Is CBD Safe and Can it Help With Pain, Sleep and Anxiety?

Part 2 of our CBD Beyond The Hype series

Since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill (legalizing Hemp/CBD at the Federal level), consumers have been bombarded with information about the benefits and risks related to usage of CBD. We have seen many articles written about the lack of scientific proof that CBD works for its many touted benefits. Part of the “lack of proof” comes from the fact that the research in the US has been generally non existent for medical use of cannabis.

The Godfather of Medical Cannabis Research

Israel is where the majority of research on cannabis has taken place. It started with Raphael Mechoulam’s discovery of THC and its psychoactive properties in 1964 Mechoulam. Mechoulam and his team later discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is the largest receptor system in the human body. We know that THC impacts the CB1 and CB2 receptors to create the “high”, but we know less about how CBD works to help regulate our ECS. CBD is thought to have a broader impact on getting the body back to homeostasis by increasing our bodies own cannabinoids, binding with our serotonin receptors and stimulating receptors that help calm the nervous system. Dr. Yasmine Hurd (Mount Sinai in NY) said it well. “The brain is about a symphony” and CBD “brings the symphony into harmony” (NY Times- Can CBD Really Do All That?).

Israeli Study on Pain in Elderly

A recent study out of Israel looked at cannabis use with elderly patients for pain (Study). Patients were asked to rate their daily pain before and after 6 months of treatment. 93.7% of patients reported improvement in their condition and the reported pain level was reduced from an 8 to 4 (scale of 1-10, prior to and after 6 months of treatment). Conclusion: Our study finds that the therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious in the elderly population. Cannabis use may decrease the use of other prescription medicines, including opioids.

Study on Anxiety and Sleep

In January 2019, The Permanente Journal released results from a retroactive charts study of 72 psychiatric clinic patients who were prescribed CBD. 79% of the patients had improved anxiety scores during the first month that continued for the study period. Sleep scores improved in the first month for 66% of the patients (Study).

What Does The World Health Organization Say About Safety?

“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential”

“There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.”

“CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.”

CBD seems to have some positive relationship with our endocannabinoid system and while we do not fully understand exactly how they interact, there is some scientific evidence and significant anecdotal evidence to support potential health benefits. Since safety concerns are very low with CBD, it is not surprising that consumers are jumping on board before all of the evidence is proven.

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