In a peer-reviewed meta-analysis of 76 research studies on CBD, the non-intoxicating chemical compound in the cannabis sativa plant (which includes hemp and marijuana), more than 70% of studies demonstrated positive outcomes for anxiety and stress.
The researchers reviewed the research studies, all of which were published in the last two years. CBD has only been legal since 2018, when passage of that year’s Hemp Farm Act allowed for the production of CBD from industrial hemp with a maximum THC concentration of 0.3%. THC is the chemical compound in marijuana that makes users feel high. CBD is the second-most abundant molecule in marijuana. Thus far, at least 99 individual molecules other than CBD have been isolated from cannabis.
The research studies used CBD isolate, which contains zero THC. The study also examined CBD’s effects on depression, sleep, panic attacks, dementia, inflammation, metabolism, behavior, Parkinson’s disease, and psychiatric illnesses, and involved both human and animal studies.
Depression was also found to be improved in the meta-analysis; the condition improved in two-thirds (66.6%) after CBD was introduced as an alternative therapy.
Uniformity of testing standards is an issue with CBD research. Dosage, duration, consistency of product, type of CBD (isolate, full spectrum, broad-spectrum), etc. may vary widely in studies. This meta-analysis is no exception. The co-authors of the meta-analysis note that the dosage varied from 50 mg to 600 mg of CBD per day.
The researchers also acknowledge that more studies are needed to assess any potential side effects of CBD on liver function and rest of the body. Moreover, larger populations would “achieve a statistically significant measure,” they noted.
“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,” said Adolfo Graubard, CEO of the company (Nutrition Formulators, Inc.) that conducted the meta-analysis.
CBD has also been shown to have positive outcomes for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans.