Benefits of CBD [A Comprehensive Guide]
CBD's benefits are becoming more and more clear these days. The experience of millions of users has shown that it may have the potential to be incredibly helpful to you. CBD might address countless physical and emotional problems that you suffer from.
Extracted from either hemp or cannabis plants, CBD has several reported benefits and rarely any side effects, making it an attractive all-natural option for those in pain.
To be clear, research is still ongoing.
The United States Food & Drug Administration has made it clear that no one can make direct medical claims about CBD. They contest that more research is needed before that can be done. They have gone as far as to issue cease and desist letters to any CBD company that makes direct medical claims about what CBD can do for you.
However, the information below will review the scientific studies that have been conducted about the benefits of CBD.
Numerous studies have found that CBD may help you feel better in body and mind.
Benefits of CBD
CBD oil's benefits are tied directly to its impact on your Endocannabinoid System. Every human has an Endocannabinoid System. This system contains multiple components, including:
Cannabinoids that are produced inside of your body.
Cannabinoid receptors that are found inside of your entire body. These receptors - identified as CB1 and CB2 - can be found in your organs, skin, and muscles.
Enzymes, produced by your liver, that break down cannabinoids once the reaction is complete between the cannabinoids and their receptors.
Under normal circumstances, the cannabinoids produced by your body bind with your cannabinoid receptors. Enzymes will then break down your cannabinoids, ending the reaction.
All of this deals with how your Endocannabinoid System works, but it's what the Endocannabinoid System does that is so important.
Essentially, your Endocannabinoid System is associated with keeping your body in a state of homeostasis and regulating a variety of sensations you experience. These include pain, hunger, stress, anxiety, sleep, and more.
CBD oil impacts the way that your Endocannabinoid System operates by making the interaction between your cannabinoids and receptors stronger and last longer. This, in turn, impacts all of the above sensations, potentially helping you feel better.
CBD for Pain
Numerous studies have noted that there is a potential for CBD to be very helpful when it comes to treating certain types of pain. A 2018 review examined all of the research behind CBD and found that it may be helpful at helping to alleviate ailments, ranging from muscle to joint pain.
The same review also discussed the chemical mechanisms behind CBD's pain relief potential. It also noting that additional studies were needed, as existing ones were either very small or only conducted in animals.
At the same time, some studies have found that CBD may have the potential to address some very specific types of pain. For example, one study found that CBD showed a reduction of pain as caused by cancer treatments when compared to the placebo group. This study was randomized and double-blind, meaning it was more robust and potentially impactful.
CBD for Mental Health
Some users take CBD for their mental health, noting that the substance is helpful for relieving their stress, calming them down, and reducing their anxiety. There is scientific evidence to support this claim.
In terms of depression, there are multiple studies that point to CBD's potentially positive impact. One review examined the available literature and found that CBD had anti-depressant and anti-anxiety impacts on animals.
This was confirmed in a second review from 2019, which also found that CBD produced anti-depressant impacts in animals. These effects were both sustained over a long duration and worked very quickly.
In terms of stress, reviews have found that CBD can reduce anxiety and stress levels in animals. These findings were supported in a 2015 review that noted the support for this theory in popular literature.
The same review provided an overview of how CBD might specifically reduce anxiety and improve mood, noting that it seemed clear that the Endocannabinoid System could impact anxiety levels.
Furthermore, multiple specific studies have found that CBD may have the ability to reduce numerous types of anxiety disorders. These include obsessive-compulsive disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, social anxiety, and performance anxiety.
CBD for Sleep
The specific mechanism by which CBD may help someone get a better night's sleep is not fully understood. However, it is theorized that CBD acts as a helpful sleep aid in many ways. These include reducing stress, anxiety, and pain.
For example, one small study tested dozens of individuals and found that a majority of those who took CBD reported reduced levels of anxiety and stress. This, in turn, led to better sleep, with a majority reporting that they were now sleeping better.
A much larger 2018 study also found that individuals who took CBD were more likely to report positive sleeping improvements. Furthermore, at least one study reported that individuals who took CBD were more likely to show reduced signs of RBD or Rem Behavioral Disorder.
RBD is a sleep disorder suffered by individuals with Parkinson's Syndrome, in which the brain fails to properly "lock" a body down while sleeping. This causes the individual in question to wildly lash around during their sleep. One study found that CBD can help to reduce symptoms of RBD.
CBD for Arthritis
One of CBD's purported impacts has been to reduce inflammation and pain. This may have a positive impact on a variety of disorders that are caused by inflammation - including arthritis.
For example, one study examined the reaction of rats with arthritis after the rats were given CBD topical gel. The study found that the rats showed increased mobility, decreased swelling, and decreased pain symptoms.
Additional reviews have noted that CBD improves the binding of the body's own cannabinoids with both cannabinoid receptors, but that these bindings must be targeted appropriately. This potentially indicates that additional refinement of CBD is needed in order to further improve CBD's benefits.
A third review - this one from March 2020 - has noted that CBD has huge potential in the area of arthritis. It did note that significant further research is needed, including on the types of CBD, the method by which the CBD is ingested, and more.
CBD for Diabetes
Again, there is no set research that conclusively proves - as of yet - that CBD can have a positive impact on diabetes or blood sugar levels. However, the studies that have been conducted do show that the potential may exist.
Some of the research on this particular issue is much older. A 2012 review examined the issues and found previous studies which had found CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes in diabetic mice.
In other words, it appeared that CBD had the ability to make the chemical changes necessary to reduce diabetes. This also implied that the Endocannabinoid System could make an important impact on the overall prevalence and severity of diabetes.
A February 2019 study came to the same conclusion. It found that, when administered to middle-aged rats, CBD could reduce diabetes and weight in rats, while also improving their overall cognitive health and performance.
More studies are needed - and more in humans in particular - before more definitive conclusions can be drawn. The evidence uncovered so far is very encouraging.
CBD and Cancer
Some have touted CBD's potential ability to slow the growth of cancer or tumors. However, while some evidence may preliminarily indicate such incredible claims, it is far too early to make those claims in a more definitive manner.
A February 2019 review noted that CBD's interaction with the body's Endocannabinoid System may interact with cancer cells in the body, thus impacting the growth of these cells. The review noted that available research has indicated CBD's potential to slow cancer growth. That ability is largely dependent on the type of cancer and a variety of other factors.
A March 2018 review makes the same conclusions. It also noting that many preclinical trials have found that CBD may be able to make a positive impact on the growth of cancer cells. A case study from 2019 also found that cancer patients who declined traditional therapies were able to improve their medical status by self-administering CBD.
CBD may also be helpful when it comes to treating the effects of cancer treatment, though not for treating cancer itself. A third study noted that CBD could help individuals who suffered from multiple sclerosis spascitiy. This is a painful condition suffered by individuals in which muscles lock up and become rigid.
CBD will not cure cancer, but it may bring some much-needed relief to people with cancer.
CBD for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a devastating, painful disorder, and patients who suffer from it are often desperate for relief.
It may impact as much as 5% of the overall United States population, disproportionately impacting women. A 2020 review noted that only three drugs have been approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration. It also found that a variety of drugs are in the pipeline to potentially help sufferers of Fibromyalgia.
CBD is one such example, and some studies indicated that CBD may be helpful at reducing symptoms of Fibromyalgia, including pain and insomnia.
A 2018 questionnaire that was administered to sufferers of Fibromyalgia found that many who took medical cannabis or CBD reported a positive impact on symptoms.
All of the above makes logical sense. CBD may be able to reduce pain and inflammation, and these are two issues that are unquestionably related to Fibromyalgia. If they truly can reduce inflammation and pain, Fibromyalgia sufferers may be able to look forward to relief in the future.
Boosting Your Immune System with CBD
Strikingly, some studies have made some relatively bold claims about CBD's ability to boost your immune system. A March 2020 review declared that the data "overwhelmingly support[s]" the idea that CBD is immune suppressive and can help to boost your body's immune system.
This claim is particularly striking given its implications: If true, this would mean that CBD is able to help the body fight off diseases and recover quicker from illnesses.
Other studies have made somewhat similar conclusions, although their age has also meant these claims were not quite as definitive.
A March 2017 study made no such conclusions, instead noting that some limited evidence suggested CBD had anti-inflammatory benefits. It went on to contest that could have an impact on the body's immune system.
Another 2017 review found that the possibility unquestionably existed for CBD to benefit the entire immune system. It also noted that many questions needed to be answered before that conclusion could be definitively drawn.
CBD for Fitness
One of the ways in which CBD may be able to help fitness is in allowing someone to get a better night's sleep. There is no question that sleep is absolutely critical to overall health and wellness, and as noted above, CBD may be able to help someone rest easier.
Furthermore, CBD may be able to help to reduce inflammation and swelling. One of the most interesting aspects of this inflammation reduction is that it appears to be able to reduce inflammation across someone's entire body.
This includes muscle inflammation, and this is necessary when it comes to recovery from a sporting event or workout. As noted in a review from December 2020, CBD may be able to help reduce muscle inflammation.
This, in turn, can help to reduce pain, soreness, and injury recovery. Furthermore, additional studies and reviews have found that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation, helping someone recover faster and get back to exercising quicker.
Lastly, CBD has even been found to aid in weight loss.
All of these benefits make CBD products a growing popular choice for a post-workout supplement.
CBD for Holistic Health
In this case, holistic health means taking care of your body and mind. There can be no question from the above information: There is potential for CBD to help you in countless areas.
Furthermore, the overlap between these areas is key. Pain is connected to depression. Sleep is connected to stress. Depression can be connected to sleep.
It does seem clear that CBD has the potential to help you in numerous physical and emotional areas.
As you can see, there is only truly one conclusion here. We know that CBD has incredible potential to help people. More research is needed before definitive medical claims can be made, but the research so far supports it's benefits.
At the moment, the only drug approved for CBD use is Epidiolex, a CBD-based prescription used for two rare seizure disorders in children. However, it is clear that CBD is an actively researched field, and future research will likely demonstrate the specific areas that the compound may be able to improve.
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