CBD Oil for Pain, Anxiety + Sleep – Does it Work?
Does CBD have any positive health effects? On this episode of The Sitch, we’re talking all about CBD oil for pain, anxiety, and sleep.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol – one of the two major compounds in the marijuana plant.
Unlike THC, though, CBD doesn’t produce a euphoric “high” and it was legalized as a supplement in 2018 under the farm bill. However, CBD regulation is a little murky and foods and beverages containing CBD are technically still illegal in some states.
CBD belongs to a class of compounds known as cannabinoids. There are 120 of them and they exist in many plants, not just the cannabis plant. This non-intoxicating compound has become majorly popular in the past year or so and can be found in everything from sunscreen to cocktails to coffee.
Some of the more outstanding CBD claims include that it helps fix leaky gut syndrome, can be used to treat mutiple sclerosis, and can cure cancer.
As there are no human studies supporting those assertions, we’re going to move along to the more plausible, and clinically tested claims about CBD. As always, remember I stick to clinical research – that means it was performed on humans; animal studies do not rise to the level of evidence-based practice.
RESEARCH ON CBD
1. intractable epilepsy
So first off, there is solid research supporting the use of CBD for at least one condition: intractable epilepsy – a condition where drugs are ineffective.
One study showed a 42% reduction in seizure frequency in children and adults taking 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day for 28 days.
In fact, CBD is the key ingredient in the only cannabis-based drug approved by the FDA, Epidiolex.
2. anxiety and depression
Many studies have also looked at the effects of cbd on neurocognitive disorders such as anxiety and depression.
In one small study on adults with social anxiety disorder, a single 600 mg dose of CBD reduced anxiety and cognitive impairment on a simulated public speaking test.
In another study, a single 300 mg dose of CBD also reduced symptoms of anxiety during public speaking, but not a 100 or 900 mg dose, suggesting that too much or too little affects CBD’s efficacy against anxiety.
3. psychological disorders
Several studies have also shown that cbd may possess anti-psychotic properties.
In one study, CBD was as effective at reducing psychotic symptoms as the most commonly prescribed drug used to treat schizophrenia.
4. pain reduction
Another common claim about CBD is that it has the ability to reduce pain – whether due to diseases like cancer and arthritis or under normal conditions like post-exercise muscle soreness.
Unfortunately, according to a recent review of 11 systematic reviews and observational studies, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that CBD is effective at reducing pain related to cancer or GI and rheumatic conditions and only limited evidence suggesting efficacy for neuropathic pain.
Studies have shown that while cannabinoids may increase one’s pain threshold, they do not decrease pain intensity.
Another understandably believeable claim I’ve heard about CBD is that it can help improve sleep.
As someone who has trouble sleeping, I wish this was true, but unfortunately research doesn’t entirely support this claim.
Some studies show that CBD has a mildly stimulating effect. Other research indicates that the dose determines the effect and suggest that while low-dose CBD promotes arousal, high dose CBD may increase total sleep time and decrease the number of nighttime wake ups.
More research in this area is clearly needed.
IS CBD SAFE?
So now let’s talk safety.
A world health organization report found that CBD is safe and non-addictive. Up to 1500 mg/day has been shown to be well-tolerated. But it’s not without potential side effects. Some studies have noted nausea, vomitting, dry mouth, decreased appetite, and diarrhea in CBD users.
Drug interactions may also be a concern, as CBD behaves like grapefruit and may increase the amount of certain drugs in the bloodstream. Talk to your doctor before trying CBD if you are taking any medications.
Finally, because CBD is an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting.
One study showed that out of 84 CBD supplements, 68% contained a different amount of CBD than was listed on the label and 21% contained detectable levels of THC – the psychoactive component of marijuana.
This is especially important to consider for athletes, as THC is a prohibited substance and consuming it violates anti-doping rules.
Finally, CBD has not been tested in pregnant or breastfeeding women or children and therefore should not be used by these groups.
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Weigh in: Have you tried CBD? Would you try it now after learning more about it?