The CBD industry is exponentially growing with projected revenue of £1 billion by 2025 in the United Kingdom. It is already being offered in the form of brownies, breath sprays, and even bath bombs. Almost 60% of consumers have used CBD to manage anxiety. Others have tried it to manage depression insomnia and chronic pain. A lot of celebrities, athletes, and even pets are finding CBD quite useful for various health concerns.
Despite all the hype and buzz around CBD, you might be wondering can CBD provide any health benefits? If so how is it possible? We have designed this blog to walk you through the 9 science-backed benefits of CBD.
CBD or CBD oil is an exogenous cannabinoid that is produced by the Cannabis plant. Naturally, cannabinoids are produced by the plant as a means to protect or defend itself from harmful substances. But when extracted from the plant and consumed by humans they offer many health-related benefits.
How does CBD work?
CBD is a pleiotropic drug as it produces many effects in multiple pathways. The scientific research literature has identified almost 65 molecular targets of CBD in the human body. The two cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system have little binding affinity for CBD but CBD modulates a variety of other ion channels and receptors. It is also found that it acts through many receptor-independent pathways and the reuptake of neurotransmitters or it may also inhibit the binding action of certain receptors.
Some of the potential targets of CBD in the human body that manifold its health benefits are:
⦁ Serotonin receptors
⦁ Vanilloid receptor
⦁ GPR 55 orphan receptors
⦁ Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors
⦁ Anandamide breakdown and reuptake inhibitors
⦁ Adenosine reuptake inhibitor
⦁ Allosteric modulator of GABA a receptor
⦁ A negative allosteric modulator of CB 1 receptor
Benefits of CBD
CBD offers strong analgesic properties that can help manage chronic or neuropathic pain. The pain-relieving properties of CBD are so beneficial that in 2005 Canada approved the use of Sativex spray that contains equal amounts of CBD and THC for neuropathic pain due to multiple sclerosis. Later in 2007, Canada also approved the medicine to manage pain related to cancer that was unresponsive to any other treatment option.
Clinical and preclinical studies have found that CBD has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties of CBD can provide enough neuroprotection or protection against a variety of pathological health concerns. For example, some preclinical studies support the ability of CBD to be beneficial for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Researchers also tested the effects of CBD on Huntington’s disease but not enough positive results were obtained. More clinical research studies are required to confirm the benefits of CBD for the above-mentioned problems.
Arthritis involves the deterioration of tissues around and in our joints. There are different types of arthritis with symptoms such as loss of motion, stiffness, and pain. Doctors usually target pain and join function as a treatment for arthritis. In 2006, a study was conducted on a drug called Sativex which is a CBD-based product approved in the United Kingdom. Researchers found that this CBD-based drug was very helpful in improving pain, quality of sleep, and pain during movement in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. This study was the first controlled trial for this drug as a possible treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and it involved 58 participants. It was concluded that CBD offered pain-relieving effects as well as significantly decreased the disease activity.
Later on, in 2018 CBD gel was used for local treatment of knee pain due to osteoarthritis. The participants were asked to stop taking painkillers and other anti-inflammatory medications except for acetaminophen. The results obtained were not very conclusive but very intriguing. On one hand, patients treated with CBD did not report any improvement in pain as compared to the placebo. However, there were statistically significant differences between the placebo group and the CBD group receiving 250 mg dose when their worst pain levels and physical function rating were measured.
Benefits for Epilepsy
CBD has shown promising results for two rare forms of epilepsies i.e., Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. As a result, FDA approved Epidiolex in 2018. This drug contains CBD and three well-vetted studies provide evidence to back FDA’s decision. It was found dead when Epidiolex is used along with other prescribed medicines, it decreases the seizure frequency in the participants.
The anti-anxiety properties of CBD seem to be very effective for PTSD symptoms. In 2018, researchers examined 11 people with PTSD who were given CBD along with psychiatric care for two months. The participants reported a decrease in their symptoms and it was very well tolerated by the patients. Other human trials also suggest that CBD alone can significantly reduce PTSD symptoms. However, some also supported the role of THC in it. This is mainly due to the entourage effect that complements the potency and benefits of each cannabinoid.
ALS Symptom Management
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a debilitating disease that causes deterioration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and body which results in loss of muscle control. Researchers are still clueless about the cause and treatment of ALS. Studies suggest that patients with ALS may benefit from entourage effects just like it helps people with PTSD. The entourage effect is a phenomenon that occurs when all the cannabinoids of the Cannabis plant including THC act simultaneously and enhance each other’s therapeutic properties.
For example in 2019, a study was conducted that administered a combination of CBD and THC to patients suffering from ALS. Those with severe, moderate, or mild spasticity due to ALS experienced high levels of improvement and satisfaction.
Anxiety And Depression
One of the most popular reasons CBD is being used so widespread is its ability to soothe and calm a person. Animal studies show that CBD offers an effect similar to a famous antidepressant called imipramine. Human studies indicated that participants receiving 300 mg of CBD experienced reduced anxiety during their public speaking tests.
Some human clinical and animal pre-clinical trials suggest that CBD may be helpful to manage opioid addiction. Different research studies have found that CBD may be effective to reduce withdrawal anxiety, salivary cortisol levels, and cravings in heroin addicts.
Ease Diabetic Problems
CBD may also be one of the natural treatments for diabetes. In a small study, 13 participants with type 2 diabetes were given CBD. These participants were not on the insulin treatment as compared to the placebo. It was found that CBD lowered the levels of resistant protein which causes resistance to insulin and regulates sugar levels. It was also found that CBD also increased the levels of a hormone that ensures adequate release of insulin from the food. This hormone is called the glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide. Researchers in a separate study also performed tests on human cells. Human cells were injected with CBD and it was found that it reduces the effects of elevated glucose levels on other cells in the body. This typically proceeds with the onset of diabetes and related complications. These results suggest that CBD may be a very good treatment alternative for diabetes by helping the body to regulate various hormones.
CBD, a non-intoxicating compound of hemp has garnered a lot of attention among manufacturers, consumers, and scientists. It is being offered in a variety of products because people can’t get enough of this therapeutic potion. Its healing properties are beneficial for anxiety, stress, epilepsy, arthritis, and pain. However, more research studies are required to fully understand its potential.