The Latest Research on CBD – Top Studies For 2019
As we hurry toward the year 2020, it’s essential to take a step back and look at the remarkable progress that has taken place when it comes to cannabinoid research. The Farm bill of 2018 opened up many new avenues of funding and further opportunities to study the endocannabinoid system and the effects that cannabis may have on overall health.
In this post, we will highlight some of the more recent news and research surrounding medical cannabis—and in particular—cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD, Sleep, and Anxiety
During the first part of January 2019, the results of a study on CBD, sleep, and anxiety were published. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series was designed to evaluate the quality of sleep and level of anxiety of over 103 patients in a clinical setting. In this case, the clinical setting was a psychiatric outpatient clinic.
In the end, only 72 patients participated in the study, which lasted three months. Of those 72 patients, 47 were being treated for anxiety as their primary concern, while the other 25 had presented with sleep issues. During the trial, most patients received doses of 25 mg of CBD per day. A few others got doses between 50-75 mg a day, and one patient with significant trauma built up to a dose of 175 mg per day.
The results of the study were remarkable. 57 patients had decreased anxiety scores within the first month of treatment, and their scores remained lowered throughout the study. 48 patients had improved sleep scores within the first month that fluctuated over the course of treatment.
The study concluded that CBD might be beneficial for anxiety-related disorders.
CBD and Addiction
The results of a study on benzodiazepine use and medical cannabis were published in September 2019. The study was called Reduction of Benzodiazepine Use in Patients Prescribed Medical Cannabis.
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs commonly used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. They include medications like Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan, among others. They are highly effective at removing symptoms of anxiety but are also highly addictive. When a person tries to discontinue them, often the original anxiety comes back even more severely, causing an ongoing dependence.
In this study, 146 patients were evaluated who were taking benzodiazepines when they first began medical cannabis therapy. The cannabis strains used contained combinations of CBD and THC in varying ratios. After two months of using cannabis, a third of the group had discontinued benzodiazepines. At a four-month follow-up, 65 patients had discontinued using benzodiazepines. At the final six-month evaluation, 66 patients were no longer taking them.
All totaled, 45.2% of the patients were able to successfully discontinue taking benzodiazepine drugs within a relatively short time of beginning a medical cannabis regimen. These are remarkable results overall.
CBD and Autism
A new study published in March 2019 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders assessed 60 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and severe behavioral problems to see if CBD could effectively treat behavioral outbreaks. Over two to four weeks, the children were administered a 20:1 CBD to THC formulation two to three times per day. The dosage varied by each participant’s weight.
The results of the study were immensely promising. Communication issues, anxiety levels, and behavioral problems were reported to be “much improved” to “very much improved” in over 61% of the children. The study was so successful that a follow-up study is scheduled for 100 participants.
CBD and Depression
The results of an animal study on cannabidiol’s effect on depression were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in July 2018. Researchers concluded that the introduction of cannabidiol via the hippocampus could produce a profound and lasting antidepressant effect similar to pharmaceutical antidepressants. Of course, more studies are needed on human subjects, but the results are encouraging and underscore CBD’s potential in the treatment of mental health.
CBD and PTSD
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published their findings in April 2019 after concluding a case study involving 11 adult patients being treated for PTSD
in an outpatient psychiatry clinic. The study lasted eight weeks in which a full 91% of the participants experienced a significant decrease in their PTSD symptoms. Researchers concluded that CBD is an effective treatment for symptoms of PTSD. They also noted that there was a marked decrease in nightmare activity among the subjects as well.
These studies represent only a handful of some of the most important and well-publicized over the past year, but there are many more ongoing throughout the world. In September 2019, The United States National Institute of Health awarded approximately $3 million towards nine research projects studying the potential of cannabinoids to treat pain. We are excited to see what 2020 will bring as scientists continue to unlock the mysteries of hemp.