Chronic Pain, Arthritis, Anxiety, Depression, or Alzheimer’s? Science Says CBD May Help
By Lisa Egan
As more people seek safe, natural remedies for health concerns – and as more states legalize medical cannabis – interest in cannabidiol (commonly known as “CBD”) is growing.
In case you don’t know much about CBD and how it works, here’s a summary:
- CBD is a fascinating compound that has tremendous therapeutic value. It is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis plants that belong to a class of ingredients called cannabinoids.
- Cannabinoids are a diverse set of chemical compounds that bind to special receptors in the human body that make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.
- The endocannabinoid system is a biological system which plays many important roles in the human body. It is responsible for the physical and psychological effects of cannabis.
We recommend Organica Naturals CBD products for their consistently high quality.
The list of conditions CBD has been shown to benefit is extensive and continues to grow as more research is conducted. Here are five of them.
Studies show CBD may make life a little easier for people with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. In the early stages, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may notice mild confusion and difficulty remembering. Eventually, people with the disease may even forget important people in their lives and undergo dramatic personality changes.
Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
While the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age, it is not a normal part of aging.
According to Dementia Central:
There are three ways which CBD can work to improve health outcomes for persons with dementia; by reducing inflammation, by reducing oxygen build up, and by working as a brain stimulant and neuroprotectant. From a user’s perspective, CBD may reduce stress and anxiety in the individual with dementia as well as reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions. (source)
To view a list of links to studies on CBD and Alzheimer’s, please click here: Alzheimer’s Disease
CBD appears to have powerful anti-anxiety properties.
Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. It is your body’s natural response to stress. Mild anxiety might be vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety may seriously disrupt the sufferer’s daily life. Frequent intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear may be signs of an anxiety disorder.
Research on CBD for anxiety is still in the early stages, but so far, findings are promising. Numerous animal studies and accumulating evidence from experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies in humans suggest CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties.
According to a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018, almost 62% of CBD users reported using CBD to treat a medical condition. The top three medical conditions were pain, anxiety, and depression. Participants most frequently reported feeling that CBD treated their medical condition(s) “very well by itself” or “moderately well by itself” for the following three conditions: chronic pain, arthritis/joint pain, and anxiety.
To view a list of links to studies on CBD and anxiety, please click here: Anxiety
Research suggests CBD may help relieve depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It can disrupt every aspect of the sufferer’s life, making eating, sleeping and everyday functioning very difficult. Depression is not the same as being a little sad over a specific incident – the feelings associated with depression are persistent and chronic.
Research has shown that CBD has the ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
While studying the modulation of the serotonin system through endocannabinoid signaling in 2011, researchers found evidence that endocannabinoids are important regulators of stress responses.
In an article titled Depression and Cannabis, Dr. Stacey Kerr explains that “a dysregulated endocannabinoid system is implicated in clinical depression”:
A 2014 study concluded that “preclinical data … has shown that elevated endocannabinoid signaling is able to produce behavioral and biochemical effects as [well as] conventional antidepressant treatment, and that many antidepressants alter endogenous cannabinoid tone.”
There is potential, but as with many areas of cannabis science, more research needs to be done.
Regardless of the research, some patients certainly claim cannabis is effective as an antidepressant. These patients admit that it helps them cope with life stressors and will sometimes allow them to see things in a more positive state of mind. (source)
For a list of links to more studies on CBD and depression, please click here: Depression
Several studies suggest CBD can help treat arthritis.
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, which typically get worse with age. “Arthritis” is not a single disease – the term refers to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting over 50 million Americans.
Several studies in animals suggest that CBD could help treat arthritis and relieve the associated pain.
One study found that CBD reduced inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way that pain receptors respond to stimuli.
In 2014, a research review summarized the results of studies that support CBD as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.
Applying CBD to the skin (topical use) has the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, according to a 2016 study.
A 2017 study found that CBD can prevent the later development of pain and nerve damage in osteoarthritic joints.
If you’d like to read about my personal experience with CBD for psoriatic arthritis, here’s my story: I Tried CBD Oil For My Psoriatic Arthritis. Here’s What Happened.
A growing body of research shows promise for the use of CBD in chronic pain management.
Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts at least 12 weeks. Acute pain is a normal response to injury and is short-lived, but chronic pain is very different because it persists – often for months or even longer.
Sometimes chronic pain is caused by an initial injury, such as a back sprain or an accident. In others, there may be an underlying cause, such as illness or underlying disease. And, in some cases, there may be no clear cause. Unfortunately, chronic pain often brings with it other health problems, including fatigue, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, and changes in mood.
Researchers believe that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters.
A recent study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision. In another study, rats with sciatic pain that were given oral CBD had significantly reduced neuropathic and inflammatory pain.
A 2008 review of studies conducted between the late 1980s and 2007 assessed how well CBD works to relieve chronic pain. Researchers concluded CBD was effective in overall pain management without adverse side effects. Some of those studies also showed that CBD was beneficial in treating insomnia related to chronic pain. (source)
To see a list of links to studies on CBD for chronic pain, please click here: Chronic Pain
Do you use CBD products?
Do you use CBD products on a regular basis for a condition? Have you found it helpful? Share your suggestions and experiences in the comments below.
Lisa Egan has been passionate about nutrition and fitness for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a minor in Nutrition. She is the owner of Lisa Egan Nutrition Coaching and the website All About Habits.