Although the FDA has not approved using CBD to treat any of those conditions, there are signs CBD could be beneficial.
2. Anxiety While there haven’t been any large-scale clinical trials testing CBD oil as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder , social anxiety , panic disorder , or phobias , a small study published in January 2019 in The Permanente Journal showed promising results. ( 2 )
“I’ll confess, I tried CBD, and my whole life I’ve been an adamant anti-drug person because people I’ve known and loved have ruined their lives with drugs,” Dr. Fielding says. “And I’ve been converted. It triggered a wonderful feeling of going from tension and pain and distress to feeling fine without altering me in any other way.”
Marijuana for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: Pros and Cons
Because it’s not intoxicating, hemp-derived CBD is what’s fueling the CBD craze. What once was called “hippie’s disappointment” is now being embraced precisely because it can induce the relaxing effects of marijuana without any worry that it will impact your consciousness, explains psychologist Lara Fielding, PsyD, author of Mastering Adulthood: Go Beyond Adulting to Become an Emotional Grown-Up .
“The animal data are very promising for a number of conditions, but rigorous randomized clinical trials have yet to be done,” says Kevin Hill, MD , director of the division of addiction psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “That is one of the frustrating aspects of the current state of cannabis: There are many companies and states profiting from the sale of cannabis and cannabinoids, but those same companies and states are not putting financial resources toward advancing the science.”
In a survey published in the July 2018 issue of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, almost 62 percent of CBD users reported using it to treat a medical condition, the top three being pain, anxiety, and depression . ( 9 )
1. Pain So far, most of the evidence for CBD’s ability to reduce pain comes from animal-based research, including a study published in December 2017 in the journal Pain, which found that CBD applied on the skin of rats with osteoarthritis significantly reduced joint pain and inflammation. (10) Continued use of CBD also prevented further pain and nerve damage in those same joints.
However, the effect of CBD on each addiction type was often very different. With opioid addiction, for example, CBD showed little effect in minimizing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of THC. By contrast, CBD on its own appeared effective in minimizing drug-seeking behaviors in users of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other psychostimulant drugs.
CBD’s exact mechanism of action is unclear. Unlike THC, CBD has a relatively low affinity for cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These are the molecules to which THC binds to elicit its psychoactive effects.
CBD oil may benefit those with drug addiction, suggests a 2015 review of studies published in Substance Abuse.
CBD oil is an extract of Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa—the same plants that, when dried, make marijuana. CBD oil is believed by some to treat pain, reduce anxiety, and stimulate appetite in the same way that marijuana does, but without its psychoactive effects. CBD has also shown promise in treating certain types of seizures.
CBD oil should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. A 2018 study from the American Academy of Pediatrics warned women to avoid marijuana during pregnancy due to the potential risks to a baby’s development. Although it is unclear how CBD contributes, CBD is known to pass through the placental barrier.