CBD Research - Medical Research Studies on CBD

In just over a half century, cannabinoids have gone from obscurity to one of the most researched families of compounds in the world.

The secrets of cannabinoids are vast and they run deep. After many years of study, still very little is known about how cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system as well as other complex organs and systems in our bodies such as the immune system, the nervous system, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the heart, liver, kidneys and the epidermis.

But one thing is certain — CBD does have an effect on all of these complex systems which themselves are not fully understood. Determining the exact mechanisms that are producing CBD’s vast array of effects might take many more decades.

In the meantime, much research is underway, and many studies about CBD’s effects on the human body have already been published.

In this chapter, we’ll take a look at some of the medical conditions for which CBD’s effects are being studied, and discuss the researchers’ conclusions.

Research Studies On CBD

A non-profit CBD information source known as Project CBD maintains a comprehensive list of conditions for which the potential therapeutic effects of CBD are being studied.

The preponderance of evidence presented as a result of these studies points to one conclusion: There is a vast array of human ailments which seem to respond to CBD.

Here’s a list of some of the conditions upon which CBD’s effects have been, or are being, studied:







Chronic Pain


Digestive Issues







Skin Conditions

Antibiotic Resistance


Sleep Disorders


Mood Disorders

Spinal Cord Injury


Motion Sickness



Let’s now take a look at some of the individual studies.

Research Into CBD’s Effects On Mood Disorders

One of the most common targets of study into CBD’s effects is mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Much of this research suggests that CBD might have a positive effect on these disorders.

Research shows that CBD has an effect on levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide. Anandamide is produced by the nervous system to stimulate the uptake of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is often referred to as the “happy molecule” because of its ability to improve mood.

People suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety and depression commonly show low levels of serotonin. An increase in serotonin can correspond to an increase in feelings of wellbeing.

Research results suggest that CBD might provide an effective remedy for both anxiety disorders and major depression.

In 2009, The British Journal of Pharmacology published findings from a Brazilian study on CBD’s effects on anxiety in a report titled, “5-HT1A receptors are involved in the cannabidiol-induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to acute restraint stress in rats.” Authors of the report concluded that “CBD can attenuate acute autonomic responses to stress and its delayed emotional consequences by facilitating 5-HT1A receptor-mediated neurotransmission.”

A group of UK and Brazilian researchers studied the effects of cannabidiol on anxiety, fear and trauma. They published their findings in the 2016 December issue of Frontiers in Pharmacology in a report entitled, “Bidirectional Effects of Cannabidiol on Contextual Fear Memory Extinction.” The study involved mice that had been subjected to fear conditioning. They found that CBD “reduced contextual fear memory expression.”

This suggests that CBD might potentially be of help to those who suffer from conditions such as PTSD.

Research Into CBD’s Effects On Sleeping Disorders

The human body relies on what we call circadian rhythms (daily rhythms). Our brains determine which activities a cell should be undertaking at which times of day and our nervous system and endocrine system work together to keep cells on a daily schedule. Particular signaling molecules such as cannabinoids are released at particular times of day to adjust activities like metabolism.

Research suggests that CBD might help to balance the body’s circadian rhythms. In fact, many people who use CBD claim that they not only sleep better at night, but also have more energy and alertness during the day.

A review of the literature on the effects of cannabinoids on sleep disorders entitled, “Cannabidiol in Humans—The Quest for Therapeutic Targets,” was published in the journal Current Psychiatry. The report states, “Medium- and high-dose CBD is sedating, and has been examined in the context of a number of sleep disorders including insomnia. Initial basic research has suggested that medium-/high-dose CBD is associated with an increase in the percentage of total sleep.”

Another report on CBD’s effects on sleep disorders authored by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Wholeness Center was published in The Permanente Journal. In the report, entitled, “Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report,” the authors conclude, “Pharmaceutical medications provided partial relief, but results were not long-lasting, and there were major side effects. A trial of cannabidiol oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep.”

Research Into CBD’s Antioxidant Effects

Antioxidants are like molecular landmines that attach themselves to dangerous molecules called free radicals and render them harmless. Free radicals can damage cells and even DNA, sometimes resulting in sickness.

In a research review article published in 2008 entitled, “Cannabidiol in Medicine: A Review of its Therapeutic Potential in CNS Disorders,” authors write that cannabidiol exhibits “sedative, hypnotic, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, many of which may be of therapeutic relevance as well as serving as leads for pharmaceutical development.”