CBD Might be Beneficial for Pain Relief
Several studies show that CBD might provides relief for chronic pain stemming from arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. The body’s endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating your emotions, motor control, immune system, and pain response. When the body ingests CBD, it affects the way your body perceives and responds to pain.
One study of rats found that CBD reduced their acute pain response to surgical incision both immediately and in the long-term. Another study found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties significantly reduce chronic nerve pain and inflammation.
CBD Might Mitigate Some Side Effects for Cancer Patients
In addition to their illness, cancer patients often live with several uncomfortable symptoms, like pain, depression, and sleep issues. Worse, the treatment for cancer often results in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. CBD might relieve some of these cancer symptoms.
Not all cancer patients adequately respond to traditional pain medication like opioids. Of the ones who do, they may develop an addiction to the drugs. CBD provides an alternative treatment that doctors may use. CBD is non-habit forming and one study showed that CBD reduced pain 30% more than traditional medication or THC alone.
Nausea and vomiting are two of the most common—and most feared—symptoms of chemotherapy. These symptoms can be so intense that they lead 25 to 50% of cancer patients to ultimately delay or refuse this life-saving treatment. Fortunately, CBD might control and reduce both of these symptoms. In one study of cancer patients, researchers administered a daily CBD/THC spray or placebo to participants during the 5 days following their chemotherapy. The individuals who received the CBD spray experienced a 49% reduction in nausea and vomiting-related symptoms.
There’s also a growing body of evidence suggesting that CBD might facilitate cancer cell death and slow the spread of aggressive cancer cells for breast cancer, although the research is still in early stages.
CBD Might be Beneficial for Anxiety Disorders
Much like how CBD affects the way the body perceives and remembers pain, CBD might change the endocannabinoid system’s response to anxiety disorders and depression.
In one study of individuals with social anxiety disorder and a phobia of public speaking, participants were separated into two groups. One received a single dose of 600mg CBD while the other received a placebo, an hour and a half before they participated in a simulated public speaking test. The individuals who received CBD experienced significant reductions in their anxiety, as well as in the cognitive impairment and discomfort they felt while public speaking.
Researchers also evaluated the participants’ self assessments of their public speaking performance. The tendency for the placebo group to make negative self-assessments was nearly fully absent among the CBD group.
CBD has also been shown to have antidepressant-like effects and to help motivate social interaction.
CBD Might Be Beneficial for Sleep
In many instances, insomnia and sleep issues accompany anxiety disorders. In one study of pediatric post-traumatic stress disorder, CBD was shown to consistently improve sleep quality over a period of 5 months—in the absence of any pharmaceutical drugs. A once daily 12-25 mg CBD treatment enabled the individual to sleep through the night and experience better quality sleep, with less overall anxiety during the day.
REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that, left untreated, often develops into a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s or Lewy body dementia. In healthy REM sleep, muscle atonia sets in, paralyzing the muscles so we don’t physically act out our dreams. With RBD, however, the muscle atonia is not present, enabling individuals to move violently during sleep and put themselves at risk of injury. CBD has been shown to immediately and significantly control the physical symptoms of RBD, reducing the occurrences of RBD without any negative side effects.
In the rheumatoid arthritis study we cited above, the CBD treatment also improved quality of sleep for the RA patients—as well as their pain—demonstrating how the benefits of CBD are not limited and can treat multiple symptoms at once.
CBD Might be Beneficial for Addiction Recovery
CBD might help people overcome nicotine or opioid addiction, by alleviating the symptoms of withdrawal.
One study of smokers who wanted to quit smoking gave participants an inhaler of either CBD or a placebo. Over the course of one week, they were told to use the inhaler whenever they felt the urge to smoke. At the end of the week, those with the placebo inhaler smoked the same amount of cigarettes as they had before the study. Participants with the CBD inhaler, however, reduced the total number of cigarettes they smoked by; 40%.
CBD may be uniquely helpful for those in addiction recovery, as opposed to THC (which can provide many of the same health benefits), is because CBD provides all the same benefits without the risk of addiction. THC appears to increase sensitivity to other drugs, which can end up rewarding drug-seeking behavior, while CBD does not.
The studies for CBD as an aid to heroin addiction recovery are promising, as regular CBD treatment significantly reduces an individual’s cravings for the drug. Even more promising is the fact that these effects appear to get stronger with time, with craving reduction lasting as long as 7 days after the initial CBD treatment.