CBD is a famous natural remedy people are eager to try out for a variety of reasons. It has been proven in some studies and shown in others that for specific medical conditions, CBD can be beneficial. That is why there has been significant interest in studying the possibilities. It is an appealing option for those seeking an alternative to heavy pain medicine or just a different treatment for their medical conditions.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is an ingredient found in cannabis and hemp, which are different varieties of the same plant. CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the compound that produces a high when consumed. Therefore, when you consume CBD, you will not get a heightened sensation, making it attractive to the medical community.
Different forms of CBD products
CBD is usually purchased in oil form, but it can also come in a spray, capsule, balm, food, drinks, personal lubricant, and even beauty products. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed.
Is CBD FDA approved to treat medical conditions?
The FDA treats CBD the same way they do dietary supplements. This means that products can be placed in the market without scientific evidence to back up their claims.
However, the FDA has approved one CBD product for the treatment of a medical condition. The product is called Epidiolex, and it can only be given through prescription. The medicine has been approved to treat two types of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet Syndrome.
What medical conditions can benefit from CBD?
Studies have shown that CBD seems to have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potentially good choice for some autoimmune conditions or side effects that come from inflammation. While epilepsy is the only medical condition that the FDA acknowledges to receive benefits from CBD, there are many other conditions currently being studied and have found evidence that CBD is beneficial. Those conditions are as follows:
1. Acne/Skin Issues
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Studies have shown that topical CBD could be a promising treatment for acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and by inhibiting the creation of too much sebum. In addition, CBD has also been shown to reduce itching and inflammation due to eczema and psoriasis when applied topically. To learn more, read the following medical article, “The role of cannabinoids in dermatology.”
Addiction is a brain disorder that causes you to consume something to your detriment compulsively. CBD has been shown to help people suffering withdrawal from opioids, cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report.”
3. Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety is an intense, excessive worrying feeling and fear over everyday situations. Depression is a mental health disorder where a person constantly deals with low moods, loss of interest, and dark thoughts that impair their daily lives. Studies have shown that CBD can help people who suffer from PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder due to CBD having a positive effect on the serotonin levels in the brain. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.”
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints that cause pain and stiffness that often worsens with age. CBD applied topically has been shown to relieve pain and inflammation To learn more, read the following medical article, “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain.”
5. Bipolar Mood Disorder
Formally known as manic depression, bipolar mood disorder is a pattern of unusual mood, energy, activity levels, and concentration. The mood shifts can be so drastic that it impairs the person’s daily life and relationships. Due to CBD’s potential to cushion the brain from damage to help promote healthy neurotransmitter function, it can help reduce the severity of the condition, helping the person sustain more stable periods in their mood. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety and Mood Disorders.”
Cancer is a disease where abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. CBD has been shown to reduce the intensity of nausea and vomiting that can occur due to chemotherapy and radiation. The FDA has approved two drugs for cancer patients to address this issue: Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). There has also been some research that has shown the potential of CBD and Cannabis to slow the growth of cancer cells. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Marijuana and Cancer.”
Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, is a group of diseases resulting from high blood glucose. Some studies have shown that CBD can lower fasting insulin levels and improve insulin resistance overall for people who have diabetes. To learn more, read the following medical article, “The Endocannabinoid System and Plant-Derived Cannabinoids in Diabetes and Diabetic Complications.”
Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is a condition in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce seizures in people who suffer from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGA), Dravet Syndrome, and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. As a result, the FDA approved a prescription drug called Epidiolex in 2018. In addition, CBD has also been shown to help reduce seizure frequencies in other treatment-resistant epilepsy like Sturge-Weber syndrome, Febrile Infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES), and specific genetic disorders that cause epileptic encephalopathy. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials.”
9. Fragile X Syndrome
Fragile x Syndrome is an inherited condition that causes learning disabilities. Some studies have shown that applying a cannabidiol gel might help reduce anxiety and improve behavior in children suffering from the disease. To learn more, read the following article, “Can I use CBD to treat Fragile X syndrome?”.
10. High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure is a condition where the force of the blood against the artery wall is too great. A study has shown that due to CBD’s anxiety and pain-reducing effects, a dose could potentially reduce resting blood pressure and the risk of a stroke. To learn more, read the following medical article, “A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study.”
Insomnia is where a person has a persistent problem with falling or staying asleep. While there hasn’t been a study explicitly published for CBD’s effect on Insomnia, there have been reports in other studies of improved sleep within the first month of using CBD.
12. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a disease where the immune system destroys the protective covering on the nerves causing nerve damage between the brain and the body. For people suffering from MS, there is a nasal spray called Sativex (not currently approved for use in the US) that contains a combination of THC and CBD and is effective in improving pain, muscle-tightness, and frequency of urination. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of THC-CBD oromucosal spray in symptom management of patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.”
CBD alone hasn’t shown any improvement in nausea and vomiting. Still, when combined with THC, there are reports of it being effective.
CBD works on the endocannabinoid and pain-sensing systems to help relieve pain. It has been shown to lower inflammation and pain perception. A study of people with MS reported improvements in pain, walking, and muscle spasms. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Role of the Cannabinoid System in Pain Control and Therapeutic Implications for the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain Episodes.”
15. Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement and often causes tremors. Some studies have shown that CBD use has allowed people who have Parkinson’s disease to significantly improve the well-being and quality of their lives with their nonmotor symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Open-label evaluation of cannabidiol in dystonic movement disorders.”
16. Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition where there is nerve damage in the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, and pain. When using CBD oil, a study found that people had a statistically significant reduction in pain. To learn more, read the following medical article, “The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities.”
17. Quitting Smoking
Some studies have shown that using an inhaler or vaping device with CBD oil for one week might reduce the number of cigarettes consumed while trying to quit smoking.
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly. Some studies have suggested that taking CBD can help improve some symptoms and the well-being of those suffering from the condition. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for psychosis.”
19. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD)
TMD is a group of painful conditions that affect the jaw joint and muscle. However, some studies have shown that applying CBD oil topically to the skin might reduce the pain. To learn more, read the following medical article, “Myorelaxant Effect of Transdermal Cannabidiol Application in Patients with TMD.“
Studies have shown that using CBD for three days might reduce craving and anxiety for people who are suffering from withdrawal from heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs. Read the following medical article, “Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors” to learn more.
Are there any side effects from CBD use?
Though usually well-tolerated, CBD does come with a few minor side effects like:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Mood Changes
- Gastrointestinal Issues
And in rare circumstances, there have been cases where it can affect liver function.
CBD has also been shown to interact with certain medications like Warfarin (blood thinners), Valproate, and Clobazam (medicines that treat epilepsy).
According to WHO, The World Health Organization has no evidence that CBD has any abuse or dependence potential.
As with any medicine or medical treatment, if you decide to try a CBD product to help with the side effects of a condition you have, please consult with your doctor first. Make sure you know where the product is coming from, how it’s manufactured, and how it’s meant to be used. CBD products currently lack regulation which puts consumers at risk of purchasing unreliable or contain compounds other than CBD.
In conclusion, the market is saturated with CBD products claiming to do this or that, and it’s hard to know what is real and what isn’t. However, one thing is clear: CBD can help people suffering from many different medical conditions. Thanks to the ever-increasing acceptance of cannabis and CBD, the medical field can finally conduct these much-needed tests in more extensive studies.