Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound found in hemp plants that have recently skyrocketed in popularity. Companies advertise it as a remedy with benefits for everything from acne to high blood pressure.
Hemp and CBD products both come from Hemp plants. The difference is that Hemp comes from plants that contain a higher amount of the psychoactive chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Industrial hemp plants are grown to make CBD products and are required by U.S. law to contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. In other words, “CBD doesn’t get you high,” says physician Houman Danesh, director of Integrative Pain Management at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
While there are some preliminary studies on how CBD affects the body, more research is needed to understand all of its various health benefits.
Here are five health benefits of CBD that researchers have found so far.
- Relieves pain
Many studies on pain relief have looked at how CBD interacts with THC to help relieve pain, rather than leaving CBD alone to act.
Studies show that a THC-CBD combination can significantly decrease pain in both cancer patients and people with multiple sclerosis.
- Relieves anxiety
CBD has been shown to reduce activity in areas of the brain that cause worry and fear. This may help explain why preliminary studies indicate that CBD helps with anxiety and insomnia.
For example, a small 2019 study involving 57 men found that taking 300 milligrams of CBD helped participants feel less anxious while performing a public speaking test. But, interestingly, neither the higher nor lower doses worked as well.
- Helps control addictive urges.
Some early studies suggest that CBD may help people with addiction by decreasing their craving for the addictive substance. A 2013 study found that smokers who took CBD smoked fewer cigarettes during the study period.
Scientists are also hopeful that CBD may help prevent relapse in opioid users. A preliminary 2015 study found that people addicted to opioids reported feeling fewer cravings when viewing pictures or videos of heroin for up to a week after taking CBD.
- Helps with some symptoms of schizophrenia.
Some research suggests that CBD may help treat symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations and delusions. This could be an important finding because traditional medications that treat schizophrenia often have serious side effects such as uncontrolled movements or substantial weight gain.
Although scientists do not yet understand how CBD works to treat schizophrenia, a 2012 study found that 600 to 800 milligrams of CBD worked as well as standard antipsychotic medication therapy, but with fewer side effects. However, other studies have found CBD to be less effective for treating this condition.
- Reduces epileptic seizures
The only CBD treatment that is FDA-approved is for rare forms of epilepsy, a life-threatening condition that causes seizures.
Although scientists are not yet sure how CBD reduces seizures in epilepsy patients, it may help increase the availability of a brain chemical called adenosine, which can help control seizures.
Side effects of CBD
While we know that CBD can cause side effects such as nausea or drowsiness, we don’t yet know the more serious risks it can cause in the long term according to CareerWomanINC.