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CBD, cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent ingredient in cannabis. According to 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.”
CBD has been praised for its wide array of health-related benefits, but the strongest scientific evidence originates from its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes. There are numerous published studies illustrating the effects CBD can have on children suffering from seizures. Most illustrate a reduction in the number and frequency in seizures while others found a complete stop to seizures all together. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD may also help alleviate insomnia related symptoms.
Recent studies have shown CBD’s ability to decrease anxiety as well as help patients suffering from insomnia fall asleep and stay asleep. A review from 2012 examined 34 studies and found a potential link between high doses of CBD, 150–600 milligrams (mg) per day, and therapeutic effects for insomnia, epilepsy, and social anxiety disorder. A 2019 study on CBD’s effects on anxiety and sleep found that people taking between 300 to 600 mg of CBD oil had lower cortisol levels. The findings suggest the substance may function as a sedative, affecting cortisol release.
CBD treatments have also show to help with 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 Side Effects
Side Effects associated with CBD use include nausea, fatigue, and irritability.
CBD is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. As a result, the FDA cannot regulate the safety and purity of the supplement. In other words, you cannot be certain that the product you buy contains the dosages listed on the label.
Taking CBD with other medication
While generally considered safe, CBD may cause drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, diarrhea, and dry mouth. Taking CBD with other medications that have similar side effects may increase the risk of unwanted symptoms or toxicity. In other words, taking CBD at the same time with OTC or prescription medications and substances that cause sleepiness, such as opioids, benzos, antipsychotics, antidepressants, or alcohol may lead to increased sleepiness, fatigue, and possibly accidental falls and accidents when driving.
CBD and Your Libido
According to a 2009 article published in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, researchers have found ECS receptors in the sexual reproductive organs, such as the testicles.
Some research studies have found that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC boost libido, while others have found they decrease it. One article in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics reported that chronic cannabis use in males lowered sex drive. The more they use, the lower their sex drive is. Other research suggests CBD products may improve libido by reducing anxiety. Some people have anxiety about sexual performance, which decreases their libido. Relieve anxiety, and the desire for sex may go up.
However, there aren’t many human trials on this issue, so it’s hard to recommend CBD dosages or say for sure it works.
CBD and your Weight
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may reduce food intake and boost metabolism, which could promote weight loss.
For example, animal studies indicate that CBD affects weight by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors in lymphoid tissue and the brain. These receptors are thought to play important roles in metabolism and food intake. A two-week study, rats were injected with CBD daily at doses of 1.1 and 2.3 mg per pound of body weight (2.5 and 5 mg per kg). Both doses produced significant reductions in body weight, with the higher dose having the most pronounced effect.
While such results are promising, not enough human studies support these findings, and more research is needed.
For more information on CBD and how it relates to your health, check out our CBD and Health Guide!