What Are the Benefits of CBD?

Sophia Delphi April 18, 2022 - 16 min read
Fact Checked
A male doctor with a CBD oil bottle on hand

It won’t be an overreach to say that CBD has revolutionized the world of cannabis with its plethora of health benefits.

However, not all of them are proven by well-conducted studies.

Don’t get me wrong, CBD has great therapeutic potential, but for some of these benefits, it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions.

So, what are the best science-backed benefits of CBD oil?

Most people use CBD for anxiety, pain, and sleep. According to a survey of 5,000 people conducted by the Brightfield Group, over 60% of CBD users have taken it for anxiety; the other two followed through.

In this article, I’ll cover the most important discoveries about the health benefits of CBD.

Let’s open the books.

CBD Benefits: 10 Evidence-Supported Benefits of CBD Oil

While infusing CBD into products like sugar-laced lollipops or laundry liquids makes little to no sense, health supplements such as CBD oils, vapes, or organic gummies can improve your daily life on many levels.

CBD shows great potential for managing a wide range of symptoms and conditions. Sometimes, it can help where pharmaceutical medications fail to provide relief — not to mention that it has a very decent safety profile, as reported by a continuously growing body of evidence.

Let’s talk about the most important health benefits of CBD.

1. CBD Oil for Pain

People have been using cannabis for pain since 2900 B.C.

But that was quite some time ago.

Recent research shows that CBD can be used in the treatment of difficult types of pain, such as neuropathic pain from fibromyalgia. On top of that, it can reduce inflammation and dampen pain signals to the brain, which explains why some people use CBD for its analgesic benefits.

Several human studies have associated CBD use with positive results in health conditions involving chronic pain, from arthritis to multiple sclerosis to migraines, inflammatory pain, muscle spasms, and movement difficulties caused by physical discomfort.

2. CBD Oil for Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression dominate the field of mental health problems. Both can be dangerous in the long run, causing significant damage to our emotional well-being.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that depression is the single largest disability-inducing disease worldwide, while anxiety disorders have a sixth place on the list.

Conventional treatments for anxiety and depression include pharmaceutical antidepressants. Although effective short-term, they can cause a number of adverse reactions, including drowsiness, agitation, addiction, headaches, sexual impairments, and suicidal thoughts.

CBD can alleviate depression and ease the stress associated with anxious situations. In a Brazillian study published in 2019, 57 participants took oral CBD or placebo 90 minutes before participating in a simulated public speech. The researchers noted that 300 mg of pure CBD product has the best anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects during speech.

CBD uses a similar mechanism to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are a novel class of antidepressants. However, CBD’s effect is less direct, as the cannabinoid allows for a more effective serotonin use without directly agonizing any receptors.

CBD also improves GABA functioning in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for toning down an overactive nervous system; it works like a handbrake. When it goes out of whack, you may get agitated more often and lose some resistance to stress.

Last but not least, CBD enhances anandamide signaling. Anandamide is the major cannabinoid that regulates mood, memory, feelings of joy, fear, and appetite.

Studies have shown that CBD can safely treat sleeping disorders and anxiety in PTSD patients.

3. CBD for Symptoms of Cancer & Side Effects of Chemotherapy

CBD may help ease cancer-related symptoms and the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, such as nausea, vomiting, pain, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

People who received a CBD/THC extract experienced significant relief from pain compared to those who were treated with isolated THC.

CBD may also help curb chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting by signaling specific brain areas that trigger both sensations.

As for cancer alone, CBD has been shown to stop the spread and growth of certain types of cancer by triggering apoptosis (self-induced death of cancer cells) and blocking the proliferation of malignant tissues.

4. CBD for Acne

According to statistics, 9% of the global population struggles with acne. This condition is triggered by a range of factors, including underlying inflammation, bacteria, excess production of sebum, and genetics.

Based on current scientific findings, CBD oil may help reduce acne by reducing inflammation in the sebaceous glands that control the production of sebum — an important oil whose excess may clog the pores and lead to acne breakouts.

Other inflammatory skin conditions that can be relieved with CBD include eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

Still, more longitudinal human studies are needed to prove these effects on a large scale.

5. CBD for Neuroprotection

Neuroscientists believe that CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling networks can improve the symptoms of nervous system disorders.

That’s actually one of the most studied traits of CBD. Although it’s still a relatively virgin research area, several studies have already highlighted CBD as a potentially effective treatment for neurological diseases.

For example, Sativex, an oral solution containing equal ratios of CBD and THC, has been proven a safe and effective medication for muscle spasticity in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). In one study, 276 participants reported a 75% reduction in muscle spasms.

In addition, CBD may curb inflammation and prevent neurodegenerative processes linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. CBD may help prevent cognitive decline by inhibiting the buildup of amyloid plaque — the main risk factor for the disease.

6. CBD for Cardiovascular Health

One of the most talked-about benefits of CBD is its positive influence on cardiovascular health and blood pressure. Recent studies have found that CBD can reduce high blood pressure (hypertension), translating into a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack, atrial fibrillation, or stroke.

In one study, CBD could regulate resting blood pressure in healthy volunteers. A single dose of 600 mg of pure CBD oil lowered blood pressure and helped the subject cope better with stressful situations.

CBD also has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so its ability to prevent cell damage can also produce a therapeutic effect on cardiovascular health.

7. CBD Oil for Weight Loss & Metabolism

CBD has many great benefits, but did you know that speeding up metabolism is one of them? Yes, CBD can help you lose extra weight if you add it to an active lifestyle and a nutritious diet.

Studies in this area are very optimistic. Not only does CBD prevent the release of resistin — a polypeptide that releases insulin resistance in cells — but it also promotes a process called “fat browning.”

This process converts white fat cells to brown fat cells. White fat is the one that your body uses for energy storage, while brown fat can effectively fuel the body with energy by producing more heat. When you have more brown cells in the body, you may be able to burn off more calories.

CBD is also a mild appetite suppressant due to its antagonism to the CB1 receptor; this mechanism produces opposite effects to THC when it comes to appetite.

8. CBD Oil for Seizures

This is arguably the best-studied health benefit of CBD. The compound is known to relieve seizures that don’t respond to pharmaceutical medications, such as Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, the first CBD-based antiepileptic drug.

Although it’s not clear how CBD helps prevent seizures, researchers discovered that CBD’s antiseizure effects might come from toning down neuron excitability by interacting with two classes of receptors — GPR55 and TRPV1 receptors.

9. CBD Oil for Eczema

CBD has been shown by many studies to help soothe skin irritation and related conditions. One of the best-researched areas of CBD benefits for the skin is eczema. This is largely due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits and anti-itching effects.

You can use CBD both orally and topically for eczema. Topical products cause the CBD to interact with CB2 receptors in different layers of the skin. Through this interaction, CBD curbs inflammation and itching, which can significantly improve the quality of life of eczema patients.

However, since eczema is an autoimmune disease, sublingual and oral CBD products may help address the root cause — chronic inflammation.

That’s why it’s good to combine both forms in your anti-eczema routine. Doing so will help you reap the benefits of CBD from different angles.

10. CBD Oil for Autism

CBD oil can reduce stress and anxiety, the two common health problems seen in children with autism. According to some studies, genetics can influence the endocannabinoid system of a child, giving rise to nervous system disorders, such as hyperactivity caused by impaired GABA functioning.

A review of the current literature and experience of a single center in Turkey suggests that using CBD oils with trace amounts of THC seems promising in managing behavioral problems associated with autism. These problems include agitation, short attention span, impaired communication skills, bouts of anxiety, and inability to focus. Up to 70% of patients from the study reported significant improvements in behavioral disorders.

Other Possible Benefits of CBD Oil

Medical researchers have been investigating the benefits of CBD for quite some time. Although more studies should be conducted to make definitive statements about these benefits, CBD is believed to ease the following health concerns:

  • Attention deficits
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Compromised immune function
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Metabolic issues
  • Migraines
  • Psychosis
  • Tumors

With so many promising benefits, it’s natural to wonder about the potential side effects. But before we dig into that, let’s make sure you understand what CBD is and how it works in the body.

What is CBD?

CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the two major chemical compounds in Cannabis sativa plants. Not that long ago — around a decade or so — people were more focused on its more popular cousin, THC, which is the main compound in marijuana plants. THC is what gives you the euphoric effects known as the cannabis high. Today, it seems that these two chemicals are equally popular among health-conscious consumers.

As CBD continues to make big headlines in the mainstream media, together with THC, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about it, making people afraid to try using CBD oil for their health problems.

But once you understand how CBD works in the body, the fear will dissipate. CBD and THC are just two of the plant’s 100+ cannabinoids. While THC can get you high, CBD has no such effects on your brain. In fact, it can counteract some of the intoxicating effects of THC by binding to specific sites of CB1 receptors to which THC tries to connect.

CBD is being investigated in several important sectors of medicine, including mental disorders, neurodegeneration, addiction, autoimmunity, epilepsy, and cancer.

Most of the current evidence supporting the health benefits comes from animal studies and preclinical human trials, although several clinical studies have been conducted in the last decade.

CBD is also the base of two FDA-approved medications: Epidiolex (for epilepsy) and Sativex (for multiple sclerosis).

Is CBD Safe?

Yes, CBD is generally considered safe. According to a critical analysis of the safety and side effects of CBD, the compound is well-tolerated by humans, even in doses as high as 1,500 mg daily administered for several weeks.

That being said, side effects are possible — as with any substance that you introduce to your system.

The side effects of CBD reported by studies include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Sedation

CBD also acts on the special system of enzymes in the liver that metabolize the majority of pharmaceutical medications. It’s a similar mechanism to the one used by grapefruit juice. That’s why you should consult a doctor before buying CBD if you’re taking any medications — especially if your meds have a grapefruit warning on them.

A consultation with a qualified physician will help you find the right dose and timing for both substances so that you can avoid these interactions.

Is CBD Legal?

The legal status of CBD was settled in 2018 with the introduction of the amended Farm Bill. The new law removed hemp from the list of controlled substances — reclassifying it as an agricultural commodity.

This means hemp and hemp-derived products are federally legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC.

CBD oil is one of such products.

Hemp extracts are widely available across the United States, so you shouldn’t have problems finding CBD oils, vapes, or gummies somewhere near you.

Where to Find High-Quality CBD Products

Despite being federally legal, CBD may be more difficult to find in some states than others. That’s because these states have introduced their own restrictions on the availability of CBD products.

If you’re looking for an easy way to purchase high-quality CBD oil, I recommend finding a trustworthy online vendor.

Online brands offer better prices than traditional stores because there’s no middleman involved. They also provide regular discounts and other ways to save money, such as reward programs and subscription purchase models.

Not to mention that you don’t need to leave your house to buy CBD. You can sit in your pajamas at 2 am and browse through hundreds of different formats, potencies, flavors, and formulas.

Buying CBD online is a huge time saver.

And time is money — so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Final Thoughts: Is There a Limit to the Health Benefits of CBD?

The last decade was very fruitful for researchers who have been studying CBD. The cannabinoid has been shown to be a potentially effective alternative to conventional treatments for a broad range of health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, inflammation, chronic pain, neurological conditions, heart disease, and metabolic problems.

It’s still too early to draw definitive conclusions when it comes to other health benefits of CBD oil. While CBD shows promise in treating addiction, autoimmune disorders, migraines, and psychosis, we need more clinical human trials to settle the science in these areas.

We still have much to learn about CBD and other cannabis compounds. Hemp and marijuana are complex plants, with over 400 active compounds modulating their effects on the body and brain.

It goes without saying that there is a limit to the health benefits of CBD, but the future of cannabinoid research is very exciting, and I’m curious about what new avenues will be discovered in the next few years.

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