In another small study, 13 patients with type 2 diabetes who weren’t on insulin treatment were given both CBD and a placebo (in lieu of insulin). Researchers found CBD decreased their levels of resistin (which causes resistance to insulin, the protein that regulates sugar levels) and increased their levels of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (a hormone that ensures a sufficient release of insulin from digested food) compared to their baselines before they started the test. These results suggest CBD could be a natural treatment for diabetes by helping the body regulate insulin-related hormone levels.
Other studies find CBD helpful in reducing various psychiatric and medical symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and pain in patients with substance use disorders, indicating that CBD may be an effective treatment for opioid addiction. However, further studies are necessary.
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In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of CBD under the brand name Epidiolex to treat seizures resulting from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome—two rare forms of epilepsy—in patients at least 2 years old.
7. Ease Diabetic Complications
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Research suggests people with ALS can benefit from the entourage effect created by the combination of THC and CBD, similar to people with PTSD. In a 2019 study, patients received a combination of THC and CBD in varying doses depending on their needs and preferences. Those with mild, moderate or severe spasticity (muscle tightness and stiffness) due to ALS reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment, and those with moderate to severe spasticity reported higher satisfaction rates than those with mild spasticity.
Arthritis involves the deterioration of the tissues in and around your joints. There are several types of arthritis, and symptoms include pain, stiffness and loss of motion. Arthritis treatment usually targets pain relief and improved joint function.
3. Reduce PTSD Symptoms
CBD’s ability to calm is perhaps its most popular effect and the reason its use is so widespread. A 2017 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry tested the anxiety levels of 57 men in a simulated public speaking test. Some received a placebo while others received either 150 milligrams, 300 milligrams or 600 milligrams of CBD before their speeches. Those who received 300 milligrams of CBD experienced significantly reduced anxiety during the test compared to those who received the placebo. Interestingly, participants who received either 150 or 600 milligrams of CBD experienced more anxiety during the test than the 300 milligrams group.
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Every era has its preferred panacea, and CBD is what’s hot today. Indiscriminate and uncontrolled use may be what some consumers want, but it won’t answer questions about efficacy, long-term effects, or safety. Importantly, while it’s sold as a retail product, many consumers may be using it for medicinal purposes that are not supported by good evidence. While there are hundreds of clinical trials underway, the uncontrolled clinical trial in the consumer marketplace has also begun, and it won’t give us the answers we need anytime soon. At minimum, it’s important for consumers to be able to trust what’s on the label, and some jurisdictions have taken steps to ensure that consumers can at least have some confidence in what they’re buying. Time will tell if their confidence and enthusiasm in CBD is justified.
There is zero credible and convincing evidence to suggest that CBD is effective for serious conditions like treating cancer, or that routine use while well can prevent disease.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is everywhere and seemingly in everything these days. It’s touted as a panacea for a massive range of illnesses and conditions, and even recommended as a daily supplement to help one smooth out the rough edges of life. CBD is one of the many chemical compounds called cannabinoids that is isolated from cannabis (marijuana). Cannabis contains over 400 chemicals including at least 120 cannabinoids, which are chemicals that stimulate cannabinoid receptors in the body. Yes, your body has cannabinoid receptors and you actually produce your own cannabinoids. The most well-studied cannabinoids that are isolated from cannabis are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. CBD is not psychoactive like THC, and there are hundreds if not thousands of producers and products now on the market, sold everywhere from country markets to pet stores to pharmacies. Like most panaceas, the hype outpaces the evidence.
The coexistence of CBD both in supplement form as well as in prescription form raises the question about whether or not CBD oil should be treated as a drug or as a supplement. As has been discussed on this blog repeatedly, drugs are typically considered unsafe and unproven until evidence shows otherwise. Regulators tend to take a different approach with supplements and “natural” products, generally assuming these products have long histories of use and are safe until evidence emerges to show otherwise. In countries like Canada where there are cannabis-based products available based on medical authorization and simultaneously via retail channels, sellers may be obtaining the same products from the same producers – they are just branded differently. Fortunately, for the sake of this post, whether it’s sold as a “drug” or as a “supplement” doesn’t matter – what is relevant is the evidence base.
Conclusion: CBD isn’t a panacea
CBD is an extract from cannabis leaves or flowers, typically dissolved in an edible oil. The extraction process and solvents used can dramatically affect the final product – from characteristics like taste and colour but also the CBD:THC ratio as well as other cannabinoid ingredients. Edible oils are a popular delivery form, especially for people seeking something more discreet than smoking or vaping. Edible oils can contain large amounts of CBD, and if the manufacturing is consistent and of high quality, doses should be predictable and reproducible from drop-to-drop and from bottle-to-bottle.
Substances that have pharmacological effects will also have side effects, and cannabinoids and CBD oil are no exception. Importantly, CBD oil can interfere with the effects of numerous prescription drugs owing to its effects on specific liver enzymes. Depending on the drug, levels can be raised or lowered, so anyone that takes prescription drugs must carefully verify the risk of drug interactions when CBD oil is consumed.
Scott Gavura, BScPhm, MBA, RPh is committed to improving the way medications are used, and examining the profession of pharmacy through the lens of science-based medicine. He has a professional interest is improving the cost-effective use of drugs at the population level. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Toronto, and has completed a Accredited Canadian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Program. His professional background includes pharmacy work in both community and hospital settings. He is a registered pharmacist in Ontario, Canada. Scott has no conflicts of interest to disclose. Disclaimer: All views expressed by Scott are his personal views alone, and do not represent the opinions of any current or former employers, or any organizations that he may be affiliated with. All information is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for consultation with a licensed and accredited health professional.
Studies in countries like the Netherlands have shown wide variations between label claims and actual ingredients, and the CBD:THC ratio is often if not invariably incorrect. However, in some countries like Canada, where cannabis has been legalized, licensed cannabis products sold by licensed producers and vendors must have independent validation of CBD and THC content, as well as verification of overall product quality. (If you’re interested you can see the label claims for products at the Ontario Cannabis Store.) Depending on where you live in the United States, your access to CBD and cannabis-based products varies at the state level, and it would be a blog post in itself to break this down. Even where it is technically illegal, CBD products may be widely accessible owing to lack of enforcement issues. Legality does not mean products are subject to any specific quality control specifications and regulations, and consumers interested in CBD oil will need to do their own homework, or consult a trusted health care provider. As with dietary supplements and herbal remedies, independent and verified testing by external organization is the gold standard for consumers seeking CBD oil.
Much of what I want to touch on in an examination of efficacy is grounded in an issue that I’ve repeatedly discussed on this blog in terms of natural products and supplements – the poor quality and consistency of products. Depending on where you live, CBD oil might only be available on the black or “grey” market which means there’s little consumers can rely on with respect to product quality and consistency. Without being assured that you’re purchasing a high quality product, it’s impossible for consumers to base expectations on published evidence. If you can’t trust what’s on the label of your CBD oil, then any published evidence, even if it’s of the highest quality, is largely irrelevant.