Why has cannabidiol (CBD) jumped to the forefront of popular health practices? ‘Outlaw hippie drug turned health cure-all’ has a place in most conversations surrounding alternative treatments. People are giving it healing credit for everything from depression to cancer. Many of these claims, as you can expect, are not entirely backed up by scientific evidence. Let’s look a little closer.
Some of the strongest scientific evidence is for CBD (a cannabinoid in cannabis) effectiveness is in treating childhood epilepsy syndromes (i.e. Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome) Multiple studies showed that CBD actually reduced the number of seizures or stop them entirely. It seems that CBD has the effect of increasing the brain’s ability to inhibit unwanted activity, such as seizures, by strengthening the endocannabinoid system.
Less physically apparent but no less wonderful is the effect CBD has on sufferers of anxiety. While nobody enjoys anxiety, on a physical level it is an adaptive response to our safety and wellbeing. When we are not able to manage these natural responses, that is when we can suffer from an anxiety-related disorder. A number of animal studies (and increasingly persuasive evidence from human experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies) point to CBD as having effective anti-anxiety properties.
Because CBD is unregulated and still in the initial phases of research, any CBD manufacturer can make claims about potential benefits. Certain manufacturers have gotten into hot water for unfounded claims of CBD being a cure-all for cancer, which at this point research simply cannot support.
Even if everything seems hunky-dory, there are some potential side effects to CBD. It is important to do your research. CBD can increase the level of coumadin in your blood (a blood thinner) and can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood. Because CBD is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication, it is important to talk with your doctor to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.