Studies on the various benefits of CBD oil, or “hemp oil” as it’s sometimes referred to, are flooding the latest scientific journals.
You’ve probably heard CBD is great for anxiety, but its benefits extend much deeper than just helping you relax. CBD interacts with a system in our bodies built just for cannabinoids, resulting in major benefits for a variety of disorders, including multiple sclerosis, cancer, insomnia, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s.
CBD: How It Works
How is it that one molecule can have so many benefits?
It turns out our bodies not only produce their own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, but also have cannabinoid receptors that allow those like CBD to “plug in,” and cause a cascade of beneficial effects.
That’s right: our bodies have a built-in cannabinoid reception system. A pretty cool fact that doesn’t disappear, despite cannabinoids being banned for decades.
Our two cannabinoid receptors are dubbed CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in our brains and deal with coordination, movement, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, and memories. THC attaches to these receptors, which is why it has the ability to alter our mental state and produce the classic “high.”
CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are mostly found in our immune system. Interestingly, CBD doesn’t have an affinity for either receptor, preferring instead to regulate and direct our endocannabinoid system. This is also why CBD doesn’t get us “high” like THC. [*]
Research shows that when CBD does bond with a receptor, it helps improve the function and efficiency of that receptor; as a gentle power-up. It can also interact with and stimulate other receptors in our bodies, such as serotonin receptors and receptors that regulate inflammation and pain. This is why we see many of the anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory benefits from CBD.
10 Mind-Blowing Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD’s interaction with our endocannabinoid system produces some pretty astounding effects, ranging from reducing anxiety to possibly even helping to prevent cancer. Below we reveal the latest research on CBD’s benefits.
- Can Relieve Pain
CBD has gained a ton of attention for its ability to help relieve pain. Several studies have shown both applying CBD topically and taking it internally can ease many types of chronic pain, including pain from arthritis and difficult-to-treat neuropathic pain, like that from multiple sclerosis. [*]
Researchers discovered that one of the reasons CBD is so great at relieving pain is due to cannabidiol receptors in the frontal lobe of our brains, which selectively target pain in our bodies. [*] This is coupled with its potent ability to help reduce inflammation, which can cause a great deal of pain in inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
- Can Help Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common disorders worldwide. Globally, the number of people suffering from depression in 2015 exceeded 300 million and is now ranked by the World Health Organization as the single largest contributor to global disability. Anxiety follows close behind, ranking 6th. [*]
CBD oil has been widely studied in animals and humans for its beneficial effect on both depression and anxiety. One found that 24 people with social anxiety disorder who were given 600 mg of CBD before a public speaking test had significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their performance, compared to a placebo group. [*]
Researchers believe this effect comes from the ability of cannabinoids to regulate serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone, and 5HTP, a precursor to serotonin. [*]
- Can Help Improve Acne
If your skin has seen better days, CBD may be able to help. Promising research shows that CBD oil can help treat acne by reducing sebum production, while also helping to prevent inflammation. [*] Specifically, CBD acts on specific cannabinoid receiver sites to block excess sebum from being produced, while also downregulating inflammation throughout your entire body. [*]
- Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a factor in many serious conditions such as heart attacks, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. [*] CBD may be a novel treatment for helping to reduce it, as studies show the same mechanisms that give it its anti-anxiety effects seem to translate into lowering (and even preventing) high blood pressure.
One study found healthy men given one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil experienced reduced resting blood pressure compared to a placebo. In the same study, these men were put through stress tests that would normally raise blood pressure, but researchers found just a single dose of CBD caused it to increase less than expected. [*]
- May Help Treat Epilepsy
One of the initial benefits discovered from CBD was its ability to help reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with epilepsy. Now, even the FDA has recognized CBD’s anti-seizure potential, approving the first-ever CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, to treat rare and severe forms of the disease. [*]
Studies using CBD oil to treat seizures are indeed promising. One found that 214 people with severe epilepsy who were given the oil reduced their seizures by roughly 36 percent. [*]
- Can Possibly Help Prevent Cancer
While more research is needed, several studies have shown CBD may have huge potential when it comes to preventing cancer.
Studies show CBD’s interaction with our cannabinoid receptors can help inhibit tumor cell growth and invasion, while also inducing cancer cell death. [*] In animal studies, CBD has also specifically shown to help prevent the spread of breast, colon, brain, and lung cancer. [*]
- May Help Improve Diabetes
CBD oil may be able to benefit diabetes patients in several ways. One animal study on diabetic rats found CBD was able to reduce neuroinflammation and memory deficits, which are common side effects of diabetes. [*] Another found that diabetic mice treated with CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes by 56 percent. [*]
Researchers theorize CBD’s interaction with receptors in the immune system may have a protective effect against insulitis, a condition that causes the death of pancreatic beta cells. Insulitis is a huge driver in the development of Type I diabetes, so CBD may be an option for helping to prevent it. [*]
- Can Benefit Patients with Alzheimer’s
Researchers claim that CBD’s properties make it “perfectly placed” to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies show CBD is neuroprotective and can help prevent neuroinflammation – two major factors in the development of Alzheimer’s. Other studies show it can protect neurons from being damaged by free radicals and inflammatory compounds directly associated with neural damage and neurodegeneration. [*]
- May Benefit Multiple Sclerosis Patients
CBD’s ability to prevent and reduce neuroinflammation may also translate to benefits for MS patients. Animal studies are an extremely promising illustration of this: one found that mice who were induced with MS experienced a delayed onset of the disease as well as significantly reduced symptoms after daily CBD doses.
The same study showed CBD helped inhibit specific immune cells that attack the myelin sheath, which is the basis of developing MS [*]
- Improves Sleep
CBD oil may also be a fantastic option for helping you get to sleep, especially if your sleep is interrupted by racing thoughts or anxiety. One study on patients with anxiety showed roughly 70 percent experienced improvements in sleep and anxiety in just one month. And the best part? These were steady improvements that were sustained over time, showing that CBD’s beneficial effects on sleep are long-lasting. [*]
Bonus: CBD Oil Can Also Benefit Pets
It turns out your pooch may also be able to cash in on the benefits of hemp oil; specifically for pain relief. One study on different breeds, large dog to small, with osteoarthritis showed a decrease in pain scores similar to NSAIDs, as well as an increase in activity. These results were seen in as little as 4 weeks. [*]
You can give your dog CBD in oil or capsule form, or even purchase CBD dog treats. The dosage will differ based on your dog’s size and weight, but will generally be a couple of drops or a capsule 2-3 times per day. Check your brand instructions and your pup’s weight for more detailed dosing guidelines.
Choosing a High-Quality CBD Oil
As the CBD market continues to expand, it has become more difficult to choose high-quality, pure products.
There are several routes you can go with taking CBD, such as a salve, ointment, and even eating CBD snacks, but the best way to control your dosage is to use the pure oil or an isolate. These shouldn’t have any other ingredients added to them so you don’t have to worry about other side effects.
A couple of things to keep in mind when you shop for an oil:
- Read the label to make sure there are no added ingredients, and also to check if there is any THC. Some CBD oils will contain microdoses of THC, which could cause the classic “high,” so make sure you’re getting pure CBD before purchasing.
- Decide on an isolate or a spectrum oil. CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other ingredients, while spectrum oils contain CBD along with other compounds from the hemp plant, such as THC and various antioxidants. Learn more about the difference here.
- Look for products that are tested for contaminants. Cannabis plants easily absorb pesticides, toxins, and heavy metals, so you definitely want to make sure your oil has been screened.
CBD Oil Dosage
There are no specific dosages for CBD oil. Many people tend to dose by body weight, but keep in mind that everyone’s system is different. Your best bet with dosing is to start small and work your way up slowly until you reach the desired effect. There are no known toxic effects from CBD oil, so don’t worry about increasing your dose slightly if you aren’t feeling relief.
Also, keep in mind that dosing depends on how you’re taking CBD oil. Pure oils and tinctures are taken orally tend to take longer to have an effect than vape pens and may have a stronger or weaker effect, depending upon your digestion and other factors.
The Bottom Line
CBD oil clearly isn’t lacking in benefits, and the research is still coming in. If you’re suffering from any of the disorders on this list, or simply want to stress a little less or sleep better, trying out CBD oil might be a worthy investment.