3 Science-Backed Benefits of CBD

Feb 9, 2022

With it’s rising popularity and it’s outstanding reputation for providing relief, CBD is only becoming more renowned. One thing we know for sure is that CBD isn’t going ANYWHERE. When CBD was federally legalized in 2019, researchers began studying how cannabis works with our bodies testing what medicinal benefits CBD may provide. Cannabis, including CBD, THC, CBN, etc., works with our own endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate or modulate mood, appetite, movement, and immune response. CBD has a plethora of health benefits but how do you know if CBD will be right for you? We did a deep-dive into the current research and have pulled the top 3 science-backed benefits of CBD oil.

 

Here Are the Top 3 Health Benefits of CBD Oil:

 

Offsets Neuropsychiatric illnesses (Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, PTSD)

Helps Relieve Pain

Reduces Inflammation and aids in reducing symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia)

 

1. CBD Offsets Neuropsychiatric Illnesses (Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, PTSD, etc.)

 

Over 40 million adults in the US, or 19% of the population (National Alliance of Mental Health), have anxiety disorders, including: General Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Depression. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 45% of those suffering receive treatment (“Almost Half Of Americans Don’t Seek Professional Help For Mental Disorders”). Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders that can have devastating impacts on long-term health and well-being.

Anxiety and depression are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause a number of side effects including drowsiness, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, agitation, and headaches. Even more, medications like benzodiazepines can be extremely addictive and may lead to substance abuse.

CBD’s most common use lies in its potential to help manage neuropsychiatric symptoms, i.e. anxiety and depression. CBD’s ability to calm is perhaps its most popular effect, and the reason its use is so widespread. Researchers believe that CBD may change the way the brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps our brains feel happy (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins). Several Medical Researchers have found that CBD can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety; in one study, social anxiety sufferers were able to give a speech more easily with the help of CBD (“CBD for Depression: Does it help and how to use it?”). CBD has been shown to decrease the expression of anxiety; it helps promote stress reduction and leads to fewer physiological effects from general anxiety disorders, for example, CBD aids in reducing heart rate.

In a small 2018 study, recorded in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11 people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) received CBD from a mental health professional along with routine psychiatric care (both concurrent treatment of medication as well as psychiatric care) for eight weeks in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Of the patients, 10 of the 11 (or 91%) reported experiencing a decrease in the severity of their PTSD symptoms. CBD appeared to offer “relief in a subset of patients who reported frequent nightmares as a symptom” of their PTSD (“Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series”).

 

2. CBD Helps Relieve Chronic Pain

 

CBD has become wildly popular for its ability to help alleviate chronic pain. It has been shown to reduce physical pain, mostly caused by inflammation.

Researchers at Harvard University Hospital estimate that nearly 50 million adults, or 20% of Americans, in the US are suffering from chronic pain and doctors report that chronic pain is the #1 reason patients seek help from their physicians (Dahlhamer). The impact that chronic pain has on millions of people, their quality of life, and their bank account is almost unfathomable. People who experience chronic pain report missing more work compared to their pain-free counterparts, and health economists from Johns Hopkins University estimate that chronic pain costs the US up to $635 billion dollars every year (“Study Shows Chronic Pain Costs United States Up to $635 Billion”). People who live with pain have reported that they have severe limitations to their social activities and daily living.

Back, hip, knee and foot pain are the most common sources of distress. The most commonly sought out treatment is massage therapy. However, pain medicine is a relatively young field and research has shown us that a multimodal and multidisciplinary approach yields the best result (“The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part I, Patients Experiencing Pain in the General Population”). In other words, addressing your physical wellbeing is just as important as treating your mental wellbeing.

Continued studies in the U.S. indicate that CBD is highly effective in treating the symptoms of chronic pain (“CBD (Cannabidiol) for Pain: Does it Work?”). When introduced topically, CBD has localized analgesic properties — meaning that it can target specific pain. Since it’s more direct, it may have a more pronounced effect. What does that mean? Taking the time to rub a little CBD on that pain site will work in conjunction with the team of therapists and medical professionals that you rely on to help manage your long-term chronic pain.

CBD helps modulate pain and enhances feelings of happiness and well-being by interacting with a range of proteins throughout the body. This can include components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) like the CB1 receptors in the nervous system and brain, and the CB2 receptors in the immune system. According to research (“The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain”), CBD targets alpha-3 glycine receptors to reduce inflammation. What all of this means simply is that CBD can reduce pain and make you feel calm and happy.

 

3. CBD Significantly Reduces Inflammation

 

When we are injured, ill, or fighting off an infection, our body releases pro-inflammatory cytokines. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are small proteins that are crucial in the growth and activity of other immune system cells. When pro-inflammatory cytokines are released, they signal the immune system to do its job: produce an inflammatory response. CBDs anti-inflammatory properties may aid in both recurring injuries and inflammatory diseases like an autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, IBS, etc. Clinical studies have confirmed that CBD markedly reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thus producing less inflammation in the body. This is good news for people dealing with pain resulting from chronic inflammation.

Now, anyone who has had a sore throat or a sprained ankle knows about inflammation. These examples are our bodies’ appropriate responses to infection or trauma. However, trouble occurs when our defense systems get carried away and start to destroy its home turf (our bodies). People with increased inflammation usually have an overactive immune response — think allergies, arthritis, or asthma. But did you know that hidden inflammation can contribute to a majority of chronic illnesses –  autoimmune conditions, cancer, dementia, depression, obesity, and heart disease.

Unlike the prescriptions that usually accompany chronic illness, CBD has shown significant potential as a plant-derived anti-inflammatory without the side effects of most medications. Surveys and studies have found CBD to reduce both acute (injury) and chronic (prolonged inflammatory response) inflammation throughout the body (“CBD (Cannabidiol) for Pain: Does it Work?”).

CBD may feel like another passing fad, but research is showing us otherwise. Pain, inflammation, and neuropsychiatric illnesses are complex and nuanced ailments, however, there is an increasing body of scientific research supporting CBD’s potential as a safe alternative to relief without the side effects of traditional over-the-counter medications. Want to learn more about CBD? Click here for CBD 101.

 

Works Cited

“Almost Half Of Americans Don’t Seek Professional Help For Mental Disorders.” Almost Half Of Americans Don’t Seek Professional Help For Mental Disorders, Forbes, 24 May 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2021/05/24/why-so-many-americans-do-not-seek-professional-help-for-mental-disorders/?sh=6956cb973de7.

“Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series.” PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30543451/. Accessed 5 February 2022.

“CBD (Cannabidiol) for Pain: Does it Work?” Practical Pain Management, 22 June 2021, https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/patient/treatments/marijuana-cannabis/empowered-pain-patient-guide-cbd. Accessed 5 February 2022.

“CBD for depression: Does it help and how to use it?” Medical News Today, 1 April 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324846. Accessed 5 February 2022.

Dahlhamer, James M. “Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among …” CDC, 14 September 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm. Accessed 5 February 2022.

“The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain.” NCBI, 29 October 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820295/. Accessed 6 February 2022.

“The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part I, Patients Experiencing Pain in the General Population.” NCBI, 10 May 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4925170/. Accessed 5 February 2022.

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. “Pain.” Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain, no. 160, 2018, pp. 136-150. PMC6319597, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/.

National Alliance of Mental Health. Anxiety Disorders. NAMI, 2017, https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders#:~:text=Over%2040%20million%20adults%20in,develop%20symptoms%20before%20age%2021.

“Study Shows Chronic Pain Costs United States Up to $635 Billion.” Social Work Today Magazine, https://www.socialworktoday.com/news/dn_092112.shtml. Accessed 5 February 2022.

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