There’s some controversy around cannabis products like CBD because of recreational marijuana use. There is however growing awareness about the possible health benefits of CBD oil. Here’s what you need to know about six potential medical uses of CBD and where the research stands:
1. Anxiety relief
CBD may be able to help you manage anxiety. Researchers believe it may change the way your brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, a chemical linked to mental health. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical messages and help your cells respond to different stimuli.
One study found that a CBD helped people with social anxiety give a speech. Other early studies done with animals have shown that CBD may help relieve anxiety by:
decreasing physiological effects of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate
improving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
inducing sleep in cases of insomnia.
CBD has been in the news before, as a possible treatment for epilepsy. Research is still in its early days. Researchers are testing how much CBD is able to reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy, as well as how safe it is. The American Epilepsy Society states that cannabidiol research offers hope for seizure disorders, and that research is currently being conducted to better understand safe use.
A study in 2016 worked with 214 people with epilepsy. The study participants added oral doses of 2 to 5mg of CBD per day to their existing anti-epilepsy medications. The study’s researchers monitored the participants for 12 weeks, recording any negative side effects and checking on the frequency of their seizures. Overall, participants had 36.5 percent fewer seizures per month. However, severe adverse effects were recorded in 12 percent of the participants.
Researchers are looking at a receptor located in the brain to learn about the ways that CBD could help people with neurodegenerative disorders, which are diseases that cause the brain and nerves to deteriorate over time. This receptor is known as CB1.
Researchers are studying the use of CBD oil for treating:
multiple sclerosis (MS)
CBD oil may also reduce the inflammation that can make neurodegenerative symptoms worse. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD oil for neurodegenerative diseases.
4. Pain relief
The effects of CBD on your brain’s receptors may also help you manage pain. Studies have shown that cannabis can offer some benefits when taken after chemotherapy treatments. Other pre-clinical studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health are also looking at the role of cannabis in relieving symptoms caused by:
spinal cord injuries.
Nabiximols (Sativex), a multiple sclerosis drug made from a combination of TCH and CBD, is approved in the United Kingdom and Canada to treat MS pain. However, researchers think the CBD in the drug may be contributing more with its anti-inflammatory properties than by acting against the pain. Clinical trials of CBD are necessary to determine whether or not it should be used for pain management.
The effects of CBD on receptors in the immune system may help reduce overall inflammation in the body. In turn, CBD oil may offer benefits for acne management. A human study found that the oil prevented activity in sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, a natural oily substance that hydrates the skin. Too much sebum, however, can lead to acne.
Before you consider CBD oil for acne treatment, it’s worth discussing with your dermatologist. More human studies are needed to evaluate the potential benefits of CBD for acne.
5. Cancer treatment
Some studies have investigated the role of CBD in preventing cancer cell growth, but research is still in its early stages. The NCI says that CBD may help alleviate cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. However, the NCI doesn’t fully endorse any form of cannabis as a cancer treatment. The action of CBD that’s promising for cancer treatment is its ability to moderate inflammation and change how cell reproduce. CBD has the effect of reducing the ability of some types of tumor cells to reproduce.