Early evidence looking into the use of CBD in the treatment of anxiety and depression has found some exciting results – although on very small samples. The first study assessed anxiety links with public speaking; it found a very specific dose of CBD (300mg) showed anti-anxiety effects. The second study was a stand-alone case report of one child with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It found CBD oil helped the child safely reduce her anxiety and improve sleep.
What is CBD oil, is it legal in the UK and what are the benefits and risks of using it? We asked a dietitian to take a closer look at this food supplement.
What is CBD oil used for?
A systematic review looking at the use of CBD for epilepsy concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the efficacy and long-term safety of using it to treat epilepsy. It does, however, suggest, albeit in very low numbers, that small daily doses were safe in a small group of adults for a short period of time.
This article was reviewed on 4th December 2019.
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For students with generalized social anxiety, a four-minute talk, with minimal time to prepare, can be debilitating. Yet a small experiment in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD seemed to reduce nervousness and cognitive impairment in patients with social anxiety in a simulated public speaking task.
Is This A Scam?
“If you take pure CBD, it’s pretty safe,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Side effects in the Epidiolex trial included diarrhea, sleepiness, fatigue, weakness, rash, decreased appetite and elevated liver enzymes. Also, the safe amount to consume in a day, or at all during pregnancy, is still not known.
More than 60 percent of CBD users were taking it for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 people. Does it help?
But without clinical trials in humans, psychologists say CBD’s effect on depression is still a hypothesis, and not an evidence-based treatment.
CBD oil may also increase liver enzymes (a marker of liver inflammation). People with liver disease should use CBD oil with caution, ideally under the care of a doctor who can regularly check blood liver enzyme levels.
Instead, CBD is thought to influence other receptors, including opioid receptors that regulate pain and glycine receptors involved in the regulation of the “feel-good” hormone and neurotransmitter serotonin.
Remember, because CBD oils are largely unregulated, there is no guarantee that a product is either safe or effective.
Scientists believe that CBD reduces nerve pain by binding to glycine receptors in the brain that regulate the speed at which nerve signals pass between nerve cells.
According to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 30.95% of CBD products sold online were correctly labeled. Most contained less CBD than advertised, while 21.43% had significant amounts of THC.
Outside of these two disorders, CBD’s effectiveness in treating seizures is uncertain. Even with Epidiolex, it is uncertain whether the anti-seizure effects can be attributed to CBD or some other factor.
The tricky part is calculating the exact amount of CBD per milliliter of oil. Some tinctures have concentrations of 1,500 mg per 30 mL, while others have 3,000 mg per mL (or more).