Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the more than 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa. Millions of people have been using CBD as a natural remedy for different physical and mental ailments. Apart from cbd oil, comes in many edible forms, like gummies, tinctures, oil, cookies, chocolate brownies or cake, drinks, creams, lotions, and capsules, so that if you’d like to try using CBD, you have a lot of choices.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like hemp seed or olive oil. When we talk about using CBD, we’re not referring to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive component in cannabis that causes the sensation of “being high.” CBD is not psychoactive. Edible Calm CBD products contain zero THC, or in the case of full-spectrum CBD, less than 0.3%, which is not enough to get a person “high.”
Although it might seem that CBD is a “new” phenomenon, people have used cannabis for millennia. One reason why more people are using CBD products these days is that for some people, CBD may offer an alternative to treatment of conditions like insomnia and anxiety.
Much more study of the effects of CBD need to be done, but there are three main areas where using CBD may show some promise. This article is not meant to claim that using CBD products and “cure everything.” It provides some bottom-line information to help you decide if it’s worth a try for your particular condition.
1. Using CBD products: insomnia
Insomnia is the inability to fall and/or stay asleep. It can happen at the beginning, middle, or end of the night. Insomnia is highly prevalent and authorities have identified it as a public health concern. Despite that, sleep disorders including insomnia are under-recognized and under-treated.
Insomnia also comes with disruptive symptoms: fatigue, memory losses, mood disturbances, and inability to concentrate. It also brings dangers to operating machinery and driving. It therefore can present great challenges to daily functioning, and can affect social interactions and family or friend relationships.
The prevalence of insomnia increased 150% between 2006 and 2013, and 35 – 49 % of the US adult population have problems falling asleep or have daytime sleepiness. Insomnia is more common in women, middle-aged or older adults, and individuals with coexisting medical and psychiatric disorders.
Roughly 10% of CBD consumers use CBD as a sleep aid. One study has shown that CBD has a beneficial effect on anxiety levels and sleep quality. Another study revealed better sleep in fifteen subjects taking a dose of 160 mg CBD. Lower doses like 40 mg and 80 mg did not have the same effect, but they appeared to help stave off the negative effects of insomnia such as grogginess and the inability to concentrate. During REM sleep, some people act out their dreams, e.g. kicking, arms flailing, jumping out of bed, and so on. This is called REM Sleep Disorder (RSD). CBD helps treat this condition in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
Bottom line: promising results of using CBD for insomnia.
2. Using CBD products: pain
Although pain is an important protection in some instances, chronic, nagging pain immobilize and depress a person. The human body has a special system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of the cannabinoids made by your own body; the cannabinoid receptors; and the enzymes that break down the cannabinoids once they’ve performed their function. Research shows that the ECS assists in regulation of chronic pain and immune function, so CBD might relieve pain and inflammation by influencing the endocannabinoid receptor activity.
In acute pain, i.e. sudden onset, CBD doesn’t appear to be particularly useful, and positive effects were found to be largely from a placebo effect. There is far more interest in using CBD for chronic pain, but there are several of those types. When it comes to pain relief, CBD hasn’t been found to have equal effects on all types of pain.
- Chronic neuropathic pain: In one study, oral cannabinoids were modestly effective in reducing and a minimum of 2 weeks of treatment was required to produce its effects. The study also showed improvements in the quality of life, sleep and increased patient satisfaction. However, the evidence wasn’t that strong and a strong recommendation couldn’t be made. However, in Canada, a CBD/THC mixture has been approved for treatment of neuropathic pain.
- Chronic non-cancer pain: A study showed a moderate effect on chronic non-cancer pain, which includes rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and the authors concluded that, “This review adds further support that currently available cannabinoids are safe, modestly effective analgesics that provide a reasonable therapeutic option in the management of chronic non-cancer pain.”
- Cancer pain: It’s a mixed picture here. One report on two randomized, placebo-controlled trials didn’t show superiority over placebo of nabiximols (also called Sativex), which is an oral-mucosal spray with equal amounts of CBD and THC. But another study showed that cancer pain relief was enhanced by adding Sativex to regular opioid treatment.
Bottom line: mixed results of using CBD products for different kinds of pain.
3. Using CBD products: anxiety
The studies of using CBD for anxiety are encouraging for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder. Other studies also show a clear anxiolytic effect of CBD. In another very favorable study, the authors conclude, “Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.” The area that needs more research is in chronic anxiety.
Bottom line: positive results of using CBD products for different types of anxiety.
Side effects of using CBD products
Although infrequent, diarrhea, fatigue, and changes in appetite have been reported. Again, just like conventional medications, just because side effects are reported doesn’t mean you will experience them.