That leaves those touting CBD’s effectiveness pointing primarily to research in mice and petri dishes. There, CBD (sometimes combined with small amounts of THC) has shown promise for helping pain, neurological conditions like anxiety and PTSD, and the immune system—and therefore potentially arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.
A search of MEDLINE (PubMed), PsycINFO, Web of Science Scopus, and the Cochrane Library databases was conducted for English-language papers published up to 1 January 2015, using the search terms “cannabidiol” and “anxiety” or “fear” or “stress” or “anxiety disorder” or “generalized anxiety disorder” or “social anxiety disorder” or “social phobia” or “post-traumatic stress disorder” or “panic disorder” or “obsessive compulsive disorder”. In total, 49 primary preclinical, clinical, or epidemiological studies were included. Neuroimaging studies that documented results from anxiety-related tasks, or resting neural activity, were included. Epidemiological or clinical studies that assessed CBD’s effects on anxiety symptoms, or the potential protective effects of CBD on anxiety symptoms induced by cannabis use (where the CBD content of cannabis is inferred via a higher CBD:THC ratio), were included.
CBD in proper dosages gives nearly the same pain reduction compared to opioid prescription drugs, such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, and when combined with these drugs, allows you to use far less of the actual prescription, thus reducing the toxic load on your liver and kidneys. And of course, as you already know, these benefits come without the proven addictive or unsafe nature of opioid drugs.
Using a validated model of damaged nerve cells and impaired nerve-signaling pathways, researchers have that demonstrated that ashwagandha supports significant regeneration of the axons and dendrites of nerve cells along with the reconstruction of synapses, the junctions where nerve cells communicate with other cells. This means ashwagandha extract helps to reconstruct entire networks of your nervous system, and has huge implications for any athlete using CBD to manage head injuries or chronic pain.
One of the most celebrated health benefits of CBD oil is its analgesic (pain relieving) effects. It’s thought that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain and immune system to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Some studies, such as this investigation published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that CBD significantly reduces inflammation in mice and rats – but it’s not only rodents that experience these effects. A 2008 review identified that CBD offered effective pain relief without inducing adverse side effects in patients.
James Joliat, a 35-year-old video producer in Denver, has long experienced muscle and joint pain—mostly related to sports injuries. He says he started looking at natural remedies as an alternative to the prescription patches and pills his doctor recommended. After experimenting with homemade rubs infused with plant compounds—stuff like arnica and turmeric—he eventually stumbled onto topical cannabidiol (CBD) rubs.
The nervous system’s endocannabinoid system is not well understood. But it’s thought to play a role in regulating pain, sleep, mood, memory, appetite, and other cognitive and physical processes. Because CBD is able to mimic the actions of some natural brain chemicals, its potential therapeutic benefits are wide-ranging but—at this point—nebulous. “We know that cannabidiol modulates the endocannabinoid system, but we don’t know how it works,” Szaflarski says. That said, there are theories.
Here’s another interesting fact for you: CBD has really strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, due primarily to its effects on your adenosine receptors and cytochrome P-450 and 2C enzymes. When this was first discovered, the US government insisted that cannabis had no medical benefits, but at the same time, they took out patent 6,630,507, which gave them rights to the antioxidant properties of cannabis (which they ironically still claim don’t exist). Incidentally, that patent was not extended to actual oil or capsule extracts of cannabis, so the good ol’ US gummint missed out on some pretty good business opportunities, if you ask me.