Hemp-derived Cananbidiol (CBD) is a compound derived from the hemp plant that does not, by itself, cause a “high” according to a report by Harvard Health. Questions may arise as to what are the health benefits of the substance, if any. There is no conclusive evidence showing that CBD has benefits. At this point, there is research studies in several areas, but the studies are not conclusive and more research and clinical trials are needed.
There are studies that look at whether CBD has neurological benefits, such as helping with anxiety disorders. One study, published in Neurotherapeutics, reviewed “CBD’s potential as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders, by assessing evidence from preclinical, human experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies.” Researchers found that support for “CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely; however, few studies have investigated chronic CBD dosing.”
A second (small) study from 2010 and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology assessed whether Hemp CBD could help with social anxiety disorder (SAD). The researchers concluded that the results of the study “suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”
One study, published and Permanente and titled Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series assessed whether CBD can help improve sleep and anxiety in a clinical population. The study concluded, “The final sample consisted of 72 adults presenting with primary concerns of anxiety (n = 47) or poor sleep (n = 25). Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. In this chart review, CBD was well tolerated in all but 3 patients.” However, it also recognized that “controlled clinical studies are needed.”
Pain and Mobility Among Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
One study, published in Frontiers in Neurology reviewed 132 original studies. Researchers opined that “it is our opinion that CBD supplementation maybe advisable for PwMS to reduce fatigue, pain, spasticity, and ultimately improve mobility.” It is important to point out that the study was specific to multiple sclerosis patients, and that correlation does not always mean causation.
Another study, published in the National Library of Medicine, assessed the impact of CBD on inflammatory pain in rats. The study determined, “atypical cannabinoid receptors are involved in joint nociception and these novel targets may be advantageous for the treatment of inflammatory pain.”
Chronic Pain Management
A 2008 study titled Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain reviewed “recent research on cannabinoid analgesia via the endocannabinoid system and non-receptor mechanisms, as well as randomized clinical trials employing cannabinoids in pain treatment.” The review suggested that CBD may have a role in chronic pain management.
Severe Forms of Epilepsy
In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved pharmaceutical drug Epidiolex containing cannabidol for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy. According to a press release on the approval, the FDA stated: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older.” This is the only FDA-approved drug product that contains CBD.
The FDA further indicates that side effects occurred among patients treated with Epidiolex, including “sleepiness, sedation and lethargy; elevated liver enzymes; decreased appetite; diarrhea; rash; fatigue, malaise and weakness; insomnia, sleep disorder and poor quality sleep; and infections.”
Although there are ongoing studies on the potential benefits of hemp-derived CBD, there is not enough evidence for a conclusive answer as to whether CBD can help with the above-mentioned conditions.
As Brent Bauer, M.D., an internist and director of research for the Mayo Clinic Integrative Medicine program shared in a Mayo Clinic news report titled CBD products, hemp oil may be helpful but more research is needed, Mayo Clinic review says, “There are many intriguing findings in pre-clinical studies that suggest CBD and hemp oil have anti-inflammatory effects and may be helpful with improving sleep and anxiety.” He continued, “But trials in humans are still limited, so it is too early to be definitive about efficacy and safety.”
All information is for general informational and educational purposes only. Nothing should be interpreted as legal or wellness advice.