The Benefits of CBD

An alphabetical list

Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD
Written by Marc Lewis

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Sometimes called hemp oil, cannabidiol interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates appetite, anxiety, mood, and pain.

Scientists identified the impact of cannabinoids on our health in the early 90s, and lately these curious compounds have garnered serious attention from an increasingly diverse group of people seeking relief.

What is CBD good for?

Part of the excitement around cannabinoids relates to their anti-inflammatory potential. Inflammation is linked to many health issues—from chronic pain or discomfort to depression and anxiety, to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

It’s also exciting that CBD can be taken from hemp, which lacks the THC and psychoactive effects of marijuana.

But the potential applications of the cannabis plant are much broader.

Relieves Pain

CBD has analgesic effects and the side effects associated with cannabis are less than many over-the-counter and prescription pain killers. The risk of dependency is also lower.

Relieves Anxiety

Studies have shown CBD can reduce social anxiety. There is also evidence supporting CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Aids in the Treatment of Cancer

Cannabis has long been used to help relieve symptoms associated with chemotherapy, including nausea and vomiting. But increasingly scientists are studying how cannabinoids like cannabis might inhibit the growth of tumors.

Prevents Seizures

The first FDA-approved medication containing CBD is Epidiolex, which is indicated for the treatment of two rare forms of pediatric seizures. While the FDA warned that more research is necessary before people start attributing more health claims to CBD, the approval of this medicine was decades in the making.

All the Benefits of CBD

Below is a list of ailments that have been linked to CBD. For each condition, we’ve collected a trusted source on the subject and linked to related articles so you can dive deeper into the benefits and risks.

ADHD

CBD may make more dopamine available to the brain, much like stimulant medications prescribed to treat ADHD. The 1:1 CBD/THC drgu Sativex was shown to improve cognition and behavior in adults with ADHD.

Addiction

Alzheimer's Disease

CBD has shown promise in neutralizing free radicals, reducing inflammation in the brain, and combatting oxidation, thus having neuroprotective potential.

Anxiety

Cannabis has been used to reduce anxiety for centuries. Though THC may increase feelings of unease, CBD has shown positive impacts on generalized anxiety, social anxiety, OCD, and PTSD.

Asthma

CBD may help combat airway hyperactivity and asthma.

Autoimmune Disorders

CBD may reduce chronic pain associated with inflammation, but can also contribute to balance in the immune system.

Cancer

CBD can help manage symptoms associated with chemotherapy, but is also showing promise in inhibiting tumor growth and metastases.

Concussions, Head Trauma

Depression, Mood Disorders

CBD may increase the body’s access to serotonin and dopamine, helping combat feelings of sadness. Research has also shown a link between brain inflammation and mood disorders.

Diabetes

Cannabis has shown promise in regulating weight, preventing obesity, and stabilizing blood sugars. CBD may also help with chronic pain or improve circulation to off-set symptoms associated with diabetes.

Eating Disorders

Research supports a profound connection between the endocannabinoid system, the brain, and eating disorders. CBD may help prevent obesity or encourage weight gain in cases of anorexia.

Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Anti-oxidants help gut inflammation. Also a healthy endocannabinoid system can help regulate inflammatory responses in the body. This points to CBD as a promising treatment for IBS.

Migraines

Some research has connected migraines with endocannabinoid deficiencies and abnormal inflammatory responses, both of which CBD may treat.

Multiple Sclerosis

Sativex has shown promise in treating symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis.

Nausea, Vomiting

Cannabinoids are anti-emetic.

Neurodegenerative Diseases, Huntington's, Parkinson's

With neuroprotective properties, CBD may help prevent or delay the on-set of some neurodegenerative diseases.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Cannabis may help the mind eliminate traumatic memories, or help a person cope with those memories. CBD shows promise as it does not encourage dependency or abuse, as marijuana can.

Schizophrenia

CBD can help reduce stress and may have antipsychotic potential.

Skin Conditions, Acne, Psoriasis

Sleep Disorders

CBD may help treat insomnia, though for some CBD can contribute to alertness.

Other Preventative Benefits of CBD

In addition to treating certain conditions, CBD may have preventative health benefits. This chart is a round-up of those potential benefits with links to relevant medical studies on each area of the body or condition.

Bone

Cancer

Diabetes

Heart

Inflammation

  • Cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties, which could guard against conditions such as Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety

Mind

Weight

You will find suggestions across the web that cannabis is a magic antidote, poised to help humankind were it not for an obstructive government. This type of evangelism is great for driving up excitement, but less helpful to your health. Keep in mind that we need more research to verify all this potential.

It’s important to keep in mind that research is on-going and human trials are limited. You should always consult a healthcare professional before altering or discontinuing any medication.

That said, CBD has also shown promise in treating several health conditions. Those benefits range from helping your body achieve balance to relieving symptoms, which allows you to get well.

Risks and Side Effects of CBD

The World Health Organization suggests CBD is relatively safe. Also, the side effects of CBD are less than those associated with drugs traditionally prescribed to treat the same conditions.

But there are risks associated with taking CBD or other cannabis derivatives. The FDA has issued a warning to consumers to be careful taking CBD products.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About CBD

It’s important to talk to your doctor before changing your healthcare plan or deciding to add a new treatment to your regimen. Here are some questions to help you start a conversation with your doctor.

  1. Is CBD a possible treatment option for my condition?
  2. What are the risks associated with taking CBD or other cannabis derivatives to treat my condition?
  3. Would a cannabis derivative like CBD interfere with any of the medications I’m currently taking?
  4. How do the costs of cannabis-derived treatments compare the medications I’m currently taking?
  5. Are there journals or publications you can recommend where I can find additional information or hear more about the experiences of patients like me?

Key Considerations

While it’s important to do your research and understand that CBD has not been proven to treat or cure any diseases, if you’re going to try CBD make sure you try a brand that believes in quality, tested products.

Here’s some of the brands that we have come to trust through our research:

Also, keep a few things in mind before you make a decision regarding your health and treatment options.

  • There is evidence to suggest CBD may have a positive benefit on your health.
  • More studies are needed to understand the potential and risks associated with CBD.
  • Do not stop taking or change your medications without first speaking to your doctor.

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