CBD is known to be an anti-inflammatory and it is likely one of the safest medicines to provide such an effect.
Current evidence suggests the answer may be yes, but as with many subjects in the cannabis world, more research is needed.
Such medications have risks and side effects, however. Some people choose to take a more preventative approach to treating inflammation, such as consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, and taking anti-inflammatory supplements. Could CBD contribute to a more natural approach to treating inflammation?
Human health: What do studies say?
A 2013 review concluded that CBD was a potential candidate for an inflammatory bowel disease medication. However, a 2017 clinical trial found CBD to be safe, but ineffective for the condition. The authors said their results could “be due to the small dose of CBD, the small number of patients in the study, or the lack of the necessary synergism with other cannabinoids.”
Inflammation, or the inflammatory response, is an aspect of the body’s immune response. While short-term inflammation can be protective, chronic inflammation is linked to several diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and Alzheimer’s.
A 2008 study in mice found that CBD prevented the onset of type 1 diabetes, an inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the beta cells of the pancreas.
“One of the challenges is we don’t know what dose can alleviate what anti-inflammatory or immune-related conditions,” he continued.
Adam Kemp is a professional basketball player who turned to CBD products after breaking a bone in his back at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Lucy Blythe, whose name has been changed for this article, has experimented with CBD to help treat her chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, and fibromyalgia — all of which are autoimmune illnesses characterized by chronic inflammation in the body.
Chronic inflammation refers to a prolonged inflammatory response in the body. When inflammation lingers, it can detrimentally impact tissues and organs due to the increased production of free radicals, which results in oxidative stress, an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals.
“I have had IBD for over 20 years, and had been on a range of medications, from steroids to opioids,” Orr told Weedmaps. “The steroids helped a lot with inflammation but not with the pain, and the Oxy was like trying to crack a nut with a sledgehammer — brutal side effects. It made me feel awful due to bad nausea and extreme fogginess.”
She recommends sublingual tinctures, since they can be easily adjusted for dose, are absorbed quickly, and last 4 to 6 hours. Vaping lasts only a few hours, but can help with breakthrough symptoms. The two are best combined for long-term relief.
He cautions, however, that there is still a long way to go before scientists fully understand how CBD attenuates inflammation.
Stacia Woodcock, a pharmacist at Curaleaf New York, which sells CBD products, points out that it may take some time for CBD oil to exert its anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
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 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.
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?
The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits
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.
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Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So, you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.