CBD is one of the most widely studied compounds in the world today. It seems you can’t turn a corner these days without running into another article claiming that CBD (short for cannabidiol) has another medicinal benefit.
You’ve likely heard a variety of claims such as these: “It’s a antibiotic.” “It’s an anti inflammatory.” “It’s an antioxidant.” “It reduces blood pressure.” “It controls blood sugar.” “It controls seizures.” “It treats Alzheimer’s.” And on and on… The list is truly a long one.
It seems the only thing CBD doesn’t do is clean the kitchen sink. How can this be possible? How can one molecule have such a wide range of effects on the human body? Is this “snake oil”? Should we file this under “too good to be true”? Or is there really something to all these claims? And if they are true, what biological mechanisms can possibly account for this cornucopia of medicinal effects?
But once you sit down and take a serious look at the vast body of scientific studies, patient polls and surveys, and anecdotal evidence in support of CBD’s multitudinous benefits, you quickly realize that this is no old wives tale. Scientists and medical professionals from hospitals, research centers and universities all over the world believe that CBD has a very real list of very real health benefits.
If there were only a handful of studies on CBD’s benefits, scientists could easily dismiss CBD offhand as a compound with limited use. But the opposite is true. Researchers don’t undertake lab studies just to randomly check if compounds can be used to treat diseases. Before a study can even be initiated, there must be enough evidence to convince the organizations that fund grants for these studies that a particular study is worth investing money into. And quite a few of these studies get funded – more an more every year. There are literally scores of studies in a wide range of disciplines which suggest CBD may have medicinal benefits.
In order to fully internalize the idea that CBD might provide so many benefits, it’s important to understand why it might provide these benefits. Don’t just take our word for it. Let’s take a look at some science and get to the bottom of the mechanisms by which this seemingly miraculous substance works.
What exactly is CBD oil?
CBD is a scientist’s nick name of sorts for cannabidiol. (It’s not an acronym – the letters don’t stand for anything, they just make it easier to say.)
CBD is just one of several different molecules found in the cannabis plant called cannabinoids. THC is the more famous member of the cannabinoids family. It’s the one that causes a high. And it’s mostly found in marijuana. CBD on the other hand is far more cost effective to extract from another variety of cannabis called industrial hemp, which contains negligible amounts of CBD and wouldn’t get a fly high.
Once it’s harvested, the hemp goes through a series of processes which extract the plant’s essential oils and then refine them into various CBD products. The first batch of oil that is extracted from hemp is appropriately called hemp extract, or raw hemp extract. This can the be refined further to produce CBD concentrate, which is a thicker oil. And with further refinement CBD isolate is produced. Pure CBD is actually a crystalline powder, like salt.
How does CBD affect the human body?
When scientists began looking into the possible mechanisms by which cannabinoids affect the human body, the discovered something very interesting. As it turns out, cannabinoids are also created naturally by the human body. Scientists call these endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, for short, while those extracted from plants are called phytocannabinoids.
What researchers determined is that the human body has a system called the endocannabinoid system which is made up of a myriad of signaling molecules (cannabinoids) and receptors into which those molecules fit called endocannabinoid receptors on the surface of cells throughout the human body. These receptors are especially abundant in the major organs.
Here’s how this works: The human brain cannot connect to every single cell in the human body to figure out what’s going on in each and every one. But the brain does monitor all systems in the human body via the central nervous system and decides what changes need to be made in order to balance their function. When a system gets out of balance, the brain releases signaling molecules such as endocannabinoids that unlock particular receptors and instruct the cell to change its activity. This is how the brain controls bodily functions on a cellular level.
As it turns out, phytocannabinoids (those found in cannabis) can mimic the effects of endocannabinoids (those created naturally by your body) and have similar effects.
The endocannabinoid system produces a vast array of compounds which regulate a wide variety of physiological functions throughout the body. These include pain response, sleep cycles, metabolism, stress response, mood, and so on.
Are you starting to see a clearer picture? The reason that CBD can have such a wide array of effects is that it alters biological activity at a cellular level.
What effects does CBD have on the human body?
Let’s take a look at some of these cellular-level changes that can be caused by CBD.
CBD regulates moods
Another aspect of CBD that may make it useful in treating a variety of ailments is its ability to regulate moods. CBD mimics a signaling molecule called anandamide. Anandamide is produced by the nervous system to stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is often referred to as the “happy molecule” because of its ability to improve mood. People suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety and depression commonly show low levels of serotonin. An increase in serotonin can correspond to an increase in feelings of wellbeing. 
CBD helps to regulate sleeping patterns
A system called circadian rhythms is utilized by cells in the human body to determine at what time each day they should be undertaking certain activities. According to research, CBD can help to balance these rhythms across physiological systems located throughout the human body. Many people who use CBD claim that they not only sleep better at night, but have more energy and alertness during the day.
CBD is a powerful antioxidant
Antioxidants are like molecular mines that attach themselves to dangerous molecules and render them harmless. These bad molecules are called free radicals and they can damage your DNA, resulting in sickness and even cancer. Studies show CBD to be up to 10 times more powerful as an antioxidant than vitamin C. 
CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is one the body’s natural ways of dealing with injuries and infections. We won’t get into details here, but inflammation can get out of control and cause damage to tissues.
Inflammation can cause all kind of problems in the human body including pain, swelling, rashes and other skin irritation, and even kidney and liver diseases. In fact, inflammation is responsible for the number one cause of death in the US – heart disease.
Pain is often associated with inflammation. By reducing inflammation you can oftentimes reduce pain as well. In fact, most over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen all work by reducing inflammation.
One of CBD’s most impressive benefits is its indisputable ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. In fact, the United States government itself even has a patent on CBD which goes into detail on the CBD molecule’s anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD regulates blood sugar
Numerous scientific studies have been done which suggest that CBD may help regulate blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is the main culprit in a serious condition called diabetes. Diabetes can result in a range of problems from chronic nerve pain to life-threatening ailments such as kidney disease. And scientists think CBD may help to delay or prevent the onset of diabetes. 
CBD is a neuroprotectant
Research also suggests that CBD provides neuroprotective benefits. What this means is that CBD seems to protect nerve cells from the various kinds of damage that can occur. Damage to brain and nerve cells can result in a variety of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and chronic neuropathic pain. 
CBD regulates apoptosis
Cells which have passed their expiration date are naturally programmed to commit suicide in a process called apoptosis. This process prevents damaged and decrepit cells from becoming cancerous. Numerous studies have suggested that CBD have shown that it has the ability to initiate apoptosis in damaged and cancerous cells.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the long list of ailments for which studies are suggesting CBD may be an effective therapy.
The ULTIMATE CBD Benefits List
Non-profit CBD information source ProjectCBD.org maintains a vast and comprehensive list of conditions for which CBD is being studied as an alternative treatment. Some of these conditions have been the subject of only a few studies, while others have been the topic of a larger number of studies. 
Some of these studies are done on animals. Some are done on cells in petri dishes and test tubes. Some are done with human subjects or present data gathered in polls and surveys of CBD users. But all of them have one thing in common. This vast list of human ailments seems to be positively affected by treatment with CBD.
|ADHD||Endocrine Disorders||Chronic Pain|
|Addiction||Epilepsy and Seizures||Obesity|
|Alzheimer’s Disease||Heart Disease||Parkinson’s Disease|
|Anorexia||Huntington’s Disease||Prion/Mad Cow disease|
|Anxiety||Irritable Bowel Syndrome||Rheumatism|
|Arthritis||Liver Disease||Sickle Cell Anemia|
|Asthma||Metabolic Syndrome||Skin Conditions|
|Bipolar||Mood Disorders||Spinal Cord Injury|
|Digestive Issues||Multiple Sclerosis (MS)||Stroke and TBI|
- Cannabinoids and Oxidation https://www.projectcbd.org/about/book-excerpt/cannabinoids-and-oxidation
- Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507
- The impact of marijuana use on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance among US adults http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2813%2900200-3/abstract
- Endocannabinoid system dysfunction in mood and related disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21916860
- Central anandamide deficiency predicts stress-induced anxiety: behavioral reversal through endocannabinoid augmentation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25004388
- Induction of apoptosis by cannabinoids in prostate and colon cancer cells is phosphatase dependent https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22110202
- CBD for neurodegenerative disorders: Important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22625422
- The therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system for Alzheimer’s disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22448595
- Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease: An exploratory double-blind trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25237116
- Endocannabinoid Signaling Regulates Sleep Stability https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27031992
- Conditions https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/conditions
Links to studies:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Antibiotic Resistance
- Digestive Issues
- Endocrine Disorders
- Epilepsy and Seizures
- Heart Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Mood Disorders
- Motion Sickness
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Chronic Pain
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Prion/Mad Cow disease
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Skin Conditions
- Sleep Disorders
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Stroke and TBI