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Health Benefits of CBD

CBD is an abbreviation for cannabinoid. Cannabinoid is a natural substance found in cannabis, also known as marijuana, and also in hemp plants. Today, you can find CBD oil in capsules, oil bases for vaporizers, tinctures, food items, and beauty products such as bath bombs or lotions.

Unlike its cousin THC, CBD is not intoxicating or psychoactive. Proponents of CBD oil and other CBD products claim that it can be used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, inflammation, migraines, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, depression, and anxiety.

Research into some of these claims is ongoing, and there is still a lot about CBD that we don’t know but researchers are trying to find out.

Health Benefits

Researchers are looking for answers when it comes to the full potential of CBD. What have they discovered in the meantime? So far, we know that CBD is a proven treatment when it comes to certain types of epilepsy, and early research is showing promise in regards to various anxiety disorders.

Approved to Treat Epilepsy

In 2018, the first FDA-approved drug, cannabidiol (Epidiolex), containing CBD was released on the market to treat two different kinds of epilepsy — Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

The FDA approved the treatment for patients as young as two years old. Studies showed it was effective in comparison to a placebo in reducing the frequency of seizures.

Anxiety

Though we need more research, a 2015 medical journal review article looked at CBD and its effect on multiple anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, seasonal affective disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The results showed that there was “strong preclinical evidence” to support the treatment of anxiety disorders with CBD, though more research is needed on long-term dosing.

Health Risks

Research surrounding CBD is ongoing, and there are many questions that researchers do not have the answers to yet, such as whether or not the means of taking CBD impacts the risks or efficacy. Some common means of taking CBD include inhaling through a vaporizer, ingesting through food, or taking orally as a pill.

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Here is a list of a few potential risks and side effects that come with CBD. Some of these risks are controllable if taking CBD under the guidance of your doctor.

Liver Injury

During drug trials for Epidiolex, the FDA determined liver injury to be a side effect of CBD. Signs of liver injury showed up on blood work used to detect early problems with the liver. You can manage this risk by only taking CBD under the supervision of your doctor.

Interaction with Other Medications

If you are taking other medications, CBD can impact their efficacy, and the dose you are taking may need to be re-evaluated by your doctor. CBD can potentially interact with other medications to cause side effects.

Because there is limited research on how CBD interacts with prescription drugs and with standard over-the-counter supplements, it is best to talk to your doctor before taking CBD if you are taking other medications.

Fertility Damage

Though not much research has looked specifically at CBD, it seems that there is a negative relationship between cannabis use and sperm count, as well as other measures of male fertility, including sperm viability and motility.

Most of these studies have focused on animal participants, and further research is needed. Experts recommend awareness around these potential side effects when prescribing cannabis to patients who are of reproductive age.

Amounts and Dosage

Because the FDA currently does not regulate CBD, there are no specific recommended doses. Doses in most clinical trials have ranged from 100 to 800 milligrams a day.

Before using any CBD product, you should speak to your doctor to come up with a safe dosage plan that works for you. This plan should also take into account your symptoms and any other medications or supplements that you may be taking.

Sources

Neurotherapeutics: “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.”

The Journal of Urology: “Cannabis and Male Fertility: A Systematic Review.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD.”

When You Use CBD Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Body

CBD is short for cannabidiol and, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), it’s “a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp.” But CBD is different than marijuana. “While delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the major active ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol is also obtained from hemp, which contains only very small amounts of THC,” NLM explained.

CBD comes in many forms, including oils, gummies, and even muscle rubs. That alone can make it hard to decide which product to use, but add in the purported benefits of CBD, and it gets even more confusing. While CBD does contain quite a few health benefits, that doesn’t mean it’s going to cure all your ailments. In fact, if you use CBD every day, you’ll definitely notice some changes within your body, but they might not be exactly what you’re expecting.

You’ll have less pain throughout your body if you use CBD every day

One of the most common reasons why people start to use CBD is to manage their pain. According to a 2017 study, the “utilization of cannabis for pain can be traced back to ancient Chinese texts, dating to 2900 B.C.” Thanks to the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD is able to relieve pain by attaching to the cannabinoid receptors in your body and reducing inflammation.

Of course, that isn’t to say that ingesting CBD in oil, gummies, or even muscle rubs will immediately take your pain away. As Rahul Khare, an emergency medical physician and founder of Innovative Express Care, told HuffPost, “CBD won’t completely take the pain away like a morphine would, but it may decrease it to a point where it makes the pain more tolerable.”

If you use CBD every day, it’s pretty likely that you won’t have as much chronic pain or pain throughout your body, which makes CBD a viable natural alternative to pain relievers for many people.

You won’t have to deal with as much anxiety if you use CBD every day

CBD products are often used in the treatment of anxiety. According to a 2015 study, CBD was able to effectively reduce “anxiety behaviors” common to generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive–compulsive disorder, among others.

As Junella Chin, an osteopathic physician as well as a medical cannabis expert told Health, “[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you’re safe. It mellows out the nervous system so you’re not in a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response.”

If you use CBD every day, you’ll likely find that you are less anxious, which can be seriously important for the 40 million adults who struggle with anxiety in the United States, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Although you shouldn’t look to, CBD to get rid of your anxiety, it can help manage it.

If you use CBD every day, your depression may improve

Depression is “the single largest contributor to global disability,” according to the World Health Organization, and, in 2015, it was estimated that 300 million people were suffering from depression. All hope is not lost, though. Many people have found therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments to be helpful in treating their depression. Others have turned to natural remedies, like St. John’s Wort or SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) supplements.

According to Healthline, using CBD every day could also be potentially effective in helping people who are struggling with depression, due to “CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.” One study from 2010 found that CBD had “antidepressant-like effects,” on mice.

While CBD shouldn’t be taken in place of prescription antidepressants prescribed by a doctor, using it in some form on a daily basis could definitely help with depression symptoms and make managing the disorder that much easier.

Your risk for epileptic seizures will decrease if you use CBD every day

Although certain other uses for CBD (like pain management and anxiety) may receive more attention, CBD is also used to treat epilepsy. In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the government “approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution” in order to help treat people who have seizures because of two serious kinds of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Research has also shown that CBD may be effective in treating Angelman syndrome, a congenital disorder that is particularly resistant to traditional epilepsy medication. “There is an unmet need for better treatments for kids with Angelman syndrome to help them live fuller lives and to aid their families and caregivers,” Ben Philpot, a cell biology and physiology professor and associate director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Neuroscience Center, revealed (via ScienceDaily). “Our results show CBD could help the medical community safely meet this need.”

The fact that placing a CBD gummy or oil under your tongue could potentially help with seizures is pretty amazing. It’s also pretty amazing that the FDA saw the merit in CBD to help with serious diseases.

Using CBD every day will help with nausea, even from chemo

Although useful in treating cancer, chemotherapy tends to make people feel awful and causes a lot of stomach issues. Fortunately, according to Healthline, CBD may “help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for those with cancer.”

In fact, a 2010 study discovered that “orally administered synthetic cannabinoids (nabilone and dronabinol)” were actually better than “dopamine receptor antagonists” in fighting and inhibiting chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. That’s a huge discovery for cancer patients across the world who now get the chance to not be so sick to their stomachs as they fight back against the disease.

If you use CBD every day, even if you aren’t undergoing chemotherapy, you could keep nausea at bay.

You could reduce your risk of certain cancers if you use CBD every day

While there is still, sadly, no known cure for cancer, there are so many scientific advances being made in the field every day. Still, there is an astonishingly high number of cancer patients in the United States alone. According to the American Cancer Society, “there will be an estimated 1.8 million new cancer cases diagnosed and 606,520 cancer deaths in the United States” in 2020 alone. That makes any cancer prevention tactic seriously important. And, as it turns out, using CBD every day may just help reduce your risk for certain cancers.

According to a study from the California Pacific Medical Center, CBD is “the first nontoxic exogenous agent” that has the ability to monumentally “decrease Id-1 expression in metastatic breast cancer cells,” which decreases how aggressive a tumor can be.

In short, CBD “induced cell death in human breast cancer cells,” as Healthline explained. This doesn’t mean that CBD will stop people from getting cancer, but it may just reduce the risk of certain cancers, so that’s just another reason to use it every day.

Your skin will glow if you use CBD every day

One of the most common yet frustrating conditions that many adults struggle with is acne. What might start out for teenagers as little pimples can quickly turn in to hormonal or cystic acne with seemingly no end in sight. While there are a lot of topical and oral treatments for adult acne, everyone is different. Some people desiring a more natural approach to treating acne may find that using CBD every day is the way to go.

One 2014 study uncovered that, due to all the “lipostatic, antiproliferative, and anti-inflammatory effects” CBD has, it has the potential to be used as a treatment for acne. According to the International Dermal Institute, “between 40 and 55 percent of the adult population age 20-40 are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin.” For a lot of those people, it could be a good decision to try CBD. Now, that isn’t to say that using CBD orally or topically will always heal acne breakouts, but it has been proven to help because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

You’ll experience fewer digestive issues if you use CBD every day

It’s not exactly uncommon to feel stomach pain or discomfort, as most adults will suffer from some kind of digestive problem at some point in their lives. But, according to Fox News, “74 percent of Americans are living with digestive symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.” That means there are a lot of people who currently struggle with digestive issues, and using CBD products every day may actually be able to help with that. A lot of times, digestive issues could be a sign that something more serious is going on within your body, so you’ll definitely want to consult your doctor. Still, CBD can help with the symptoms.

In fact, a 2017 study stated the positive impact CBD had “on [gastrointestinal] motility, inflammation and immunity,” as well as “intestinal and gastric acid secretion,” and even “appetite control.” CBD can help with a whole host of digestive issues so if you, like 74 percent of Americans, are struggling with stomach issues, you may want to consider using CBD on the daily.

If you use CBD every day, you could notice a change to your sleeping habits

Not getting enough sleep, or having poor sleep quality can be quite detrimental to your health. In fact, a lack of sleep can actually hurt your immune system and, if you’re already sick, it can make it harder to get better, according to the Mayo Clinic. Obviously, sleep is important, but a lot of adults aren’t getting enough. According to a report by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (via ScienceDaily), “one in four Americans develop insomnia each year.” But, could using CBD every day really help you sleep better? Well, it depends on how much you take.

Ethan Russo, neurologist, scientist, and the director of research and development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, told HuffPost that while CBD may make you sleepy, it’s usually because of other compounds in the product. “At extreme doses, CBD may be sleep-inducing, but it’s a misconception that it does that at low or moderate doses,” Russo explained. “Some preparations of CBD are often associated with high levels of another compound called myrcene and that is sedating, but this creates a misconception that CBD is sedating.”

You can lower your blood pressure if you use CBD every day

Having high blood pressure may be common, but it’s also no joke and something that needs to be taken seriously. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to disability, a poor quality of life, or even a fatal heart attack or stroke.” Thankfully, using CBD every day could help. Of course, if you already have high blood pressure, you shouldn’t stop your medication in favor of CBD.

According to Healthline, “the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.” In fact, a study conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom found that just one dose of CBD “[reduced] blood pressure in healthy volunteers.” If you use CBD every day, you could start to see your blood pressure lower, along with a myriad of other health benefits that are too important to pass up.

Using CBD every day can reduce your risk for diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that plagues America and is seriously dangerous if not treated properly. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100 million Americans already either have diabetes or prediabetes. Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation. While using CBD every day won’t necessarily cure diabetes, it could reduce your risk for the disease.

A study from the Hadassah University Hospital found that “CBD can inhibit and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory Th1-associated cytokine production,” which results “in a decreased incidence of diabetes possibly through an immunomodulatory mechanism shifting the immune response from Th1 to Th2 dominance.” Basically, CBD literally reduced the instances of diabetes in the mice from the study. Of course, this was an animal study and not a human study, but it’s still important to note that CBD has the potential to prevent diabetes.

You might lose weight if you use CBD every day

While you could assume that CBD, like cannabis, would bring on the munchies, that isn’t exactly the case. Of course, everyone responds to CBD differently, but it turns out that using CBD products every day could reduce your weight. As stress can oftentimes lead to weight gain, according to Verywell Mind, and CBD reduces stress, CBD may, in turn, have the potential to aid in weight loss.

However, one 2017 study found inconsistent results. As the study revealed, “10 [participants] showed decreased weight and 12 had gained weight.” Per the study, those changes could be because CBD had a small impact or that weight and appetite are such “complex endpoints influenced by multiple factors such as diet and genetic predisposition.” Although diet pills (unfortunately) exist, there’s no such thing as a magic weight loss pill — and there shouldn’t be, but, believe it or not, using CBD every day might just help you realistically reach your weight loss goals.

If you use CBD every day, make sure it’s of good quality

Just like any supplements that aren’t being watched by the Food and Drug Administration, it’s very important to be careful when purchasing CBD products. “Because of the non-FDA approval, anyone can open up a CBD store and process it and try to sell it for a profit, and that’s what’s happening right now,” Rahul Khare, an emergency medical physician and founder of Innovative Express Care, told HuffPost. So, don’t just go into a gas station and by some CBD oil or gummies.

Your best bet is to find a CBD brand that does third-party quality and assurance testing, according to Health. But, if that’s a little too confusing or, let’s be honest, too much work, Brandon Beatty, founder and CEO of Bluebird Botanicals, advises going to a natural grocery store.”Typically they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you,” he told Health. Not all CBD products are created equal so, even if you use the subpar stuff every day, you won’t get all the benefits CBD has to offer.

You won’t get high if you use CBD every day

Because CBD is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, many people are under the false assumption that you’ll get high if you use CBD every day. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. CBD is completely different from marijuana, and most CBD products don’t contain THC, either.

“CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria,” Junella Chin, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert at cannabisMD, told Health. “You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.” Yes, CBD can relax you, but not in the same way smoking a joint would relax you. Of course, if you want to be extra certain that CBD won’t get you high, make sure you purchase it from a trusted source and that it’s third-party tested to contain no THC.

The fact is: Using CBD every day isn’t going to change your life, but it could just help with a lot of health issues you’re facing, and could even prevent some down the line.

Should You Take CBD for Pain?

People looking for a safer pain reliever are turning to cannabis-derived CBD. Michigan Medicine experts weigh in on what’s currently known about the trendy supplement.

Want to learn more on this topic? Listen to this podcast from the Rogel Cancer Center on Medical Marijuana for Cancer Patients.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is undergoing a surge in popularity as the hot new supplement, with a promise to treat a variety of conditions including pain, anxiety, and insomnia, just to name a few. It’s also available in all manner of forms, from lotions and oils to CBD-infused food and drink. But does it work?

CBD is one of the compounds in the cannabis plant, better known as marijuana. Unlike the famous cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t cause the psychological effects typical of being “high”. Both CBD and THC act on the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in many processes including appetite, pain and memory.

The scientific evidence around CBD use is thin, a fact that is mainly due to politics. “Cannabis has been a Schedule 1 drug for a long time, which has limited the type of research needed to figure out how best to use it therapeutically,” says Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., research investigator in the department of anesthesiology and the Michigan Medicine Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. Under the U.S. Federal Controlled Substances Act, Schedule 1 drugs are defined as having no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Yet marijuana has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years, he notes. In fact, one of the first recorded uses of cannabis was for rheumatism, also known as arthritis. Cannabis products were widely used as medicines in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and were listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia before the onset of Federal restriction in 1937 under the Marijuana Tax Act.

Much of the research literature around CBD in particular supports its use as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. Indeed, in 2018 the FDA approved the CBD-based drug Epidiolex as a drug for childhood epileptic conditions. In a substantial policy shift, Epidiolex was designated as Schedule V, which is the least restrictive drug schedule and indicates little potential for abuse.

While there aren’t any published clinical trials on CBD in pain, Boehnke notes that ongoing preclinical studies in animals have demonstrated that CBD reduces pain and inflammation, and studies of CBD in humans show that it is well-tolerated and has few negative side effects. “There are also observational studies that ask why people use CBD and if it’s effective, and results tend to be quite positive. People report using CBD for anxiety, pain, sleep — all things that go hand-in-hand with chronic pain,” he says. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp-derived CBD (

So many people are turning to CBD as an alternative pain reliever, especially in light of the opioid crisis, that in a commentary published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Boehnke and Daniel Clauw, M.D., director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, provided advice for clinicians on how to counsel their patients about CBD and cannabis use.

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They also provided guidance for the Arthritis Foundation, who recently surveyed 2,600 people with arthritis and found that 29% currently use CBD to treat arthritis symptoms.

Boehnke and Clauw recommend that people with chronic pain talk to their doctor about adding CBD to their treatment plan, and continue to use their prescribed medication. They offer the following advice for people wanting to try CBD:

Don’t smoke or vape. Bottom line is smoking anything harms the lungs. Vaping has been associated with a recent epidemic of lung disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Purchase from reputable sources. Like vitamins and other supplements, CBD products aren’t regulated or FDA approved to treat disease, so buyer beware. Look for products that have been tested by an independent third party lab “so you don’t end up with a product that has THC in it or a product contaminated with heavy metals or pesticides,” says Boehnke.

Route of administration matters. CBD is best taken in pill or capsule form for slow extended release or as an oral tincture (infused oil that contains CBD) for faster effect onset.

Start low, go slow. Take a small amount and slowly increase your dosage until you start to get symptom relief over a matter of weeks. Track your symptoms to get a sense of whether or not CBD is a helpful part of your treatment plan.

Check your state laws. While medical marijuana is legal in many states, it’s still illegal at the Federal level, putting CBD in a legal gray zone in many areas.