CBD for Pain or Anxiety, Facts You Should Know
Many claims state that cannabidiol, or CBD oil, has properties that could cure almost any ailment. While supporters of the product stand by their supplement, is there any merit to its effects on anxiety and pain? With minimal studies and not many facts, it is easy for people to imply many things that may or may not have actual merit.
How do we know that CBD isn’t just another trend becoming popularized by the recent legalization?
First, let’s have a look at what the science behind CBD claims are in relation to anxiety and pain. Though many tests, experiments, and observations have been done, there is still very little we know about CBD and how it affects anxiety and pain.
From what IS understood, CBD binds to receptors in the brain that have been shown to have regulatory effects on anxiety-related behaviors and fear, so even to the most skeptical, there is a plausible reason to believe CBD does have an effect on anxiety. The studies performed on humans are have been very short term and very small, which leads one to think that there may not be as much of if any, effect on humans.
A study completed by Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naive social phobia patients. 2011;36:1219–1226 showed that administration of CBD in some doses can reduce anxiety that is associated with a public speaking challenge. Though this study seems promising, no studies have been done for more chronic administration of CBD in humans for, which leaves no indication that it could be helpful in people with chronic anxiety disorders.
Studies that were completed in regards to pain have included not only CBD oil, but the combination of CBD and THC. There are not many studies that have been done that show CBD alone has an impact on pain at all.
With the lack of studies completed, some research and doctors believe that CDB oil is purely a placebo effect and that by simply believing that the oil will have an effect, users will experience relief by believing it will work.
Various pain relief using CBD oil include oral, inhalant, and topical. By applying the oil topically on the skin, the oil is supposed to be reminiscent of Icy Hot, which would affect the local muscle area. Other methods of inhaling or ingesting are supposed to produce full-body and full-brain effects.
When CBD oil is ingested, it may be more unlikely to have the intended response than inhaling. Ingesting CBD will cause it to join fat in the body, and is very likely to stay in the fat and never reaching the brain. Because of how ingested CBD will go right to body fat, it would take an incredibly high dosage in order to actually reach the brain.
While minimal studies come to no conclusion of efficiency, they also leave safety and dosage to question. Research that has been done suggests that higher doses than the amount typically sold are needed for CBD to be effective. It is also found that does too high and doses too low are both ineffective. A side note to these effectiveness observations is that in most cases, there is no way to tell what kind of dosage is being sold, and making it difficult for users to gauge what amount they are ingesting.
The FDA and other organizations have found evidence that there are tainted CBD products that contain little to no CBD, but do have harmful additives instead. These organizations have also tested various samples of CBD that are on the opposite end of the spectrum and contain more CBD than what the federal limit allows. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-Related Products.
Pure CBD oil has even been questioned regarding safety. Generally, users find that side effects are mild, and clinical trials reveal side effects include diarrhea, tiredness, and changes in appetite. For users that are taking additional medications, there may be dangerous interactions caused by detoxification of enzymes that metabolize medications. Iffland K, Grotenhermen R. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017; 2(1): 139–154.
The conclusion of CBD oil at this point is that because there are not many clinical studies, such a large federal oversight with legalization only just becoming popular in certain states, and risk of tainted oils out on the market, the only way users can be completely safe is to not use the product at all.
Though there is a lot of skepticism around CBD oil, there is some merit to CBD. The FDA has actually just approved a new drug called Epidiolex, The target for this new drug is not for pain or anxiety, but for epilepsy, and has a lot more trials and research to back it up. There is no known verification how CBD affects the brain and no guarantee of how or if there are doses that can cause different outcomes. Skeptics can still stand by the statement that when no one knows anything for sure, people can sell or imply anything.
For those suffering from chronic pain and anxiety, talking to a doctor and seeking out FDA-approved medications for pain and anxiety, therapy, or different techniques like mindfulness-based stress reduction are safer and verified routes to take care of chronic issues.
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