Cannabidiol has taken the health and wellness product market by storm. CBD’s popularity over recent years has attracted the attention of the public, including scientists, researchers, legislators, and an increased number of users willing to try CBD products.
It seems to some that the scientific community hasn’t been completely prepared for cannabidiol’s rise in popularity. CBD studies were scarce until several years ago, and researchers have only recently taken a major interest in the compound.
However, scientifically valid clinical studies take a lot of time and require patience, so finding research-backed medical information on CBD can be a challenge. Let’s look at some of the key sources where you can learn more about findings related to this compound.
Every student knows that a quest for academic sources starts with Google Scholar. This section of the popular search engine focuses on research papers, clinical trials, and other CBD studies.
You can search for specific matters related to cannabidiol or perform a simple search that might return thousands of results. That means you can check out thousands of studies related to CBD. However, it is important to note that you can’t access all those studies for free.
In some cases, you can only read excerpts, and obtaining access to an entire study may require a subscription or one-time payment. Google doesn’t charge a fee for the service as the search engine is accessible for free. Websites where CBD studies are published, however, might require payment.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
When it comes to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, we will mention three large databases:
ClinicalTrials.gov is a website where you can find more than 300,000 research studies on various topics. The database covers 209 countries, which means the website covers the entire world. Additionally, you can find both publicly and privately funded studies in this database.
MedlinePlus.gov is another website started by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The service utilizes the largest medical library in the world and offers relevant and reliable information about health and wellness. The idea is to provide information in a way that readers can easily understand, while remaining a dependable source that only presents facts. MedlinePlus is available in English and Spanish, and it is completely free. You can use it across multiple devices, such as PCs and smartphones.
PubMed is a website that focuses on gathering citations for biomedical literature. The database gathers information from online books, science journals, Medline, and other sources. You can search based on keywords and advanced parameters.
Archibald Leman Cochrane launched an idea that changed the field of medicine for the better. When he published a book on how to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health services, he suggested randomized controlled trials to achieve that goal.
Ultimately, it led to the establishment of CochraneLibrary.com. This is a database established by Cochrane, a British-based charity inspired by the famous physician. The website offers a collection of systematic reviews and other relevant data on medicine and general healthcare.
The idea of the website is to make the results of controlled trials easily accessible by everyone. However, you will need to register to access the databases, which are now a part of the Wiley Online Library.
You can also find CBD-related information on commercial and other websites that focus on cannabidiol, cannabis-based products, and overall health and wellness. However, these websites usually publish informational articles focused on CBD studies already published in various databases.
Those articles might be useful to find information about a particular matter without searching through large database collections.
What Does Science Say About CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid, which is a type of compound you can find in the cannabis plant (yes, that includes both hemp and marijuana). CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties and is being explored for its potential effects on humans.
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. Although that might lead to benefits, the question is whether any of them are research-based?
You are probably aware that many companies seem quite brave when promising the effectiveness of their products, and they might not care about scientific evidence. We want you to have the most precise information available. Here is an overview of CBD studies on various issues so that you can see how the compound performed during trials.
But first an important point! The information below is merely a summary of various studies. The outcomes can only be understood as the results of singular experiments. The medical community has not accepted CBD as a cure or treatment, and the FDA has only approved one CBD drug thus far.
Research on CBD and Epilepsy
Many states allow the use of marijuana and cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes. However, the FDA has only approved one CBD drug so far. The drug’s name is Epidiolex, and doctors prescribe it to treat certain epilepsy forms, which are quite rare. Epidiolex is suitable for adults and children at least two years old.
One study from the Journal of Epilepsy Research published in 2017 titled “Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?” aimed to explore if anti-seizure effects could be directly attributed to CBD or if they are caused by a reaction between CBD and other medications.
An interesting study titled “Cannabidiol reduces brain damage and improves functional recovery in a neonatal rat model of arterial ischemic stroke” was published in 2017. The research was conducted on rats, and it aimed to discover if stroke recovery could be accelerated and brain damage reduced after a stroke. Human testing is still pending, but we are looking forward to seeing the results in the future.
Chronic Pain Relief
A study conducted on rats in 2012 examined the claim that cannabinoids assist with neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Another similar piece of research was published in 2017, but with two crucial differences. The first difference is that the study focused on humans, and the second is that results were self-reported. Although the reliability of that approach might be questionable, the majority of patients stated that medical cannabis helped them equally as other pain medications. This can’t really be accepted as hard science though due to the questionable nature of self-reporting.
Cancer is a serious disease that can have fatal consequences, which is why the entire public, and particularly professionals, should be careful when discussing it.
When it comes to CBD, the problem with the studies is that most of them are performed in-vitro, meaning they were conducted in lab settings. Only a few of the studies were in-vivo, which means the reactions being studied occurred in a living animal or human organism.
Research to date offers minimal data related to whether CBD has anti-cancer properties and how it reacts with anticancer agents. You can find many studies discussing the issue, but credible evidence that CBD might help in fighting cancer is almost non-existent, and certainly not reliable.
However, one topic that continues to be explored is whether CBD could help with pain and other symptoms that might appear during chemotherapy or because of the disease itself.
Similar to stroke, not many studies are available on the correlation between CBD and blood pressure. Furthermore, we only managed to find a single trial, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigations, conducted on humans, but it only involved nine participants.
The trial was conducted in 2017, and all volunteers were described as “healthy adult males.” The researchers gave some of the participants CBD, and the others a placebo. According to the reports, a single dose managed to reduce the blood pressure by approximately six mmHg. Although the results are encouraging, results from a study involving only nine people cannot be statistically significant, which is why CBD can’t be definitively claimed to have any beneficial effects on blood pressure.
Millions of people all over the world suffer from anxiety. While some are frequently anxious, others only have issues in certain situations. For example, social anxiety is related to public speaking and participating in social events. A study from 2011 examined the effects of cannabidiol on public speaking anxiety.
The only study of cannabidiol as a potential treatment for schizophrenia that we could find was published in the Schizophrenia Journal in 2018. It is a relatively recent study that failed to note any improvement related to the disease. However, researchers noted that the working memory of the patients with schizophrenia improved. That means the participants showed improvements in short-term communication and solving short-term tasks, but these effects could not be attributed directly to CBD.
Other CBD Studies Worth Mentioning
Following is a list of some other research results that focused on CBD’s effectiveness in helping with various issues:
Liver damage – a study conducted on animals explored whether CBD could assist in treating liver damaged by alcoholism. However, no trials have been conducted on humans.
PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder is a big problem, especially for army veterans. Similar to liver damage, animal testing was conducted to determine whether CBD could help, but there are no trials involving humans.
Diabetes – a study from 2016 examined the hypothesis that CBD treatment might help reduce early pancreatic inflammation that occurs in type 1 diabetes.
Acne – a single research study from 2014 aimed to measure if CBD had any anti-inflammatory properties that might have an effect on acne.
Alzheimer’s disease – in 2014, a study explored if CBD might prevent the development of deficits in social recognition memory in Alzheimer’s. Research was conducted on mice, and there is no human testing available.