These days, talk of CBD is everywhere, and for good reason. The more researchers study CBD, the more conditions it appears to help. The different conditions and diseases CBD has proved helpful for are many, and we will cover some of them in greater detail in just a moment.
First, let’s make sure we understand CBD and how it affects us. CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it’s one of over 80 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD has only been studied for its medicinal value over the last few decades.
Before that, most of the study of marijuana was centered around the whole plant or another compound found inside the plant, known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is responsible for the psychoactive high that marijuana generates.
While many people believe whole-plant cannabis and THC to be useful for those suffering from a variety of different ailments, many desire the benefits of cannabis without the mental high.
Table of Contents
- What Does CBD Do When It Enters The Body?
- What Does CBD Help With The Most?
- What Conditions Is CBD Used For?
- Back Pain
- Breast Cancer
- Chronic Pain
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Opiate Withdrawal
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Weight Loss
CBD holds promise as a non-psychoactive compound whose properties may help those with conditions that have shown to be challenging to manage with more conventional medications.
Fortunately, just as the number of CBD products that are available is increasing, so is the level of education the public is receiving about this amazing compound. Let’s take a closer look at the way CBD effects the body and some of the popular ailments that it’s already being used to treat.
What Does CBD Do When It Enters The Body?
CBD can be ingested in a variety of different ways, which makes it a very versatile method of treatment.
You can unlock the therapeutic value of CBD by smoking marijuana or vaporizing CBD alone. It can also be provided in pills, tinctures, concentrates, edibles, topical ointments and more. These methods are incredibly popular with people who aren’t interested in smoking marijuana, as well as those who are incapable of smoking due to their illness.
As the demand for CBD products continues to grow, more growers are producing strains of cannabis that are bred to provide much more CBD than they have in the past – these CBD-heavy cannabis plants are known as hemp plants. This has led to an increase in the quality, availability, and variety of different CBD treatment options.
Once CBD is inside the body, it goes to work on the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an enormous network of cell receptors.
These receptors serve an incredibly varied amount of functions inside the body. Some of the significant functions these receptors help to facilitate include:
In addition to these functions, there are many more functions that are closely related to the ECS. Many of these functions are just now revealing themselves through clinical research.
The role of the endocannabinoid system when it comes to our wellbeing cannot be overstated. In fact, many clinical researchers believe that a deficiency of endocannabinoids in the body can lead to the development of a variety of different conditions. An endocannabinoid deficiency can also exasperate side effects from other medications and treatments. Many of the ailments, disorders, diseases, and conditions we’ll discuss are closely tied to the endocannabinoid system.
Chances are, you’ve already connected the dots between the terms ‘endocannabinoid’ and ‘cannabinoid,’ as the two are obviously related. The prefix ‘endo’ means inside, so an endocannabinoid is a cannabinoid which occurs naturally within our bodies.
The reason why CBD treatment is so beneficial to the endocannabinoid system is easy to understand. Since cannabinoids are already found in the human body, you’re simply supplementing their existence by consuming CBD.
Cannabinoids like CBD are called agonists. An agonist is a chemical or compound which can attach to a receptor cell to elicit a certain reaction inside the body.
Since cannabinoids like CBD and THC are so closely related to the endocannabinoids that already occur naturally inside the body, they’re able to bind to these receptor cells to produce a response.
But what about the receptors themselves? How do they work?
Cannabinoid receptors are part of a family referred to as the G protein-coupled receptors. Three different compounds can cause these sensors to react: the cannabinoids which occur naturally inside our bodies, the cannabinoids that are present in marijuana, and the synthetic cannabinoids that are found in certain drugs, or marijuana alternatives.
Research indicates that there may be a different type of receptors that cannabinoids can interact with. To date, there are two primary receptors that we know to be affected by cannabinoids.
These two kinds of receptors can be found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are found in their heaviest concentration throughout the central nervous system, CB2 receptors can also be found in the central nervous system, but they’re more prevalent throughout the gastrointestinal tract and in various organs.
These receptors can react to all kinds of cannabinoids, but they seem to indicate a preference. CB1 receptors have a particular affinity towards THC, while CBD doesn’t have a particularly strong affinity toward either receptor, yet impacts the endocannabinoid system and our bodies in other ways.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with these receptors, as they may hold the key to why specific compounds found inside marijuana are more beneficial in the for those with certain conditions.
In other words, these receptors likely hold the key to why CBD can treat certain conditions more efficiently than THC, and vice versa.
While the CB1 receptors seem to be affected most profoundly by THC, CBD also appears to elicit an effect on endocannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body as well. These receptors play a role in many of the conditions that CBD may be able to help treat, including Parkinson’s.
What Does CBD Help With The Most?
CBD possesses a variety of different positive side effects that make it a practical supplement option for many different conditions.
Before we can learn about the conditions CBD can be used for, we must first understand the different properties that CBD possesses.
With so many different beneficial properties, it’s no wonder that CBD has grown so popular as a treatment option for a myriad of different ailments. These various different properties that CBD possesses help to inform us of why they’re able to treat many of the conditions they appear to help.
In studies, cannabidiol has been shown to help promote the following:
In a review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2011, Parker concluded that CBD may help to reduce or eliminate feelings of nausea and vomiting. (1) These conclusions were based on numerous preclinical, animal studies, mostly on nausea in rats and mice.
In an article published on the website of the National Cancer Institute in 2017, it was stated that, based on a variety of preclinical and animal studies, CBD may retard the growth of cancer cells, and in some cases, it has shown the ability to help kill existing cancer cells, as well. (2)
In a review published in Future Medicinal Chemistry in 2009, Nagarkatti concluded that cannabidiol appears to reduce inflammation within the body, which may make it an ideal supplement for those suffering from a variety of inflammatory conditions that affect people, such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. (3,41) Multiple preclinical and animal studies have found similar results.
In a study on rats published in 1998 by Hampson, it was concluded that CBD may work as an antioxidant to help fight the free radicals present in the bloodstream, which can cause a variety of illnesses and diseases. (8)
Assist Those with Epilepsy
As found in a 2014 review by Devinsky, CBD may help suppress and reduce seizures.4 Multiple recent human studies have been conducted on CBD treatment for individuals with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE), a condition characterized by frequent seizures. (42,43) These studies have found reduced seizure frequency with CBD supplementation, as we will review in more detail below.
Positive and Stable Mood
In a review conducted by Schier in 2014, it was concluded that, based on animal studies, CBD may help to mitigate feelings of anxiety, depression and even PTSD. (5) Very limited human studies have been published, however, those that have thus far do show promise. (44)
In an animal study on piglets in 2010, Stockman concluded that CBD forms a protective barrier around the brain’s neurons, which may help to prevent degeneration. (6)
As concluded in a 2012 review by Zuardi, CBD possesses properties which may help to mitigate psychosis and its various related mental illnesses. (7) These benefits were found in both animal studies and in human studies.
With so many different beneficial properties, it’s no wonder that CBD has grown so popular as a supplement option for those with a myriad of different ailments.
What Conditions Is CBD Used For?
The past few decades have been an exciting time for CBD, as it’s shown to be helpful for a variety of different conditions. As time goes on, we are likely to see this list continue to grow longer. Here are some of the most notable conditions for which CBD has shown promise as a treatment alternative.
Acne is a stubborn medical condition that plagues millions of people throughout the world. Many people are affected by acne through their adulthood. Despite the number of acne prescriptions on the market, traditional medications don’t always work for everyone.
While it remains unclear the exact impact that cannabidiol has on human acne, studies have found that the endocannabinoid system is involved in cutaneous cell growth and differentiation, and a study did find individuals with acne to benefit from cannabis seed extract cream. (9,48)
In 2015, a collaborative study between Pakistani universities by Ali and Akhtar suggested that cannabis may have a use as an effective acne treatment. (9) In this 12 week study, healthy male volunteers were instructed to apply a 3% cannabis seeds extract cream on one side of their face and a base/control cream on the other side.
Researchers found that the cannabis extract cream led to a decrease in skin sebum and erythema content when compared to the control. As sebum and erythema add to the growth of acne, researchers concluded that cannabis seed extract may be effective in the treatment of acne vulgaris.
This study does not help us to know if it is a specific compound in cannabis or the unique combination, leaving further studies on CBD alone necessary.
One preliminary study was conducted on the effect of CBD on human sebaceous gland function. (48) In 2014, Olah took human skin cultures of both human sebocytes and human skin organ and found that CBD administration inhibited lipogenic actions of various compounds, suppressed sebocyte proliferation, and was found to exert anti-inflammatory actions.
What this means is through anti-inflammatory, lipostatic, and antiproliferative effects, CBD may hold promise as a therapeutic agent for those with acne.
The most popular ADHD treatments involve powerful stimulants which come with a range of different side effects. Plus, not all patients respond to these treatment options.
A University of Washington study from June 2017 shows that CBD may help to reduce the impulsive and hyperactive behavior. Many test subjects also experienced better, more restful sleep when using CBD as a treatment alternative for ADHD.
Meanwhile, Sativex Oromucosal Spray may be a safer alternative to these medications. Sativex is a 1:1 THC:CBD spray that was used in a 2017 study by Cooper published in European Neuropsychopharmacology. In this study, 30 adults with ADHD were given either Sativex or placebo for 11 months. Results did not meet significance, however, the results did show a reduction of symptoms in the Sativex group when compared to the placebo group.
These findings led researchers to conclude that further studies need to be done, however, this study did provide preliminary evidence that supports the cannabis self-medication theory for adults with ADHD. (10)
As with many of the existing studies, this study demonstrated the possible effect of CBD plus THC, not CBD alone. Almost no studies have been conducted on just CBD and ADHD, however, one study conducted in 2012 by Gururajan on rats did find CBD to help with hyperactivity and social interaction deficits, but not attention span, in rats. (49)
Anxiety is a common ailment suffered by countless individuals in the US, with few effective treatments that do not come with unwanted side effects.
In a human study published in 201 in Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers set out the examine the effect of CBD oil in public speaking-induced anxiety. (44)
In this study, 24 patients with generalized anxiety disorder were split into either a placebo group of a 600 mg CBD treatment group. Each person took either their treatment or placebo 90 minutes before a stimulation public speaking test.
Researchers found that the increase in anxiety symptoms was statistically greater for those in the placebo group when compared to those in the CBD group.
While much more research is needed, considering the limited success of anxiety treatment thus far, CBD may be a viable new option that can provide relief from anxiety symptoms.
Another 2012 study from the Institute of Psychiatry in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil indicates that CBD was able to produce improvement in healthy volunteers that were suffering from different anxiety disorders, such as OCD, social anxiety disorder and more.
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease which causes significant pain in the joints of the body. Given the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabidiol, several studies on rats and mice have linked CBD treatment to a reduction in the amount and severity of arthritis pain.
Sativex was the focus of one such study, and the results were impressive. Sativex is a drug available in several parts of the world that combines CBD and THC into an oral spray. When used for the treatment of arthritis, test subjects had less inflammation and pain from arthritis than a control group.
(12) Studies on human subjects are still needed, with those studies demonstrating promise currently being a blend of CBD and THC, not CBD alone. (13)
Another condition that may benefit from cannabinoid treatment is asthma. Like many of the conditions above, it has been impossible to pin down a ‘cure all’ treatment for asthma.
In a 2012 review published in The Department of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology in Florence, Italy, Pini discusses that the bronchial system is packed with CB1 and CB2 receptors. (14) In animal models of inflammatory pain, interference with endocannabinoid metabolism has led to pain relief. While studies need to be done to test the theory, it is possible that the endocannabinoid system, which is a modulator of inflammation, may be a target for asthma and related conditions.
A recent discovery and potential breakthrough with regards to autism relate to the role of the endocannabinoid system in autism patients. Growing evidence is leading researchers to further study the involvement of the ECS in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), leading to hope that cannabinoids may offer relief. (15,50)
Whether or not CBD could help to regulate the effects of autism remains to be seen. But, it’s certainly a link that’s worth monitoring.
One of the most widely studied areas of CBD treatment involves difficult to treat chronic pain. (19) This may extend to back pain, as well.
Considering how widely prescribed opiate pain medication is, it’s clear that we need to find alternative ways to treat the chronic pain which leads patients towards dangerous opiates more effectively and safely. CBD appears to be at the forefront of that concept, although much more research is needed to see what effect CBD has on pain.
Thanks to the anti-tumoral effects of CBD, breast cancer patients have experienced an improvement.
A 2011 study concludes that in addition to its anti-tumoral effects, CBD also contributes to programmed cell death in breast cancer patients. This is a particularly exciting conclusion since it suggests that CBD may help to kill cancer cells, instead of just slow them down.
In 2017, the National Cancer Institute acknowledged CBD treatment as an effective way to treat many of the side-effects of cancer and cancer treatment. (2)
Beyond helping with side effects, in 2017 the National Cancer Institute concluded that CBD may demonstrate an ability to slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells, and may even help to kill existing cells. (17)
A 2011 human cell culture study, Shrivastava concludes that in addition to its anti-tumoral effects, CBD also contributes to programmed cell death in breast cancer cell lines. (16) These findings suggest that CBD may help to kill cancer cells, instead of just slow them down.
Children who are dealing with serious conditions such as ADHD, insomnia, PTSD and other serious, debilitating conditions are particularly difficult to treat. Since they’re so young, they’re often less tolerant to traditional medications, which can end up doing more harm than good.
In one such case study published in 2016 by Shannon, a young girl with PTSD was treated with CBD. (18)
For 5 months this girl was treated with 25 mg oral CBD every evening and 6 mg to 12 mg CBD sublingual spray was given as needed throughout the day for anxiety.
Over this time, a gradual increase in sleep quantity and quality was observed as well as a gradual decrease in her anxiety. She did not report any adverse side effects.
Much more research is needed to be done on children and CBD to fully understand how it works, what conditions it could help with, possible side effects, and ideal dosing.
In a 2008 review by Russo, for many people living with chronic pain, CBD may offer an alternative to addictive and damaging opiate pain medication. (19) The anti-inflammatory properties of this compound may be involved in providing relief from chronic pain, without the laundry list of dangerous side effects. Further human research is needed.
Chronic Obtrusive Pulmonary Disorder, or COPD, is a chronic inflammatory lung condition similar to asthma. Doctors usually treat COPD with corticosteroids and inhalers because they promote the dilation of airways and a reduction of inflammation in the respiratory system.
Unfortunately, these medications are often costly and do have side effects, including weight gain and blood sugar imbalance.
In a very small human study conducted by Pickering in 2011, one of many measurements tied to COPD was improved when comparing a sublingual cannabis extract to a placebo. (20)
Five normal subjects and four subjects with COPD were given sublingual cannabis extract with a maximum of 10.8 mg THC and 10 mg CBD one day and placebo the other, not knowing which was which. Breathlessness was then simulated and measurements of breathlessness, mood, and activation, end-tidal carbon dioxide tension, and ventilatory parameters were taken at baseline and two hours post-treatment.
No differences were found between normal and COPD patients before and after placebo or drug. The only difference found was that COPD subjects picked ‘air hunger’ breathlessness descriptions less frequently following sublingual cannabis extract when compared to placebo.
This study demonstrates the need for further research on the possible impact of cannabinoids on COPD.
Individuals living with depression often have difficulty treating their depression with prescription medication. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next person. Even successful antidepressants possess side effects.
As it happens, a review of animal studies by Schier published in 2014 suggests that in addition to its antidepressant properties, CBD also functions as an anxiolytic-like compound, as well. (5) This has led many people to call for further research into the use of CBD as a treatment for depression.
Another inflammatory disease, diabetes affects millions of Americans, and in some cases, it can even lead to fatal complications. Like the other inflammatory diseases and conditions we’ve discussed, CBD helps to reduce symptoms associated with the disease, including diabetic nerve pain.
According to a 2015 article posted in Diabetes.co.uk, studies have shown that not only did CBD treatment help toreduce the symptoms of diabetes, but it also supports the immune system, helps to regulate blood sugar and promotes cellular growth. (21)
For those who suffer from the neurological condition epilepsy, frequent seizures and side effects of medications can be debilitating, leaving those who suffer and their families in search of symptom relief with fewer side effects.
In one human study published in 2016 in The Lancet Neurology, 162 patients aged 1-30 with treatment resistant epilepsy (TRE) were treated with daily oral CBD up to a maximum of 25 mg/kg/day or 50 mg/kg/day for 12 weeks. (42)
Following the 12 weeks of CBD treatment, an average 36.5% drop in monthly motor seizures was reported, leading researchers to conclude that CBD may reduce the frequency of seizures in children and young adults with TRE.
One of the most well-known and widely shared confirmations of CBD’s therapeutic effects came from a news story that profiled the struggles of the Figi family and their daughter Charlotte.
Charlotte suffered from a condition known as Dravets syndrome, which led her to have several long and extremely debilitating seizures each day. It robbed her of her ability to complete many of the most basic functions of life. The prognosis grew more and more grave.
After expending seemingly every possible treatment option, the family turned to CBD as a potential way to provide Charlotte with relief from her seizures.
Incredibly, the result of CBD treatment was a dramatic reduction in the amount of and severity of Charlotte’s seizures. At the height of her condition, she was seizing upwards of 3 times each day. Now, her parents say she has about 2-3 seizures per month, and they mostly occur in her sleep.
Aside from the Figi family’s account, there is mounting evidence which suggests that CBD treatment could hold the key to completely changing the way we treat epilepsy.
Fibromyalgia is another inflammatory condition that causes severe, chronic pain, with evidence suggesting thatfibromyalgia may be caused by a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system, as reported by Russo in 2004. (24)
Currently there are no studies directly evaluating cannabidiol for those with fibromyalgia, however, the endocannabinoid link leaves a reason for researchers to pursue this line of research.
Headaches, especially migraine headaches, have proved to be a mystifying condition that is difficult to treat. However, a review of research by Lochte Bryson in 2017 indicates that cannabinoids, including CBD, provide promise as possible treatments for migraine headaches. (25)
In this review, Lochte explains that much more research, particularly well-designed clinical trials on humans, is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn. However, based on historical prescription practices of marijuana and preclinical literature that focuses on the role of endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids in the alteration of headache pathophysiology, there is evidence to warrant clinical trials.
Another article from Forbes focuses on a recent study which concludes that medical marijuana was considerably more useful as a migraine treatment than many of the leading medications.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition which makes it difficult for millions of people throughout the world to live a normal life without fear of gastrointestinal issues.
We know that the digestive tract is full of cannabinoid receptors, especially CB2 receptors. In a study published in 2011, Filippis concludes an anti-inflammatory effect of CBD may hold therapeutic promise for those suffering from IBS. (27)
In this study, Filippis and fellow researchers examined the effect of CBD on ex vivo cultured human derived colonic biopsies from patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and intestinal segments of mice with LPS-induced intestinal inflammation.
The researchers concluded that the CBD, at least partly, counteracted the inflammatory environment caused by UC in human colonic cultures and LPS in mice.
Much more research is needed to confirm these results hold in placebo controlled human studies.
While CBD has displayed promise as a treatment for all of the ailments above, it may be most impressive as an anti-inflammatory agent based on a study by Zurier published in 2016. (28)
If you can name a condition that involves inflammation, the ECS is likely involved. This leaves the promise of phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, impacting the inflammation and possibly helping those suffering from these conditions.
While much more research is needed, particularly high-quality clinical studies, studies such as the one above on CBD and the inflammation caused by UC in humans and LPS in mice demonstrate these anti-inflammatory properties. (27)
The effects of insomnia are felt by a considerable amount of people. Also, millions more experience poor sleep on a nightly basis. In some studies, CBD once again shows promise as a treatment option, while in others it has been demonstrated to promote wakefulness.
From the studies thus far, mostly on rats, the difference here appears to be that CBD may help those with anxiety conditions sleep better, while it may promote wakefulness in healthy individuals.
In studies on rats, CBD was found to attenuate anxiety-induced REM sleep suppression and encourage wakefulness and decrease REM sleep time during lights-on periods. (45,46) In yet another study conducted by Chagas in 2013, CBD administration in rats was found to increase total sleep time and sleep latency in the light period of the day, showing conflicting results when compared to the previously mentioned studies. (29)
There do exist studies that link CBD supplementation in humans suffering from PTSD and Parkinson’s disease to improved sleep. (18,47)
In the 2016 study by Shannon published in The Permanente Journal that was discussed earlier on the young girl with PTSD, it was found that daily CBD supplementation of 25 mg each night and oral CBD spray when needed led to a gradual improvement in sleep quantity and quality over the five month period of supplementation. (18)
When determining the effect of CBD on sleep in four Parkinson’s patients in 2014, Chagas found that CBD supplementation of between 75 to 300 mg/day for six weeks improved sleep behaviors. (47)
The human research is very limited with small sample sizes and no placebo group, leaving us to wait and see what researchers find next before we can draw any definitive conclusions.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a degenerative inflammatory condition that results in severe pain and muscle degeneration. There is no cure for MS, and while treatment is sometimes useful, few treatments have shown the ability to mitigate MS flare-ups.
On the other hand, considering the inflammatory nature of MS, CBD may help reduce the inflammation the patient experiences and provide relief from some of the symptoms of the condition.
MS appears to be another condition where patients may benefit from a combination of CBD and THC. A 2005 review by Perras on the drug Sativex for MS patients revealed that the CBD/THC spray helped to dramatically relieve muscle spasms, neuropathic pain and help improve sleep quality in five studies on a total of 368 patients with various neurological conditions, including MS. (30)
This study leaves us not knowing if it was the CBD, the THC, or the combination of the two that led to these results.
As with many other conditions, in a 2014 study by Sharkey, researchers have identified a link between nausea and vomiting and the endocannabinoid system. (31) This link has led many to believe that CBD could be used to supplement this system.
Multiple animal studies have found a positive impact of cannabidiol on nausea, including a 2012 study by Rock which demonstrated CBD to reduce nausea in rats. (51)
As with the majority of conditions thus far discussed, this preliminary evidence is not proof but requires many more studies, particularly human studies.
America is currently in the midst of a full-on opioid epidemic. Prescription opiates are prescribed for a variety of different conditions, especially chronic pain. These pain medications are not only severely toxic and can lead to complications like liver and kidney failure, but they’re also among the most addictive substances on earth.
Those who are caught in the throes of opioid addiction have a litany of horrible withdrawal symptoms should they decide to quit using opioids. These side effects include muscle aches, sweating, difficulty sleeping, headaches, vomiting, nausea, cramping and more.
While there is no way to avoid opiate withdrawal for those who decide to stop using opiates, in a 2015 review Prud’homme found that, based on preclinical animal studies, many of these withdrawal symptoms can be mitigated with CBD use. (32)
Parkinson’s is a degenerative nerve condition that robs people of their ability to control their body and movements. The prognosis for this disease is grave, and there’s no cure. However, there is hope.
In a 2017 article, researchers at the University of Kentucky stated that they now realize that CBD can bind with and effect a receptor in the brain known as GPR6. (33) This receptor is commonly called the “orphan receptor” because scientists have previously been unable to identify the main compound that this receptor binds with. The GPR6 receptor is found in particular density in the basal ganglia region of the brain.
When this receptor binds with cannabinoid, dopamine production is increased, which may help mitigate the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
We’ve touched on CBD’s ability to help mitigate mental disorders including anxiety and depression, and those with PTSD may too benefit from supplementation.
In 2012, Dr. Alexander Neumeister, a professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center contributed to Depression and Anxiety. (34) In his article, he details the potential for CBD as a potential treatment for PTSD, and the immense role that the endocannabinoid system plays in disorders such as PTSD.
Additionally, as reviewed in the above children and insomnia sections, a case study on a young girl suffering from PTSD found a promise of daily CBD supplementation in the reduction of PTSD symptoms. (18)
With research still in its infancy, what exists is promising and we wait for more conclusive studies.
Earlier, we discussed the positive role that CBD plays for those with seizures caused by treatment resistant epilepsy. (42) CBD may also benefit those with seizures that occur outside of epilepsy.
Several states that have legalized marijuana have already endorsed CBD as a treatment for epileptic and nonepileptic seizures. While scientists continue to learn about the process by which CBD can inhibit seizures, it appears that CBD can affect other receptors besides the CB1 and CB2 receptors. (35)
For thousands of years, hemp has been prized for a variety of different uses, including its positive effect on the skin.
Humans are susceptible to a range of different skin conditions. Many of which, such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema are challenging to treat with conventional medications as well.
Evidence from a 2007 in vitro study by Wilkinson suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in many different skin disorders. (36) It also suggests that CBD treatment may be an effective way to reduce the effects of psoriasis.
Interestingly, a 2007 study by Karsak suggests that one of the areas of the body where receptor cells within the endocannabinoid system are located in the skin. (37) These findings may help explain why CBD may be an effective treatment for skin conditions.
Tremors cause a person to shake or have difficulty controlling the motion of their extremities. They’re also a significant symptom of Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other movement disorders.
For the most part, the medical world has a difficult time efficiently treating these types of disorders. According to a 2015 study by Kluger, there hasn’t been nearly enough research into CBD’s potential as a treatment for movement disorders, but the preliminary findings are certainly encouraging. (38)
Ulcerative Colitis is a painful and debilitating gastrointestinal issue that’s somewhat similar to IBS and Crohn’s Disease. While we’re still working to understand the way CBD effects these types of conditions in a positive way, in a 2011 study Filippis outlines one possible idea of why. (39)
Just like with IBS and Crohn’s, there’s a link between this condition and the endocannabinoid system. Given the concentration of CB2 receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, it’s no surprise that CBD therapy may have a positive effect on ulcerative colitis, with additional research needed to understand more.
Finally, we’ll take a closer look at CBD and weight loss. In a 2013 study by Penner of well over 4,000 men and women from the Journal of American Medicine suggests that current and past marijuana users tended to have smaller waist sizes compared to non-users. (40)
Of course, this is only a correlation and involved whole-plant cannabis. Currently, there exists one promising study linking CBD to the browning of white adipose tissue. (52)
We have two types of fat: brown fat and white fat. White fat is our “bad” fat which leads to weight gain through fat storage, with brown fat actually burning calories. Interestingly, white fat can be browned, becoming what is known as beige fat. Studies have linked lower BMI with higher quantities of beige fat cells. (52,53)
This study found that CBD increased brown fat-specific marker genes and proteins, leading to the browning of adipocytes. (52)
Much more research is needed to see if this browning of white fat leads to weight loss, however, this property of CBD is promising for those looking to lose weight.
Keep in mind, it is likely that there are even more conditions which can benefit from CBD treatment outside of the myriad of conditions we’ve just discussed. As researchers continue to discover new applications for CBD with other diseases and ailments, it appears that the list above may only be the tip of the iceberg with regards to conditions which CBD can help manage.