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“If you take pure CBD, it’s pretty safe,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Side effects in the Epidiolex trial included diarrhea, sleepiness, fatigue, weakness, rash, decreased appetite and elevated liver enzymes. Also, the safe amount to consume in a day, or at all during pregnancy, is still not known.

CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also marketed to promote sleep. Part of CBD’s popularity is that it purports to be “nonpsychoactive,” and that consumers can reap health benefits from the plant without the high (or the midnight pizza munchies).

Up in the wee hours of the night, stuck watching videos of puppies? CBD may be promising as a sleep aid; one of the side effects of the Epidiolex trials for epilepsy was drowsiness, according to Mr. MacKillop, a co-author of a review on cannabinoids and sleep. “If you are looking for new treatments for sleep, that may be a clue,” he said.

Does CBD help sleep and depression?

Sleep can be disrupted for many reasons, including depression. Rodents seemed to adapt better to stressful conditions and exhibited less depressive-like behavior after taking CBD, according to a review in Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy. “Surprisingly, CBD seems to act faster than conventional antidepressants,” wrote one of the authors of a new review, Sâmia Joca, a fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark and an associate professor at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, in an email interview. Of course, it’s difficult to detect depression in animals, but the studies that Ms. Joca and her colleagues reviewed suggested that in models of chronic stress exposure, the mice and rats treated with CBD were more resilient.

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For students with generalized social anxiety, a four-minute talk, with minimal time to prepare, can be debilitating. Yet a small experiment in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD seemed to reduce nervousness and cognitive impairment in patients with social anxiety in a simulated public speaking task.

More than 60 percent of CBD users were taking it for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 people. Does it help?

CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.

CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.

The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits

CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.

CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been recently covered in the media, and you may have even seen it as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. What exactly is CBD? Why is it suddenly so popular?

Background and Purpose: Corneal injury can result in dysfunction of corneal nociceptive signaling and corneal sensitization. Activation of the endocannabinoid system has been reported to be analgesic and anti-inflammatory. The purpose of this research was to investigate the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids with reported actions at cannabinoid 1 (CB1R) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2R) receptors and/or noncannabinoid receptors in an experimental model of corneal hyperalgesia. Methods: Corneal hyperalgesia (increased pain response) was generated using chemical cauterization of the corneal epithelium in wild-type (WT) and CB2R knockout (CB2R -/- ) mice. Cauterized eyes were treated topically with the phytocannabinoids Δ 8 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 8 THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), or the CBD derivative HU-308, in the presence or absence of the CB1R antagonist AM251 (2.0 mg/kg i.p.), or the 5-HT1A receptor antagonist WAY100635 (1 mg/kg i.p.). Behavioral pain responses to a topical capsaicin challenge at 6 h postinjury were quantified from video recordings. Mice were euthanized at 6 and 12 h postcorneal injury for immunohistochemical analysis to quantify corneal neutrophil infiltration. Results: Corneal cauterization resulted in hyperalgesia to capsaicin at 6 h postinjury compared to sham control eyes. Neutrophil infiltration, indicative of inflammation, was apparent at 6 and 12 h postinjury in WT mice. Application of Δ 8 THC, CBD, and HU-308 reduced the pain score and neutrophil infiltration in WT mice. The antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory actions of Δ 8 THC, but not CBD, were blocked by the CB1R antagonist AM251, but were still apparent, for both cannabinoids, in CB2R -/- mice. However, the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory actions of HU-308 were absent in the CB2R -/- mice. The antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD were blocked by the 5-HT1A antagonist WAY100635. Conclusion: Topical cannabinoids reduce corneal hyperalgesia and inflammation. The antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Δ 8 THC are mediated primarily via CB1R, whereas that of the cannabinoids CBD and HU-308, involve activation of 5-HT1A receptors and CB2Rs, respectively. Cannabinoids could be a novel clinical therapy for corneal pain and inflammation resulting from ocular surface injury.

Keywords: cannabinoids; cornea; hyperalgesia; inflammation; pain.