Many would swear by the efficiency of CBD products in calming you down and taking the edge off of a bad day — but scientific literature on its effects is still lacking. In an attempt to help us make sense of things, a group of researchers affiliated with Florida-based Nutrition Formulators Inc. have performed a review of dozens of CBD findings to date. Their analysis focused on CBD isolate (i.e. a processed, pure substance with no psychoactive compounds) to make the findings more reliable.
Good news, everyone
Both human and animal studies were included for a total of 76 articles, analyzing CBD’s effect on a wide range of conditions including depression, sleep, panic attacks, dementia, inflammation, metabolism, behavior, Parkinson’s disease, and psychiatric illnesses. All in all, around 70% of these sources found CBD intake to produce positive outcomes for anxiety and stress.
“After spending 10 months reviewing the research, I was surprised at how many people with anxiety and depression could be helped by incorporating CBD into their lives, but I was also aware how important it is to do more research, especially on the impact of CBD on liver function,” said Dr. Marcelo Ferro, lead author and biochemist with Nutrition Formulators, Inc.
Before we go forwards, do keep in mind that this company manufactures and delivers nutritional supplements, including products containing CBD. This could be seen as a conflict of interest inherent in the paper. However, it has been published in a peer-review journal, so the findings have been deemed reliable by other experts in the field.
The main benefits identified in this paper regarding anxiety were focused on ‘anticipatory anxiety’. This refers to the feelings of unease we have for an activity in the future. Its most common examples would be feeling nervous before speaking in front of a group, anxiety about a test or interview, or the ‘Sunday scaries‘ — that sinking feeling of an unavoidable Monday you sometimes get on Sundays. CBD seems to lower or counteract anticipatory anxiety by interacting with brain areas that process our emotions, according to the team.
As far as depression is concerned, CBD showed a positive effect in 66.5% of cases, which the authors say is still good enough to warrant its use as an alternative therapy option, especially in cases where traditional approaches don’t seem to work. One limitation here is that the various teams that looked at CBD’s effect on depression used a wide range of administration methods, times, and dosages. These ranged from 25mg to 800mg depending on how often it was being administered and the exact goal of individual experiments.
All in all, the analysis showed promising results, but due to the scattershot nature of the data, it’s hard to tell exactly how effective CBD is at treating depression at this time. The issue of dosage and administering time is especially important to work out going forwards, the team explains. In other words, it’s not enough to assess the therapeutic potential: it’s the dose that makes the poison, and in this regard, information is far less clear.
Determining what the best dosage would be for various cases would also allow us to move on to another crucial step: side-effects. In particular, we need to establish minimum dosages so that we can use them to determine what impact CBD has on various areas of the body, the authors note, most notably on liver function (most drugs are quite demanding of the liver).
Going forward, it would also be ideal to see trials with larger numbers of participants, as that would help make them statistically relevant. Despite that, our currently-available data strongly suggests that CBD and associated compounds warrant consideration as treatment options for some conditions, most notably anxiety and depression, the team concludes.
“This is just a stepping-stone to understanding more about the amazing CBD compound, how it may be helpful to so many, but also what additional information we need to know so that people can use it as safely as possible. So many of our CBD business clients are looking for research-based information to educate their customers, this report is a step in that direction,” said Adolfo Graubard, Nutrition Formulators, Inc. Chief Executive Officer.
The paper “The role of cannabidiol in the inflammatory process and its properties as an alternative therapy – a review (meta-analysis)” has been published in the Innovare Journal of Medical Sciences.