As fantastic as Hemp and its cannabinoids (including CBD) are for everyday wellness and mood, you may be interested in hemp-derived CBD for its more potent benefits touted by fans and suggested by scientists. Here is a quick and informative look at the various conditions scientists and researchers are currently investigating in relation to CBD’s benefits – and what they found out…
hen disease or complications strike your body, the research and effort to understand what’s happening to you, plus how to address it, can be overwhelming. And in today’s modern world, you have numerous paths and areas of expertise you can rely on: From your family physician, to a naturopath or energy healer, to that fabulous acupuncturist or herbalist.
Depending on each person’s area of expertise and personal belief system, you’ll likely get very different recommendations and insights from each person you consult. And frankly, that’s maddening when urgency and accuracy may be necessary.
If you’re looking for a solution to a more severe health issue, remember that there’s often no single miracle cure. We ❤️ hemp and CBD, and we highly recommend including it in any health regimen. We also honor that every body is unique and that any ailment will likely have mental, emotional and energetic contributing factors, in addition to physical factors.
That said, below we run through the most common conditions CBD has been shown, in preliminary studies, to assist. We provide reference links so that you can explore the facts for yourself. None of the following information should be construed as medical advice. If you wish to explore using CBD oil to assist with any of these conditions, be sure to discuss it with your doctor, naturopath or health practitioner.
Addiction – Yasmin Hurd, PhD. of Mt Sinai Hospital conducted a small pilot study in humans that found CBD directly reduced cravings and heroin seeking behavior in abstinent heroin users.
Allergy symptoms/Asthma – It’s known that endogenous cannabinoids help regulate airway functions and there is increasing evidence to suggest that CBD can help alleviate symptoms of allergies and even asthma. Animal studies in mice have shown that CBD can slow the expression of some genes associated with allergic responses and reduce allergen-induced mucous production. There’s also evidence that CBD can suppress some types of allergic asthma.
Anxiety – There’s promising preclinical evidence from rodent models that CBD reduces activity in areas of the brain that cause anxiety and improve activity in areas that regulate anxiety like the prefrontal cortex. And human experimental studies show that CBD can reduce social anxiety and fear of public speaking with a dose range of 300-600 mg. A 2015 review study found that “current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.”
Appetite – THC is a proven appetite stimulant. However, CBD seems to affect different people differently. One Dutch study showed that a high CBD strain of medical marijuana caused less appetite increase than lower CBD strains. Another study of epilepsy patients found that CBD increased appetite for some patients and decreased it for others.
Though more research is needed in this area, this suggests that CBD may be adaptogenic, meaning it assists homeostasis in the body. So if your apetite is lower than normal for your body, it may help stimulate it. If your apetite is higher than normal for your body, it may help reduce it. Either way, bringing you back to balance.
Arthritis – There’s evidence in small animal studies that CBD can not only alleviate pain for osteoarthritis, it can also protect the development of later nerve damage in the affected joint.
Autism – While Autism is a complex disease affecting multiple systems of the body, recent studies indicate that a malfunctioning endocannabinoid system may be a contributing factor in the disease and treatment with cannabinoids may offer some relief of certain symptoms of autism in some patients.
Autoimmune disorders – Both CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, suggesting the important role of cannabinoids in regulating the body’s immune system. The effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating autoimmune issues may be due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, its ability to induce cell die-off as part of our body’s normal processes.
Studies have shown that CBD can inhibit the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Animal studies using CBD to treat type 1 diabetes successfully delayed the full destruction of beta cells and preserved pancreatic function. A study in rats showed CBD protected them from diabetic retinopathy and reduced pain associated with neuropathy.
Cancer – Certain types of cancer are strongly correlated with inflammation. Some studies have shown that cannabinoids can deter tumors from growing new blood cells (angiogenesis) and help kill cells in some tumors, helping aid the body in tumor destruction. Further, CBD can assist cancer patients in reducing symptoms from cancer treatment such as pain, nausea, anxiety and sleep issues.
Dementia & Alzheimer’s – Animal studies have shown that CBD can reduce the neuroinflammatory response and slow gliosis (a reactive and damaging response in glial cells that results from damage to the central nervous system) and promote the growth and development of new neural tissue. Early studies show that synthetic cannabinoids may reduce agitation and aggression in Alzheimer’s disease. Many prominent researchers are pushing for further research to explore CBD’s potential to impact Alzheimer’s due to its anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antioxidant properties, as well its immunosuppressive effects.
Depression – Researchers hypothesize that emotional dysregulation such as depression is due to dysfunction in the endocannabinoid system. In animal studies, CBD has shown anti-anxiety and fast-acting antidepressant effects. Researchers look forward to focusing on the endocannabinoid system to develop a new class of antidepressant medications.
Diabetes – While we’ve discussed the potential for CBD in treating autoimmune-related diabetes (type 1), there’s also ample evidence that CBD can help those suffering complications from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The neuroprotective and anti inflammatory qualities of CBD help lessen the effects of painful neuropathy (nerve damage from high blood sugars), and even protect sufferers from diabetic retinopathy, as demonstrated in animal studies. One study even showed reduced blood sugar in type 2 patients who took a combination of CBD and another non-psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) which acts as an appetite suppressant.
Digestive Health – The endocannabinoid system plays a surprising role in our digestive health, helping to control everything from swallowing to how our muscles work to push food through the intestines (known as gastric motility). There’s exciting research into the use the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD to treat debilitating diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease pointing to the importance of endocannabinoid receptors in gut health. Another study showed that CBD helped reduce gastrointestinal pain due to Mediterranean Fever.
Fever – Cannabinoids were widely used through history to treat fever (and many other ailments) and even by Western medicine practitioners in the 19th century, but fell out of use after the banning of cannabis in the 20th century.
Eczema – The endocannabinoid system helps promote skin health by regulating hormones and proteins and helping control inflammatory and sensory events which impact the skin. The skin has both CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD can help regulate the life cycle of basal cells.
It also helps reduce itching (up to 84%!). A 2005 study saw big improvements in itching and dryness in patients who used hemp seed oil for 20 weeks. This is attributed to the high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and linoleic acid in hemp seed oil.
Endometriosis – Endometriosis is a painful condition where uterine tissue grows outside the uterus. Evidence points to endocannabinoid system dysregulation as a contributing factor to this condition and historical treatments (prior to de-legalization) included use of cannabinoids to treat gynecological pains such as this. Contemporary sufferers report that CBD greatly alleviates pain and eliminates the need for high doses of ibuprofen, which have long-term health consequences.
Epilepsy – CBD has been shown to treat two severe forms of childhood epilepsy which don’t respond well to typical antiseizure drugs: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). CBD can reduce or eliminate seizures. The FDA recently approved Epidiolex, the first cannabis-derived medicine to earn such approval.
Headaches, Migraines – Research shows that migraine sufferers may be predisposed to the condition due to a variation in their gene for the CB1 Receptor. A research team in Europe found that cannabinoids were as effective in preventing migraines as other types of treatments and could treat cluster headaches in patients that have suffered migraines since childhood. Another study looked at clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) as a possible cause of migraines and concluded that migraines may be “may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.”
HIV/AIDS – Cannabis is a well established treatment for HIV/AIDS patients, and nearly all states with medical cannabis approve the treatment for HIV/AIDS. Cannabinoids help make the side effects of treatment — nausea, loss of appetite, neurologic pain — more manageable as well as help manage anxiety related to the condition. There is even research to support that cannabinoids may have anti-viral properties that inhibit the spread of the disease throughout the body in later stages.
Inflammation – As we’re constantly pointing out, CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has been found to assist in treating inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis. CBD uses multiple mechanisms to control inflammation, not all of them well understood as of yet. CBD appears to have a unique ability to bind with receptors outside the endocannabinoid system and blocks pro-inflammatory compounds in the body such as the COX-2 enzyme and that the “entourage effect” of CBD in a full-spectrum form with other cannabinoids enhances the anti-inflammatory effect.
Insomnia/Sleep issues – While CBD is not a sedative, evidence points to the endocannabinoid system playing important role in regulating sleep patterns. Some studies show that CBD actually helps people (and rats) stay alert while others show that use of CBD can increase total sleep time.
Menopause – Estrogen helps regulate an important fatty acid enzyme, hydrolase, which in turn plays a role in breaking down some endocannabinoids. When estrogen levels drop during menopause, this can negatively impact the endocannabinoid system. Use of CBD appears to help regulate the emotional fluctuations that happen during menopause as a result of the drop in estrogen levels. CBD can also help relieve the types of pain most often experienced during menopause and perimenopause: menstrual cramping, breast soreness, headaches and joint pain. CBD may even help with bone loss experienced in this stage of life. Some experts believe that cannabis offers a better alternative to dealing with menopausal symptoms than estrogen replacement therapy, which is correlated with higher risk for diseases like heart attack, blood clots, gallstones, stroke and breast cancer.
Multiple Sclerosis – MS is another autoimmune disease that can be assisted by CBD due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Multiple studies have shown the benefits of using cannabinoids to treat MS. A study in the 1990s showed that 90% of patients who were self-treating with cannabis experienced relief from symptoms such as spasticity, pain, tremor and depression.
Muscle & Joint Support – CBD is a natural choice to reduce inflammation that causes joint pain. Less well known is new research that points to CBD’s ability to slow the breakdown of muscle mass by interfering with cortisol secretions. This is one reason that so many athletes are now adding CBD oil to their regimens.
Nausea – Cannabinoids have powerful antiemetic properties and have been used for years to control nausea symptoms in chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS patients. CBD combats nausea by working with serotonin receptors. The unheated form of CBD, CBDA, may be even more effective than CBD at alleviating nausea.
Neurological symptoms – As discussed in chapter 4, CBD can protect neurons from damage and assist in their repair. This makes CBD a great option for those suffering from neurologic diseases and neurological damage from diabetes. CBD is currently being explored as a treatment for neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy. One review study found that patients suffering from neuropathic pain benefit from cannabinoid treatment.
Pain – While researchers are still studying the exact mechanisms that make CBD such an effective analgesic, its pain relief capabilities are not in doubt. And the anti-inflammatory benefits beat traditional NSAIDS because they come without the serious side effects common to heavy use of medications like ibuprofen and can be used to help manage difficult to treat pain.
Parkinson’s Disease – A researcher at the University of Colorado did a small study of Parkinson’s patients using Epidiolex, the CBD drug approved for use with epilepsy. The patient’s experienced a decrease in symptoms as represented by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating scale (UPDRS) and included both motor and rigidity improvements. The researchers concluded that CBD offers improvements in Parkinson’s symptoms and is well tolerated.
Pets/animal health – With the legalization of CBD, more veterinarians are acknowledging the health benefits of CBD for animal health. Pets can benefit from CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, particularly for hip and joint pain common to some breeds of dogs and cats. CBD can also improve a pet’s overall health due to its high levels of antioxidants. And, of course, for those time when your pet is stressed due to car rides or fireworks, CBD can help reduce anxiety. While pets experience similar benefits to humans, they generally require a lower dosage due the greater density of receptors in their endocannabinoid systems.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) – Because CBD offers both well documented pain relief and mood boosting effects, CBD presents exciting opportunities to treat a range of PMS symptoms including menstrual cramps, breast tenderness and mood swings. While no specific studies exist to test CBD for premenstrual syndrome (sadly, there’s some inherent sexism in medical research that’s yet to be fully addressed), doctors are getting less shy about recommending CBD for this use.
PTSD – A review study concluded that CBD may be beneficial for the treatment of PTSD symptoms such as poor sleep quality, frequency of nightmares, and hyperarousal. Animal studies show the effectiveness of CBD to reduce anxiety and regulate emotions, and even prevent PTSD, if administered right after a traumatizing event, pointing to the need for large scale human trials to truly demonstrate CBD’s ability to help control PTSD.
Psoriasis – A 2007 study demonstrated CBD’s efficacy in treating this inflammatory skin disease where the body produces too many keratinocytes, the skin cells that produce keratin. Cannabinoids inhibit this over proliferation of keratinocytes.
Schizophrenia – While THC can actually induce symptoms of psychosis, CBD appears to have the opposite effect and even reduced the psychotic symptom- inducing effects of THC in animal studies. A mid-stage trial in humans using CBD as an antipsychotic drug found that it performed better than a placebo when it was added to a patient’s existing antipsychotic medication. It appears that CBD’s antipsychotic effects are due to its ability to enhance anandamide signaling. Anandamide is an important endogenous cannabinoid.