Does CBD Actually work? 5 symptoms CBD has shown to improve.
Does CBD Actually Work?
It’s a question we get from athletes with muscle soreness, from the pet owner whose pet is sore or having trouble moving, from people with chronic pain or seizures and from the elderly suffering from arthritis or having trouble sleeping. We’ve heard this question hundreds of times: “Does CBD actually work?” The short answer is yes, it works for most people. No product is the “end all, be all’’, but depending on what conditions you are working with, CBD might offer you some relief.
In this article we share some of the stories we’ve heard about CBD helping people we know with various illnesses, and include links to scientific studies to help bridge the gap between anecdotal accounts and empirical findings.
“I’m a Vietnam vet and I’ve had intense nerve pain in my back for years. I’ve been sleeping in my living room recliner for years because I haven’t been able to lay down in my bed because of the pain. About two months ago I started taking 30-40 milligrams of CBD oil per day, and for the first week or two I didn’t really feel any difference, but i kept using it, and last week I was able to sleep in my bed again for the first time in years. I love this stuff.”
This was the story of a gentleman in his mid 60’s, who stopped by the farm one day to tell us how much he appreciates what we’re doing, and wanted to share his story. As amazing as this story is, it’s not rare. Countless people are reporting some degree of relief when using CBD, either in addition to their existing medication or as an alternative.
As of August 2019 according to a Gallup Poll 14% of Americans use CBD in some way. The number one reason for the use of CBD in America is pain. Yet there are still questions on if CBD actually helps reduce pain. In 2016 scientists did a study using CBD on rats with arthritis and inflammation. The rats were given a range of dosages between 0.6 mg per day to 62 mg per day topically with a CBD gel. After 4 days they found that rats that had the dosages between 6.2 mg and 62 mg per day showed lower inflammation rating and a lower pain score. The rats with a lower dosage showed minimal change. Also in this study they did not find any notable side effects from giving rats CBD.
The review Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules provides more in-depth science to bolster stories like the one above. In summary, scientists reviewed studies done between 1975 and 2018 to assess the efficacy of cannabis in treating different types of pain. Some of those categories were neuropathic pain, cancer pain, non-cancer chronic pain, and animal pain.
Findings showed substantial evidence encouraging the use of cannabinoids for many different types of chronic pain. It also found inhalation of CBD was found very effective for neuropathic pain caused by inflammation. It did not, however, show signs of relief for patients suffering from abdominal pain. Although most of the studies were fairly short-term they did not show serious side effects. More long term studies are currently in process.
How can a “Non-Psychoactive” compound that comes from a plant help people with a mental disorder?
Anyone who has researched or talked to someone about CBD most likely has learned there are many opinions on its effectiveness. There are stories on both sides of the aisle out there, but let’s get into what science has found on CBD and anxiety.
CBD is believed to interact with your body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are found in the central and peripheral nervous system. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are endocannabinoid receptors believed to help control serotonin levels as well as many other processes in the body.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most common form of mental illness affecting 40 million people in the U.S. per year.
One of the causes of anxiety is a low serotonin level. One study found after giving patients diagnosed with SAD (social anxiety disorder) certain doses of CBD, their level of subjective anxiety was reduced significantly. According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) CBD was also found to reduce high levels of stress in rats in another study.
According to the CDC over 35% of Americans suffer from some kind of sleep deprivation. And according to the Sleep foundation approximately 10% of Americans suffer from insomnia.
It is safe to say that a lot of people need better sleep. So people are starting to turn towards CBD for some help. But does it actually work? According to one study, 72 people were given 25 mg of CBD daily, and after the first month 66% of the respondents reported better sleep and less overall anxiety.
How does it help with your sleep?
There is not a direct answer to this question, but one theory states due to CBD reducing overall anxiety and pain just makes it easier for the body to sleep. Another theory that states CBD affects sleep more directly than the previous study showed. A 2017 Review states that people who took CBD had better REM sleep quality overall, even better than THC.
The study of CBD and sleep is still in its infancy stages, but one thing that we do know is CBD can be a safe way to try and improve your sleep quality (with a common side effect of slight fatigue).
CBD and Cancer:
Although there is no conclusive evidence that CBD cures or prevents cancer, there is some evidence suggesting it can provide relief from some of the pain associated with cancer. Many of those using CBD to treat their cancer symptoms have come to use it out of desperation, after traditional medications have failed to provide them with the relief they need.
Some of the symptoms CBD can provide relief from include: pain caused by inflammation, anxiety and restlessness and insomnia. Often, these symptoms are all present at once in cancer patients, but taking a dose of CBD in addition to your current medication can provide you some natural relief through your battle with cancer.
Cannabis has been known to help treat patients suffering from seizure disorders since 1843. Yes you read that right, 177 years ago. W.B O'Shaughnessy, a physician in the Bengal army and a professor at the Medical College of Calcutta began testing the effects of cannabis indica starting in 1843 with animal subjects and moving to a 40 day-old child with recurrent convulsive seizures. Since that time, it became more difficult to study these effects due to certain countries making cannabis illegal. As we are seeing today it is becoming more well known as a healthy alternative to treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
One study tested CBD on patients with a diagnosis of Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The study found the patients taking the CBD versus the placebo decreased seizure activity by an average of about 40%. The placebo showed an average decrease of about 17%.
Prior to working at Harris Farms, our Assistant Foreman was an AEMT firefighter, and can advocate for the potential efficiency CBD poses as a seizure treatment:
“I responded to several seizure calls throughout my career, but only one really stands out to me. It was for a 17 year old who had epilepsy and experienced seizures weekly. He was on prescribed medication that seemed to weaken as his tolerance increased. One day we got a call he was experiencing a seizure, and his mom insisted on putting CBD oil under his tongue. To my amazement within 5 minutes he was fully conscious and aware of his surroundings (Something I had never seen before). His mom told us once she started giving him CBD, the frequency of his seizures reduced from weekly to monthly.”
Currently, these stories merely serve as anecdotal support for CBD’s efficacy to treat various illnesses, but with continued research we hope to further solidify its effect in the medical and wellness community.