15 Evidence-Based Benefits of CBD Oil
Table of Contents
- Understanding CBD Oil
- CBD Oil’s Benefits for Your Health
- Reduces Inflammation
- Relieves Pain
- Treats Anxiety
- Protects Your Brain
- Treats Multiple Sclerosis
- Reduces Digestive Problems
- Helps to Treat Schizophrenia
- Protects Against Cancer
- Treats Epilepsy
- Improves Sleep Quality
- Reduces Arthritis Symptoms
- Reduces Risk of Diabetes
- Improves Heart Health
- Treating for Movement Disorders
- Other Health Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD oil is quickly becoming a popular herbal treatment for a number of health conditions.
As we learn more about the ability of this compound to heal and treat the human body, CBD oil is being recommended for a variety of purposes.
If you are curious about how CBD oil can help you treat physical, emotional, or psychological problems, then you will find this comprehensive guide to CBD oil useful.
We explore the many scientifically-proven benefits of CBD oil for your health, including how it can treat chronic diseases and conditions and improve your quality of life.
Cannabis, which is the source of CBD oil, has a long history of being used medically and therapeutically to treat many different conditions.
The medical community has continued to explore and investigate the many powerful uses for this safe and non-addictive substance.
If you are looking for a safer alternative to pharmaceuticals to treat your health problems, there are several ways that CBD oil could help you.
Understanding CBD Oil
Cannabis sativa, or the marijuana plant, has over 100 cannabinoids or natural compounds.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of these naturally occurring compounds.
It is found in the resinous flower of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis also contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is a well-known compound that produces the psychoactive results commonly associated with marijuana.
Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects and does not produce the sensations of being “high” that THC does (1).
CBD works on different receptors in your brain, resulting in therapeutic effects that do not influence or alter your mental status.
Once extracted from the plant, CBD oil is refined and included in a variety of products ranging from balms to tinctures, edibles to massage oils.
The healing properties of the plant remain intact in the oil and can be applied to or ingested by the body in several ways to produce various results.
CBD is now widely available because it is better understood and proven to be safe.
CBD has a long history of human use. Cannabis has been cultivated for nearly six thousand years.
Doctors have also been studying its medicinal benefits since the sixteenth century.
In the mid-twentieth century, researchers learned how to extract CBD from the other compounds found in cannabis to confirm its non-psychoactive effect on the body.
The plant was originally grown as hemp, for use in the creation of textiles, paper, and other materials.
Farmers in early America were required to grow hemp, for example, in order to ensure a steady supply of this durable material.
While the medicinal and psychoactive uses for cannabis have been known for centuries, it is not until recently that we have grown to understand the true healing powers of this plant.
Now that there is more known about the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids on the human body, the stigma of using this natural compound has been significantly decreased.
CBD is now legal in all 50 states, as it has been sufficiently proven that it has no psychoactive properties and can improve health in many ways.
CBD Oil’s Benefits for Your Health
CBD oil has been touted as a cure or treatment for many different conditions.
Scientists have proven its ability to help treat a number of chronic and even debilitating disorders, including reducing inflammation, helping to lower pain, managing mental health disorders and improving symptoms of many chronic illnesses.
We will discuss how scientific research is highlighting the ways in which CBD oil can improve your overall health and wellness.
CBD is being hailed as a promising treatment for many chronic conditions and illnesses that result in inflammation and pain.
Your immune system creates an oxidative stress reaction in the body to help fight invading pathogens and to repair damaged tissues.
However, when this process continues for excessive amounts of time, damage and dysfunction result.
Lowering the oxidative stress reaction within the body can help protect the body from anomalies in the immune system that result in inflammation, autoimmune problems, and other chronic issues.
Your body has a natural endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of neurotransmitters, cannabinoid receptors and receptor proteins.
These are all part of your nervous system and help to regulate a variety of cognitive and physiological processes.
The ECS is responsible for producing euphoric feelings after exercise, as well as controlling pain sensation, appetite, memory and mood.
The natural phytochemicals found in CBD oil mimic those of the ECS and help to balance the immune system response, reduce inflammation and halt chronic oxidative stress response that is harming the body.
While we are still learning more, since our understanding of the ECS evolves as well as how CBD oil affects this system, there is growing evidence that CBD oil can be used to effectively treat inflammation and lower damaging oxidative stress (2).
Your immune system uses cytokines, or hormonal messengers, to trigger various biological responses in your body.
This includes immunity as well as allergic-type responses.
You have both Th1 and Th2 cytokines.
The Th1 variety is generally considered to be pro-inflammatory, while the Th2 type is anti-inflammatory.
CBD has been shown to help treat asthma in animal trials, which is caused by an imbalance in inflammatory markers (3).
This same effect also has been shown to successfully lower pain and inflammation in animal trials (4).
Cell studies also confirm that CBD can decrease the production of Th1 cytokines in immune cells, which increase inflammation (5).
Your immune system also produces Th17 cells, which are responsible for inducing tissue inflammation and destruction.
This often results in immune-inflammatory disease.
Th17 cells produce cytokines, among them IL-17, which has been linked to many chronic inflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis (6).
It has been demonstrated that CBD can help to suppress the dominance of Th17 in the body, leading to fewer autoimmune diseases for many people (7).
For those with chronic pain looking for alternatives to opioids and other painkillers, CBD oil is emerging as a new potential treatment.
As a part of your ECS, you have cannabinoid receptors in your body, including high concentrations of these in the nerves, spine, and brain, which send pain receptor signals.
Your body naturally controls pain through the release of internal cannabinoids.
CBD could be used to enhance these natural pathways and systems (8).
In a 2011 metanalysis of research on cannabinoids to treat chronic pain, they were shown to safely treat pain associated with many different conditions, including MS, HIV, and fibromyalgia (9).
The benefits of using CBD and other cannabinoid-based drugs have also been shown to outweigh any potential risks (10).
When combined with THC, CBD has been shown to effectively reduce chronic pain for patients with many different disorders, including neuropathic, postoperative or cancer pain, rheumatoid arthritis and MS (11, 12, 13).
CBD is seen as a pain treatment with great potential because it does not act on the opioid pathways of the brain, (14) nor does it cause long-term tolerance or dependence issues (15).
Those who suffer from anxiety may also get relief from using CBD oil.
For example, people with seasonal affective disorder, who have been treated with CBD, experienced reduced anxiety (16).
This is likely due to an increase of blood flow to regions of the limbic system that are important for motivation and cognition.
CBD can also help with other forms of anxiety, such as the worry created by engaging in public speaking or other social tasks (17).
As we learn more about the effects of CBD on the brain and mood, we may discover new opportunities to use this natural treatment to address more clinical forms of anxiety, including PTSD or panic disorder.
Protects Your Brain
CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective properties that can help protect you from brain damage, oxidative stress and other forms of neurodegeneration (18).
These effects could help those recovering from a stroke or suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases.
There have been mixed results in using CBD to treat Parkinson’s (19, 20).
CBD combined with THC was shown to be helpful for those with multiple sclerosis, however (21).
In animal trials, CBD was shown to protect from brain damage, by reducing beta-amyloid toxicity (22), which could help us learn more about how to use CBD to treat Alzheimer’s disease in the future, including to improve cognitive function (23).
CBD is also shown to help those with reduced blood flow and protect the brain from the effects of a stroke (24).
Treats Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease with many symptoms, and CBD has been found to help treat many of them.
For patients with MS, CBD combined with THC has been found to relieve pain (25) as well as improve sleep (26), relieve muscle tightness (27) and improve bladder control.
Reduces Digestive Problems
For those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other gut inflammation problems, CBD could be an effective treatment that lowers symptoms and helps to improve digestion.
Because CBD is a natural and powerful anti-inflammatory, it has proven effective at treating IBD in both cell and animal trials (28, 29).
CBD reduces inflammation in the gut, lowers pain and improves digestive problems, like abdominal pain and diarrhea.
CBD improves digestion motility, which also results in more efficient digestion (30).
Helps to Treat Schizophrenia
When used on its own, without THC, CBD can help to prevent psychosis and reduce the symptoms associated with schizophrenia (31).
Those with schizophrenia and other mental health disorders who experience psychosis may have an imbalance of natural cannabinoids in their system.
CBD is gentler than the cannabinoids your body produces, so supplementing with this oil can restore your natural balance (32).
CBD has fewer adverse effects than other antipsychotic medications, making it more tolerable for people with chronic conditions, like schizophrenia (33).
Protects Against Cancer
Among the many other phytochemicals in cannabis, CBD shows promise in fighting against and protecting you from several forms of cancer.
CBD has been shown to be safe in improving the efficacy of standard cancer treatments and may even have its own anti-cancer properties.
It has been shown to prevent cell growth, as well as destroy cells in experiments using colon, thyroid, lung, leukemia, and cervical cancer cells (34, 35, 36, 37).
CBD may also inhibit the growth of glioma or brain cancer cells (38).
As we learn more, CBD could also be used in the future to treat prostate and breast cancer (39).
Additional research beyond cell studies is needed to confirm these results.
When patients are undergoing treatment for cancer, THC and other cannabinoids have long been used to help improve the appetite and relieve pain and nausea often experienced from chemotherapy and radiation (40).
For those with epilepsy that is resistant to other forms of treatment, CBD oil may be able to help (41).
The properties found in CBD can reduce epileptic seizures, and work well for both adults and children (42).
CBD was shown to reduce the frequency of seizures, and some have even experienced a complete resolution of their epileptic seizures during treatment.
CBD also can help those with epilepsy to improve other symptoms, including mood, sleep quality and alertness (43).
While not all patients respond to this form of treatment, it has been shown to be effective for many.
Improves Sleep Quality
For those with insomnia, CBD oil may help to provide a better night’s rest.
CBD induces a relaxing effect, which can help some people fall asleep more easily (44).
Higher levels of CBD are more effective than THC at producing this effect.
Those with insomnia should avoid using THC since it can interfere with normal sleep patterns (45).
Reduces Arthritis Symptoms
Cannabinoids are natural anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, which make them ideal for treating diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD can be used to help decrease the symptoms of this inflammatory disorder, while also slowing joint destruction and disease progression (46).
One study demonstrated that CBD combined with THC was able to reduce pain and other arthritis symptoms in just five weeks, providing participants with improved sleep, lower inflammation and enhanced mobility with no serious side effects (47).
Other studies have also demonstrated how CBD oil can protect the joints from further damage due to arthritis inflammation (48).
Reduces Risk of Diabetes
New evidence suggests that CBD oil may have some protective effects that can help to prevent the development of diabetes.
One study showed a reduction in several key diabetes markers for those who use CBD, including less insulin resistance, higher LDL levels, lower fasting blood sugar levels and lower BMI and waist circumference (49).
In animal trials, CBD was shown to prevent diabetes in a significant proportion of mice who were prone to diabetes (50).
It is not fully understood how CBD oil prevents diabetes, but it could be that it delays or prevents the destruction of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
CBD also reduces inflammatory cytokines, and because diabetes has a strong autoimmune link, this could also be the reason it provides protection against the disease.
Improves Heart Health
There is the new evidence to suggest that CBD oil could protect your heart from damage that leads to heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
CBD relaxes blood vessels and reduces inflammation, resulting in lower levels of oxidative stress, improved blood flow and less damage to cardiac muscles.
In animal trials, CBD was effective at relaxing arteries (51), reducing the damage common with clogged blood vessels, improving heart rhythms (52) and lowering blood pressure and heart rate (53).
CBD affects various types of blood cells, including reducing platelet clumping, which contributes to atherosclerosis as well as reducing inflammatory enzymes in white blood cells (54, 55).
More research is needed to determine CBD’s full effects on the human heart, especially with long-term use, but these results are promising.
Treating for Movement Disorders
The involuntary movements that result from dyskinesia can make even the simplest of daily tasks very difficult.
This is why promising new research into the use of CBD to treat this movement disorder is interesting.
The most common types of dyskinesia are those associated with schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.
In early animal trials, CBD was shown to reduce the symptoms of this movement disorder, by reducing the producing of enzymes and inflammatory markers that cause the jerky movements (56).
Further research is needed to determine if CBD could be used to help those living with Parkinson’s and other forms of diseases, that include movement problems.
Other Health Benefits of CBD Oil
- Because CBD may be used to treat chronic pain, it can reduce the use of opioid painkillers and could reduce substance abuse problems related to pain management, as well as helping to curb addictive behaviors (57).
- CBD can help people quit smoking, by reducing their smoking desire without raising cravings for nicotine (58).
- By lowering inflammation as well as decreasing the production of skin oils, CBD could be an effective treatment for acne (59).
- CBD has been shown to kill certain microbes, including MRSA, which is difficult to treat (60).
- CBD has been linked to increased collagen structures in the bones, leading to enhanced healing for broken bones in animal trials (61).
- CBD has also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Results in animal trials were fast and provided similar effects, as standard medications are taken for depression (62, 63).
- CBD oil could be helpful in treating psoriasis since it reduces the excessive division of skin cells that causes the symptoms of this skin disorder (64).
Depending on your needs and medical condition, a single dose of CBD oil can range from 100 milligrams up to three grams per day.
Your doctor will be able to tell you more about how CBD oil has been tested to treat your specific medical condition.
In general, higher doses are more effective for relieving pain but less effective for treating anxiety.
Talk with a medical professional about how much CBD oil you should use for your needs.
Most people tolerate CBD oil very well. It has been shown to be safe, even at high doses and with chronic use (65).
In some patients, CBD can decrease the activity of certain cells in the immune system, which can increase your risk of infection or worsen some diseases (66).
If you take prescription medications, be aware that CBD oil can affect your liver’s ability to process these drugs and lower your metabolism of any medications (67).
The most common side effects are usually mild and include dry mouth, tiredness, low blood pressure, and lightheadedness.
At very high doses, CBD can increase anxiety (68).
CBD is one of many compounds that are found in the cannabis plant.
Also known as Cannabidiol, CBD is widely available in many products, including oils, tinctures, salves, and balms to be used in a variety of therapeutic applications.
Current research has helped us to understand the many ways in which CBD affects the body.
CBD is now recommended for use to treat a wide range of medical problems, including inflammation, pain, insomnia, anxiety, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases and epilepsy.
CBD can help in the treatment of other conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, schizophrenia, movement disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
In addition to treating disease, CBD can also help prevent many diseases from developing.
This compound supplies protection against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
As we learn more about the preventative and protective effects of this cannabinoid, CBD could become a treatment for many other acute and chronic illnesses.
Perhaps the best aspect of using CBD oil to treat your health problems is its lack of adverse side effects for many people.
It is well-tolerated and creates fewer side effects than most prescription medications, making it a safer, healthier alternative to other forms of medical treatment.
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