7 Research-Backed Health Benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD)
There’s a growing body of research involving cannabis and in particular, the cannabis and/or hemp extract, CBD or Cannabidiol. The main area of interest is the claim that CBD cures a wide range of ailments and can be used in conjunction with conventional medicines to treat pain, inflammation, anxiety, neurological disorders (such as MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s). Both private and government-funded research projects reveal extensive medical uses for cannabis; but even as more people continue to use CBD, more research is needed to establish the effects of things like long-term use, and the full medical applications of cannabidiol.
The following are seven proven health benefits of CBD, as proven by legitimate medical research:
- Reduces Seizures in Epilepsy
The most notable breakthrough in the fight to get cannabis or other medical marijuana products legalized in the U.S. came when the FDA formally approved a drug called Epidiolex for treatment of a rare type of epilepsy. The main active compound in the drug is CBD, which makes it the first cannabis product to be formally used as medicine.
- Helps Treat Substance Abuse
This is one of the most overlooked uses for CBD – treating cases of substance abuse and preventing relapse. At a glance, it seems strange that a cannabis product can be used to treat drug addiction, but there’s a ton of medical research that backs this claim. But when you think about how cannabidiol interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, then it makes sense that CBD can be used effectively to manage substance addiction. Some of the common triggers of relapse include impulsivity and anxiety, both of which are minimized when CBD is used every day. A study published in Nature found that taking CBD every day for just one week reduced a person’s “addictive behavior” and reduces the chances of a relapse by over 50%.
[Ed. note: I, Jay Leiderman of The Law Offices of Jay Leiderman, have represented clients on marijuana cases for nearly 20 years. The amount of clients that have told me that Cannabis in general or CBD in particular has helped them ween off of opiates is staggering. I know first-hand how true the above statement is.]
- Protects Against Bone Disease & Broken Bones
Old bone material is replaced by the body naturally, at the rate of about 10% per year. Bone diseases like osteoporosis and hormonal changes can interfere with this process and lead to broken bones. Cannabidiol facilitates the process of bone regeneration and actively blocks an enzyme that is known to destroy bone-building compounds. In the case of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, the body stops producing new bone and cartilage cells; however, CBD triggers new bone cells and has been used to speed up recovery from severe injury.
- Depression & Mood Disorders
The effect of cannabidiol on mood makes it perfect for treating depression and psychological issues like bipolar disorder (though we don’t recommend you stop taking medication for these things, and always consult a doctor before starting a new treatment regimen.). Cannabidiol’s action on the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain reduces anxiety, enhances feelings of happiness through the release of feel-good hormones, and overall it balances the body’s release of mood-changing hormones. For anybody with anxiety issues, THC carries the risk of being too volatile and may aggravate the effects; however, CBD generates a calming effect that encourages objective mental processing and increased awareness.
- Reduces Risk of Diabetes & Obesity
Although some people have raised concerns over cannabis products and their connection to weight gain, we haven’t seen any evidence that using hemp or cannabis can make anybody gain unhealthy amounts of weight. It is true, however, that THC induces feelings of hunger and can over time be used to increase appetite, but hemp-based extracts are known to reduce waist circumference and the risk of obesity. One of the studies looking at how CBD affects weight involved more than 50,000 participants (published in 2011 in the American Journal of Epidemiology) and that study found that obesity was lower by about 1/3 among cannabis users. Again, the activity between CBD and the endocannabinoid system appears to be responsible for improved insulin function, and some researchers are looking into how CBD may be used in the future to prevent the most common forms of diabetes.
- Improves Skin Health
Did you know the skin has the highest number of CB2 receptors in the whole body? These same receptors interact with CBD to enhance skin condition through a process that includes the elimination of free radicals and release of antioxidant properties. CB2 receptors are connected to the release of essential skin oils that keep the skin protected from UV rays, pollution, dryness, and common skin infections like psoriasis and eczema. CBD ointments are great for maintaining a good balance of pH, natural oils, and prevention of diseases including melanoma.
- Helps Maintain Brain Health
Being a neuroprotective compound, CBD can be used to maintain brain health and improve brain performance. This effect seems to come from its action on mitochondria and removal of dead or damaged cells, and also the antioxidant effect that minimizes toxicity in the whole body. High amounts of glutamate in the brain leads to stimulation of nerve cells, which over time can make some cells to become over-stimulated, and damaged. Cannabinoid regulates glutamate levels in a way that keeps the neurons working within normal range. Inflammation, which is also common in the brain, can be reduced and in some cases prevented through high doses of CBD, though additional treatment may be needed.
Is it safe to use CBD?
There is no evidence that using CBD either on the skin or ingesting it (it is used in food) causes health risks. Some people would argue that research is still in its early stages; however CBD has been used throughout history in different cultures all over the world, both for its medicinal effects and also for recreational purposes. With that said, some users may experience mild side effects when taking it for the first time, though this is rare. Side effects may include:
- Changes in appetite
IS it legal?
Hemp-extracted CBD is quasi-legal  in the U.S., but some of the products sold online are extracted from cannabis and may contain high amounts of THC – enough to cause intoxication, particularly in children. THC levels should be 0.3 % or lower; otherwise the product is considered illegal. Check with your doctor before taking CBD to prevent possible drug interaction.
How do I use it?
CBD is sold in many forms; oils, capsules, tinctures, etc. It can be used when cooking meals at home, baking, etc., and you can administer a few drops in your mouth using a tincture. When used for skin care, apply a topical cream, lotions, salves, and other products. Some people combine both topical and edible products. Sweets and gummies are also available, and they contain varying amounts of CBD.
 Always check with a lawyer knowledgeable in this field before delving into areas where the law in unclear. The law is still unclear as it relates to CBD.
This is a guest post by Areyo Dadar. This post has been edited for syntax and grammar. The Law offices of Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the accuracy of the content herein or any opinions or ideas expressed herein. This post is for entertainment and literary value and is not intended as legal advice. This post does not establish an attorney-client relationship of any sort. If you have legal questions about ideas presented herein please contact a lawyer knowledgeable in this field of practice.