CBD Oil Canada

What is it Good For? – The Potential of CBD

Read Time: 5 minutes

So far in our core article series, we’ve introduced CBD, talked about safety, and given a brief overview of the typical CBD lingo. In this installment, we turn to the positive side of CBD – the areas where the grass is greener, so to speak. There’s a lot of excitement in the world of research right now due to the complex nature of how our bodies interact with CBD and other cannabinoids, with one recent article showing great optimism towards the value of hemp and cannabinoids in food, health and the future1.

Below is a glimpse of the excitement in the form of a quick reference table. While we do our best to be comprehensive, it’s still far from complete – it’s pretty much impossible to condense everything into a single table! Keep in mind that what’s in the table isn’t absolute truth, but merely what the science suggests given current evidence – it takes time, patience and especially funding to really be certain of things in a medical sense. That’s why, to get a rough idea of how conclusive things are, we’ve included a (totally subjective) rating of how strong the evidence is, based on what the body of research looks like:

1/5: Weak – in vitro studies (test tubes, petri dishes, etc.), other preliminary studies, surveys

2/5: Basic – small body of animal studies, case studies

3/5: Decent – strong preclinical evidence, basic clinical findings from randomized control trials (RCTs)

4/5: Good – moderate body of mostly consistent evidence: RCTs, systematic reviews, meta-analyses

5/5: Substantial – large, high quality body of consistent evidence: large-scale RCTs, meta-analyses

Each area of interest gets a blanket rating that gives us a basic idea of whether we have conclusive, detailed evidence of the suggested effects, or just vague hints of them. Note the “blanket” part – each area of interest may have several aspects, each with their own body of evidence, but we want to keep things as simple as possible. We’ll dive deeper into nuances in the future! In most cases the evidence is weak, basic or decent, with the exception of epilepsy. The best explanation for this, I imagine, is the fact that while there’s so much potential for CBD, there is only so much funding available, and we already have drugs for a lot of conditions. But CBD showed promise for treatment resistant forms of epilepsy, and since they’re hard to treat, research into this took immediate priority.

One final but important point: weak evidence doesn’t necessarily mean a suggestion is untrue, but rather that things are in the early stages of research. As the saying goes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – further investigation may show that the suggestion is false, but without strong evidence of falsehood, it’s simply vague or unverified and needs further investigation.

That being said, I’ll leave you to the table below – ‘til next time.

— Rick

 

 

Area of Interest Suggested Properties

of CBD

Strength of Evidence Comments
Addiction • Reduces cravings for various drugs (see comments) and alcohol and may reduce chances of relapse2,3,4,5

• May reduce alcohol-related brain and liver damage3,4

2/5

Basic

• Drugs investigated include2: nicotine6, cannabis7, cocaine8, methamphetamine8 and opiates2 (including heroin)9
Anxiety & Mental Health • Reduces anxiety10,11,12 and symptoms of PTSD13 and schizophrenia14

• Helps prevent15, lessen16,17 and unlearn18 conditioned fear responses19

3/5

Decent

• Some mixed findings among clinical trials10 and fear response investigations20,21

• Bell-shaped response: need “sweet spot” dose to be effective12,22

Athletes Many potential benefits for athletes, including pain/anxiety relief, neuroprotection and improved trauma recovery23,24 1/5

Weak

Potential related to studies on pain, anxiety, etc.; there are no studies in athletic context or studies on performance23,24
Autism • Effects on brain activity different in autistic patients25

• Improvement in many areas, including behaviour, sleep and anxiety26

3/5

Decent

• Many studies included low amounts of THC26

• Lower levels of anandamide (an endocannabinoid) in autistic patients27

Cancer Anti-tumour effects in many different types of cancer28,29,30,31 2/5

Basic

Presence of blood serum may reduce effectiveness32
Cardiovascular

Health

• Lessens increased heart rate and blood pressure in stressful situations33

• Reduces cardiovascular oxidative/nitrative stress from conditions such as heart attack, diabetes and ischemia33

• Reduces arrhythmia in ischemia33

• Increases cerebral blood flow in some regions of the brain33,34

2/5

Basic

• Mixed results regarding effects on blood pressure and heart rate; antiarrhythmic and antioxidant effects more consistent33

• Minimal impact on cardiovascular system in normal conditions33

Epilepsy Up to 100% seizure reduction in patients with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy15 5/5

Substantial

Epidiolex, the first FDA-approved pure CBD product, is prescribed for rare forms of epilepsy.
Immune Function • Suppresses immune response35,36

• Has potential to treat autoimmune disorders35,36

• Helps lower incidence of graft-versus-host-disease37

• Can help prevent organ transplant rejection38

1/5

Weak

Evidence for immune suppression stronger than the other potential benefits.
Neuroprotection Has potential to treat neurodegenerative disorders39,40,41,42,43 such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease and allodynia 1/5

Weak

• Other neurodegenerative disorders include: ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease

• Many results from in vitro studies

• Sativex is a 1:1 THC/CBD formulation for patients with MS

• May also be effective in combination with CBG44,45,46,47

Other Has potential to treat irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and fibromyalgia48 1/5
Weak
According to a highly theoretical condition dubbed Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency48
Pain & Inflammation • Relieves neuropathic43 and  inflammatory pain49,50,51

• May reduce pain sensitivity following injuries43,52

2/5

Basic

• Clinical trials with pure CBD lacking; most involve THC53,54

• Topicals may be more effective (see Topical & Skincare below)

• May only reduce pain sensitivity in males52

• Pain-relief may be enhanced by music55

Pets • Effective in treating osteoarthritis56,57

• Helps with pain, anxiety, epilepsy and phobias58

2/5

Basic

Potentially altered endocannabinoid system functioning in osteoarthritis59
Topical & Skincare • Effective for pain and inflammation60,61,62

• Effective for skin conditions63 such as acne64 and psoriasis65,66

2/5

Basic

Evidence for skin conditions currently weak
Sleep • High doses sedative67, low doses cause wakefulness68

• May improve sleep in those with psychiatric-related sleep disorders69

• No effects on sleep cycle in healthy individuals70

• Reduced symptoms of REM sleep behaviour disorder71

2/5

Basic

 

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Disclaimer

 

These articles are not intended to serve as medical advice, and in the case of referenced sources, do not necessarily reflect the authors’ or collaborators’ opinions. Our aim is to help present reliable information in a way that’s accessible to the average reader, and we try, to the best of our ability, to preserve the context of our sources in this endeavour.


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