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Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments.
Better known as CBD, it is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found
in cannabis and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often
associated with marijuana. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.
CBD is non-psychoactive but has several the same medical benefits as
THC. This allows you to take advantage of the therapeutic benefits
without leaving you with the “stoned” feeling that often goes hand in
hand with THC.
This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking
for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering
effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
It’s gaining momentum in the health and wellness world, with some
scientific studies confirming it may ease symptoms of ailments like
chronic pain and anxiety.
Here are seven health benefits of CBD oil that are backed by scientific evidence.
The human body contains a specialized system called the
endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety
of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response.
The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.
Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting
endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and
interacting with neurotransmitters.
For example, one study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain
response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that oral
CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation
Several human studies have found that a combination of CBD and THC is
effective in treating pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders that can have devastating impacts on health and well-being.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single
largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders are
ranked sixth (9).
depression are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can
cause several side effects including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia,
sexual dysfunction and headache
What’s more, medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive and may lead to substance abuse
CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for both depression and
anxiety, leading many who live with these disorders to become interested
in this natural approach.
In one study, 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test.
The group that received the CBD had significantly less anxiety,
cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance,
compared to the placebo group
CBD oil has even been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder
CBD has also shown antidepressant-like effects in several animal studies
These qualities are linked to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s
receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and
Some research and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD can also help
you get a good night’s sleep. Here’s what you need to know about using
CBD for sleep.
To understand whether CBD can improve sleep, we first must understand what causes poor sleep.
Many things can cause you to sleep badly. According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be caused by:
If your insomnia is caused by external factors or related conditions, CBD may help by treating the causes of sleeplessness.
While research on CBD is still in its infancy, some research suggests that CBD can treat anxiety.
in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and or reduce
anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects, with 47 experiencing anxiety
and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The subjects were each given 25
milligrams (mg) of CBD in capsule form each day. In the first month,
79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7
percent reported better sleep.
Pain, which may also cause sleep problems, can be helped by CBD as well. A 2018 review Trusted Source in
Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that there’s a fair amount of evidence
to support the claim that CBD soothes pain. The authors note that by
reducing chronic pain, CBD can improve sleep.
Other research tells us that CBD affects the sleep cycle. Research from 2014 Trusted Source looked
at four patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that CBD improved
the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a disorder in which a
person acts out their dreams. RBD is associated with poor sleep and
A 2017 review also noted that CBD may be helpful in treating RBD, and that it shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness.
Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, might also be affected by
CBD. A trusted source found that CBD could have the potential to promote
wakefulness, based on both human and animal research. The authors noted
they weren’t sure exactly how or why CBD promoted wakefulness in some
CBD may help reduce symptoms related to cancer and side effects related to cancer treatment, like nausea, vomiting and pain.
One study looked at the effects of CBD and THC in 177 people with
cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from pain medication.
Those treated with an extract containing both compounds experienced a
significant reduction in pain compared to those who received only THC
CBD may also help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting,
which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for
those with cancer.
Though there are drugs that help with these distressing symptoms,
they are sometimes ineffective, leading some people to seek
A study of 16 people undergoing chemotherapy found that a
one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered via mouth spray
reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than standard
Some test-tube and animal studies have even shown that CBD may have
anticancer properties. For example, one test-tube study found that
concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells.
Another study showed that CBD inhibited the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice.
CBD has been studied for its role in treating several health issues other than those outlined above.
Though more studies are needed, CBD is thought to provide the following health benefits:
Researchers believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid
system and other brain signaling systems may provide benefits for those
with neurological disorders.
In fact, one of the most studied uses for CBD is in treating
neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Though
research in this area is still relatively new, several studies have
shown promising results.
Sativex, an oral spray consisting of CBD and THC, has been proven to
be a safe and effective way to reduce muscle spasticity in people with
One study found that Sativex reduced spasms in 75% of 276 people with
multiple sclerosis who were experiencing muscle spasticity that was
resistant to medications.
Another study gave 214 people with severe epilepsy 0.9–2.3 grams of
CBD oil per pound (2–5 g/kg) of body weight. Their seizures reduced by a
median of 36.5%.
One more study found that CBD oil significantly reduced seizure
activity in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy
disorder, compared to a placebo.
However, it’s important to note that some people in both these
studies experienced adverse reactions associated with CBD treatment,
such as convulsions, fever and fatigue.
CBD has also been researched for its potential effectiveness in treating several other neurological diseases.
For example, several studies have shown that treatment with CBD
improved quality of life and sleep quality for people with Parkinson’s
Additionally, animal and test-tube studies have shown that CBD may
decrease inflammation and help prevent the neurodegeneration associated
with Alzheimer’s disease.
In one long-term study, researchers gave CBD to mice genetically
predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it helped prevent
Recent research has linked CBD with several benefits for the heart
and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood
High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of a number of health
conditions, including stroke, heart attack and metabolic syndrome.
Studies indicate that CBD may be able to help with high blood pressure.
One recent study treated nine healthy men with one dose of 600 mg of
CBD oil and found it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to a
The same study also gave the men stress tests that normally increase
blood pressure. Interestingly, the single dose of CBD led the men to
experience a smaller blood pressure increase than normal in response to
Researchers have suggested that the stress- and anxiety-reducing
properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood
Additionally, several animal studies have demonstrated that CBD may
help reduce the inflammation and cell death associated with heart
disease due to its powerful antioxidant and stress-reducing properties.
For example, one study found that treatment with CBD reduced
oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with heart