Is CBD healthy?

Today we’ll clear up some misconceptions about CBD and give some details on what it is and isn’t. Somehow, readers got the impression that CBD might be addictive and dangerous. Just remember weed has two main components, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Today we’ll focus on CBD and find out what the benefits are and if there are any side effects.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

What is CBD? Let’s start with weed/cannabis/marijuana, which comes from the cannabis plant (cannibis sativa). It contains over 100 cannabinoids (class of chemical compounds). The two main ones, are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC gives the high and whether or not it is addictive is still debatable. Hemp is also a source of CBD and unlike marijuana does not contain any THC. CBD was first discovered in 1940 by Dr. Roger Adams at the University of Illinois, and fully described in 1963, by Raphael Mechoulam’s laboratory[1, 2, 3].

Endocannabinoid System Research into medical marijuana led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. As stated before more than 100 cannabinoids are present in marijuana. But cannanbinoids are also produced naturally in the human body. Endocannabinoids are small molecules that activate the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 amongst others. The CB1 receptor in the nervous system is responsible for mediating most of the neurobehavioral effects of THC. The CB2 receptor is predominantly expressed in immune cells [4].  Both CBD and THC exert influence of a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory through the endocannabinoid system [5].

The claims

Manages Anxiety A small 2003 study examined the effects of CBD on anxiety. Ten healthy male volunteers, randomly divided into two groups of five subjects. Each subject was studied on two occasions, 1 week apart. Subjects were given either an oral dose of CBD (400 mg) or a placebo, in a double-blind procedure [6]. The results showed CBD was associated with  decreased subjective anxiety and increased mental sedation,while placebo was not.

Another group studied the effects of CBD (600 mg), THC (10 mg)  and a placebo on prefrontal-subcortical effective connectivity and its disruption. 15 healthy subjects underwent a double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled study, while viewing faces which elicited different levels of anxiety. The doses were administered orally. It was found that CBD only, disrupted prefrontal-subcortical connectivity during the neural response to fearful faces  [7].

A 1993 study investigated the effects of CBD, benzodiazepine diazepam, ipsapirone and a placebo on volunteers submitted to a simulated public speaking (SPS) test. The results were that  ipsapirone reduced SPS-induced anxiety during the test, whilst CBD decreased anxiety after the test. Diazepam, reduced anxiety before and after the SPS test, but had no effect on the increase in anxiety induced by the speech test [8]. Probably not the effect we were looking for with CBD, but at least there was some ability to reduce anxiety albeit after the test.

Similar animal studies have shown similar reductions in anxiety or behavior associated with anxiety [9]

Reduces Seizures and Epilepsy In a 2017 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 120 children and young adults with the Dravet syndrome (rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy) were randomly assigned to receive either CBD oral solution at a dose of 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or a placebo [10]. The treatment was done in addition to standard epileptic drugs. The test lasted a total of 14 weeks. The results showed a frequency reduction of total seizures of all types with cannabidiol, but there was no significant reduction in non-convulsive seizures. Sounds great, but there were more adverse effects associated with the CBD group compared to the placebo.

These effects included, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, pyrexia,  and somnolence. It would have been interesting to compare CBD treatment directly to use of anti-epileptic drugs, in addition to the placebo. It’s unclear whether the adverse effects were solely due to the CBD or CBD interaction with the other drugs.

A smaller study  published in 2017, examined the effects of CBD on 5 subjects suffering with Sturge-Weber syndrome (epilepsy, strokes, cognitive impairments). Subjects reported ad 50% seizure reduction,  improved quality of life, and remained on CBD 63-80 weeks after starting the drug. Three subjects reported mild side effects related to CBD [11].

In 2017,  two studies on Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (severe epilepsy) were published. In one study 171 patients with uncontrolled drop seizures were randomized to receive adjunctive treatment with CBD oral solution 20 mg/kg/day or placebo for a period of 14 weeks. The average age of the subjects was 15 yrs. Compared with placebo, CBD treatment was associated with a greater average percent reduction in monthly seizures. In another study, 225 patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome were given either two doses of CBD (10 or 20 mg/kg/day) or placebo over 14 weeks.

The average age of these patients was 16 yrs. The reduction in monthly frequency of seizures was  greater in the CBD group (20 mg/kg, 42%; 10 mg/kg, 37%), than in the placebo group (17%) [12]. Adverse events were reported in 94% of subjects given 20 mg/kg, 84% of those given 10 mg/kg, and 72% of placebo patients. The most common effects were somnolence and decreased appetite.

The prospects for CBD treatment for seizures look good, despite some of the adverse effects. The only issue is that the subjects were given CBD as an addition to their anti-epileptic drugs. This makes it difficult to tell how much of the improvement and adverse effects were due to CBD only or CBD’s interaction with the drugs. Obviously more studies need to be performed to elucidate the effects due to CBD only.

Pain reliever An interesting study published in 2010, compared the efficacy of a  THC:CBD extract, a non-opioid analgesic endocannabinoid system modulator, and a THC extract, with placebo. 177 patients with cancer pain, entered into a 2 week randomized double blind study. Twice as many patients taking THC:CBD showed a reduction of more than 30% from baseline pain when compared with the placebo (23 [43%] vs. 12 [21%]). Very little changes were observed for the THC group.

Like the previous studies, the treatments were administered in addition to pain relief drugs already being taken [13]. Indirectly the study does show the benefits of CBD, whether this is due to solely CBD or the combination of CBD and THC is not very clear.

In a 2016 study, examined the effects of transdermal CBD for reduction in inflammation and pain, assessing any adverse effects in arthritic rats. CBD gels (0.6, 3.1, 6.2 or 62.3 mg/day) were applied for 4 consecutive days after arthritis induction. The outcome was found to be that the transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration and thickening of the synovial membrane in a dose-dependent manner [14].

Other studies have reported similar findings with regards to pain reduction. The obvious limitations being either animal studies, which do not necessarily translate to humans and CBD being used in conjunction with other drugs.

Anti inflammatory In the previous section, we talked about the 2016 rat study, where CBD was able to reduce inflammation in arthritic rats [14]. There have been other rat studies or simulations that have shown the ability of CBD to reduce inflammation [15, 16, 17].

A 2018 published paper reported 3 cases of self‐initiated topical cannabidiol use in patients with epidermolysis bullosa in an observational study. Of the three patients, one was weaned completely off oral opioid analgesics. All 3 reported faster wound healing, less blistering, along with reduced pain, with CBD use [18]. The faster wound healing and reduced blistering occurs as a result of less inflammation.

Again, similar to previous sections, mostly rat studies and limited human trials. If you come across any clinical trials that shows reduced inflammation with CBD use, drop a comment/link and I’ll add it to the post.

Stimulates bone growth This is one most folks don’t even know about. In a 2015 study, rat femurs were fractured and the animals were given 3 sets of treatments. Either CBD, THC, a placebo, or an equal mixture of CBD and TCH. The dosage was 5 mg/kg/day, and the rats were evaluated post-operatively for 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks [19].

The results showed that CBD, enhances the biomechanical properties of healing rat mid‐femoral fractures. The THC enhances the CBD stimulated work‐to‐failure at 6 weeks postfracture,  followed by reduction of the CBD effect at 8 weeks.

A more recent 2017 study investigated the effects of CBD on rats with spinal cord injuries. The adult male rats were exposed to surgical transection (transverse cut) of the cord and treated with CBD for 14 days. The rats were given CBD, 0.5 and 5 mg/kg/day.

The results showed enhanced bone mineral density of tibiae and femurs. CBD also enhanced bone volume, trabecular thickness, and trabecular number, and reduced trabecular separation in proximal tibiae, and increased ultimate compressive load, stiffness, and energy to max force of femoral diaphysis (midsection/shaft of a long bone) [20].

Promising, but few animal studies and no human trials. 

Summary There is a lot of potential for CBD as an alternative to pain reducing, anti-inflammatory drugs and treatment for seizures and anxiety. Most of the research in terms of inflammation and pain are rat studies or very small human trials. Clearly, there needs to be larger clinical studies across the board to truly elucidate the benefits of CBD. That isn’t to say the benefits don’t exist. We should always try to find out more about a potential intervention/treatment, to see how best to use it, and also under what circumstances it may not work.

Many people use CBD, especially in MMA and BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), for the anti-inflammatory benefits and pain relief. I myself use it extensively, for overall health and relaxation. I will continue to update this post as more information becomes available. 

If you’re interested in trying CBD click hereEdibles, vapes, tinctures, oils, rubs, you name it. Get 10% off all Pure Spectrum products with CODE: LUSH.

 

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21 Comments

  • Neksummi Matthias says:

    I never thought weed had any good component. For me and for people around me, marijuana has no good to offer than weird behaviour we see our youths exhibit whenever they are high on weed.

    There is a governor in one of the states in Nigeria who made public his intention to promote the production of marijuana in his state and his proposal was met with stiff opposition. We couldn’t understand how and why a governor of all people could be advocating for the production of marijuana. It was unthinkable! I believe what is needed is more enlightenment on the benefits as you are doing. Keep up the good work.

  • Shannon says:

    There is definite potential for the use of CBD for the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation and anxiety. Being a Herbalist, I have seen CBD treat these complaints effectively, but I’ve also seen those who weren’t helped with its use and one who actually felt ill after use.

    This comes down to individual biodiversity – we are all human with the same systems however not everyone will benefit from the same remedy or medicine. For this reason, each individual should use an educated trial and error to find what remedy will work for them. 

    That being said, the vast majority of people I see that have used CBD oil for pain, inflammation or anxiety have noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms and there seems to be little to no side effects with repeated use. CBD oil has exploded in recent years and it looks to be a very promising natural alternative to medications so I’m all for it!

  • Gaurav Gaur says:

    Hi, There.
    Thanks for the information on the importance of CBD.
    It’s good news that CBD is anti-inflammatory and reduces the pain.
    As you yourself are using CBD extensively for the pain relief, do you suggest for the elder people and how much quantity is safe – if administered on a daily basis. My Mom is having a lot of Knee pain and I am planning to try it on her. What do you say?
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    • admin says:

      It is safe for elder people. The amount depends on what product you’re buying….vape, ointment, oil…etc. It usually has a recommendation about usage on the package. 

  • Chris says:

    It’s a hard argument to win really, depending on what side of the fence you sit on. As a youngster I managed to get a lot of THC in my body (ahem!), so I am slightly biased. My sister also suffered from eating disorders through anxiety – and CBD in general helped her immensely. 

    At the end of the day I think it’s down to how you get it in your body, and whether or not you are using it for the ‘right’ or medical reasons – do you agree with this angle?

    It’s only from there that you can decide whether or not it’s healthy for a person.

  • MissusB says:

    I would like to stick to my belief that there are no bad creation – plants, animals, resources. It just so happen that since everything is different and has its own unique purpose. CBD has been very well researched nowadays. A lot of people come to attest that it has been a great help in terms of health and medicine.

    There are many illnesses that has been cured or stabilized by CBD. With medical assistance and proper guidance, it has been proven to ease pain and longtime health problems of those with conditions. Many States have also recognized its healing wonders. Yes, I think its healthy and just like any other source of medicine, it should be given with precaution. 

  • Adyns68 says:

    I think CBD oil is very healthy.

    I have seen people getting relieved from pain that mediction was only reducing. So, they had to take the medication every day and some times any time the pain was back, which could have been every 2 hours or so. But with the continue use of CBD, they pain has gone.

    And, I found that, it is well to use it with the assistance of your doctor or a pharmacist to help you with the dosage.

    Your post os really full of information and easy to understand.

    Thanks

  • Rizza says:

    Been pondering and doing research about the effects and health benefits of Cannabidiol lately.

    Through and through over hundreds of researches about this topic it has been proven that it could have great benefits.

    I might be wrong but at least that is what showed up in the articles and search results, although I also skim through because of the limited time I have to do this.

    But isn’t this the chemical that actually helps the patients that uses it for medication, specifically for seizures?

  • Gomer says:

    There are still many parts of the world that are not okay with CBD and I think they need to be educated with information like the one found in this article. 

    Like for example, the Philippine government has not launched a re-investigation of whether they will legalize the use of CBD here in our country. Most people here are not aware that there are indeed two kinds of substances that are usually extracted from weed, and most think that all substances from weed can give a high. 

    We need a massive education campaign here informing the people what is the good use of CBD and I think sharing this article on social media can help.

  • Babsie Wagner says:

    I just wanted to say that I’m in love with CBD.  I use the oil, and it has greatly helped me in my life.  First, it has taken away the horrible pain I was having in my shoulder.  Secondly, it helped me relieve my horrible anxiety, and it also helped me sleep through the night.  I was waking up a bunch of times throughout the night every night, and now I’m sleeping right through.  I am in love with CBD.  The stuff is great!

  • Dave Sweney says:

    I came to your article with the intention of getting informed as to whether CBD is healthy for me or not and ended up learning a lot more than I had bargained for. I appreciate that too, as I am in the mode of looking for alternatives to the aspirin I am gobbling down by the handful daily at the moment.

    To fill in the picture very briefly, I have stage 2 cancer (skin) and there is a lot of associated with this as the disease progresses. Aching bones, headaches, etc. all are side effects, and over and above the natural medicines and therapies I am practicing, the aspirin has been a necessary evil.

    Over time, this can cause internal bleeding, so I have been looking for an alternative that does not involve taking some of the opioid medicines that doctors seem to love to prescribe. I have always been leery of the pill culture that has become prevalent these days.

    The studies that you cite indicate that CBD might be the solution that I was looking for. I have read through your post a couple of times now, and I do believe trying the CBD is something I need to do. It has an almost 50/50 chance at helping, and those are good enough odds for me. 

    I am so glad that I came across your article today, and I thank you for putting it together. There is no doubt that many people will be helped by your work to get this published for us all. 

  • EddieSand says:

    This CBD sounds like a great alternative to chronic pain and other great benefits. I can understand how this is not addictive. I still wonder if a person could overdose with it. Taking too much of it at one time. People will usually want fast results and think by taking a higher dose of CBD could have faster results. What are your thoughts about that?

  • coralie says:

    I really love your website. The dragon is so cute and cool.

    Your whole post I found very interesting and exciting. It has been a long time coming for Hemp, and all its wonderful products it offers us.  Anytime we can find a way to help people that are struggling with pain, or anxiety and many other issues, we need to take it.

    I am hoping now that it is coming forward more, that the research and the money will come together to continue to find ways to use Hemp.

    Great job.

  • Who is Bethenny Frankel? says:

    Looks like it is a good idea to use it, benefits for epileptic people, and for health problems regarding pains and anti inflammatory.  But If I were in one of those problems, I will not use it, coming from the Cannabis, I feel it is addictive and could increase to anothers drugs that could damages another systems of our body.

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