Cannabidiol (CBD) Health Benefits

Last updated on February 1st, 2020

Context First

The 2018 Farm Bill impacted the federal legality of CBD by changing rules about industrial hemp production in the United States. CBD hasn’t been studied comprehensively for its health benefits, but since it’s a component of cannabis, it’s been consumed as long as marijuana has.

  1. CBD does not get a person high. In fact, some of its properties make it act against the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the stuff that gets you high).
  2. Clinical trials have shown promising health benefits and a breadth of possible clinical applications for CBD.
  3. There is currently one FDA-approved CBD product, called Epidiolex, that is prescribed to reduce seizures associated with two severe forms of childhood-onset epilepsy: Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndromes are rare. Children with these conditions require special medical attention and experience frequent seizures. Dosages across clinical trials of Epidiolex ranged from 90-110 mg of CBD/kg, and participants were usually taking the drug in conjunction with others.

There are CBD products on the market today with higher dosages of cannabidiol, but healthy adults are a different use case altogether. CBD products you purchase will come with labels that they are not intended for pregnant women or children. Whatever you are using CBD for, monitor how you feel and consult a physician for medical advice if you have questions.

Aside from the very isolated use case of Epidiolex, lots of different studies have been done on other possible health benefits of cannabidiol. CBD is sometimes used for general wellness.

CBD Benefits and Human Health – Where has research explored?

CBD is a useful treatment for seizures for some people

CBD has been shown through research, clinical trials, and the release of an FDA-approved drug to reduce seizures in children with severe epilepsy¹.

CBD as a compound has neuroprotective & anti-inflammatory properties

CBD has been studied for both its anti-oxidant properties and its ability to reduce inflammatory responses. These characteristics have a strong influence on how well it can safeguard the nervous system from disease¹.

Neuroprotection means to protect the body’s nervous system. Compounds that are neuroprotective do this by interacting with cells to both maintain, and in some cases rebuild, their functionality.

CBD can help with pain relief as an analgesic

CBD has been studied for its anti-pain properties for at least a decade and has been shown to work well with THC for pain management². CBD can reduce some of the undesired effects of THC (euphoria) while enhancing the effectiveness of both, known as the synergy effect³.

Sativex is an example of a prescription spray from Canada that contains equal parts CBD and THC. For some patients during clinical trials, this drug reduced pain and sleep issues associated with multiple sclerosis. In 2006 this drug went into advanced clinical trials in the United States for patients with difficult-to-manage cancer pain.

References

  1. Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials (April 2019)
  2. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules (November 2018)
  3. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects (August 2011)
  4. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain (February 2008)
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