5 Science-Backed Benefits of CBD

CBD, short for cannabidiol, became more famous out of awareness and consumption than scientific studies. Before science could back up the benefits of CBD, it made it to the shelves of many retail shops selling as a non-prescription miracle drug for all your problems. Science had to catch up before a catastrophic event did.

Understanding the intricacies, the working, and mechanism, and the reasoning behind each event is what defines science. Scientists are intrigued by this previously notorious member of the drug family, CBD. It is common knowledge now about the potential of CBD not only in the pharmaceutical but the therapeutic and cosmetic industries as well.

CBD for Mental Health

CBD has probably become the first treatment for anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other mental health disorders without the fear of side effects or overdosing. This not only addresses the taboo of talking about mental health but with the science supporting it, mental health is recognized as an actual disease.

Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry cited a 2017 study that tested 57 men for anxiety in simulated public speaking. Amongst the four groups made, each received a placebo, 150 mg, 300 mg, or 600 mg of CBD randomly. The group receiving 300 mg of CBD showed relatively lower levels of anxiety than those with placebo. Surprisingly, the 150 mg and 600 mg groups experienced more significant stress levels than 300 mg consumers. This signifies the importance of a suitable dose. A higher dose may not always be better.

Another 2019 study tested patients with self-reported anxiety. Amongst the 103 adults that participated, 79 percent started showing improvement with decreased anxiety levels in the first month of the experiment. The trend continued for the rest of the three-month course, with the volunteers consuming 25-175 mg of CBD per day. The regulation of GABA neurotransmitters explained this. Its surplus accumulation calms the brain by reducing stimulus and, in turn, also induces sleep. Although termed as the non-psychoactive component, it does have quite a role in regulating brain functions.

CBD for Opioid Addiction

It’s pretty ironic how one drug is used to cancel out the effects of another. Where previously people were struggling with addiction to cannabis, it is now used to treat opioid addiction. Bot animal and human studies have backed CBD with science to prove its efficacy in this field. In one study, heroin users were administered with CBD and were observed to have reduced withdrawal symptoms, including heart rate, salivary cortisol levels, and cravings. It also helped with insomnia and anxiety that are often accompanied by substance abuse.  

CBD for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a symptom common to many diseases like multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis, and migraines. CBD often works with THC to create the ‘entourage effect’ to treat chronic pain. Canada approved its use in 2005 with the help of Sativex. This oromucosal spray contains equal amounts of THC and CBD. It is widely used in Canada for multiple sclerosis and later in 2007 for cancer pain that was otherwise not treatable by other medications.

On the other hand, in the USA, the studies were still underway. In a 2020 study, researchers tried CBD on patients with symptomatic peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by brain damage and spinal cord nerves. Where one group received CBD, the other received a placebo, and the results, as expected, showed a significant decrease in acute, sharp jolts of pain and itchy sensations. More importantly, neither of the participants faced any side effects.

Also, CBD as a topical balm works best for localized pain. Because CBD does not affect the systemic tissue this way, it targets more localized pain-like joints and may have a more pronounced effect. A 2018 study involved CBD for osteoarthritis. Researchers tested a 250 mg and a 500 mg dose of synthetic CBD gel on patients with osteoarthritis against placebo. The patients taking CBD experienced so much pain relief that they discontinued any other anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers. 

CBD for Diabetes

Quite surprisingly, CBD turns out to be a treatment for one of the most prevalent, diabetes. Researchers noticed the beneficial effects of CBD on regulating glucose levels in cells and allowed them to expand their studies.

Thirteen patients with type 2 diabetes with no initial insulin treatment were randomly assigned placebo and CBD. The administration of CBD showed a reduction in resistin levels. Resistin is a protein that resists insulin. Moreover, researchers also observed a higher level of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, a hormone responsible for sufficient insulin secretion. This only proves that CBD may be a possible cure for diabetes and could be a groundbreaking discovery.

CBD for Neurological Disorders

CBD’s most incredible standing so far is its effectiveness against severe and rare neurological disorders. Diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease are progressive with no cure until researchers started studying CBD.

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property of CBD has helped researchers deduce the neuroprotective nature of CBD. These are clearly backed by science, with the only two FDA-approved CBD medications for rare cases of epilepsy under the brand name, epidiolex. FDA approved epidiolex after a thorough study. In a trial of 516 patients, epidiolex and placebo were randomly assigned, and the difference in frequency of seizures was pretty significant. It is now used for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.

The scientific studies are still in the initial stages. Researchers believe that there is way more than what is known. The studies now are just at the surface level. This is why doctors are hesitant when prescribing CBD. Although no significant side effects have been observed, scientists believe that CBD’s mechanism can be enhanced or suppressed by many individual and pharmaceutical factors. Also, there are many gray areas as to how CBD has achieved these miraculous benefits.

CBD’s gray area lies in its psychotropic counterpart, THC, and its connection with marijuana. Also, the FDA is skeptical of its approval despite its rising popularity and efficacy. The biggest concern, however, lies in the unsupervised and widespread consumption of CBD without proper precautions. Yes, the benefits of CBD were obvious way before science did. Still, the surety and certainty that scientific shreds of evidence and studies provide are vital to avoid any unforeseen and unexpected consequences.  

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