There’s definitely no lack of anecdotal stories about the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound in the cannabis plant. As a result, companies are flocking to offer hemp-derived CBD products to help with ailments such as pain, addiction, stress and anxiety.
What Doctors Say About CBD Benefits:
It’s a Potential Treatment for Nicotine Addiction
A small clinical trial occurred in England a few years ago. The study looked at the effect that CBD had on 24 smokers. Some of the smokers used an inhaler with CBD and others a placebo. The study lasted one week.
Scientists C.J. Morgan et al from the University College London wrote:
Over the treatment week, placebo treated smokers showed no differences in number of cigarettes smoked. In contrast, those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by ~40% during treatment.
Of course, a longer-term study with a larger sample size is much needed. Yet, for a heavy smoker, this potential CBD effect may be a ray of hope. Tobacco addiction is so deadly that the Center for Disease Control claims it is accountable for 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S.
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It’s an Effective Pain Reliever
Pain relief is likely the most common benefit people attribute to CBDs and medical cannabis. This is where products like a CBD salve play an important role.
Daniel Clauw, M.D. and Director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, believes that CBDs may offer true relief to patients suffering from chronic pain. He bases his opinion on a clinical double-blind, randomized trial with 320 participants. This trial tested the effect of 4.2% CBD gel on pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee.
Based on his observations, Dr. Clauw states:
I don’t think we have that many good drugs for pain, and we know that CBD has fewer side effects than opioids or even nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can cause bleeding and cardiovascular problems. If I have an elderly patient with arthritis and a little bit of CBD can make their knees feel better, I’d prefer they take that than some other drugs.
It Could Treat Depression, Anxiety and Stress
Poor mental health is a massive issue. For example, the World Health Organization claims that depression is the primary cause of ill health globally. It affects an estimated 322 million people worldwide, of which more than 16 million are Americans.
These staggering statistics clearly show that we desperately need safe treatments for mental illness. This is where CBD steps in. The substance interacts directly with certain serotonin receptors in the human brain. These receptors have regulatory control over anxiety and depression, as well as certain addictive behaviors.
As a result, producers are making CBD-infused products that strive to help with anxiety and panic attacks. In addition, a growing trend is using CBD and hemp for dogs that suffer from nervousness or anxiety.
Here’s what Dr. Clauw says about CBD for anxiety:
It seems to have sort of a calming effect on the brain, although the precise mechanism by which it exerts these effects is not really well understood. I do recommend that patients try CBD first without THC, because you may be able to get the benefit without the side effects.
It May Treat Acne and Other Skin Ailments
Second to pain reduction, science has shown that CBD has a significant anti-inflammatory effect. (In fact, this may be one of the reasons it works so well on pain!)
Inflammation affects all of our organs and can cause many ailments and diseases. This doesn’t exclude the skin, which is our biggest organ. Interestingly, the skin has the most cannabinoid receptors, similar to the ones in the brain. This makes CBD a promising remedy for skin ailments such as acne.
Dr. Francesca Fusco, who is a dermatologist in New York City, states the following about CBD:
Studies have shown it can improve reduced barrier function, improve hydration, minimize moisture loss, and decrease inflammation.
One of the studies likely influencing Dr. Fusco’s opinion is research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by Olah et al. Although this study only examined human cell cultures, instead of live people, it showed that CBD is a potential treatment of acne vulgaris.
Why CBD Demand Is Growing
Although most CBD products are not FDA-approved, people suffering from all types of health and mental issues are eager to give them a try. It may be media hype, or, more likely, the desperate need for effective treatments with fewer side-effects. Whatever the driving force, demand for CBD healing extracts, nutritional supplements and beauty products is definitely growing.
One appealing factor of CBD products is that they are non-psychoactive. This means that you won’t get high on CBDs like you would when using THC-rich medical cannabis.
Don’t get me wrong. THC, the cannabis plant’s psychoactive substance, has many of its own benefits. Yet, truthfully, it can make many people uncomfortable. Some people using cannabis may end up feeling dizzy, nervous, or “spaced out” instead of the stereotypical happy high.
The second advantage is the accessibility of CBD products, versus medical cannabis. The latter is still illegal in the majority of U.S. states and, globally, in most countries. On the other hands, CBD product suppliers that ship to all 50 states are now very common.
If you would like to hear more insights from a medical professional regarding CBD, click here for an interview with Dr. Kevin Frey. Dr. Frey is an MD who trained at the Mayo Clinic. In the interview he shares his perspective on CBD benefits, including mental health, stress reduction and addiction treatment.
If you want to try CBD for a specific ailment, you are just a few clicks away from accessing a variety of products. Of course, there are many options in CBD products. If you find these options confusing, in his interview, Dr. Frey shares some ideas on what CBD product may be right for you.
Read more articles by Anna Hunt.
About the Author
Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.