CBD Health Benefits | Health Benefits of CBD
As the CBD industry surges in popularity, it has been associated with more and more health benefits. Here are some of the foremost areas of medical research into CBD.
Due to the increasing research into the health benefits of CBD, the CBD oil market continues to grow rapidly in the UK and worldwide. In 2018, the UK Parliament passed legislation legalising certain cannabinoids including CBD. The following year, it was governed that CBD products are to be considered a food supplement, and CBD companies must submit a Novel Foods Application to the Food Standards Agency. Currently, industry analysts estimate that the annual value of the UK CBD industry is approximately £700 million, with the figure expected to surpass one billion GBP by 2025.
Whilst there are numerous health claims of CBD, a number of these require further peer-reviewed research before being verified, and it’s wise to be wary of any claims that CBD is a ‘wonder drug’ or ‘miracle cure’.
What Do Medical Experts Say About CBD?
After reviewing a number of studies on CBD, medical experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) came to the decision that CBD ‘does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm’, and nowadays more and more doctors are seeing the potential of CBD to support a range of health concerns. Industry experts and doctors agree that if patients decide to take CBD, they should look for products with only the highest-quality ingredients.
What Are the Health Benefits of CBD?
Research into the health benefits of CBD is fast growing momentum, with evidence to suggest it can support a number of health concerns, as discussed below.
Can CBD Be Used for Mental Health?
According to recent statistics from Mind.Org, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health concern each year, with depression and anxiety being two of the most common. Evidence shows that CBD could benefit mental health.
Considering the role of the endocannabinoid system in mood regulating, CBD oil has shown promise in supporting those with anxiety, with several studies finding it to be highly effective. A Brazilian study in 2018 saw 57 men given either oral CBD, or a placebo, 90 minutes prior to taking a public speaking test. A 300mg dose significantly reduced anxiety during the test, whereas little or no effect was reported in those who took the placebo, a 150mg dose, or a 600mg dose.
There is limited human research on the benefits of CBD for depression however a recent review of existing studies concluded that CBD has anti-stress properties, which may help to reduce depression which is caused by stress. Findings from a 2014 study also indicate that CBD appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which impacts our emotions and feelings of happiness, so keeping serotonin levels balanced is crucial in those with depression.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a long-lasting mental health condition that a person may develop following a traumatic event. It is thought that approximately 10% of people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. A 2019 review of studies on medical cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids and CBD found that CBD may be helpful when treating PTSD, however, more research into its safety and efficacy are required. Whilst it is still unclear why CBD works for PTSD, according to an article in Frontiers in Neuroscience, people with PTSD have a hyperactive amygdala, which may make symptoms worse. CBD may cause the hippocampus to grow and may reduce hyperactivity of the amygdala.
Can CBD Cure Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a severe long-term mental health condition which causes a range of different psychological symptoms. Doctors often describe schizophrenia as a type of psychosis. This means the person may not always be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality.
A 2021 review of research on CBD and psychosis found that in two of three clinical trials, CBD showed some improvement of psychotic symptoms. However, the trials were small, with only 36 people included in the smallest and 88 people in the largest.
Several clinical studies have shown that CBD might be useful as an antipsychotic drug, and brain scans show that it works in the areas of the brain that are known to be most affected in schizophrenic patients. Whilst human research on CBD and schizophrenia is fast growing, more evidence is needed to support this area of study.
Using CBD for Pain and Inflammation
If you have been dealing with persistent pain for more than three months, you are said to be suffering from chronic pain. Symptoms of chronic pain include joint pain, fatigue, muscle aches, mood changes and sleep issues.
Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, is an inflammatory disease which commonly affects the joints in the hands, wrists and knees, causing the joint to become inflamed and damaging the tissue – leading to chronic pain. Animal studies have shown CBD can help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, which also reduces inflammation, but more research needs to be undertaken in human subjects.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, and those suffering may also have an increased sensitivity to pain, extreme tiredness, difficulty sleeping, ‘brain fog’ and headaches. A 2020 review of research found that CBD shows promise in supporting fibromyalgia, due to its pain and inflammation reducing properties.
Can CBD Be Used to Treat Addiction?
Studies have shown that CBD could be used to help treat opioid addiction. In one recent study, 42 participants with a history of heroin abuse were given either an oral CBD solution or a placebo and were shown videos that contained neutral or drug-related cues. The researchers found that compared to the placebo, CBD reduced cravings and feelings of anxiety in the participants. However, research is limited and further studies in this area are required.
What are Some Key Areas of Research into the Benefits of CBD?
A 2010 study into the efficacy of CBD in preclinical models of metastatic breast cancer found that CBD significantly reduced breast cancer proliferation and invasion, and a 2014 review of 35 studies found that cannabinoids are promising in the treatment of gliomas.
CBD for cancer support is a growing area of study, however more research is needed in this field.
Complications of Diabetes:
Recent research shows that CBD could help to reduce insulin resistance and moderate blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin. Most studies on CBD for diabetes have been animal studies, so more evidence is required when it comes to the benefits for human subjects.
Whilst further research is needed, studies show that CBD can be useful in lowering both blood pressure and heart rate under stress. High blood pressure is the leading risk factor when it comes to heart disease. In a 2017 study, volunteers with no existing medical concerns were subjected to stress, after which they were given a dose of CBD. CBD was shown to lower their blood pressure, compared to those given a placebo.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures. There is no cure for epilepsy, but there are ways in which to manage it. The use of CBD for epilepsy is one of the most thoroughly investigated applications of cannabinoids in medicine. In many countries, CBD is currently approved as an anticonvulsant by the name of Epidiolex.
Are There Any CBD-Related Health Claims To Be Wary Of?
Whilst there are numerous proven health benefits of CBD, not all claims are verified. Before making health claims about a product, its supplier must ensure these claims are backed up by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Examples of unproven claims for CBD include its usage in treating alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, hearing loss, diabetes and tumours, amongst many other health concerns.
Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?
CBD is generally well-tolerated but it can cause side effects including a dry mouth, diarrhoea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. CBD may also interact with other medications, such as blood thinners.
Should I Speak to a Doctor Before Trying CBD?
Although CBD has been deemed safe according to recent reviews, if you’re considering taking CBD for health benefits you may wish to speak with your doctor or healthcare practitioner first, particularly if you are taking medication, to avoid any potential interactions.