Currently, it might seem like CBD is being touted as the cure for almost everything. However, there’s actually substantial scientific research backing up the claims. CBD is a legitimate plant-based medicine. Experts of all kinds, including medical doctors and scientists, are singing the praises of cannabidiol — hemp’s prized, nonpsychoactive phytocannabinoid — and more research is being done every day.
There are already over a hundred studies out, and many more are on the way following the lifting of prohibition in the United States. As we wait for these scientific developments (after 80 years of stagnation in the cannabis research world), let’s take a look at some of the proven benefits we’ve seen in labs and beyond.
Like turmeric and ibuprofen, CBD (and cannabis in general) is a major anti-inflammatory agent. It can reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the muscular system, digestive tract and brain.
When used topically, it can reduce inflammation of the skin. Could CBD be your replacement for Advil — or something even stronger? Talk to your doctor and try it for yourself to find out.
CBD is likely best known for its anti-anxiety properties. One reporter even called CBD “Mother Nature's liquid Xanax.” A number of major studies have indicated that CBD can assist with mood disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and agoraphobia.
Currently, a new study is in progress in the United States, an 8-week double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. So far, studies have shown that “preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders.” A study in 1993 showed that CBD had similar anxiolytic properties to Valium, without the sedation effect.
CBD is a “bona fide antipsychotic,” according to medical doctor Sunil Aggarwal. A 2012 review reported that CBD is an effective therapy for psychosis and particularly schizophrenia, while a 2018 study called it a “new class of treatment for the disorder.”
Patients with psychosis and schizophrenia should work closely with their psychiatrist, but CBD could be a promising, plant-based solution for these mood disorders.
While you should always consult your oncologist if you’re treating cancer, CBD is known to be an antitumor agent. There have been almost 50 studies on CBD’s positive effects on cancer. In combination with chemotherapy, CBD tripled cancer survival rates in mice.
Most recently, Olivia Newton-John has been open about her use of cannabis and CBD oil to treat her breast cancer, which has helped popularize and destigmatize this natural treatment.
5. Sleep aid
Need help snoozing? CBD has been proven to improve sleep; in one study, “40-50 percent of subjects attained good or very good sleep.”
Another reported that “cannabidiol oil resulted in … a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep.” This could be the nod-off nudge you need, improving your immune system, mood and overall well-being in the process.
6. Skin relief
Remember that bit about CBD being anti-inflammatory? This allows CBD to be used as a skin salve and provides relief for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
The role of CBD in dermatology is a new frontier, but preclinical studies show that it may be helpful in treating dermatitis. And if pimples are your primary skin concern, note that CBD may be able to help treat acne as well.
7. Heart and cardiovascular health
Since heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, it makes sense that scientists would want to look into CBD’s effec on the cardiovascular system and heart.
One study showed that CBD is “cardioprotective” and may have an “anti-arrhythmic effect.” There are about 10 studies available at present describing CBD’s impact on the myocardium, arrhythmia, heart attacks and other cardiac dysfunction.
8. Digestive distress
Because CBD is an anti-inflammatory agent, it may also be effective when it comes to inflammatory bowel disease and similar conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
A 2013 study called CBD a “potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs.” Another study said CBD lived up to the hype and is “highly efficient in cases of inflammatory bowel diseases.”
9. Degenerative disease
Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, Huntington’s disease, Lewy body disease, Parkinson’s disease and spinal muscular atrophy all fall under the “degenerative disease” umbrella. Research indicates that CBD may be able to help treat them.
So far there have been over 20 studies on CBD for Alzheimer’s. A 2017 study published in Frontiers of Pharmacology stated that “studies provide ‘proof of principle’ that CBD and possibly CBD-THC combinations are valid candidates for novel [Alzheimer’s disease] therapies.” The same journal also published a review of preclinical studies on CBD for Parkinson’s disease, showing promise for the treatment.
In fact, the pioneering brand in the CBD space, Charlotte’s Web, named their brand for Charlotte Figi, who has Dravet Syndrome and experienced 300 grand mal seizures each week. Charlotte’s family turned to the Stanley brothers (the founders of Charlotte’s Web), who created CBD tinctures to manage her symptoms.
Pain affects everyone in some way or another, whether it’s a headache, trauma from an injury or arthritis. CBD may be able to alleviate many types of pain. A 2008 study reported that CBD showed “great promise” for the treatment of pain. If you’re dealing with minor pain at home, it’s likely safe to try a CBD oil or tincture yourself and see if you find relief from cannabis and hemp. If you’re dealing with more substantial pain, consult a doctor.That said, CBD and cannabis have been shown to be safer alternatives to opioids for pain treatment, and may help with the frightening addictive repercussions. One veteran described his use of CBD after suffering substantial injuries in war, saying it saved his life and allowed him to function well enough to lose weight and reclaim his sense of well-being.