CBD is most commonly used to help relieve anxiety, pain, inflammation, and sleep problems - though ongoing research has discovered dozens of potential applications. Now that CBD concentrated products are publicly available for the first time, a large body of evidence supporting its use is forming, though more definitive scientific investigation is needed. That being said, here are some of the potential benefits of CBD with significant testimonial support:
Pre-clinical evidence strongly supports the use of CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety. CBD is shown to activate 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors in the brain. These receptors help regulate anxiety, panic, compulsion, and fear. Clinical studies are scarce (there are many ongoing) but have shown promising results. One study showed that CBD reduces anxiety related to public speaking in both healthy adults and adults with Social Anxiety Disorder. Other studies show that CBD supports fear extinction, a natural learning process our brain uses to suppress memories of trauma-related fear.
Pre-clinical studies show that CBD suppresses inflammatory pain and chronic neuropathic pain in both mice and rats. One study found that CBD applied to the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. Human evidence isolating CBD’s effect on pain is scarce, and more is needed to fully understand CBD’s effect on pain and inflammation. Two small studies, however, have shown promise. CBD reduced pain in both girls who suffered adverse effects after an HPV vaccine, and in patients suffering from pain after kidney transplants.
In a recent survey, 10% of respondents reported using CBD as a sleep aid. The majority of them said it worked, but so far the returned evidence is anecdotal and lacks scientific stricture. Human trials examining CBD’s effect on sleep have only looked at CBD in combination with THC, and more clinical trials need to occur before any definitive statements can be made about the effect of isolated CBD on sleep deprivation. When both CBD and THC were administered in medium and high doses, however, notable sedative effects were observed.
The most conclusive evidence of CBD’s effectiveness so far has been observed for two rare forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Three clinical trials have shown that daily administration of pure CBD significantly reduces the frequency of seizures in Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet patients. This evidence led the FDA to recommend Epidiolex, the first plant-based CBD pharmaceutical, as an approved treatment for these rare forms of epilepsy.
These are a few common applications of CBD that are supported by human evidence, and CBD is currently being researched for a wide array of potential benefits additionally. The compound is potentially so versatile because it interacts with the Endocannabinoid receptor system, the neural system that regulates everything from appetite to mood, pain, addiction, inflammation, and digestion.
The Endocannabinoid System is a network of receptors (CB1 and CB2) throughout the body that are activated by cannabinoids produced by our bodies naturally (endocannabinoids), and also interacts with ingested sustances such as CBD, THC and other cannabinoids. The Endocannabinoid System is vital to maintaining homeostasis, because it helps to keep the body’s nervous and immune systems in balance. It plays a complicated role in regulating stress, anxiety, metabolism, mood, addiction, inflammatory response, and immune health.
CBD doesn’t directly bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC does. Rather, it compliments our bodies’ natural endocannabinoids, like Anandamide, and helps them to stay in our system for longer without breaking down. CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System by supporting levels of the beneficial endocannabinoids already produced by our bodies. These changes in reuptake lead scientists to believe CBD has a potential role in broadly maintaining homeostasis throughout the whole body.