The truth about CBD Oil ! Does it really work? Is there any side effects?
What is CBD oil and what can it potentially help with?
CBD short for Cannabidiol has captured the interest of many with its potential positive effects it can bring to improve ones quality of life.
Cannabinoids are a group of compounds that influence their effects through matching receptors we have within our immune system.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant, most commonly known as cannabis. CBD oil does not contain the THC part of the plant.
CBD oil has said to help with anxiety-related disorders, some neuropsychiatric disorders, including epilepsy, anxiety, and schizophrenia, sleep and even pain and inflammation.
So I have looked at the current research and came up with the following conclusions per above claims.
CBD for Anxiety
The problem is that today we lack a higher number of studies that investigate chronic CBD oil dosing. This means that we lack the required number of clinical conclusive studies that can rule out any potential negative effect CBD oil can have on continued high dosage. It is however this higher continued dosage studies have found CBD oil to be effective as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
So here is the conclusion on CBD for anxiety.
Overall current evidence shows that CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders. HOWEVER, people who suffer from CHRONIC illnesses CBD oil at higher levels need to be tested in relevant clinical populations.
**People whom require higher dosage for a prolonged period may take it at there own risk. These risks are unknown at this point in time in regards to its effect on hormones and its toxicity over prolonged use***
CBD for anxiety and calming overall
Looking at both animal and human trials CBD oil suggests an anxiolytic-like effect (calming) and shown to decrease anxiety in patients with social phobia. This being said there is a need of studies to be done on patients with other conditions like panic, obsessive-compulsive, social anxiety, and post dramatic stress disorder for CBD oil as a treatment as a whole to be concluded effective. In the studies and conclusion side of things CBD oil simply has not got enough evidence behind it to be clinically effective as it has not been tested and concluded effective on all population types (people who may or may not have other conditions).
**Although studies are still to be conducted to ultimately conclude it effectiveness for conditions mentioned, it has shown beneficial in some patients, however this success may not translate to you**
CBD for sleep
From the studies reviewed the patients had mentioned they have had improved perception of sleep overall. A large retrospective case series at a psychiatric clinic involving clinical application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints as an adjunct to usual treatment.
Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. Because this large study in particular was tested on a specific population more controlled clinical studies are needed. Also more studies are required in general population.
So here is the conclusion on CBD for sleep.
CBD oil seemed to be effective within the first month, however the problem here it is shown to be effective with people whom are within a psychiatric clinic ? How does this translate to the general population whom is only suffering from mild insomnia ? Personally i would try an approach where you set a decent sleep routine, minimise blue light and remove all devices from the bedroom.
Failing that and last resort and wanted to try CBD oil i would go at the lowest concentration to see if this works. The problem here is you may become reliant on using CBD oil for sleep when really a high percentage of the time sleep can be improved by making simple changes to your lifestyle.
**Unless clinically diagnosed with insomnia or other medication is not working this can be a last resort however simple behaviour changes can make a positive influence on sleep**
CBD for inflammation and pain
So how does CBD oil work and what is the proposed mechanism of action on inflammation and its influence on the immune system.
Ok so we know that CBD is short for Cannabinoid. We have Cannabinoid receptors which have been found on immune cells, these receptors play an important role in the regulation of the immune system.
What are these receptors called ?
CB1 = predominantly expressed in the brain
CB2 = found in cells of the immune system
With the application of CBD several studies showed that cannabinoids downregulate cytokine and chemokine production and, in some models, upregulate T-regulatory cells (Tregs) as a mechanism to suppress inflammatory responses. This basically means CBD attaches to the receptors and impacts the immune system through changing the way the immune system reacts. Cannabinoids have been tested in several experimental models of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and hepatitis and have been shown to help protect the patient. In the below picture you can see the CB1 receptor we have. It also gives you a idea on how by influencing on the CB1 receptors we can then influence nerve stimulus and inflammation.
** CBD seems to show more promising towards anti-inflammatory use. There is a solid understanding of CBD mechanism of action on the immune system by blocking pain pathways. This being said i found it extremely difficult to find accurate articles and studies on this subject. When digging into reviews that suggest it helps, i would access the actual study that taken place where the conclusion suggests the results are inconclusive meaning they are unsure of the effects. Therefore leading me to suggest that again more studies are required to be conclusive.**
The big question- Is CBD oil safe ?
So there was an update published on the usage of CBD oil which was originally released in 2011. It investigates the safety of CBD and the side effects. This was the bottom line.
It all comes down to the reason why you are taken it!!
In general it seems to have a decent safety profile when looking at the use for epilepsy and psychotic disorders.
The most common side effects reported are tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight.
Now if you are taking CBD oil to improve your epilepsy and you experience these side effects to be honest its well worth it. Especially in comparison with the side effects from epilepsy medication. This is based on the CBD oil being effective in the first place off course.
Or if the CBD oil is taken alongside current medication to help improve ones life by aiding that person to deal with side effects from a medication they may already be taking.
That being said there 100% needs to be more investigation into CBD oil when taking other medication and what the potential interactions with other drugs is, and to see if this mainly leads to positive or negative effects, for example, reducing the needed clobazam doses in epilepsy and therefore clobazam's side effects.
There is a big question on CBD's toxicity and if CBD has an effect on hormones. For this question to be answered and CBD to be free of criticism more clinical trials with a greater number of participants and longer chronic CBD administration needs to be done asap.
Whats the take home message
Only take CBD oil if you have too !
If you have exhausted all other sensible avenues then CBD oil MAY BE worth a go at a low dosage for a short time. There does not seem to be any literature out there at the moment to warn against trying CBD oil at a low dosage for a short time. That being said any side effects experienced needs to be noted and personally ask your doctor if it would be safe depending on your current health and medication taken.
However there is plenty of warning signs and question marks when taking CBD oil at higher dosages for a prolonged period. We simply do not know enough about it at this point in time. It all comes down to what we know, we could compare this conclusion to current pain medication on the market, yes they have side effects however we have more KNOWLEDGE ON WHAT THEY DO and on average have more studies conducted on them. If the potential side effects are nothing compared to your current symptoms it makes 100% sense to try CBD oil.
I hope this blog has gave you a bit more understanding on CBD oil and where the research is at today. I have left links to the reviews and studies i have gathered prior to writing this blog. Any questions drop me a message :)