By William Horton – The CBD Oil Geek
It seems like every health and wellness site on the internet is touting the benefits of CBD. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a major cannabinoid, the active compounds found in marijuana.
Unlike THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the euphoric high from cannabis, CBD is non-psychoactive. So, you won’t be glued to the couch or mowing through an entire pan of brownies after ingesting it. Instead, CBD is valued purely for its potential medicinal qualities.
There are a lot of claims being made about possible health benefits from CBD. It’s thought to help epilepsy, anxiety, and chronic inflammation, just to name a few.
But, is there anything to back up these claims? Or is this just internet hype from people looking to make a few bucks off of the latest health craze? Today, I’ll go over some of these claims so that you can make your own decisions.
It’s important to note, you should not add CBD to your current health regimen, or change the way you take your prescription medications, without the knowledge, consent and supervision of your healthcare team.
CBD and Epilepsy
Cannabis has been used for centuries to combat seizures, but Western medicine has long shunned it as being dangerous and of no use.
However, in 2018, two groundbreaking studies found that CBD can help manage the symptoms of two severe forms of epilepsy.
Dravet syndrome is a rare form of developmental epilepsy, meaning symptoms begin in early childhood. The condition is permanent and debilitating.
Some patients can have near constant seizures. This constant seizure state makes it nearly impossible for the patient to speak, eat or interact with their environment and can cause permanent brain damage.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that CBD greatly outperformed placebo in reducing seizure frequency. 43% of patients had their seizures reduced by 50% or more.
The results of these two studies led to the FDA approving the first CBD-based medication available in the United States, Epidiolex.
CBD and Anxiety
Proponents claim that CBD can be helpful in managing the symptoms of anxiety disorders. They claim that CBD can help calm the mind and may even lessen the need for powerful prescription medications like Xanax.
In 2011, researchers studied patients with social anxiety disorder. The study took place in two sessions.
In the first session, half of the subjects were given CBD, and the other half, a placebo. The patients were then given brain scans to look at signs of anxiety in the brain.
In the second session, CBD and placebo were again administered, but in reverse. Patients who got placebo in the first session got CBD instead and vice versa.
The results showed that CBD significantly reduced the signs of anxiety in the brain.
In another study, patients with social anxiety were given either CBD or a placebo and then subjected to a simulated public speaking exercise.
The placebo group showed no improvement in anxiety levels. However, the group given CBD was much less anxious, so much so, that their anxiety levels matched those of the healthy control patients who didn’t have an anxiety disorder.
CBD and Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to any sort of injury or invasion.
In the short term, inflammation is a good thing. It brings helpful resources to areas that need attention from the immune system. It brings fluids and proteins to an injured ankle or isolates a pocket of infection to protect the rest of the body.
But chronic inflammation, inflammation that goes on for a prolonged period of time, can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, stroke or type 2 diabetes.
Researchers have found that CBD may be able to reduce inflammation.
It does this in part by inhibiting the actions of proteins in the body, called inflammatory cytokines, that act as chemical messengers. Cytokines signal the body to initiate an inflammatory response and so trigger things like pain or swelling.
By cutting off the messengers, CBD may also cut off the inflammatory response.
CBD is also believed to have neuroprotective properties, meaning it might protect nerve cells from damage. This could mean CBD is able to stop nerve damage caused by conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
There has been a great deal of buzz about CBD and its potential to improve someone’s health.
Research into all of the medicinal properties of CBD is still ongoing. However, it seems that CBD has the potential to be of great use for a myriad of health conditions.
Studies continue to find that CBD can help manage the symptoms of neurological disorders like epilepsy, mental health issues like anxiety and combat chronic inflammation.
It could be that CBD does indeed live up to all the hype.