Cannabinoids, including CBD, are believed to be anti-inflammatory. Several studies in cells, rodents, and humans support the idea that CBD may be an effective anti-inflammatory, but more research is needed to determine how it works and the best applications for specific types of inflammation.
“One of the challenges is we don’t know what dose can alleviate what anti-inflammatory or immune-related conditions,” he continued.
How does CBD reduce inflammation?
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 often goes hand in hand with pain. The most common symptoms of inflammation include pain, heat, redness, and swelling. Typically, inflammation is treated with anti-inflammatory medications, including both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroid medications.
Inflammation plays an important role in a number of diseases, including asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and a number of autoimmune conditions, as well as in other seemingly unrelated conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Could CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects be used in any of these applications?
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.
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.
The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits
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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.
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?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
While inflammation is necessary to help protect the body as it heals, a state of ongoing or chronic inflammation is undesirable and can be a source of significant pain and anxiety, and is sometimes linked with depression. CBD shows potential as a plant-derived anti-inflammatory without the side effects of medications.
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.
A 2017 study in the journal Pain examined the effects of CBD in male rats with osteoarthritis. After two weeks, acute inflammation of the joints was reduced by local CBD treatment applied to the area. The administration of CBD was also found to prevent the development of nerve damage and joint pain.
However, not everyone who has turned to CBD to help with their inflammation has experienced benefits.
For Orr, CBD was immediately more effective that both opioids and steroids, and even better than edibles. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps