What clinical trials and medical research has been done on CBD oil?
It’s suspected that cannabidiol (CBD) has significant therapeutic value and many individuals have already begun experimenting with CBD oil in attempt to treat a range of different health problems. While the number of clinical trials that test the substance’s effects on human subjects are relatively limited, the subject is fast gaining traction, and credible studies have been able to corroborate a number of key conclusions on CBD oil.
We’ve gathered information on some of the most compelling scientific studies on the medical uses of CBD oil, grouping them by the type of illness or health issue. We will continue to update this page with study results as more CBD clinical trials are completed
CBD oil for Arthritis
Findings: Regular use of CBD oil can help alleviate arthritic pain
CBD oil has been known to help with aches and pains, without making the user high, a key difference from using the whole cannabis to alleviate pain. Additionally, CBD has exhibited anti-inflammatory properties, hypothetically making it an ideal treatment for arthritic pain.
As of yet, there have not been a great number of studies conducted on how well CBD oil can be used as a treatment for arthritic pain in humans, however, anecdotally there are a great number of arthritis sufferers who have found CBD oil to be an effective treatment.
A study that used CBD oil to treat rats with arthritis found that CBD gel significantly reduced swelling in inflamed joints. Additionally, exploratory behaviour in rats was unaffected, which suggests that higher brain functions were not impaired by the gel. As a result, the study concluded that topical CBD application did appear to significantly alleviate arthritic pain without evident mental side effects. You can read more about the study here.
Regularly using a topical cannabidiol (CBD) cream is an effective source of targeted pain relief for many, especially for people suffering from multiple sclerosis, arthritis, or those who often have sore or inflamed muscles.
CBD oil for epilepsy
Findings: CBD oil reduces the severity and frequency of seizures
CBD oil has been proven to reduce the incidences of seizures for those suffering from Dravet syndrome, a childhood epilepsy disorder that has previously had a high incidence of seizures that are resistant to drugs and a devastating mortality rate. According to the journal Epilepsy & Behaviour, 73% of those with the syndrome die before the age of 10.
The New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, the University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and the University of Melbourne, along with a host of other participating research institutes conducted a trial of CBD for drug-resistant seizures in Dravet syndrome. It was concluded that:
“The frequency of total seizures of all types was significantly reduced with cannabidiol (CBD) but there was no significant reduction in nonconvulsive seizures. The percentage of patients who became seizure-free was 5% with cannabidiol (CBD) and 0% with placebo.”
However, despite these promising results, those taking CBD oil were more likely to have adverse symptoms from the treatment than those in the placebo group as well, reporting relatively mild symptoms such as vomiting and fatigue. You can read more about that study here.
CBD oil for Multiple Sclerosis
Findings: CBD can help alleviate the muscular discomfort caused by Multiple Sclerosis
There have been many studies undertaken to assess how CBD oil can ease spasticity (an imbalance of signals from the central nervous system to muscles, resulting in a painful pulling sensation in the muscles). Spasticity is a common ailment for patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
There have been numerous studies conducted to test out different ways of utilising cannabis to lessen spasticity for those with Multiple Sclerosis, and they have received mixed results. In trials where cannabis was smoked, patients often reported that the instances of spasticity may have lessened, but some patients noted other negative side effects, notably including impaired cognitive ability.
There were positive clinical trials for Savitex, a spray that contains compounds of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. As a result, the Savitex product is now sold in over 15 countries.
You can read an in-depth overview on studies using cannabis and cannabis derivatives to treat Multiple Sclerosis here. In terms of using pure CBD oil, or CBD-concentrated oil to treat spasticity, there has not been enough research done yet to conclude whether or not the benefits outweigh any other symptoms caused by the treatment.
CBD oil for psychosis
Findings: The CBD component of cannabis can act as a natural prevention or early treatment to early onset psychosis that has been initiated by THC
One of the most dangerous potential illnesses caused by recreational marijuana use is persistent, adverse psychological disorders. The vast majority of marijuana smokers do not suffer from negative mental symptoms after the high from smoking has worn off, however, for some users cannabis can cause permanent psychological disorders.
Early onset psychosis (a severe mental disorder, which is often characterised by hallucinations and the individual losing touch with reality) is a particularly damaging disorder that cannabis has been known to catalyse.
Whether or not a marijuana smoker suffers from psychosis is dependent on a number of factors:
- The amount and strength of cannabis that is smoked
- How frequently the individual consumes marijuana
- The individual’s tolerance and susceptibility to cannabis
- the age that the individual begins using the drug, as early onset psychosis is more common among younger smokers.
It has been verified among many studies that the THC in cannabis is responsible for the negative mental disorders experienced by some individuals.
The results from some studies have suggested that CBD has protective properties that can prevent the negative mental effects brought on by THC, as CBD binds weakly to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, protecting neurons from the possibly damaging effects of THC.
However, it is worth noting that there have only been initial studies conducted in this area. Although lab tests have produced promising findings, it is unknown how transferable these findings would be to real life situations. You can read more about this study here.
CBD oil for chronic pain
Findings: CBD can significantly ease chronic pain for patients with advanced cancer
One of the most common reasons people take CBD oil is to alleviate pain of some kind. We came across this study, which interestingly compared a THC extract against an extract that contained both CBD and THC, as well as a placebo. The group trial was conducted on 177 advanced cancer patients who were still experiencing considerable pain, despite frequent opioid dosing.
The study found that the group of patients who were taking the pure THC extract reported a “nonsignificant change”, meaning that patients reported only a minor improvement in their pain Numerical Rating Scale scores.
However, the response from the patient group taking the THC and CBD combination suggests this could indeed be an effective treatment for people who suffer chronic pain: “the mean pain Numerical Rating Scale score was statistically significantly in favor of THC:CBD compared with placebo”.
In terms of negative symptoms, however, there was “a worsening in nausea and vomiting with THC:CBD compared with placebo”, while the group taking the pure THC extract did not report any more adverse effects than the placebo group.
We are on the lookout for more studies and clinical trials that test the effectiveness of pure CBD treatment for chronic pain in humans.
CBD oil for Mental Illness
Findings: Common findings across multiple studies indicate that CBD appears to have antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant properties
The results from a number of different studies and trials – with some using pure CBD, while others used extracts that use CBD and THC in varying ratios – have suggested that CBD could be used in the treatment of a wide variety of different mental illnesses. This theoretical study compiled “studies and literature reviews concerning therapeutic applications of cannabinoids in psychiatry, especially cannabidiol”.
Examining common findings across multiple studies, researchers concluded that CBD did indeed appear to have: “antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant properties”.
This means that, with further research and development, CBD could be used to treat psychotic disorders, as well as mental and social anxiety, and could help people with depression.
CBD oil for tumours
Findings: CBD may inhibit the growth of certain types of tumours
This is an area that still requires a great deal of further investigation, but the findings of many studies do suggest that CBD could inhibit the growth of certain types of tumours. However, the optimal dosage for this type of treatment, or even the kinds of tumours it can slow or inhibit the growth for are unclear as of yet.
This study analysed the anti-tumour role that CBD oil has in triple-negative breast cancer, and found that its use did significantly inhibit epidermal growth factor (which is a mitogenic protein thought to be involved in normal cell growth, wound healing, and the formation of tumours) of breast cancer cells.
These are promising findings, but certainly only a first step into finding out the breadth of CBD oil’s anti-cancer properties. We will certainly be keeping an eye out for upcoming studies and findings in this area.
If you know of any other notable CBD clinical studies please reach out to us.