CBD – three little letters that just might revolutionize how people view medication and their options for treatment.
A survey from April of this year showed that 55% of Americans regularly take prescription medication. That percentage might not seem overly alarming because prescription medication has become so normalized.
However, the negative ramifications of prescription medications, including the exploding opioid crisis, underscore the sometimes-lethal consequences of our fixation on prescription drugs.
Unfortunately, many alternative options for treatment, i.e. homeopathic remedies, do not generally have the research or scientific support to be seen as a viable and effective alternative.
Over the course of this year (and many years prior) Cannabidiol has been shown to be a potential therapy for:
- Psychotic Disorders
- Stroke Rehabilitation
- High Blood Pressure
- Liver Injury
Also, study after study has demonstrated CBD does not get you high. As such, this powerful therapy should not be associated with rolling a joint to mellow out; it has real potential to be a legitimate treatment.
This is great news given that the conditions listed above are generally treated by prescription medication, which can cause severe side effects and opioid addiction.
CBD studies with the greatest impact over the past year
Over the past year, hundreds of CBD-related studies were conducted across dozens of countries and institutions. Many of them contribute to the growing understanding — and acceptance — of CBD.
We decided to call out 17 of the studies that stood out among the most important CBD studies of the year. While this is not a comprehensive list, it does highlight some of the critical studies conducted by important researchers in this field.
The studies discussed below continue to pave the way for alternative ways to medicate with CBD and voice urgent need for more research into CBD.
If you’d like to see a graphical representation of the information found in this report, we encourage you to take a look at our visualization of CBD studies.
Table of Contents
- CBD Research Round-Up
- CBD and Treatment-Resistant Seizures
- Seizures in Children and How CBD Therapy Might Help
- Can CBD Help Manage Fear?
- Afraid of Public-Speaking? CBD Might Help
- Potential Anti-Panic Actions of CBD
- Does CBD Reduce High Blood Pressure?
- Does CBD Get You High?
- CBD Doesn’t Make You Burn Through a Box of Oreos
- CBD’s Potential Lack of Effect on Anxiety
- CBD’s Relevance to Schizophrenia
- Cannabis vs. Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report
- CBD and Opioid Use: First Long-Term Study
- CBD and Irritable Bowel Disease
- Liver Injury and CBD’s Potential Healing Effect
- A Potential Aid in Brain Recovery After a Stroke
- Pain and CBD’s Potential Effect
- What’s Next?
Authors: Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen; nova-Institut, Hürth, Germany
A logical start to this list is an overall update on CBD. Published in June, this review evaluated a massive amount of existing research, data, and studies with the intent to update and synthesize vast amounts of data.
- CBD is safe to use
- There is a major need for more research as the majority of studies were performed for treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders
- Most common side effects reported are tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight.
- CBD has comparatively fewer side-effects compared with prescription medication
- The fewer side-effects could help increase patient-adherence to treatment
- CBD can be used as a supplemental therapy
To put the CBD side-effects in perspective, other drugs used for the same medical condition have far more negative side-effect profiles. This is particularly important as choosing a treatment with fewer side-effects could help ensure patients actually follow their treatment plans.
As to the safety of CBD use, the authors stated that the “safety profile is already established in a plethora of ways” and the breadth of their review serves to substantiate and build upon this notion.
Authors: G. Pesántez-Ríos, L. Armijos-Acurio, R. Jimbo-Sotomayor, S.I. Pascual-Pascual, G. Pesántez-Cuesta
An Explanation of Epilepsy
Having a medical condition is difficult enough, but if that condition doesn’t respond to medical treatment, life can become a constant battle. Refractory epilepsy is also known as uncontrolled or drug-resistant epilepsy. This means that a person who is suffering from refractory epilepsies is not responding to traditional medicine and thus is unable to effectively manage his or her neurological disorder.
As of 2014, 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy (more than Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy combined), and it is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States. Of that 50 million, approximately 1/3 – over 16 million – are unresponsive to antiepileptic medication and other medical treatments.
Study Parameters and Results
A group of 15 patients who received CBD over a period ranging from one month to one year were surveyed to gather various data. The researchers sought information about the patient and the caregiver, changes observed in the seizures, neuropsychological effects, side effects and the family’s overall perception following the use of cannabidiol. This simple observational study identified some very encouraging findings:
- Frequency of seizures: Decreased in 40% of patients, disappeared completely in 27% of patients.
- Level of patient-control over seizures: 60% of patients were able to control 50% of their seizures.
- Neurocognitive changes: Many patients experienced improvements in behavior, language, sleep, and eating habits. Moreover, 100% of the patients reported that their mood had improved after the use of CBD.
- Side effects: Most common were drowsiness and fatigue.
The impact of this study could be far-reaching both for patients with refractory epilepsy as well as patients with epilepsy who feel compelled to try other treatment methods.
Authors: Orrin Devinsky, M.D., J. Helen Cross, Ph.D., F.R.C.P.C.H., Linda Laux, M.D., Eric Marsh, M.D., Ian Miller, M.D., Rima Nabbout, M.D., Ingrid E. Scheffer, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., Elizabeth A. Thiele, M.D., Ph.D., and Stephen Wright, M.D.; Cannabidiol in Dravet Syndrome Study Group
Similar to the study above, this studyexplores the effects of CBD therapy in relation to seizures, but is focused on children with Dravet Syndrome.
Dravet Syndrome is a rare genetic epileptic neurological disorder that develops in the first year of a child’s life. It can cause developmental disabilities and is currently treated by finding the best mix of medications to manage the child’s seizures.
Unfortunately, traditional medications and treatments generally seek only to minimize the symptoms which is, unfortunately, typically a lost cause as the seizures from this condition are refractory.
Trial Parameters and Process
The parameters of this trial are particularly impressive and add to the integrity of the results:
- Subject pool of 120 children and young adults with Dravet syndrome and drug-resistant seizures
Over the course of a 14-week treatment period, the subjects were randomly assigned either a daily dose of CBD oral solution based on body weight or a placebo. The doses were given in conjunction with each subject’s standard antiepileptic treatment.