The list of potential CBD oil benefits is a long one. However, it’s essential to distinguish between research observations on CBD’s physiological action (most of which are observed on animal models) and actual clinical uses of CBD.
To date, the only FDA-approved clinical use of cannabidiol (CBD) is in the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two relatively rare forms of pediatric epilepsy. While people use CBD oil for dozens of other reasons, this is the compound’s only FDA-approved use.
That said, individuals may experience therapeutic benefits for various other health-related issues when using a quality CBD product. In this article, we look at five practical, real-life benefits associated with CBD oil.
A Note on Legality & Medical Claims
Before we proceed, it is essential to point out that the CBD market is still loosely regulated in many areas. While Epidiolex (the above-mentioned CBD-containing epilepsy drug) is available by prescription, few (if any) other CBD products are regulated to strict manufacturing standards. Consequently, be wary of CBD sellers that make medical claims as to the efficacy of their product(s).
No brand should be claiming that their product cures, heals, or otherwise treats a medical condition.
This article focuses on potential CBD oil benefits, based on available peer-reviewed studies and research. Remember – CBD affects everyone differently; thus, there are no guarantees as to the efficacy of any one product for any one set of symptoms or health challenges.
1 – Reduction in Seizure Frequency & Intensity
The case of young Charlotte Figi helped provide CBD with an international platform. In 2012, Charlotte’s parents began dosing oil extract from a unique high-CBD cannabis strain in a last-ditch effort to try and control their daughter’s relentless grand-mal seizure episodes. Astonishingly, the CBD oil resulted in a considerable reduction in both the frequency and the intensity of Charlotte’s seizures.
This, in part, helped to galvanize advanced research on the use of CBD for seizures, and now, the use of CBD oil for epileptic conditions is one of the most thoroughly-studied areas in terms of CBD-specific research.
In addition to the multi-stage clinical trials of Epidiolex, a 2019 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecules carried out clinical trials on the use of CBD for other epileptic conditions.
The study involved 171 patients, eighty-six of which received 20mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight per day for 14 weeks. The rest of the group received a placebo. Results from the trial period showed that the CBD group experienced a reduction in seizures of almost 44% from baseline.
Thus, we can accurately say from a clinical standpoint that one of the key benefits of CBD oil is helping to reduce certain types of seizures and symptoms from some epileptic conditions.
2 – Potential Stress & Anxiety Alleviation
There is a variety of research relating to the use of CBD for stress and anxiety. In fact, in the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) PubChem database, CBD is listed (among other things) as having “anxiolytic activity” (anxiolytic refers to anxiety-reducing).
One of the most commonly cited studies regarding CBD use for anxiety was published in The Permanente Journal back in January 2019. The study observed the prevalence of anxiety and the quality of sleep among 103 adults. In the first month of data collection, 79% of patients that used cannabidiol showed decreased anxiety scores. More importantly, the scores remained low for the entirety of the study.
While not yet FDA-approved as a form of treatment, anxiety and stress relief are major CBD oil benefits that thousands of people rely on every day.
3 – Pain Reduction
The NIH PubChem database also lists CBD as having analgesic (pain-relieving) activity. Given the sweeping dangers related to opioids and prescription painkiller use, this is a potential game-changer for millions of individuals worldwide.
Almost 130 people die in the United States every single day from opioid-related drug use. Because of this, more and more people are eagerly seeking alternatives to opioids for pain relief. And fortunately, there is a variety of research on the use of CBD for this exact purpose.
A 2019 study published in the journal Pain observed the analgesic effects of several pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products on pain relating to fibromyalgia. Test subjects that were given Bediol – a cannabis product containing 13.4mg THC and 17.8mg CBD – reported a 30% decrease in pain compared to placebo.
From these (and many other) peer-reviewed studies, it is becoming more and more clear that pain relief is a key CBD oil benefit that could improve the lives of many millions of individuals.
4 – Inflammation Relief
“Anti-inflammatory” is yet another activity of CBD identified by the NIH’s PubChem Compound Summary. Similar to its effects on pain relief, there are various studies relating to the influence of cannabidiol on various forms of inflammation – including numerous types of arthritis.
A 2020 publication in the journal Antioxidants identifies CBD as a non-intoxicating compound, and also notes its “beneficial pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.”
A separate study notes that the daily administration of CBD “inhibited disease progression” in collagen-induced arthritis. Arthritis, of course, is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints.
Regarding the practical use of CBD oil for inflammation relief, prospective customers can choose from a seemingly endless range of product types in most U.S. states. Again, however, it is important to remember that there is minimal regulation regarding CBD oil quality; for a list of some of the market’s most reputable brands and products, we recommend reading through our comprehensive CBD product guide.
5 – Neuroprotective Potential
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the loss or deterioration of neurons in the central nervous system. Nerve cell loss – which characterizes conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s – can result in a significant decline in a person’s cognitive and motor function. And while environmental toxins and mutated genes are often implicated in the cause of neurodegenerative disorders, researchers don’t yet understand the full breadth of physiological mechanisms at play.
However, we do know through the National Institute of Health that CBD “has shown neuroprotective activity” – though it is maintained that the “exact medical implications [of cannabidiol] are currently being investigated.”
An additional review of CBD-based research, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology in March 2020, looked at cannabidiol’s benefits for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers analyzed dozens of studies over the past three decades, concluding that CBD is a “potential pharmacological tool for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.”
Practical CBD Oil Benefits: A Summary
A lack of regulation in the current market continues to produce an alarming range of sub-standard CBD products. Many of these products are not regulated and may boast milligram CBD concentrations far from the actual amount contained in the bottle. For this reason, it is imperative that prospective customers only purchase products with laboratory-verified CBD content.
Despite this lack of regulation, many CBD oil benefits are well-supported in terms of reliable, peer-reviewed data.
For instance, we know that CBD poses anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anxiety, and pain-relieving activity, in addition to its use as an effective treatment for various forms of epilepsy.
In the future, we hope to see increased regulation in terms of product manufacturing that results in the availability of higher-quality CBD products. Until then, individuals must select from a relatively limited range of brands to experience practical, real-life CBD oil benefits.