What is CBD?

CBD is one of the many cannabinoids that are extracted out of the hemp plant. The hemp plant produces over 100 different naturally occurring chemical compounds; this includes cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most common, well known, and researched natural compounds extracted from the hemp/cannabis plant. Once CBD is extracted it can be made into a multitude of different products designed to aid in its application.

CBD can be found in various products online and in stores, including dietary supplements, bath soaks, drinks, and food.

We’ve partnered with Medterra to bring you this article covering six evidence-backed health benefits of CBD.

1. May relieve pain

Cannabis has been used to treat pain since 2900 B.C., with use originating in Chinese medicine. Researchers believe that components like CBD may be responsible for these effects.

The endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating functions like pain sensation. The body produces neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that bind to cannabinoid receptors.

Studies show that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by targeting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters. Preclinical evidence also suggests that it may be effective
rheumatic diseases like fibromyalgia, per research from 2021.

Summary CBD may be effective for reducing certain types of pain associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia. Still, more research is needed to investigate its potential use in pain management.

2. Could reduce symptoms related to some mental health disorders

CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for some mental health disorders leading many people who live with these conditions to become interested in this natural treatment approach.

A 2020 literature review on CBD and mood disorders found that multiple studies suggest CBD has properties that may help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even psychosis.

A small 2019 study also found that CBD was effective in reducing PTSD-related symptoms, including nightmares, in adults.

That said, the available research has not been sufficient for doctors to recommend CBD as an actual treatment for such conditions.

Summary CBD use has been shown to improve some symptoms related to mood disorders. Researchers are currently investigating how CBD may be used in the treatment of other mental health disorders.

3. May alleviate certain cancer-related symptoms

CBD may help reduce some cancer-related symptoms and side effects related to cancer treatment, such as nausea, vomiting, and pain, according to research published in 2022.

However, more research is needed to determine whether CBD should be used more regularly in cancer symptom management.

Summary Though CBD may improve certain cancer-related symptoms in some people, research findings are currently mixed. More studies are needed to assess its effectiveness and safety.

4. May have neuroprotective properties

CBD may provide benefits for those with neurological disorders. A 2022 study suggests that nabiximols (Sativex) spray containing both CBD and THC may help reduce pain and muscle spasticity in people living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Research from 2017 indicated that CBD oil helped reduce seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome, but it also caused some adverse reactions.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source has approved one CBD product, Epidiolex, for the treatment of several seizure disorders and seizures caused by tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC is a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and other body areas.

There’s also some limited evidence that CBD may also be effective in improving the symptoms of other neurological conditions, such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • motor disorders like cerebral palsy

Summary CBD may be effective for treating seizures related to several health conditions. The prescription CBD product Epidiolex has received FDA approval to treat seizures related to rare, seizure-causing conditions such as Dravet syndrome.

5. May benefit heart health

High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of several health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome.

Research indicates that CBD may be beneficial for people with high blood pressure because it can influence the contractions of the heart muscle and help widen blood vessels.

For example, one study from 2020 that included 26 healthy men found that treatment with 600 milligrams of CBD for 7 days led to significant reductions in blood pressure in the short term compared with a placebo group.

While these findings are encouraging, more research into the potential benefits of CBD treatment on heart health is needed.

Summary Though more human studies are needed, CBD may benefit heart health in several ways, including by reducing blood pressure and improving artery function.

6. Other potential benefits

CBD has been studied for its role in treating a number of health issues other than those outlined above.

Though more research is needed, CBD is thought to potentially provide the following health benefits:

  • Substance misuse treatment: CBD may be helpful for relieving anxiety and depression in people who have a dependence on certain drugs, including heroin, per preclinical evidence.
  • Possible extension of life in those with glioblastoma: Treatment with a combination of CBD and THC may help extend the life of some people with an aggressive form of cancer called glioblastoma, yet research is limited.
  • Possible improvement in sleep: CBD might help improve sleep in people with certain sleep disorders, though more research is needed.

Summary Some research suggests that CBD may help with substance misuse disorders, sleep, and certain types of cancers. However, we need more research involving humans to find out more about these potential effects.