Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Though it comes from the same plant as THC, the cannabinoid most commonly found in marijuana, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. And there’s no risk of dependence or abuse, according to research thus far.
Today’s CBD products are far from the pot you smoked in college or the Mary Jane your parents told you they never tried (*wink wink*). You can smoke it, vape it, eat it, drink it, or even absorb it topically—all without getting high.
CBD has been touted as a do-it-all remedy for everything from anxiety to cancer. Here are some of its possible use cases and what studies have to say about each.
1. CBD can help control seizures in patients with epilepsy.
In one study published in 2017, the median number of seizures per month decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 in participants taking CBD—compared to a decrease of only 14.9 to 14.1 in those with the placebo.
Another study reported positive improvements in 73% of subjects when taking CBD for their epileptic seizures. Even more significant? In June 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD-based drug, called Epidiolex, for treating seizures associated with epilepsy.
2. CBD can have a calming effect in those with social anxiety.
This 2011 study, using subjects with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD), tested the effects of CBD on people undergoing a simulated public speaking test. Subjects were either given 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before the “test,” and evaluated for both physical and psychological responses.
The study found that the subjects who received the CBD dose experienced “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.” The placebo group, on the other hand, experienced higher levels of anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alertness.
3. CBD might be an option for those with alcohol use disorder and PTSD.
PTSD and alcohol use disorder often occur together, especially among veterans. As of March 2019, New York University School of Medicine, in collaboration with National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be conducting a future study on the potential treatment usage. 50 adults will either take 400 mg of CBD or a placebo daily for 6 weeks.
While the study is still in the planning phases, the treatment seems promising. Initial research says, “CBD is known to inhibit brain activity in the extended amygdala, leading to reduced anxiety in both animal models and humans. CBD also reduces addictive alcohol seeking in animal models.”
4. CBD may help relieve chronic pain and inflammation.
Some massage therapists these days are using CBD oil or lotion in their massages for the added pain relief and relaxation benefits—but does it work? Studies say yes.
A 2015 study showed that “topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.” A 2012 study supported the idea that CBD could help suppress inflammation and neuropathic pain. And this 2008 study showed great promise for the use of CBD on difficult-to-treat pain.
Below are some of our top picks for CBD relief at home. All products were in stock and prices accurate at the time of publication. Also, if you purchase anything we recommend, we may earn a commission as an affiliate (at no cost to you).
Destress your body and mind with these luxurious CBD-infused bath salts. Made with clean and natural ingredients, these bath salts feature 50 mg of hemp-derived CBD and botanical infusions of lavender, lemon, and clary sage for a soothing experience.
First of all: points for the brand name. CBD is not pot—that’s an important distinguisher. These gummies are designed for daily use, made with 10 mg of full-spectrum hemp and 100% vegan ingredients. They’re tested by top medical doctors, scientists, and research universities.
This cream not only offers the benefits of CBD, it’s infused with lavender and bergamot essential oils to soothe your senses and improve your mood. Sagely Naturals created their original formula with PhD chemists, in state-of-the-art facilities, and with premium-quality hemp, in the USA.
Pain relief balm may be one of the best things to ever exist. Massage it into your skin anywhere you have aches and pains. It’s made with arnica oil and an assortment of essential oils: black pepper, cinnamon, eucalyptus, ginger, peppermint, and wild oregano.
CBD oil is one of the most versatile products out there. Add a few drops to your beverage or take by itself for quick relief. Thrive Market’s oil is made from full-spectrum hemp, grown without pesticides and naturally nourished with rainwater.