For thousands of years, CBD has been used medicinally by different cultures all the way back to 2900 BC. To name a few, the ancient Chinese drank tea from the cannabis plant as a medicinal tonic, Queen Victoria took it to relieve menstrual cramps, and Saint Hildegard from Germany recommended applying it to wounds and sores. Today, the health benefits of CBD are already backed by various scientific studies, and doctors can officially prescribe CBD for specific cases. Here are ten conditions that CBD can be helpful for:
1. Chronic Pain
One of the top reasons for taking CBD is pain relief. Throughout the history of CBD, it has been used for pain relief in a lot of cultures, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and America, and science is finally catching up now. A report by The National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine looked at thousands of research abstracts and medical journal reports and concluded that CBD is effective against chronic pain. This can result from diseases such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and even diabetes when nerves are damaged. In addition, research in the Journal of Experimental Medicine noted that people rarely build up a tolerance to CBD, so the dosage can stay consistent.
2. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that attacks the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord, progressively causing symptoms like fatigue and numbing that get worse over time. Muscle spasms are among the worst symptoms, and these can become so debilitating that they cause constant pain. Studies in Neurology, Neuropharmacology, and other publications have shown that CBD can provide relief for multiple sclerosis, from reducing muscle spasms to improving muscle-tightness and even urination frequency. In fact, Sativex is a medical mouth spray that consists of THC and CBD. Approved in the UK in 2010, Sativex decreased spasms from multiple sclerosis by 75% even when other medications couldn’t treat these spasms.
Another condition with a CBD-based medicine already available in the UK is epilepsy. CBD is specifically effective in providing relief for two kinds of epilepsy that are found in children: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Amidst several anecdotal reports and clinical trials, research from the New England Journal of Medicine found that CBD oil reduced seizures for children with epilepsy, and a study from Lancet Neurology mirrored this, observing an improvement rate of 36.5% for epileptic seizures. Because of CBD’s neuroprotective properties, it can also help with epilepsy side effects such as degeneration or injury in neurons. The drug Epidyolex, which contains purified CBD, can already be prescribed by UK physicians for certain kinds of epilepsy.
General anxiety disorders are among the most common types of mental health disorders globally, along with social anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even on a regular day, many people can experience anxiety, including such as you’re giving a presentation or you’re having a hard time sleeping because of constant worrying. Research has already been done on CBD’s effects on anxiety since 2012, and CBD has consistently shown to aid in relaxing and anxiety management, although this might require a certain dosage. Studies showed that CBD improved anxiety in 79% of psychiatric patients and significantly reduced anxiety among patients with social phobia, and it can even improve sleep in patients with PTSD. Although the exact mechanism isn’t known yet, CBD is thought to affect chemicals in the brain such as serotonin or GABA to induce relaxation.
5. Heart Disease
Heart disease is a leading cause of death all around, and surprisingly, CBD can lessen your risk because it’s an antioxidant that can potentially lower both high blood pressure and inflammation, both of which are linked to heart disease. A study from JCI Insight found that even a single dose of CBD lowered blood pressure, even amidst stressful situations. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology noted that CBD may be able to treat diabetic complications and other cardiovascular disorders. These can be traced back to CBD’s strong antioxidant and stress-relieving properties. As an antioxidant, CBD can prevent plaque from forming in artery walls so these remain unblocked. It’s thought to work directly on single arteries, encouraging relaxation and preventing damage over time.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition that involves psychosis, where people become out of touch with reality. Symptoms include hallucinations and difficulty communicating properly. The usual treatment for this is therapy combined with drugs, but research is suggesting that CBD can play a part too in treatment because it can decrease psychosis and hallucinations. A systematic review at Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology concluded that CBD can be a safe treatment for psychosis. This was confirmed by a study published in Translational Psychiatry, which stated that CBD gives similar results as antipsychotic drugs but without the harsher side effects.
Despite misconceptions that CBD can be addicting, research actually points to CBD making it easier to drop an existing addiction because withdrawal becomes less painful. Once someone is already experiencing addiction, their brain circuits change so they constantly crave the drug, and quitting can be extremely difficult, even causing anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and other symptoms. Several studies have found that CBD can reduce or even prevent withdrawal symptoms for those addicted to drugs or smoking. A 2018 research report as well as a separate study in Addictive Behaviors found that smokers went for less cigarettes than usual when they took CBD. A systematic review published in Substance Abuse also noted that CBD can curb addiction to cocaine, opioids, and psychostimulants.
Alzheimer’s is a leading cause of death worldwide, and until now, there’s still no definitive treatment for it. Characterised by degrading cognitive abilities, patients with Alzheimer’s eventually experience memory loss and become unable to take care of themselves. There have been promising studies that found that CBD can prevent or slow down cognitive decline and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s. A study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that CBD can prevent the development of social recognition deficit, where patients with Alzheimer’s no longer recognise the faces of people they know. Based on animal and test-tube studies, CBD can protect against the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s, and it can become part of future courses of treatment.
9. Skin Conditions
Skincare products such as face masks and lotions are bestsellers in the CBD world, and scientists and dermatologists are already acknowledging the potential of CBD for treating skin conditions like acne and eczema. Aside from its anti-inflammatory properties, which encourage overall skin health, CBD can lessen oil or sebum production, as noted in studies in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Experimental Dermatology. Sebum is widely known to cause acne because it clogs up pores and traps dirt inside. A scoping review of cannabinoids in dermatology added that CBD may be able to treat diverse skin conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis, while a recent 2019 study concluded that CBD ointments can improve scars from chronic skin diseases.
10. Post-Workout Inflammation
When you go through a challenging workout, you’ll typically experience soreness and muscle aches for the next few days. This is a signal to allow yourself some time for rest, but the constant pain can be inconvenient or you might be hoping to speed up your recovery period. Surprisingly, taking CBD can get you to recover faster. After your workout, you’ll have minuscule tears and injuries in your muscles, which will become inflamed and then eventually repaired. CBD reduces the inflammation experienced by your muscles while encouraging recovery. A study in Biological Psychiatry observed that CBD can work like prescription muscle relaxants, leading to less body tension and pain as you rest.
While more research needs to be done to fully explore CBD’s medical properties, the results have been promising, and it’s likely that CBD will eventually be integrated as a treatment for different health conditions.