Top 10 Evidence Based CBD Uses
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Ten Research-Backed CBD Uses

CBD is currently one of the most widely used natural health products. CBD uses are vast, and we will cover the top ten that you may not already know that have been researched and tested. A 2002 report found that one in four Americans were using CBD, with $5.31 billion spent on CBD products the previous year. And one thing is clear – people use CBD for many different reasons. A 2021 survey of past and present CBD users found that CBD was used for at least thirty health conditions, ranging from Alzheimer’s Disease to anxiety.

Although scientific research has not kept pace with CBD’s popularity, there is an increasing amount of evidence to support the use of CBD in the treatment of many common health problems. The top 10 evidence-based uses for CBD are supported by scientific consensus.

CBD Uses

#1 CBD for Pain

In the US, over 20% of people suffer from pain, which affects all age groups but is most prevalent in older adults. CBD has been studied for its role in alleviating many types of pain. A recent review article on CBD and pain identified 76 molecular targets of CBD, including many in the nervous system, that could explain these benefits. One of the primary mechanisms by which CBD relieves pain is reducing inflammation.

Research has shown that CBD can be used for pain management in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. CBD has also been shown to reduce myofascial, neuropathic, and postoperative pain. It has also been suggested that cannabinoids, including CBD, can reduce headaches.

CBD can help to relieve both acute and chronic pain. When taken for pain relief, CBD can be consumed on an “as needed” basis, like other pain medications.

#2 CBD for Sleep

Getting less than six hours of sleep a night increases your risk of severe health problems like heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease. There are over 100 sleep disorders that have been identified, which affect nearly 40% of US adults. CBD may sedate at higher doses, making it a popular sleep aid.

According to the Sleep Foundation, CBD may help with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness, and insomnia. Research has shown that CBD affects the circadian rhythm, also called our biological clock, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. As a sleep aid, CBD should be taken before bed and stacked with other healthy sleep habits, such as following a regular sleep schedule and avoiding bright lights and electronic devices, which are known to interfere with sleep.

#3 CBD for Anxiety

Anxiety disorders will affect over 30% of Americans at some point in their lives, and many people don’t get relief from commonly prescribed drugs. CBD may help with anxiety, providing comfort for people with anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, social phobia, and PTSD. CBD may also reduce feelings of anxiety during public speaking.

A 2022 systematic review of 58 research studies concluded that CBD reduces anxiety more than THC without adverse effects on sleep. When used for anxiety, CBD can be taken regularly and when exposed to known stressors, such as a social situation. 

#4 CBD for Depression

In 2020, approximately 21 million people in the US reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the last year. Prevalence is highest among females and young adults. As with drug treatments for anxiety, many people using pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms of depression fail to experience remission.

Although most research using CBD for depression has been done in pre-clinical models, the results are encouraging. CBD has been found to induce positive changes in rodent brains, such as increasing the growth and development of new brain cells, and it has been proposed as a possible “novel antidepressant” for use in humans. CBD used for depression should be taken regularly.

#5 CBD for Dermatology

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. Not surprisingly, many different disorders affect the skin. The skin is also vulnerable to injuries. Research looking at using CBD for skin problems has shown that it can be helpful in many common skin conditions, including:

CBD may also be helpful in the treatment of acne since it reduces sebum production and inflammation.

CBD, used for dermatological conditions, is usually applied directly to the skin as a topical product, not absorbed past the skin layers into the bloodstream. Some dermatological conditions may also improve with oral CBD, such as dermatological disorders that involve the immune system.  

#6 CBD for Autoimmune Disease

The immune system is the first line of defense against disease-causing germs like bacteria and viruses. It also fights disease-causing changes, such as cancer cells, and mediates inflammation. The two types of immunity are innate immunity and adaptive immunity. In autoimmune disease, the activity of the immune system has become abnormal, and immune cells mistakenly target the body itself.

Because CBD is anti-inflammatory and reduces the activity of many inflammatory cell types and processes, it may be helpful in many autoimmune diseases, including fibromyalgia, scleroderma, Multiple Sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel diseases. It may also reduce inflammation in type 1 diabetes. It is unclear whether CBD may be helpful in the prevention of autoimmune diseases through the regulation of the immune system, but this mechanism is plausible. CBD should be taken regularly with an established autoimmune disease to affect the immune response.

#7 CBD for Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for men and women in the US. CVD may cause heart attacks and strokes and is increased by risk factors, including high blood pressure, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle. 

CBD may reduce CVD risk by decreasing blood pressure. It also protects against damage following a stroke and has shown benefits in studies using experimental models of heart disease. CBD should be combined with a heart-healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle when taken to improve heart health.

#8 CBD for Epilepsy

About 3.4 million Americans have epilepsy, a brain disorder that causes seizures. An FDA-approved drug called Epidiolex contains CBD isolate as the active ingredient used to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy (Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome) and treat seizures in tuberous sclerosis, a rare genetic disease.

While some epileptic patients use Epidiolex, many others use commercial CBD products. An analysis of CBD use for epilepsy found that CBD-enriched extracts (such as full or broad-spectrum CBD) are more effective than CBD isolate (such as Epidiolex) and have fewer side effects.

Another study found that epileptic patients using CBD had a better quality of life and were better able to tolerate epilepsy medications. When used in epilepsy, CBD is taken at very high doses. Research on CBD and epilepsy furthered our understanding of how CBD works in the brain and helped pave the way for research in other neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.

#9 CBD for Neurological & Neurodevelopmental Disorders

There are many neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, all of which involve the nervous system in some way. Since there are several molecular targets of CBD in the nervous system, particularly in the brain, it is not surprising that CBD has been found to help many of these conditions.

Neurological disorders that may benefit from CBD include epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis (discussed previously), Alzheimer’s Disease, Tourette’s/Tic Disorders, and Parkinson’s Disease. Neurodevelopmental disorders that may benefit from CBD include autism and autism spectrum disorders. Recommendations for CBD use will vary depending on the condition.

#10 CBD for Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain, resulting in symptoms ranging from mild to severe, such as headaches, problems with cognitive functioning, and loss of consciousness.

A concussion is a form of TBI. TBIs cause nearly 180 deaths per day in the US, and it is a leading cause of death in children and young adults. Somewhat surprisingly, CBD has been the focus of significant research in the field of TBI treatment for two reasons: (1) poor treatment options for TBI and (2) the “good tolerability” of CBD.

CBD has been shown to be a “neuroprotectant,” helping to heal the blood-brain barrier, increase the growth of new brain cells, and decrease inflammation. The US government holds a patent on cannabinoids (including CBD) as “antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” Neuroprotection also explains why CBD may benefit neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders. When used for TBI, CBD should be given at high doses soon after injury and can be combined with other treatments such as nutritional antioxidants and light therapy (photobiomodulation).

It’s clear from this list that CBD may play a role in many acute and chronic diseases prevalent in modern society. And this list is not exhaustive; there are other conditions that we didn’t include here simply because they didn’t quite meet our research requirements. If this all sounds too good to be true, consider the following: CBD has over 65 molecular targets in the body, meaning it influences our physiology.

It has been said that CBD is the “promiscuous cannabinoid” because it affects so many things! One of the main targets of CBD is the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is often referred to as the “master regulator” of the human body. However, there are others, including the serotonin, dopamine, and opioid systems.

CBD may be a helpful therapy to include in your healing toolbox if you suffer from any of these conditions. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about how to use CBD. 

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician.

All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions or before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

Neither Dr. Genevieve Newton, publishers of this content, nor Fringe, Inc. takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content.

All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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