An Overview of the Top Studies and Clinical Trials for CBD
It would come with no surprise that these claims will raise the skepticism amongst many individuals, whereby our first instinct would be to question where the reliable evidence is to justify these statements. Fortunately, such evidence exists — for there are a plethora of resources and research investigations that are made available for public review on the reliable scientific websites.
However, rather than having to meticulously scout the Internet for these data and information, you can instead find all the different studies on CBD’s medical applications in this one article. In particular, this article is essentially a compilation of various experimental investigations, clinical trials, and literature reviews that consolidate the top CBD research that have been conducted into one place, with your convenience at our best interests.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is basically one of the many types of phytocannabinoids (“phyto” means that the substance or molecule has a plant origin; a natural product) that can be easily extracted from a cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another typical phytocannabinoid that is commonly found alongside CBD, consuming CBD does not result in the user experiencing a “high” feeling. This is because CBD essentially interacts with the receptors in our body via a different manner. With that in mind, the CBD found in most CBD products is often extracted from a specific type of cannabis plant that is known as industrial hemp. This particular kind of cannabis plant contains a high quantity of CBD along with a negligible percentage of THC.
As CBD is related to marijuana, there has been certain concerns and confusion amongst the general public regarding its legality. To help debunk any myths, the short answer to whether CBD is legal or not would be — yes, CBD has been legalised under certain conditions. In fact, the Farm Bill that was passed in 2018 officially legalised CBD in the United States, with the requirement that the CBD products contain less than or equivalent to 0.03% of THC in addition to the CBD having to be extracted from industrial hemp, specifically.
CBD products that are available in the markets today
It is fairly common to come across CBD retailers offering a myriad of ways for customers to ingest or take CBD. Such examples would include taking CBD capsules and pills, consuming CBD oil via tinctures, vaping CBD oil, or by applying CBD-infused cream topically.
As a matter of fact, back in June 2018, the United State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have authorised one type of CBD product to be used as a treatment for patients suffering from two specific and rare forms of epilepsy, known as Dravet syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), respectively. The brand name of this drug is known to be Epidiolex.
What makes CBD so popular?
Here’s an interesting fact, did you know that CBD has been widely utilised for hundreds of years as a natural medication?
Henceforth, due to the versatile applications and medical benefits that CBD poses for physicians, whereby it is, in fact, rather hard to list them all, the general community have begun to view CBD with a positive mindset.
How does CBD perform its function in our body?
Before we can dive into the details on how CBD exerts its effects within our body, we need to first understand the role that our endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays in the body.
To begin with, the endocannabinoid system is a complicated and intricate biological network present within the human body. This physiological system was discovered by scientists back in the 1990s. Fast-forwarding to our world today, medical experts are aware that the endocannabinoid system impacts several major processes, including appetite, mood, sleep, and memory. However, there is still much about the endocannabinoid system, how it functions, and which components it interacts with that has yet to be understood. Thus, further investments into CBD research remains a necessity.
Essentially, the endocannabinoid system consists of three key components, namely the receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoids have to maintain the smooth running of our body’s internal functions and processes. Meanwhile, there are two important types of receptors, which are known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors, respectively. CB1 receptors are mostly located in our central nervous system (CNS), and it basically regulates our movement, coordination, ability to feel pain, appetite, mood, memory, and many more. On the other hand, the CB2 receptors can be easily found to be spread across the peripheral nervous system (PNS), in which these receptors govern the processes of inflammation as well as the signalling of pain within our body.
Therefore, in essence, CBD, in its role as a phytocannabinoid (which shares similar properties as endocannabinoids) is able to interact with the endocannabinoid receptors and activate them. As a result, CBD would be able to exert many of its medical benefits that are commonly linked with this substance.
The many therapeutic applications of CBD
CBD is a useful treatment option for neurological conditions
When CBD is ingested, it starts to target our endocannabinoid receptors that are situated within our brain upon its entry into the bloodstream. Thus, taking CBD may be a viable option to treat certain mental conditions. Interestingly, Maroon et al. (2018) presented results to propose that CBD could present therapeutic benefits to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, neuropathic pain, mood disorders like schizophrenia, anxiety, epilepsy, addiction, depression, and many more.
To begin with, a review authored by Bitencourt et al. (2018) argued that CBD may assist with relieving patients from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, which includes experiencing terrible nightmares and a constant replaying of unpleasant and traumatizing memories. Specifically, this study has investigated CBD as both a single stand-alone medication to treat PTSD along with analysing CBD as an add-on to conventional drugs and/or treatment protocols such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Besides that, an investigation Fakhoury (2016) postulated that CBD may present antipsychotic effects that would have useful applications to help people who are suffering from schizophrenia. In addition, taking CBD would not lead to any significant debilitating side effects that are commonly related to taking the traditional antipsychotic medications.
Meanwhile, Devinsky et al. (2017) studied the effects of CBD in 120 patients (including children, adolescents, as well as young adults) that are diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, which is a serious type of epilepsy that mainly affects children. The findings from this research indicated that the median occurrence of convulsive seizures every month reduced dramatically from 12.4 to 5.9 when the patients take CBD as a form of medication against epileptic seizures.
Other than that, a study initiated by Shannon et al., (2019) proposed that CBD might offer medical benefits to treat anxiety-related disorders. In particular, they studied 72 adults who were having key concerns regarding anxiety or having poor quality sleep. They soon discovered that the recorded anxiety scores fell by 79.2% within the first month amongst 57 patients and remained at a lower score throughout the entire study period. In addition to that, the researchers found out that the sleep scores reported by 48 patients have dramatically improved over the first month by 66.7%, though it is important to note that the scores still fluctuated over time.
Furthermore, a 2018 review of existing scientific investigations brought forward the notion that CBD presents anti-stress properties, which could help in the reduction of stress-associated depression. In fact, CBD may be more effective than conventional medications, as most antidepressant drugs take a few weeks before it can finally exert any effects, whilst a 2019 experimental study on animals found out that CBD offers a quick and consistent antidepressant-like effect.
Moreover, there are other existing research that have proposed the potential uses of CBD to assist in the prevention of the development of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). In particular, Cheng et al. (2014) demonstrated that a long-term treatment regimen using CBD has helped to prevent the development of social recognition memory deficits that was observed in transgenic mice with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Finally, Ceprián et al. (2017) showcased that CBD may help to lessen the negative impact caused by brain damage and improve the rate of recovery through their studies on neonatal Wistar rats. By analysing the effects that CBD imposed on the rodents’ brains using the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique and other system studies, as well as behavioral tests, the team eventually noted that the administration of CBD after inducing a blockage in an artery resulted in a “long-term functional recovery”. As a matter of fact, CBD has prevented the loss of structure and function amongst neurons, the atypical increment in the number of astrocytes (which is a specific kind of cell that can be found in our brain), cell damage, cell death, in addition to the inflammation of tissues in the nervous system
An effective painkiller
The effects that CBD oil may have on the receptors located within your brain might also potentially help you with pain management. To dive into greater detail, CBD is also presumed to be able to control inflammation within our body. This might also assist with reducing the intensity of the pain experienced as well as other responses by our immune system.
A 2016 study that was published in the European Journal of Pain utilised an animal model to evaluate if CBD has the ability to help patients suffering from arthritis to manage their pain more easily. To dive into the details, the group applied a CBD topical gel onto rats diagnosed with arthritis for four days. They then noted a significant reduction in the signs of inflammation and pain, without any of the test subjects having experienced any further side effects. As a result, there is a possibility that people can use CBD oil to relieve themselves from the pain caused by arthritis. However, more clinical trials on humans will need to be conducted first before this hypothesis can be validated.
Other than that, Rudroff et al. (2018) presented the idea that CBD could be used to ease the symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) for certain patients. Though, they also explicitly mentioned that the benefits of CBD to treat patients with multiple sclerosis is still under thorough investigation. This is because the available information highlighted that a cannabis extract containing a ratio of approximately 1:1 for CBD-to-THC was used as an oral spray, and they found out that it could decrease muscle spasms and pain intensity in multiple sclerosis patients. However, research on the ability of other CBD products like oils, sprays, and edibles to provide multiple sclerosis symptom relief still remains under investigation. Plus, research into potential side effects remains extremely limited.
The same report also investigated the use of CBD for the management of general chronic pain. The team collected and analysed multiple clinical trials and studies. Their study eventually came to a conclusion that there is a significant amount of evidence proving that cannabis is a viable treatment option for adults suffering from chronic pain.
CBD is an amazing tool for you to try in order to achieve a glowing skin
Severe skin diseases (like acne and eczema) can be easily treated with CBD oil. What’s more, there has not been any serious side effects associated with this form of treatment. In addition, this option is also a natural solution (given that CBD originates from a plant), hence it would be a healthy and organic approach to make your skin glow!
With that in mind, taking into account that acne is a type of inflammatory skin condition, CBD serves as an anti-inflammatory agent to soothe your skin and to prevent any acne-associated breakouts. There are three different investigations initiated in 2007, 2013 and 2014 respectively, which showcased the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD to help guard your skin, thus helping you to regain your confidence. Another plausible reason that may explain why CBD is able to stop acne breakouts is due to its ability to suppress the excess production of an oily secretion known as sebum. Basically, sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands to help protect our skin. But, amongst people who have acne, their skin would begin to produce an excessive amount of sebum that eventually clogs up hair follicles. Given that inflammation contributes strongly to the acceleration of the production of sebum, as suggested by research, CBD can thus assist in the regulation of sebum production as it can lower the activity of CB2 receptors that play a role in regulating the sebaceous glands.
There are a number of experimental investigations that have demonstrated the potential application of using CBD to treat psoriasis. One study highlighted that the topical application of CBD oil (without any traces of THC) provides an effective and safe method to improve the quality of life for individuals with psoriasis. Besides that, another study investigated CBD and THC separately, and noted that they are all able to stop the excessive production of skin cells (scientifically termed as keratinocytes). This is a symptom commonly reported amongst psoriasis patients.
In contrast, scientists from the University of Colorado announced CBD has the anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and even anti-itch properties that makes it extremely useful in treating eczema patients. Thus, not only does the application of CBD generate a soothing effect for their skin, it also helps them to bear with the unpleasant symptoms better.
There have also been research showcasing the potent antioxidant properties of CBD being one of the main agents that help people to maintain a youthful appearance. In other words, CBD may help to reduce the physical signs of ageing. In fact, some even considered the antioxidant properties of CBD to be at the similar level as the well-known antioxidants, namely vitamin C and vitamin E. To go into greater detail, CBD consists of linoleic acid and oleic acid, both of which present a missing particle which is needed to stabilise a free radical. Therefore, they prevent the free radical from generating any further damages to the consumer’s skin. In addition, CBD also triggers the greater production of collagen, thereby significantly dampening down any visible indications of having a dull and ruddy skin, fine lines, wrinkles, as well as simultaneously making the skin more firm overall.
Other than that, a 2017 review indicated that CBD-infused creams may reduce the symptoms of dry skin. Indirectly, this also assists with relieving the patient from itchy skin disorders. Moreover, a small study analysing 20 patients diagnosed with either psoriasis, eczema, or scarring reported that CBD moisturises the skin and so elevated their skin elasticity, hydration levels, and the patients’ overall quality of life.
CBD possesses healing effects for liver injury
Wang et al. (2017) investigated how taking CBD may affect patients who sustained liver injuries due to chronic alcohol consumption. In particular, the team studied the effect of introducing CBD to mice and human blood samples containing alcohol. In summary, their experiment brought them to a conclusion that CBD reduced the high levels of liver enzymes as well as liver triglycerides. Not to mention, CBD also dampened the accumulation of fat droplets too.
CBD is a potential treatment against cancer symptoms and side effects of chemotherapy
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) mentioned that cannabinoids may be a possible option to help treat the unpleasant side effects of cancer and the relevant medications. In particular, cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy are able to generate a plethora of side effects, including nausea, loss of appetite, and significant weight loss. Nevertheless, research highlighted that cannabinoids could relieve the patient from neuropathic pain and nausea.
Interestingly, CBD might help cancer patients manage certain disease symptoms and/or the side effects caused by chemotherapy. In fact, some studies have indicated optimistic results. For example, a study by Ivanov et al. (2019) showed that CBD may induce cell death and increase the sensitivity of glioblastoma cells towards radiation. In contrast, CBD would not impose any effect on healthy cells in our body. What’s more, a review published in 2019 that critiqued in vitro and in vivo studies on pancreatic cancer brought forward the notion that cannabinoids could help to decrease the rate of tumour growth, stop tumour invasion, and trigger tumour cell death. Nonetheless, the authors specifically mentioned that further studies are still mandatory. Specifically, they strongly encourage scientists to prioritise investing their time and money into understanding the efficacy of different CBD product formulations, dosage, as well as get a better idea of its precise mechanism of action.
A large longitudinal study of men within the California Men’s Health Study cohort reported that the consumption of cannabis might be inversely correlated with the risk of developing bladder cancer. But, a cause and effect relationship has yet to be established.