vomiting and nausea-related symptoms.

There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests that CBD could help slow the spread of aggressive cancer cells[26] for breast cancer and also facilitate cancer cell death[27]. However, research on this is still in its early stages.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help alleviate cancer-related symptoms.

4.1 Anti-Tumor Effects

The same way cannabinoids help alleviate cancer-related symptoms; studies have been conducted to try and know whether CBD can also help prevent tumors as well as other cancers before they develop.

A 2012 study[28] where animals were induced with carcinogens in a lab and then treated with CBD showed that they were less likely to develop colon cancer. Several studies have shown that THC can help reduce or prevent tumors. In a 1996 study[29], animal models were used to prove that CBD helped reduce the incidence of both hepatic adenoma and benign tumors.

In 2015[30], medical records of over 34,000 patients were analyzed in California. As a result, those who used cannabis instead of tobacco had a 45% rate of bladder cancer below the norm. Continuing research is being done to determine how CBD helps in cancer prevention and treatment.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD has anti-tumor effects.

5. Treats Skin Conditions

The skincare industry has incorporated CBD infused topical after marijuana was legalized for health and recreational purposes. 36% of CBD product users[31] attest to the healing of different health conditions.

Luckily, the same way CBD oil has shown tremendous results for the inside of the body; it also does the same for the skin.  People have started embracing CBD oil skin products due to their ability to fight inflammations and breakouts.

Most skin products meant to heal skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema have anti-inflammatory properties, and so does CBD. Thanks to the powerful antioxidant properties in CBD oil, it helps fasten the skin’s healing time[32]

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help treat skin conditions.

5.1 Protects and Heals the Skin

Our skin has the highest concentration and amount of CB2 receptors of all other organs of the body. Several studies show that CBD oil has a high likelihood of treating certain skin conditions[33] like acne and eczema by encouraging abnormal cell death.

CBD has a more powerful antioxidant than Vitamins C and E[34]. Hence when infused as a serum, lotion, salve, or oil, CBD may benefit the skin by repairing damage from free radicals like environmental pollutants and UV rays.

The skin has cannabinoid receptors that help regulate oil production in the sebaceous glands. Hence, companies are developing cannabis-based topical products meant to treat related issues from psoriasis to acne, and can further help promote damaged skin heal faster.

There are historical documents that prove that cannabis preparations have been used to heal wounds in both animals and people from different cultures all over the world[35] and go back years. The use of CBD oil and concentrated cannabis to treat skin conditions and skin cancer[36] is getting popular by the day.

Several people who used topical applications of CBD and THC products have been well-documented to have cured melanoma and carcinoma-type skin cancers.  A good example is Rick Simpson[37] who used cannabis oil to cure basal cell carcinoma. He now widely distributes a line of CBD products.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help protect and heal the skin.

5.2 May Reduce Acne

Acne is a common skin condition affecting more than 9% of the population[38]. Acne arises when dead skin cells, excess oil, or dirt accumulate clog the skin pores. When the skin pores are blocked, the bacteria that live in hair follicles, Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, multiply, which leads to an inflammation known as acne.

This bacteria build-up, in turn, causes red blemishes on the skin. To keep the bacteria away, you should always keep your skin clean and opt for skin oil that won’t clog your skin. Studies show that CBD oil has properties that help stop factors that trigger acne. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps inhibit oil production[39].

CBD reduces effects on acne-prone skin by targeting cells that activate acne[40]. Unlike acne-oriented products and prescription meds, CBD oil actually targets problem-causing cells in acne-prone skin types. Hence, CBD helps the skin heal without causing dryness or irritation on your skin.

However, to heal acne, one should also make sure to avoid stressing out during the repair process because acne is a natural process. While using CBD for acne, you could also incorporate CBD for anxiety during the process to help you calm down and allow your entire skin to repair itself. You can do this by adding a few drops in your drink or food to help manifest CBD’s effect.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help reduce acne.

5.3 Treat Lupus

Current treatments for Lupus are far from effective or perfect. Hence, drug companies have been trying to invest in more effective forms of medication for Lupus. Lupus, whether treated or untreated, causes the victim an epidemic of pain. 

However, with the current opioid addiction and overdose epidemic[41], a lot of strain is put on law enforcement as well as the medical community. Luckily, a wealth of research shows that CBD oil effectively helps with pain and inflammation[42], in which case, Lupus involves considerable inflammation.

Additionally, a study published in Cellular Immunology in 2018[43] found that CBD may alter T-cells, which are part of the immune system, after spinal cord injury. It is believed that abnormal activities of T-cells are involved in Lupus as well.

Furthermore, pain can include neuropathy or nerve damage, and studies show that CBD oil can help alleviate pain from HIV, diabetes, and other sources.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help treat lupus.

6. Could Benefit Heart Health

Heart disease is a growing health problem in the entire globe. It is one of the leading causes of death in the US. While people have started to put a healthy lifestyle and diet as a top priority, CBD oil can help as well.

JCJ Insight published a small study in 2017[44], where researchers observed that CBD oil could help prevent blood-pressure fluctuations caused by stress. Recent research has also linked CBD with more benefits for the heart as well as the circulatory system, and the ability to lower high blood pressure.

In a study[45], men were given stress tests that tend to increase blood pressure. However, a single dose of CBD made them experience small blood pressure increase than usual in response to stress tests. 

Additionally, animal studies have also demonstrated that CBD[46] could help reduce cell death and inflammation associated with heart disease thanks to its powerful stress-reducing and antioxidant properties.

Summary: Partly Effective – Academic research proves that CBD could benefit heart health.

6.1 Better Cholesterol Profiles

n a particular 2013 study, 4,652 participants were used to measure data on the effect of cannabis on their metabolic systems[47]. They compared non-users to both former and current users. They found that current cannabis users had higher blood levels of good cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C).

In the same year, 700 members of Canada’s Inuit Community were used to make an analysis that regular cannabis[48] users had slightly lower levels of bad cholesterol or LDL-C and increased levels of HDL-C.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help better cholesterol profiles.

6.2 Lowered Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Developed Western nations are commonly affected by atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart diseases or strokes. This chronic inflammatory disorder has been linked to diet and lifestyle. It involves the progressive depositing of immune cells that carry oxidized LDL, also known as atherosclerotic plaques.

It is often a physical response to injuries in the wall lining of the arteries, caused either by infectious microbes, high blood pressure, or excessive presence of homocysteine, an amino acid. Studies show that inflammatory molecules can stimulate a cycle that leads to atherosclerotic lesion.

In an animal trial done in 2005, low-dose oral cannabinoids helped slow down the progression of atherosclerosis[49]. Eventually, it was suggested that there was a substantial therapeutic potential for conditions atherosclerosis. Another animal study in 2007 showed that CBD had cardio-protective effects[50] in case of heart attacks.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

7. Protects Against Bone Disease and Broken Bones

During bone metabolism, old bone material is replaced by new bones at a rate of about 10% per year[51]. Cannabinoids help facilitate this crucial process of maintaining strong, healthy bones over time.

CBD oil can help reduce the risk of age-related bone diseases like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis by blocking an enzyme that destroys the body’s bone-building compounds. In the case of these diseases, the body doesn’t create new bone and cartilage cells.

Hence, CBD oil helps speed up the healing of bones[52], which spurs the new bone-cell formation and also decreases the likelihood of bone re-fracturing due to the stronger fracture callus.

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD can protect against bone disease and broken bones.

8. Reduce Risk of Diabetes

According to researchers, current cannabis users, over 4600 test subjects had fasting insulin levels up to 26% lower than those who didn’t use cannabis. They also had higher levels of HDL cholesterol that helps protect against diabetes and 17% lower insulin levels of resistance.

Test subjects who had used to use cannabis, and now they don’t have similar results but with fewer associations. This indicates that with time, the protective effect of cannabis fades.

Since diabetes is an inflammatory condition, CBD can help due to its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD has shown promise[53] in moderating blood sugars for those who have type 2 diabetes but don’t take insulin and reduces insulin resistance.

Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation published research in 2016[54] that found that CBD can help ease inflammation in the pancreas[55]. Another paper was presented the same year in Lisbon, Portugal, that suggested that CBD could delay and protect against the development of Type 1 Diabetes.

Since excess insulin promotes the conversion of sugars into stored fat, leading to weight gain and obesity, the interplay between insulin regulation and cannabinoids could help in the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the future.

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD can help alleviate reduce the risk of diabetes.

9. Reduce the Risk of Obesity

Several studies have shown that people who use cannabis regularly have a smaller waist circumference, a lower body mass index, and a reduced risk of obesity. In a report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2011, a survey was done in more than 52000 participants that showed that the participants who use cannabis had about 1/3 lower rates of obesity[56].

This was despite findings that cannabis users tend to consume more calories per day due to the stimulation of ghrelin by THC. Ghrelin increases your appetite as well as increases your metabolism of carbohydrates.

In 2006, a study on lab rats showed that CBD lowered the incidence of diabetes[57] on its own. According to research, CBD can help benefit weight loss by boosting your body to convert white fat into eight-reducing brown fat, which in turn promotes noatherogenesisrmal insulin production as well as sugar metabolism.

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD can help reduce the risk of obesity.

10. Helps Maintain Brain Health

Cannabinoids are neuroprotective, which means that they help maintain as well as regulate brain health. The effect is as a result of several actions cannabinoids have on the brain, such as improving the efficiency of mitochondria and the removal of damaged cells. 

CBD and some of the antioxidant compounds found in cannabis also helps reduce glutamate toxicity. Extra glutamate stimulates the nerve cells[58] in the brain, causing them to fire, causing cells to be over-stimulated, which could ultimately lead to cell damage or death. 

Hence, cannabinoids protect the brain cells damage and keep the brain healthy and functioning correctly. CBD also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.

Summary: No Proof – There lacks enough academic research to support that CBD helps maintain brain health.

10.1 Might Have Neuroprotective Properties

CBD has neuroprotective properties that help reduce damage to the brain[59] as well as the nervous system and helps encourage the growth and development of new neurons. Traumatic blows, ischemia, or genetic and autoimmune disorder can result in permanent or temporary neural damage.

Studies show that CBD could protect the brain against this damage and further improve recovery. This suggests that CBD could be of therapeutic benefit to those suffering from brain injuries, spinal cord diseases, spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, and strokes.

These disorders are caused by neuron damage, in which CBD can help combat as a neuroprotectant[60]. The Journal of Epilepsy Research published a study in 2017 where CBD was found to exhibit anticonvulsant properties[61].

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD might have neuroprotective properties.

10.2 Create Resilience to Trauma and Degeneration

As your brain ages, the creation of new neurons significantly slows down. To keep maintaining brain health and prevent degenerative diseases, the news cells should be continuously created.

According to a study in 2008, low doses of THC- and CBD-like cannabinoids used in animal models encouraged the creation of new nerve cells, even in an aging brain. CBD also helps prevent nerve-related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease[62] and neuropathy.

This means that CBD could play a role in whether or not you actually develop the disease you’re predisposed to. Hence in the future, CBD might be used to prevent different types of brain disease and protect the brain.

Summary: No Proof – there is very little proof to show that CBD can create resilience to trauma and degeneration.

11. Relieve Nerve Pain

Nerve pain arises from damaged, irritated, or dysfunctional nerves. When confused and damaged, the nerve will send mixed signals to the brain as well as other bodily systems. Everyone reacts differently to pain.

Neurotherapeutics published a study[63] that claimed that neuropathic pain patients could benefit from cannabinoid treatment. According to the Journal of Experimental Medicine[64], CBD suppresses neuropathic, and inflammatory pain by targeting a3 glycine receptors.

However, how CBD works to relieve or modulate pain is still uncertain. The psychoactive influences of CBD could distract users from the pain and help them ease the pain for just a short while.

Summary: Partly Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help relieve nerve pain.

12. May Work as an Antioxidant

CBD may work as an antioxidant and help reduce oxidative stress, a condition that occurs when the body has too many free radicals making it difficult for antioxidants to neutralize them. Hence, owing to the rising of toxicity in our environment, it’s a comparatively recent problem.

Since 2001, the US government has been aware of the antioxidant properties in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and HIV because these diseases are caused in part due to free radicals and when the body’s cellular system breaks apart.

Two separate studies show that CBD oil has neuroprotective and antioxidant qualities[65] that help in easing neurological damage caused by free radicals.

Summary: Partly Effective – Academic research proves that CBD may work as an antioxidant.

Psychotic Treatment Benefits

13. Could Relieve Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety affects 18%, and depression affects 6% of the population in the United States every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Generally, doctors advise people with chronic anxiety to avoid marijuana because THC can trigger paranoia or increase anxiety. However, CBD can help with both anxiety and depression if the THC level is limited to 0.03%.

According to a review published in 2015 in the Neurotherapeutics journal[66], CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that can help reduce anxiety and help people cope with certain anxiety-related behavioral disorders like general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and substance-abuse disorders.

However, there is no human-based research; these conclusions were derived through clinical trials, experimental research, and epidemiological studies.

CBD has also been seen to help reduce depression. CBD enhances both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signaling, which lack in people suffering from depression. Studies focused on using CBD oil to treat depression[67] have delivered promising results.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help relieve anxiety and depression.

13.1 May Help Reduce Fear Reaction or Effects

Humans are believed to be born with two fears; that is, fear of loud noises and fear of falling. All the other fears we learn, including hundreds of phobias people struggle with.

PTSD and phobias are marked as fear-related conditions. According to a report published by the British Pharmacological Society[68] in 2017, several studies confirmed that CBD could help reduce learned fear response in patients suffering from PTSD and phobias. 

In another study[69], researchers found that CBD helps relieve fear by disrupting memory reconsolidation, acutely decreases fear expression, and enhanced fear extinction. Hence, CBD helps reduce the impact of fear, whether you have PTSD, phobias, and other life-changing experiences that cause trauma.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help reduce fear reaction or effects.

13.2 May Reduce Stress

Daily stress can threaten your mental, social, and physical health. Beyond individual testimonies of people who successfully use CBD oil to relieve stress and anxiety, a number of scientific evidence show that CBD could help reduce stress.

A study on 32 different rodents[70] tested that CBD has positive effects on anxiety; only one rodent didn’t experience positive results. In these experiments, test subjects are put in stressful; situations and their anxiety and stress levels are measured.

An analysis in 2015 showed that CBD could reduce social anxiety and stress. It showed that CBD could help with disorders like SAD, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help reduce stress.

13.3 May Help Sleep Insomnia

Up to 60 million people in the United States of America have insomnia or both acute and chronic sleep disorders. Insomnia can impact a person’s life, and when it becomes chronic, it can be challenging to treat. 

Medications prescribed to treat insomnia and sleep disorders can put the patient at risk of addiction and severe side effects. Studies found[71] that CBD oil could help reduce the symptoms and severity of insomnia for a month once you start treatment. However, the results fluctuated over time.

Summary: Partly Effective – some academic research proves that CBD may help sleep insomnia.

14. CBD Can Combat Addiction

CBD can help people with drug addictions overcome withdrawal symptoms according to the journal Substance Abuse review published in 2015[72]. They analyzed that CBD could have a therapeutic effect on people with cocaine, opioid, and psycho-stimulant addiction.

They also found that it could help treat people with tobacco and cannabis addiction. There is evidence of CBD reducing or blocking THC’s effect on the mind.

Another review published in Neurotherapeutics states that CBD helps reduce symptoms often associated with substance abuse like mood-related symptoms, anxiety, insomnia, and pain.

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD can help combat addiction.

14.1 Decrease Cigarette Smoking Habits

According to a pilot study published in Addictive Behaviors[73], smokers who used vape pens or inhalers containing CBD reduced their smoking to fewer cigarettes than usual without suffering withdrawals like nicotine craving.

Researchers tested the efficacy of inhaled CBD on 24 cigarette smokers who wanted to quit smoking in a 2013 study[74] that lasted a week. Twelve of the participants who received CBD reduced smoking by about 40%, while the group who received a placebo saw no reduction in the number of cigarettes they smoked. 

And since most smokers are triggered to smoke by stressful situations, CBD oil can help manage anxiety and stress.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can decrease cigarette smoking habits.

14.2 May Help Drug (Opioid) Withdrawal & Addiction

Most opioids are used to reduce pain and certain mood disorders. CBD helps provide relief for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or mood disorders, and other issues we have mentioned above. Hence CBD has been shown to control cravings for opioids and reduce anxiety.

It does this without further increasing the probability of addiction, or inducing any side effects, or getting the patient high. CBD will act as a natural non-addictive, non-psychoactive solution for overcoming opioid withdrawal and reduce any chance of relapse.

Hence, people already suffering from opioid addiction could benefit from CBD[75] because it will help them reduce cravings as well as opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD can help drug (opioid) withdrawal and addiction.

14.3 CBD is an Effective Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Trends in Neuroscience published a 2017 paper that indicated that CBD could reduce heroin cravings[76] and help restore neurological damage as a result of opioid abuse.

CBD has been demonstrated in various studies to have direct interaction with dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. Excessive heroin and opioid use damages these receptors and limits the ability of your brain to process psychological, physical, and emotional actions properly.

Summary: No Proof – there lacks academic research to prove that CBD can effectively treat heroin addiction.

15. CBD Can Improve Mood and Alleviate Mood-Related Disorders

According to a 2018 study, CBD acts on multiple pathways in the brain[77] affecting the activity of essential mood-regulating chemicals like norepinephrine and serotonin. Serotonin receptor 5HT1A, one of the 5HT receptors, affects anxiety, appetite, sleep, addiction. 

CBD activates this receptor, just like serotonin-producing the same effect. Hence, CBD can supplement the brain production of serotonin, encouraging calming, mood-lifting effects of serotonin, a feel-good chemical.

CBD is also a positive modulator for GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that damps down the effects of excitatory chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine, producing a calming effect. CBD supports the expression and production of GABA in the brain.

Since CBD strongly supports the production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, like serotonin, people with depressive mood disorders can benefit from it.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help improve mood and alleviate mood-related disorders.

15.1 Soothe From The Outside In

CBD has shown promise for improving a variety of skin conditions. Research shows that the Endocannabinoid system plays a massive role in one’s skin health. In one study, CBD has helped people reduce oil and acid production that tends to cause acne.

Other studies also demonstrate that phytocannabinoids have topical anti-inflammatory properties. Test-tube studies on cannabinoid and acne[78] found that CBD oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on the sebaceous glands and helps reduce skin oil production that triggers acne.

The combination of CBD’s ability to control the sebaceous glands and reduce inflammation makes CBD soothe the skin from outside in.

Summary: No proof – there lacks enough academic research to prove this.

15.2 Achieve Clarity Not a High

CBD is derived from cannabis, and so it is not known to have psychotropic and psychoactive effects. However, CBD only contains traces of the THC compound, which has an altering effect.

Hence, though CBD and THC share almost the exact formula, they have a difference in the molecular structure that gives every compound unique medicinal properties. CBD has a hydroxyl group while THC has a cyclic ring that gets you high, while CBD, on the other hand, does not. Hence, CBD can moderate the effects of THC[79] by alleviating anxiety and stress, giving you clarity and not high.

Summary: No Proof – there lacks enough academic research to prove that CBD achieves clarity not high.

15.3 Increased Effectiveness

A large percentage of people suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders that make them ineffective in their day to day lives. Mental disorders can ruin the quality of life for most people.

Luckily, several medical researchers found that CBD helps reduce symptoms of mental disorders like depression and anxiety in people.CBD also can reduce pain[80], which also makes one’s life less effective. CBD can reduce neuropathic pain caused by multiple sclerosis[81] and physical pain caused by arthritis. People with inflammatory diseases that cause pain could be more effective by using CBD oil to dissipate pain.

Summary: No Proof – there lacks Academic research to prove that CBD increases effectiveness.

16. Help Alzheimer’s

Like with helping people with relief from inflammation, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and cognitive impairment, a recent study that focused on using CBD to treat Alzheimer’s[82] found that CBD has effects that can effectively treat disorders in the nervous system including Alzheimer’s.

Its efficacy to do this is due to CBD’s ability to protect nerve cells against deteriorating and further damage and its antioxidant properties as well. The same research has new findings that show that CBD can significantly reduce adverse effects in Alzheimer’s patients[83] and also improve their cognitive ability. While there is no substantial evidence of this, CBD might hold the key to helping Alzheimer’s patients and also slow down its progression.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help alzheimer’s.

17. Antipsychotic Effects

Antipsychotics work by targeting the release of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as acetylcholine, noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. Excess dopamine causes psychotic symptoms, and so antipsychotic medication helps bind dopamine receptors to reduce dopamine production.

The research concludes[84] that CBD could help normalize alterations to the brain areas implicated as a result of psychosis development. CBD improves the patient’s cognition and illness impact on their life quality and global functioning.

Hence, CBD has been seen to lower psychotic symptoms[85] in people who suffer from mental disorders like psychosis and schizophrenia. Though the results have not been proven for all mental disorders, people with these disorders have gotten relief from CBD[86].

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD has antipsychotic effects.

18. Calms Epilepsy

CBD has anti-seizure properties that treat drug-resistant types of neurological disorders[87] such as epilepsy. A study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine[88] that decreases the frequency of seizures by 23% over those who took placebos.

The US FDA advisors approved the prescription of Epidiolex in June 2018, a purified form of CBD for treating two severe and rare forms of epilepsy; Dravet Syndrome (DS) and Gestaut Syndrome (LGS), in patients above two years old. These two forms do not respond to anti-seizure medications.

Epidiolex reduces seizures or stops them altogether. On June 25, the drug was approved to treat seizures associated with these forms of epilepsy. Researchers also suggest that CBD can treat complications that arise from epilepsy[89], like neuronal injury, neurodegeneration, and psychiatric diseases.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD can help calm epilepsy.

19. Reduce Symptoms of PTSD

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine[90] published a retrospective case series that shows that administering CBD combined with a routine psychiatric case has been associated with PTSD reduction.

Hypothetically, opioids are prescribed to people with PTSD. However, opioids can be very addictive and put patients at risk of developing disorders from opioid use. Thankfully, CBD offers patients safer treatment options for those with PTSD without side effects.

Clinical trials[91] showed that CBD significantly reduces or ceases flashbacks, persistent unpleasant memories[92], and nightmares in PTSD patients. Hence, CBD can effectively attenuate significant symptoms of PTSD like reducing anxiety, consolidating fear of memories, and improve sleep.

Summary: Effective – Academic research proves that CBD reduces symptoms of PTSD.

20. Digestive Aid

Since CBD oil was approved and legalized by the FDA, doctors have started recommending it as an alternative treatment for patients. Gut health and digestion plays a huge role in overall health. The gut is also a home for many organisms, including bacteria, parasites, and a lot more.

CBD can be a good supplement for gut health[93] and has been recommended and used for many disorders related to gut health. Cannabinoid receptors help regulate digestive processes like salivation, appetite, hunger, and satiety.

CBD has also been proven to help bloating and swelling of the stomach. People can benefit from CBD for constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. CBD can also aid in the treatment of severe conditions like Crohn’s disease, IBS, and Colitis[94].

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD can be a digestive aid.

21. Immunomodulatory Effects

The therapeutic application of the endocannabinoid system has effects on the immune system. It is referred to as immune-cannabinoid modulation. The ECS regulates or varies the tone, properties, and overall function of the immune system.

Although immunomodulatory effects have not been fully proved, certain cannabinoids reduce inflammatory responses at the optimal concentration in patients with autoimmune diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, encephalomyelitis, lupus, and Parkinson’s. CBD is particularly potent in this regard.

Studies on immune responses and inflammation demonstrate that CBD is anti-inflammatory and immune suppressive[95]. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD help suppress the immune system by reducing inflammation, which effectively strengthens the immune system.

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD has immunomodulatory effects.

22. Potential in Treatment of HIV-1 Infection

One of the causes of HIV/AIDS is the dysfunction of the immune system and not performing optimally. HIV leaves the body without the ability to fight the virus by compromising the immune system.CBD tends to be a good option in relieving HIV symptoms[96] because it can make the immune system perform better.

In 2015, a study was conducted that found that patients who took CBD had more CD4 immune cells and less viral loads that fight against HIV compared to regular patients. Another 2003 study revealed that CBD helped T-cells count increase.

T-cells are integral to the immune system and help destroy harmful pathogens. Recent studies show that CBD can help inhibit the progression of HIV[97] into AIDS by inhibiting plasmacytoid dendritic cells function.

Summary: Partly Effective – Some academic research proves that CBD can potentially treat HIV-1 Infection.

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About Keith Myers

Keith J. Myers is the Founder & Editor in Chief of the Hempire. He has overseen and directed the editorial growth and skill of this website since 2012. Before creating the Hempire, Keith was a writer and editor who covered topics in CBD, health, science, and wellness. His personal commitment to helping people naturally and safely improve their health has driven the Hempire to commit to quality and consumer transparency.