Cannabidiol, known as CBD for short, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, and is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in hemp plants. Cannabis is illegal in the UK and is classified as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. However, CBD contains no or only trace elements of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is found in the full cannabis plant and is the compound responsible for the ‘high’ feeling associated with cannabis.
Because CBD has no psychoactive effects, it is legal in the UK and is fast becoming a major player in the wellness industry thanks to increasing evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, of its capacity to treat and manage many medical problems. CBD comes in many different ways, from gummies to oil to vape liquid, making it easy to integrate into your daily routine. offering Here are ten science-backed health benefits of taking CBD.
Pain and Inflammation
The human body contains a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in a range of biological processes including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that interact with cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity and reducing inflammation.
The first CBD-based medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America was Epidiolex, which is prescribed to people who experience seizures due to rare types of epilepsy. A 2019 article in scientific journal Molecules says that, though scientists don’t know precisely how CBD helps control seizures, one theory is that CBD influences a receptor involved in seizure activity called transient receptor vanilloid.
Anxiety and Depression
Various animal studies (like this 2009 one on mice) on the effects of CBD on various mood disorders have shown promising results. A human study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology demonstrated that CBD could reduce the anxiety caused by public speaking. Participants who took CBD before a public speaking event reported feeling less anxiety and discomfort suggesting that CBD may help relieve the anxiety associated with the anticipation of a stressful or frightening event. The participants in the study also showed lower negative self-evaluation whilst the public speaking was taking place, prompting researchers to suggest that serotonin may play a role in the way CBD affects anxiety.
Heart Health and Blood Pressure
A study published in 2017 by The American Society for Clinical Investigation found that CBD may be an effective treatment to lower high blood pressure. The study revealed that CBD oil reduced systolic blood pressure and stroke volume in subjects who were exposed to stress. Researchers believe that the anxiety regulating properties found in CBD were responsible for reducing blood pressure, which supported heart health. CBD oil also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that contribute to overall heart health.
Research has found that CBD may help reduce symptoms, such as pain, vomiting and nausea, that are related to cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment. One study published in the Journal of Pain and Symtpom Management looked at the effects of CBD and THC on people with cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from pain medication, finding that those treated with an extract containing both compounds experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those who only received a THC extract.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that CBD may help to reduce nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, which are among the most common side effects associated with that particular type of cancer treatment. There is also potential in CBD as a treatment for cancer itself with scientists finding in a study published by Molecular Cancer Therapuetics that CBD inhibits the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice.
Addiction Management and Treatment
A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggested that CBD oil may help people with addiction by reducing activation of the amygdala, the area of the brain related to addiction. The study explored the effect of CBD on craving and anxiety in people with heroin addiction, finding that people who took CBD instead of a placebo experienced lower cravings and anxiety.
Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Cannabinoids demonstrate anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, anti-ageing and anti-cancer properties, according to a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment. Experts suggest that these effects happen when CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system found on the skin. The study found that CBD may be helpful with conditions such as psoriasis, skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, itchy skin and acne. A separate study published by The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD prevents the function of sebaceous glands that contribute to acne, and that CBD has potential as a promising therapy to prevent it.
It is believed that CBD may offer neuroprotective activity against several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Research published in Molecules suggests that the neuroprotective effects occur due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties found in CBD. In some countries doctors prescribe a drug called Sativex, which contains CBD and THC, to relieve spasticity in people with MS. The drug also assisted with other complications such as muscle stiffness, and bowel and bladder dysfunction.
Research published in The Permanente Journal in 2019 found that CBD can improve sleep. After a month of taking CBD capsules, 66.7% of participants in the study reported better sleep. A different study from the Journal of Clincial Pharmacy and Therapuetics looked at patients with Parkinson’s disease and found that CBD improved the symptoms of REM sleep behaviour disorder, a disorder in which people act out their dreams. It is also thought that by decreasing pain and inflammation, CBD enables people to sleep better.
There are many scientifically proven health benefits to CBD, which is why it is now firmly part of the wellness industry and also becoming accepted by mainstream healthcare. Studies on CBD are increasing, which are sure to shine a light on ever more ways in which it is beneficial to health. If you are affected by any of the issues described above, CBD products could help to improve your health and wellbeing.