Cannabidiol (CBD) became a full-blown phenomenon in 2019 after hemp was federally legalized in December 2018. Since then, CBD has become more mainstream and is being incorporated into all kinds of new products. But separating the hype from the reality can often be a challenge. Despite its growth in popularity, the clinical research into the potential benefits of CBD is still in its infancy.
Ultimately, CBD will be judged by its efficacy and acceptance by the medical community. So in this article, we’ll take a look at the most notable CBD research studies that were published in the first quarter of 2020.
Research studies are written by scientists so they can sometimes be difficult to read and interpet. Our goal is to make it easier for you to learn about the most recent medical discoveries. So we’ve included a short summary of each research study. There’s also a link to the detailed report if you’d like to read the full study.
Study 1: Parkinson’s Disease
In a March 2020 study titled Cannabidiol in Parkinson’s Disease, three prior studies on the use of CBD for PD are reviewed.
In the first study, oral CBD doses reduced psychotic symptoms with no severe side effects. The second study involving 4 PD patients showed that CBD treatment reduced the frequency of REM sleep behavior disorder. Researchers in the third study found a possible effect of CBD improving quality of life in those suffering from PD.
The study concludes that while all of these small studies showed interesting results, it’s too early to say anything conclusively. It recommends that larger controlled studies be conducted to evaluate the possible effectiveness of CBD for Parkinson’s Disease.
Study 2: Joint Disease
In a March 2020 study titled Cannabidiol: A Brief Review of Its Therapeutic and Pharmacologic Efficacy in the Management of Joint Disease, previous studies on this topic are examined.
It highlights the fact that studies conducted on mice have shown that CBD decreased arthritic pain. Animal studies have also shown that CBD can improve the healing of bone fractures.
While expressing optimism about the potential usefulness of CBD for arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases, the study concludes that more research is needed on humans to properly evaluate its efficacy.
Study 3: Neurodegenerative Diseases
In a March 2020 study on CBD for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, the possibility that CBD may help slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease is examined.
The review discusses the positive effects of CBD as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It cites previous animal studies that have shown promise for CBD as a potential tool for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
The study concludes that there is evidence of efficacy that warrants additional research on this topic.
Study 4: Obesity
The therapeutic properties of CBD and its impact on obesity are reviewed in this March 2020 study. It mentions that CBD is considered a potential therapeutic agent because of its “anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, neuroprotective, and potential anti-obesity properties.”
It cites previous research studies performed on rats that have showed mixed results involving CBD and weight gain. Prior studies indicating the CBD affects metabolism are also cited.
The review concludes that “CBD has the promising potential as a therepeutic agent and might be effective in alleviating the symptoms of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.”
Study 5: Review of Human Trials
The dosage, efficacy and safety of CBD in adults is examined in this review of human trials published in March 2020.
Researchers studied the results of 25 previous studies and noted significant variation in formulations, dose and dosage schemes. They identified potential therapeutic effects of CBD for social anxiety disorder, psychotic disorder and substance use disorders. It is also noted that CBD use was well tolerated and had only mild to moderate side effects with chronic use.
The study mentions that more randomized controlled trials are needed to learn more about the effects of CBD for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, dyslipidemia and cannabis use disorders.
Study 6: CBD Does Not Convert to THC
Some people are interested in exploring the benefits of CBD but worry about testing positive for THC on a drug test. Previous studies on whether CBD can convert to THC in the body have shown mixed results.
In this March 2020 study, a group of 120 healthy adults was given oral CBD. Half of the group was fasting and the other half was not.
The patients then had their blood drawn and tested for THC. The results showed that no THC was detected in any of the study patients. The scientists were able to conclusively say that oral administration of pure CBD is a safe way of taking it without it converting into THC.
Study 7: Immune Responses
There have been several studies on the effects of CBD on the immune system and the inflammatory response of the body. In this March 2020 study, researchers review those previous studies and conclude that CBD is immuno-suppressive and anti-inflammatory.
Researchers noted the need for further studies on the degree of immune stimulation that would be positively affected by CBD as well as studies on ideal dosages and the best ways to take CBD.
Study 8: Blood Pressure
The objective of this February 2020 study was to investigate whether CBD would reduce blood pressure and heart rate in rats with hypertension. It also cites previous studies on the blood pressure-lowering effects of CBD in humans and animals.
Rats with high blood pressure were given a considerable dose of CBD orally for two weeks. In all cases, the CBD did not have any effect on the elevated blood pressure or heart rate for any of the rats. The study concludes that if the data from this animal study can be transferred to humans, “CBD will not lead to an unexpected fall in blood pressure in patients.”
Study 9: Epilepsy
This study published in January 2020 discusses the therapeutic benefits of CBD to help control drug-resistant epilepsy. It reviews previous studies on the use of CBD for epilepsy and explains why CBD may be effective as an antiepileptic.
It notes that in June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex as a treatment for 2 forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndroms and Lennox-Gastut syndrome. This was the first time that the FDA had approved a drug with an active ingredient derived from cannabis.
The study concludes that more research is needed to support the use of CBD for other types of epilepsy. It also proposes additional research into the antiepileptic properties of individual cannabinoids and terpenes.
Study 10: Social Stress
The objective of this January 2020 study was to see if CBD could reduce the social stress of patients with a high risk for psychosis (CHR). The study included 32 CHR patients and 26 healthy control patients. Half of the CHR group was given CBD and the other half was given a placebo. All of the participants were then exposed to the stress of public speaking.
Changes in anxiety and stress levels were measured to be the greatest in the CHR-Placebo group and least in the healthy group. The CHR patients given CBD has an intermediate level of change. While the results suggest that CBD may potentially help reduce stress for CHR patients, the researchers make it clear that further testing is needed.