CBD oil has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to its purported calming effects. Here are nine ways studies suggest CBD oil could benefit your health. Cornbread Hemp's full spectrum, organic CBD gummies, tinctures, and topicals feel like cannabis you’d get off a dispensary shelf.
CBD Oil: 9 Science-Backed Benefits
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an integrative medicine physician with expertise in functional and holistic medicine based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. When applied topically or consumed through smoke inhalation or edible consumption, CBD interacts with neuroreceptors in your endocannabinoid system, which sends signals between your cells to help regulate your movement, mood, homeostasis and immune system.
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CBD is often extracted from the cannabis sativa plant in oil form and mixed with an inert carrier oil like hemp seed oil for consumption. In fact, of the 60% of U.S. adults who report having used CBD before, 55% of them use CBD oils and tinctures specifically, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll.
CBD research is growing, too. Here are nine ways studies suggest CBD oil could benefit your health.
1. Offset Anxiety and Depression
CBD’s ability to calm is perhaps its most popular effect and the reason its use is so widespread. A 2017 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry tested the anxiety levels of 57 men in a simulated public speaking test. Some received a placebo while others received either 150 milligrams, 300 milligrams or 600 milligrams of CBD before their speeches. Those who received 300 milligrams of CBD experienced significantly reduced anxiety during the test compared to those who received the placebo. Interestingly, participants who received either 150 or 600 milligrams of CBD experienced more anxiety during the test than the 300 milligrams group.
Meanwhile, at least one study in mice revealed CBD had effects similar to the antidepressant imipramine. Human trials are needed, though, to confirm whether CBD can induce this same antidepressant reaction in our bodies.
2. Treat Select Epilepsy Syndromes
In some instances, CBD can be used to treat epileptic seizures.
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of CBD under the brand name Epidiolex to treat seizures resulting from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome—two rare forms of epilepsy—in patients at least 2 years old.
Three well-vetted studies provide the basis of support for the FDA’s decision. In these trials, 516 patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome received either Epidiolex or a placebo. Epidiolex, when taken along with other prescribed medications, decreased the frequency of participants’ seizures compared to the placebo.
3. Reduce PTSD Symptoms
In a small 2018 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11 people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) received CBD along with routine psychiatric care for eight weeks in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Ten of the 11 experienced a decrease in their PTSD symptoms. CBD was generally well tolerated, the researchers write.
Margaret Rajnic, a doctor of nursing practice experienced in medical cannabis and CBD, emphasizes the importance of using therapy in tandem with any type of cannabis or CBD for PTSD. “There is an amount of therapy that is needed for PTSD,” she says. “But CBD will give you that little bit of decreased anxiety.”
Four other human trials from 2012 to 2016 suggest CBD reduces PTSD symptoms, although some include THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main mind-altering element in cannabis. When THC and CBD work together, they create what’s called an “entourage effect,” complementing each other’s benefits and potency. For example, taking the same dose of THC and CBD together tempers the “high” from THC, while just a little THC paired with more CBD enhances the effects of the CBD.
4. Treat Opioid Addiction
Some studies—both preclinical animal and human clinical trials—suggest CBD could be used to help treat people who are dependent on opioids.
In one such study, researchers administered CBD to people with heroin use disorder. Over the course of a week, CBD significantly reduced heroin users’ cue-induced cravings, withdrawal anxiety, resting heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. No serious adverse effects were found.
Other studies find CBD helpful in reducing various psychiatric and medical symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and pain in patients with substance use disorders, indicating that CBD may be an effective treatment for opioid addiction. However, further studies are necessary.
5. Alleviate ALS Symptoms
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to deteriorate, resulting in loss of muscle control that worsens over time. It’s not yet understood exactly why ALS occurs, although it can be hereditary in some cases. There’s no known cure, and there are only two FDA-approved medications to help treat ALS symptoms.
Research suggests people with ALS can benefit from the entourage effect created by the combination of THC and CBD, similar to people with PTSD. In a 2019 study, patients received a combination of THC and CBD in varying doses depending on their needs and preferences. Those with mild, moderate or severe spasticity (muscle tightness and stiffness) due to ALS reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment, and those with moderate to severe spasticity reported higher satisfaction rates than those with mild spasticity.
6. Relieve Unmanageable Pain
In 2005, Canada approved the use of Sativex, an oromucosal (absorbed in the lining of the mouth) spray with equal proportions of THC and CBD, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis-related central neuropathic pain. In 2007, Canada approved the medicine’s use again for cancer pain that proved unresponsive to other medications.
Meanwhile, continued studies in the U.S. indicate CBD is effective in treating chronic, non-cancer pain. In one 2020 study, researchers administered CBD topically to a group of patients with symptomatic peripheral neuropathy (a result of brain nerve and spinal cord nerve damage) while another group with the same condition received a placebo. Results showed a significant reduction in intense, sharp pains and cold, itchy sensations in those who used the topical CBD compared to those who used the placebo. No participants reported adverse side effects.
When introduced topically, CBD oil doesn’t affect the systemic issue as it might if it were introduced directly into the bloodstream. Instead, topical CBD is more localized and treats pain in a certain area. Since it’s more direct, it may have a more pronounced effect.
7. Ease Diabetic Complications
For starters, tests on human cells found that CBD helps reduce the effects of high glucose levels on other cells in the body, which typically precedes the development of diabetes and various complications. Researchers concluded that with further studies, CBD could have significant benefits when used in patients with diabetes, diabetic complications and plaque buildup in artery walls.
In another small study, 13 patients with type 2 diabetes who weren’t on insulin treatment were given both CBD and a placebo (in lieu of insulin). Researchers found CBD decreased their levels of resistin (which causes resistance to insulin, the protein that regulates sugar levels) and increased their levels of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (a hormone that ensures a sufficient release of insulin from digested food) compared to their baselines before they started the test. These results suggest CBD could be a natural treatment for diabetes by helping the body regulate insulin-related hormone levels.
8. Protect Against Neurological Disease
Preclinical and clinical studies show that CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers deduce these characteristics can provide significant neuroprotection, or protection against numerous pathological disorders.
Several preclinical studies suggest CBD can produce beneficial effects against Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Huntington’s disease and cerebral ischemia were also tested, although significant positive results were not recorded. Further clinical studies are needed to confirm CBD’s benefits when used as a treatment for these disorders.
9. Inhibit Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis involves the deterioration of the tissues in and around your joints. There are several types of arthritis, and symptoms include pain, stiffness and loss of motion. Arthritis treatment usually targets pain relief and improved joint function.
A 2006 study found that Sativex—a CBD-based botanical drug approved in the United Kingdom in 2010—promoted statistically significant improvements in quality of sleep, pain during movement and pain at rest in patients with rheumatoid arthritis when compared to a placebo. It was the first controlled trial of Sativex as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, involving 58 patients. CBD was found to have a pain-relieving effect, as well as an ability to suppress disease activity.
In 2018, in a study of more localized treatment, researchers administered a synthetic CBD gel in either 250-milligram or 500-milligram doses daily or a placebo to patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Patients also stopped taking any other anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers, with the exception of acetaminophen, before and during the study period.
The results were interesting, although not entirely conclusive. On one hand, those treated with CBD did not experience much change in pain when compared with placebo patients. On the other hand, there were statistically significant differences between the group receiving the 250-milligram dose and the placebo group when measuring the average weekly improvement of their worst pain levels and their WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index) physical function rating. Additionally, men seemed to benefit from CBD more significantly than women in this test.
Real THC is a must in true full spectrum CBD oil
Cannabis just feels different when it’s grown with love and care, especially when it’s cultivated by farmers with knowledge of the plant that runs deep. Consumers in THC-friendly states can identify an artisan crop fairly easily, but with CBD from hemp, it’s more difficult to find quality products in a sea of corporate CBD companies trying to make a buck. And now with laboratory-synthesized cannabinoids on the rise, it’s getting even harder to find the good stuff.
Kentucky-based hemp brand Cornbread Hemp is refreshingly straightforward: all-natural, full spectrum products made from locally grown, organic hemp flowers, just like you’d expect from a premium THC brand. It even includes up to 0.3 percent naturally occurring THC, the most allowed under the 2018 Farm Bill, not lab-grown cannabinoids like delta-8 and THC-O. It’s just as wholesome as homemade cornbread, with up to 2mg of THC per serving.
Kentucky-based hemp brand Cornbread Hemp is refreshingly straightforward: all-natural, full spectrum products made from locally grown, organic hemp flowers, just like you’d expect from a premium THC brand.
The brand’s full spectrum, USDA-certified organic CBD gummies, tinctures, capsules, and topicals feel like cannabis you’d get off a dispensary shelf, and that’s by design.
Cornbread Hemp was founded by former journalist Jim Higdon and his cousin Eric Zipperle, both fierce advocates for cannabis legalization. The pair don’t see hemp and traditional cannabis as separate, they simply cultivate cannabis that fits within the guidelines of federal law.
Other CBD brands either downplay their THC content, use the absence of THC as a selling point, or stuff their products with lab-derived THC like delta-8 or THC-O. Cornbread stands out as being not a CBD brand, but a cannabis brand—and by only including the natural cannabinoids from Kentucky-grown hemp flowers, with no stems, leaves, stalks, or funny business.
Here’s what journalists from Food & Wine, BuzzFeed, and Health Magazine are all raving about.
Cornbread Hemp co-founders Jim Higdon (left) and Eric Zipperle (right) surveying their field of USDA organic hemp. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
Kentucky’s hemp heritage
The first Kentucky hemp crop was planted in 1775, nearly 250 years ago, and for more than a century, the state was the top hemp producer in the United States. Following the “Hemp for Victory” effort during World War II, Kentucky’s booming hemp industry suddenly went dark, except for some farmers that would not go quietly.
Cornbread Hemp’s name comes from the subject of co-founder Higdon’s first nonfiction book, The Cornbread Mafia. It tells the tale of the country’s largest domestic cannabis syndicate, which was, of course, based in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State always goes big with cannabis. The Cornbread Mafia began its massive cannabis cultivation operations in the early 1970s, just as the federal government classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug, and they continued through the 1980s until a wave of more than 70 arrests on 30 farms in 10 states with 200 tons of cannabis in the late 80’s finally shut them down.
Kentucky was just one of a handful of states to create hemp production pilot programs when the 2014 Farm Bill opened the door—and with the 2018 Farm Bill fully legalizing hemp cultivation, hemp was once again part of the state’s booming agriculture industry.
Cornbread Hemp ties this local heritage together, growing high-quality crops on the 37th parallel, the same latitude line that runs through the Hindu Kush mountains. While writing his book, Higdon learned the ins and outs of the cannabis industry—and about Kentucky’s unique climate that makes it the best place to grow hemp. His cousin Eric Zipperle knew good products and the ins and outs of running a good business, making them the perfect match.
Together, they set out to make not just better hemp, but a whole industry that they could be proud of—and their commitment to cannabis has elevated them to thought leaders in the industry. They’re frequently turned to as experts in the field in publications like Bloomberg News, New York Daily News, and POLITICO.
The complete family of Cornbread Hemp organic full spectrum CBD+THC products includes gummies, oils, topicals, capsules, and pet oil. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
Flower-Only ™ and full spectrum for better cannabis
When someone picks up cannabis flower from a THC dispensary, typically they’re getting buds, not shake, and certainly not stems. Those in states without a legal THC cannabis market deserve the same quality, but they’re usually not getting it. High-quality CBD oil lives in the buds, but to save time and money, many producers just process the entire plant all at once and pass off the low-quality products to their customers. Cornbread Hemp gets their CBD oil straight from the source by taking the time to properly harvest their plants—which really should be the bare minimum that a hemp farmer does—for the Flower Only ™ difference.
Some hemp producers cut corners by only using CBD isolates, which lack the subtle compounds that work together to create more robust effects. The rich oil that Cornbread Hemp gets is truly full spectrum, with not just CBD, but minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and, yes, real delta-9 THC. Every single one of these elements makes the others work better, and CBD can’t be its best self without THC.
Unfortunately, it’s increasingly difficult to find CBD products that contain naturally occurring THC—many CBD brands that advertise THC in their products are using lab-synthesized alternates like delta-8. Cornbread’s THC was grown on an organic farm along with the rest of the plant, not concocted in a lab.
CBD-dominant hemp can be just as life-changing as THC-dominant cannabis, so why should hemp consumers get shortchanged?
Flower-Only ™ CBD products for everyone
Cornbread Hemp’s gummies are USDA certified organic, vegan-friendly, and flavored with organic blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
By sticking to the power of the flower itself, Cornbread Hemp crafts convenient products that can ship nationwide, so even those still under cannabis prohibition can feel the difference of true full spectrum cannabis—and with a wide variety of safe, convenient consumables.
Cornbread can be an upgrade to most CBD products you already have. Each and every product comes from a single USDA-certified organic hemp farm in Kentucky, and a single hybrid strain of federally legal cannabis, otherwise known as hemp. And as Cornbread Hemp proves every day—hemp is cannabis.
Full Spectrum Organic Berry CBD Gummies: For stressful days or sleepless nights, these could be your new go-to full spectrum gummy. Made with certified organic hemp flower extract, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and sugarcane, Cornbread Hemp’s gummies are vegan, gluten-free, and are made without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. Whether you’re a first-timer or a connoisseur, they have 300 milligram and 1500 milligram 30-count varieties available, which include up to 50 milligrams of CBD and 2 milligrams of THC per gummy.
Whole Flower CBD Oil: Cornbread Hemp’s Whole Flower CBD oil is like yoga in a bottle. That’s because Cornbread only uses hemp flowers, not the whole plant. Using certified organic sugarcane ethanol, they carefully obtain every bit of naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids, then they blend the extract with certified organic coconut MCT oil. No flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. With up to 50 milligrams of CBD and 2 milligrams of THC per serving, it’s the perfect cannabis oil for evening use.
Distilled CBD Oil: This tincture, designed for daytime use, is lighter on the THC without sacrificing full spectrum quality. Instead of blending the first pass cannabis extract, Cornbread lightly distills this extract just a bit longer. This creates a final product that’s smooth, refined, and works great for daytime comfort and focus.
Full Spectrum CBD Capsules: Perhaps the most convenient cannabis delivery method, these full spectrum capsules are Cornbread’s hidden gem. That’s because they contain higher levels of CBDa than any other product in their selection, which works great for exercise-induced inflammation and other forms of physical discomfort. If you’re an athlete, these are for you.
Organic CBD Balm: Designed for sore muscles and joints, this balm stick adds the power of cannabis to organic arnica and peppermint for soothing, targeted relief. If you’ve never used a CBD+THC topical to support your body, like after a long hike or working all day on your feet, you’re seriously missing out.
Cornbread Hemp’s field of hemp flowers at sunrise, just before harvest. Courtesy of Cornbread Hemp.
CBD Lotions: Available with or without menthol, Cornbread’s lotions contain their signature hemp flower extract blended with botanicals like organic peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary. These lotions smell and feel great, without the greasy residue of other salves and balms. For hands and feet that need quick, soothing support, the CBD Lotion + Menthol is your new best friend. And for irritated skin that needs a boost, the CBD Lotion Skin Formula is for you!
CBD Oil for Pets: We dare you to find another pet CBD product that’s (vegan) corn dog flavored. We also dare you to find one that contains 17 milligrams of CBD and 1 milligram of THC per serving, which is why Cornbread’s products for pets actually work. One full dropper is formulated for an 80-pound dog, and the dosage for smaller pets can be easily measured using the marked dropper. If you’ve got a furry friend in need of comfort, whether cat or dog, this product has your name on it. Made with distilled hemp flower extract, this is perfect for picky pets that turn their noses up at other CBD products.
To find these products and even more of the good stuff from Cornbread Hemp, hit the link below.