CBD Research – As CBD interest continues to rise, so, too, do claims about the exciting element. For example, some believe that CBD may benefit those with anxiety, pain problems, and more. But does CBD research really stand up to those claims?
Today, we’d like to outline some basic information about CBD science, talk a bit about current CBD research, then discuss what all of this means for the future of CBD-assisted health and wellness.
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid that develops in cannabis flowers. Non-intoxicating hemp-type cannabis is a primary source of CBD, largely due to recent legislation distinguishing it from intoxicating THC, which is still a Schedule I substance.
Importantly, CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (named after the plant that aided in its discovery), which is a body system present in all mammals. In doing, CBD may exert numerous physiological effects, most of which impact homeostasis, or balance within the body.
Harvard-trained scientist Roger Adams first isolated CBD in 1940 after initially discovering a degraded form of THC called CBN. However, it wasn’t until 1963 that Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, a.k.a. “The Godfather of Cannabis,” defined its chemical structure. A year later, he defined THC’s chemical structure, thereby distinguishing the former from the latter.
The discovery of these two cannabinoids prompted researchers to study the mechanics around THC’s intoxicating properties. They wanted to understand why certain cannabinoids make people feel hungry, sleepy, elated, and more. Consequently, researchers soon discovered CB1 receptors (located in the central nervous system) in 1988 and CB2 receptors (in organs and peripheral tissue) in 1993.
CBD Research: What We Know
Researchers have been studying CBD for many years, exploring its unique interaction with cannabinoid receptors and discussing its consequent therapeutic potential. In fact, many experts suggest that CBD may stimulate Endocannabinoid System functioning, thereby promoting whole-body wellness as the EC System is intended.
Notably, studies into CBD’s effectiveness as an anti-epileptic agent date back to the early 1980s. Decades later, the FDA approved CBD-based anti-seizure medication, Epidiolex®, to treat some forms of pediatric epilepsy.
Importantly, Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved product on the market, which only happened after years of research. However, CBD research into other potential applications is also promising. Here’s what we know so far.
CBD and Pain
One of the most common reasons people claim to consume CBD is its pain-relieving properties. In fact, according to a SingleCare survey, 63 percent of respondents reportedly use CBD to help relieve pain and inflammation. This is no surprise, of course, given the wealth of CBD research confirming CBD’s analgesic properties.
In an article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (PDF), researchers found a strong correlation between CBD administration and pain reduction in numerous animal studies. Many other studies have confirmed this trend, noting significant dose-related effectiveness. These implications are huge but highlight the need for more research to confirm standard dosing for optimal effectiveness.
CBD and Inflammation
CBD’s proposed anti-inflammatory properties significantly contribute to its analgesic benefits. Specifically, researchers found that CBD reduces inflammation by lowering pro-inflammatory cytokines, inducing T cell apoptosis, inhibiting T cell proliferation, and reducing migration and adhesion of immune cells. By controlling oxidative stress in these ways, CBD not only helps reduce swelling but also helps reduce the pain and damage it causes.
CBD and Stress
An overwhelming number of CBD users consume it for its anti-anxiety properties. According to a survey published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, 42 percent of respondents consume CBD to help relieve anxiety and improve sleep.
Importantly, almost 80 percent of those who regularly consume CBD experienced decreased anxiety scores throughout the duration of this 2019 study. Researchers continued measuring anxiety and sleep scores for three more months and found improved anxiety scores well after the initial trial. They concluded that their findings match existing literature that lists CBD as a potential anti-anxiety agent.
CBD and Sleep
Many people use CBD for sleep, but as a non-psychoactive chemical, CBD does not necessarily induce sleep. However, by reducing anxiety, pain, and other physical and mental discomforts, CBD could inadvertently improve sleep scores, too. According to the previously mentioned study, more than 66 percent of CBD consumers experienced improved sleep scores. What’s more, the improvement often lasted for months. Though a few participants stopped taking CBD mid-study due to uncomfortable fatigue, overall, most people who consume CBD for sleep witnessed positive, long-lasting results.
Topical CBD refers to any CBD product that one might apply to the skin. Transdermal CBD works by interacting with CB receptors just under the skin’s surface to help reduce localized pain and inflammation.
Importantly, topically applied CBD will not enter the bloodstream, making it only applicable for localized relief. Fortunately, there are many reasons one might seek topical pain relief – to reduce redness and swelling on the skin’s surface, improve skin elasticity, and quickly penetrate muscles on contact for localized relief.
For example, one study found that CBD applied topically can help target localized arthritis without passing through the gastrointestinal tract. Consequently, topical CBD provides more consistent plasma levels with a reduced risk of potentially unpleasant side effects. Another study found that topical CBD protects the skin from oxidative stress to help improve skin disorders and reduce visible signs of ageing. Yet another study found that topical CBD may help treat acne thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
The Future of CBD Research
Recent CBD legalization has increased product innovation and opened up numerous opportunities to study this unique element more closely. As more CBD research becomes available, we will be better able to offer customized CBD product recommendations that target specific problem areas. What’s more, we will gain a better understanding of CBD dosing and consumption frequencies so we can better serve consumers.
Final Thoughts About CBD Research
CBD is an amazing element that’s proving its benefit in many exciting ways. Notably, the FDA has only approved one CBD-based drug. However, our growing access to CBD products gives us the opportunity to learn how beneficial this phytocannabinoid really is.
Contact us to learn more about CBD research or view our product catalog to try it for yourself. Don’t forget to share your experience with us in the comment section below, or follow us on Facebook for more consumer reviews.
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