CBD Health Benefits
Proven benefits of Hemp Extracted CBD

by, Tracey Roizman, DC

Cannabis sativa has a long and storied history of medicinal use, with the earliest documentation around 2700 B.C.E. in China, where it was relied upon for the treatment of arthritic conditions, pain, and seizures [1]. Fast forward to modern times, in the U.S. industrial hemp was available over‐the‐counter in pharmacies until 1941. And currently, with recent legislative changes removing the hurdles preventing research funding, a renewed enthusiasm for industrial hemp is underway. Through the many advanced research tools and methodologies now available science is providing a greater understanding of all that industrial hemp, including CBD, its non-psychoactive component, has to offer. Here, we discuss a few of the growing list of conditions that may be helped with the use of CBD.


Among its many purported benefits, CBD is known first and foremost for its calming effects on the nervous system. The use of hemp to treat epilepsy and seizure disorders can be found in Western medical literature dating all the way back to the 19th century. And while the credit for its calming effects is often placed on the mood-altering compound THC, we’re finding out that many of the neurological benefits actually come from its non-psychoactive constituents, notably CBD.

Epilepsy is currently one of the most widely studied areas of industrial hemp research and results have been overwhelmingly positive. In a study of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy seizure frequency was reduced by 75% to 100% in more than half of the participants [2]. As side benefits of CBD therapy, along with the decrease in seizures the children became more alert and their communication and motor skills improved. In a case study, CBD oil was given to a young girl with treatment-resistant epilepsy that started when she was just 3 months old. Over a span of weeks her seizures dropped from 50 per day to just 2-3 per month and she was able to be completely weaned off all antiepileptic drugs [3].


Many people are drawn to industrial hemp for its anti-anxiety benefits. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that CBD travels to all the fear and emotion-based parts of the brain that are commonly involved in anxiety and panic responses and calms them down. Chronic use of CBD leads to increased levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid named for the Sanskrit word meaning “joy or bliss” in these areas of the brain.

CBD is being used with great success to help manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition experienced by 10% of the population [4]. CBD has been shown to reduce the severity of physiologic response to traumatic memories. Interestingly, it activates the same receptors as serotonin, one of the brain’s primary feel-good neurotransmitters [5]. These receptors are the target of a controversial group of pharmaceutical drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), that are associated with a wide range of undesirable side effects.

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A recent clinical trial reported impressive results from a single 300 mg dose of CBD in healthy volunteers who participated in a simulated public speaking test, an activity that is universally ranked as one of the most anxiety-inducing events [6]. In the same study, a 600 mg dose quelled symptoms of anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorder who experience impaired cognitive function, hyper-alertness and heightened discomfort related to public speaking. This is particularly good news as it represents a viable option to conventional antidepressant therapy, which, in similar testing, has been found to impair the ability to properly prepare a speech and also diminishes the quality of delivery.

Pain relief

As a testament to its powerful analgesic effects, CBD alleviated chronic pain in a group of kidney transplant patients in a small clinical trial published in the journal, Transplant [7]. Unable to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for pain relief because of their toxicity to the kidneys, these patients are challenged to find suitable pain relief. The volunteers were started out at doses of 50 mg twice per day and gradually increased to 150 mg twice per day over the 3-week span of the study. Two of the 7 participants experienced complete resolution of their chronic pain within the first 15 days and 4 reported partial relief. Just as importantly, CBD was well tolerated with no serious side effects.

If you have or know someone with a chronic condition you probably know that inflammation and pain go hand in hand. For this reason, reducing inflammation is a major goal in pain management and CBD has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. There is also preliminary evidence from a laboratory experiment that simulated advanced osteoarthritis to indicate that CBD may act as a pain block, preventing pain messages from reaching the brain [8].

CBD Health Benefits
Health Benefits of CBD

Heart Health

It’s no surprise that by calming the nervous system CBD also has the ability to lower blood pressure and recent studies have demonstrated just that. In one such study, it was found that when healthy male volunteers took a single 600 mg dose of CBD their resting systolic blood pressure – the upper number of the blood pressure ratio (indicating the pressure in your blood vessels while your heart is contracting and pushing blood out to the body) was reduced by an average of 5 mmHg [9]. Blood pressure and heart rate were more resilient when the volunteers were stressed by being placed in a cold room. Preliminary evidence also shows that CBD may help restore healthy blood flow to the brain following stroke [10].

Cancer prevention

One of the most exciting avenues of CBD research is about whether CBD can help prevent, manage, or possibly even cure cancer. Though still in pearly stages, emerging evidence is promising. In a tissue culture study using colon cancer cells, a super-concentrated CBD extract demonstrated the ability to stop colon cancer cells from reproducing [11]. The super-charged CBD was safe and had no adverse effects on surrounding healthy cells.

Similar results have been obtained with cervical cancer, which is one of the deadliest cancers and one of the most common cancers affecting US women according to the National Institutes of Health [12]. CBD stopped cervical cancer cells of all types from reproducing and also prompted early death of cancer cells [13].

Other mechanisms by which CBD may be helpful in the fight against cancer are being investigated, as well. One method is by cutting off blood supply to tumors, essentially killing cancer by starving it to death. Another is by preventing cancer cells from metastasizing, or, migrating away from the original site and developing secondary tumors elsewhere in the body. CBD has demonstrated both of these effects for lung cancer in early phases of research [14].

CBD Health Benefits Research References:

  1. Friedman, D. and J.I. Sirven, Historical perspective on the medical use of cannabis for epilepsy: Ancient times to the 1980s. Epilepsy Behav, 2017. 70(Pt B): p. 298-301.
  2. Tzadok, M., et al., CBD-enriched medical cannabis for intractable pediatric epilepsy: The current Israeli experience. Seizure, 2016. 35: p. 41-4.
  3. Maa, E. and P. Figi, The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy. Epilepsia, 2014. 55(6): p. 783-6.    
  4. Bitencourt, R.M. and R.N. Takahashi, Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. Front Neurosci, 2018. 12: p. 502.
  5. de Mello Schier, A.R., et al., Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets, 2014. 13(6): p. 953-60.
  6. Soares, V.P. and A.C. Campos, Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol. Curr Neuropharmacol, 2017. 15(2): p. 291-299.
  7. Cunetti, L., et al., Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol in Kidney Transplant Patients in Uruguay. Transplant Proc, 2018. 50(2): p. 461-464.
  8. Philpott, H.T., M. O’Brien, and J.J. McDougall, Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. Pain, 2017. 158(12): p. 2442-2451.
  9. Jadoon, K.A., G.D. Tan, and S.E. O’Sullivan, A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI Insight, 2017. 2(12).
  10. Sultan, S.R., et al., A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Haemodynamic Effects of Cannabidiol. Front Pharmacol, 2017. 8: p. 81.
  11. Romano, B., et al., Inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol. Phytomedicine, 2014. 21(5): p. 631-9.
  12. NIH, Cervical Cancer. 2018.
  13. Lukhele, S.T. and L.R. Motadi, Cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa extracts inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells. BMC Complement Altern Med, 2016. 16(1): p. 335.
  14. Ramer, R., et al., Cannabinoids inhibit angiogenic capacities of endothelial cells via release of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1 from lung cancer cells. Biochem Pharmacol, 2014. 91(2): p. 202-16.