6 Health Benefits Of Cannabidiol Oil (CBD)

Touted as the cure-all for all health woes in the media, cannabidiol (CBD) refers to the second most prevalent of the active ingredients in cannabis (marijuana). Despite this, it doesn’t cause a “high” on its own. Besides, it can also be derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant. And to-date, there’s no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD. You could add CBD to your smoothies, coffee, juices, or even have it on its own. Here are all the health benefits it has been found to provide.

1. Relieves Pain

Historically, marijuana has been used to treat pain, dating as far back as 2900 B.C.1 Recent studies have identified that certain components of marijuana, including CBD, are responsible for this pain-relieving effect. The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which regulates sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response.2 And the body produces neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that bind to the cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. Studies have found that CBD impacts this very endocannabinoid receptor activity and interacts with the neurotransmitters produced to reduce pain-causing inflammation.3 One study, conducted in rats, found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision.4 Another similar study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.5 Studies conducted on humans, meanwhile, have found that CBD in combination with Tetrahydrocannabinol (the psychoactive component of cannabis) effectively treats pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis. In another study, conducted in 47 people with multiple sclerosis, participants treated with a product containing both experienced a significant improvement in pain, walking and muscle spasms, compared to those who weren’t.6

2. May Keep Acne At Bay

Acne could be caused by anything from genetics and bacteria or underlying inflammation and the overproduction of sebum, an oily secretion made by sebaceous glands in the skin.7 8 It can be frustrating to cope with and most people with acne have to try a combination of oral and topical medications to see results. This often takes a long time to come to fruition.

Recent studies have found that CBD oil may aid in the treatment of acne by reducing sebum production and reducing inflammation. In fact, one study found that CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum, exerted anti-inflammatory actions, and prevented the activation of acne-aggravating agents like inflammatory cytokines.9 Other studies have backed these benefits but human studies are needed to fully validate them.10

3. Relieves The Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety and depression can severely impact one’s well being. In addition to therapy, which can help immensely, these mental-health disorders are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs that come with the risk of side effects like drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and headache.11 In addition to this, medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive and lead to substance abuse.12 Studies have found that CBD oil aids in the treatment of both depression and anxiety. In one such study, conducted on 24 people with social anxiety disorder right before a public speaking test, 600 mg of CBD oil was found to lower anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in speech performance.13 In addition to this, CBD oil has been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder.14

It has also been found to have antidepressant-like effects in animal studies. These benefits could be attributed to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.15 16

4. Protects Heart Health

One in every three deaths in the United States is attributed to heart health. Recent studies have linked CBD with the ability to lower high blood pressure. And high blood pressure has been found to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome.17 One such study, conducted in 10 healthy men, found that one 600 mg dose of CBD oil reduced resting blood pressure. It also found that stress tests that normally increased blood pressure in these very men didn’t have the same effect once they were given the CBD oil. In part, the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD may be responsible for this ability to lower blood pressure.18

Besides this, several studies that were conducted on animals have found that CBD oil might reduce inflammation and cell death associated with heart disease. And this was also linked to its powerful antioxidant and stress-relieving properties. One such study also found that CBD reduced oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice that had heart disease.19

5. Might Have Neuroprotective Benefits

More recently, evidence has led researchers to believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and various other brain signaling systems may prove to be beneficial for people with neurological disorders. One of the most promising results for CBD oil has been found in its use to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. In fact, an oral spray containing both CBD and THC has been deemed safe and effective to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. In fact, it was able to reduce spasms by 75% in 276 people with multiple sclerosis, in whom muscle spasticity was resistant to medications.20 Another study, conducted in 214 people with severe epilepsy, found that 0.9–2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound of body weight, reduced the incidence of seizures by a median of 36.5%.21

In addition to this, another study found that CBD oil significantly reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder.22 That said, it is important to note that, in some people, CBD oil had side effects like convulsions, fever, and diarrhea.

Besides this, CBD has been found to improve quality of life and sleep in people with Parkinson’s disease.23 Animal and test-tube studies have found that CBD may also decrease inflammation and prevent neurodegeneration (cognitive decline) associated with Alzheimer’s disease.24

6. Might Keep Cancer And Its Symptoms At Bay

Research into CBD has found it to help relieve symptoms related to cancer as well as the side effects that its treatment brings, including nausea, vomiting, and pain. One study, conducted in 177 people with cancer-related pain, found that a combination of CBD and THC significantly relieved pain that didn’t respond to pain medication.25

Research has also found CBD to help reduce common chemotherapy-induced side effects like nausea and vomiting. In fact, one such study, conducted in 16 people undergoing chemotherapy, found that a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered via mouth spray reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than standard treatment alone.26

Besides this, certain test-tube and animal studies have found that CBD may have anticancer properties, one of which found that concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells.27 In another study, conducted in mice, CBD inhibited the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells. However, these studies are preliminary and conducted in test tubes or in animals. However, these are test-tube and animal studies and more studies in humans are needed before conclusions can be made.28

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