Woman works with CBD extract in the lab

CBD studies - current state of research

Published: 18.04.2023 (Updated: 18.07.2023)
Reading time: Min.
Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Health expert

CBD studies - The most important at a glance!

  1. As with most natural substances, there are few clinical studies on humans with CBD.
  2. The best research has been done on the effects and tolerability of the two CBD-containing drugs Epidiolex and Nabiximols, which are used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
  3. Preclinical studies show that CBD oil can also help animals with joint pain.
  4. Studies have shown that CBD is well tolerated and biologically effective, rarely has side effects and does not cause intoxication or addiction.
  5. Cannabidiol in the form of CBD flowers and CBD oil can be particularly effective in the treatment of seizure disorders, mental illnesses, and other diseases.

CBD studies - What scientific evidence is there for the effects of CBD?

CBD against depression, CBD against stress and anxiety disorders, CBD against sleep disorders - the many applications of cannabidiol almost sound like a miracle cure. Is it? Often enough, advertising promises more than the respective products can actually deliver. There must be scientifically reliable evidence for the actual effect - this should prove the effect of CBD. And we have good news for you: There are many CBD studies - and more and more often the effect is confirmed by the medical application of the cannabinoid in them. In this article, we have summarised all the information about CBD oil and scientific studies for you.

Important differences: between cannabinoids, cannabis and THC

  • Cannabis is the hemp plant that has been used by us humans in different ways for several millennia.
  • Cannabinoids are components of the hemp plant, there are at least 113 different substances that are classified as cannabinoids. They can dock to cannabinoid receptors in the human body and thus influence the organism.
  • CBD is such a cannabinoid - without intoxicating effect or danger of addiction.
  • THC is also a cannabinoid, but it has a different effect than CBD: It causes a dopamine release in the brain and has a psychoactive effect. This is why it causes intoxication in humans and can be addictive.

As you can see, CBD and THC must be clearly separated from each other, both in principle and in studies. We will therefore limit ourselves here to studies on CBD.

By the way: Cannabidiol is the actual name of CBD. CBD is merely an abbreviation - so when we talk about cannabidiol and CBD, the meaning is synonymous.

CDB in studies and research - Why do we need scientific CBD studies at all?

If a researcher wants to prove something, he has to do experiments. When it comes to the effect on diseases, a study in cell cultures is also the first priority for CBD. The effect of CBD can be observed on cells from human or animal tissues by adding small amounts to the nutrient solution.

With CBD against cancer, there are studies and exciting findings - but in an organism, the matter is more complicated than with isolated cancer cells. Pharmacokinetics play an important role. How is CBD oil absorbed, transported with the blood, and how does it interact with the cells of different tissues? Finally, cannabidiol is broken down and excreted. How fast CBD works and how long the CBD effect lasts depends on all these factors. But research and scientific studies on CBD deal with many other issues: What exactly is the effect of CBD? Can CBD relieve migraines? Studies, tests and more could answer these questions in the long run.

Maschine die CBD-Extrakt abfüllt

Preclinical studies on CBD

Animal models with rats or mice are the next step. Testing on humans immediately would be irresponsible. Instead, researchers are looking at how psychotic symptoms change with CBD, whether it has an anti-inflammatory effect or helps against chronic pain. Tests in cell cultures and on animals are called preclinical CBD studies, i.e. studies before clinical application.

You don't have to think much of animal studies, but they provide important information for the treatment of animals. Many veterinarians swear by CBD for cats and dogs, for example for pain caused by joint inflammation. So these CBD studies for and with animals have more than just theoretical value. Speaking of which, Lucky Hemp® also offers CBD oil for animals, specifically Bacon CB D oil and Salmon CB D oil for dogs and cats.

CBD Oil & Co. - Clinical Studies

In contrast to preclinical CBD studies, during a clinical study, for example, CBD oil is also tested on human patients. These CBD studies are statistically planned, and the results are systematically checked and evaluated. Through this kind of research, it can be determined how effective an active ingredient is. The tolerability of CBD is also put to the test in studies. The results are therefore very important and decisive. One type of clinical study is the placebo-controlled randominated double-blind study.

Placebo-controlledrandomised double-blind trials are considered the gold standard of research. Through these CBD studies, the effect and use of CBD can be examined more closely. The name sounds more complicated than it is: half of the patients receive CBD oil for the study, the other half a placebo, a dummy drug. It looks the same, tastes the same and smells the same. Who gets what is decided at random beforehand. Only the directors of the studies know, but no doctor, nurse or patient.

The classic order of studies: first you look at what effects the substance has on cells. This is followed by initial statements about safety and tolerability in animals. Only after such preclinical studies do clinical studies in humans come next. Randomised and placebo-controlled double-blind studies with as many test persons as possible are considered the safest evidence.

The most important conclusions of CBD studies in humans:

  • CBD is well tolerated,
  • rarely has mild side effects
  • is not psychoactive and
  • is not addictive.

By the way: There are no clinical studies on CBD oil directly, the studies are mostly basically about the effect of cannabidiol. With regard to the dosage form, it is important that a certain CBD content is present.

CBD studies on insomnia, depression or anxiety - Why are there so few studies on CBD drops?

There are studies on the use of CBD - but not as many as on other active substances. There are several reasons for this: First of all, clinical studies - whether CBD or another active ingredient - are expensive to plan, conduct and evaluate. No pharmaceutical company likes to spend that much money. This is even more true with CBD, because natural substances cannot be patented. This means that the competition for CBD oil studies on the effect would also profit from the results. Therefore, there are only a few placebo-controlled randomised double-blind studies on CBD effects. In the scientific literature, one usually finds only small studies with few patients, but all the more preclinical ones because they are much cheaper.

The lack of CBD studies has nothing to do with a lack of efficacy - the positive effect of CBD oil and CBD preparations is now undoubted. The same applies to medicinal cannabis, which is still ostracised and where THC is used to relieve pain, for example.

Cannabidiol-Formel; Hanfblatt; CBD-Blüten

CBD oil: Effect in studies and beyond - How does cannabidiol work?

According to current knowledge and the latest studies on CBD oil, cannabidiol has a positive effect on many diseases. It is especially helpful against:

  • Pain (analgesic)
  • Cramps (spasmolytic)
  • Seizure disorders (anti-epileptic)
  • Anxiety (anxiolytic)
  • Depression (antidepressant)
  • Psychoses (antipsychotic)
  • Inflammations (anti-inflammatory)
  • Bacteria (antibacterial)
  • Oxygen radicals (antioxidant).

In particular, the use of CBD against pain is becoming increasingly well known. For example, CBD has already been researched in studies for migraine. Since CBD oil rarely causes side effects when dosed appropriately, you can also try it out for yourself.

Medicines with CBD against epilepsy and multiple sclerosis

By far the best documented effect of CBD is its anticonvulsant, pain-relieving and seizure-preventing effect. This is especially important for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Here, pharmaceutical companies have invested heavily in scientific CBD studies for the approval of two drugs:

  • Epidiolex is a standardised cannabis extract. It is approved in the USA for the treatment of epilepsy. The seizures occur less frequently and are less severe. In addition, less of the usual medication is needed. Conversely, this means there are also fewer side effects.
  • Nabiximols is contained in the mouth spray Sativex. This is prescribed to patients with multiple sclerosis in some EU countries. It alleviates the most severe seizures. A CBD clinical trial is currently underway to expand this indication: nabiximols could help patients with cancer who suffer from chronic pain during chemo.

CBD oil in studies: Is there an effect against neurodegenerative diseases?

Clinical studies suggest that products like CBD oil could help with neurodegenerative diseases. This would be important in the case of Alzheimer 's and Parkinson's: these are playing an increasingly important role in the clinic, but the options for therapy to date are limited.

Menschliches Nervensystem; CBD entspannt den Körper

Mental diseases - CBD & efficacy in studies

There are also indications that CBD has a positive effect on mental illnesses - especially in connection with chronic stress. This causes sleep disorders and escalates visibly. The downward spiral ends with depression, anxiety and psychosis, and in the worst case with burnout.

Studies show that CBD can break this vicious circle. Possible areas of application of cannabidiol for stress and associated mental illnesses are

  • CBD againststress and anxiety disorders(study),
  • CBD fordepression(study),
  • CBD againstpsychotic syndromes(study) and
  • CBD forsleep disorders(study).

CBD against inflammation and pain

Scientific studies on CBD against inflammation and associated pain are also promising. Both are often chronic. Among other things, there are studies on

  • CBD against Crohn's disease(study),
  • CBDagainst ulcerative colitis(study),
  • CBD againstrheumatoid arthritis(study) and
  • CBD against osteoarthritis (referred to as osteoarthritis in this English study ), which has been well studied, especially in dogs.
CBD flower and CBD oil are, according to studies, a gentle and natural alternative for the treatment of physical and mental ailments. Cannabidiol products are not considered medicines, but dietary supplements. That there should be more to it is shown by medicines like Epidiolex and Nabiximols.

What can we expect from further clinical studies on the effect of CBD and cannabidiol?

The current CBD hype will lead to new clinical trials. Perhaps the evidence will even make expensive double-blind studies interesting. Even though the effectiveness of CBD for stress, depression, sleep disorders and other illnesses is considered to be well secured, one can only speak of scientifically unambiguous evidence with high patient numbers and precise studies.

CBD is not hallucinogenic, is not addictive and is well tolerated. Actually, this should dispel the old reservations. But because of the psychotropic THC, many people still take a critical view of everything to do with cannabis.

In the meantime, you can tryCBD for stress, insomnia or depression yourself - without any risk: our CBD oils are among the highest quality on the market. Our CBD flowers are also free of harmful THC.

Frequently asked questions

What is CBD?

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid from the cannabis plant.

What are the effects of CBD?

CBD is associated with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-anxiety properties, among others.

What studies have been conducted on CBD?

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of CBD, both in animal models and in humans.

How is CBD consumed?

CBD can be consumed as oil, capsule, spray, cream or lozenge.

What side effects can occur with the use of CBD?

Some side effects that may occur when taking CBD are fatigue, diarrhoea, weight loss, loss of appetite and increased liver enzymes.

Does CBD interact with other medicines?

Yes, there may be interactions with other medications, so it is advisable to consult a doctor before consuming CBD.

Can CBD help with serious diseases?

Although there is promising evidence of CBD's efficacy in treating some diseases, more research is needed to prove its safety and efficacy in serious conditions.

Can you buy CBD legally?

Yes, CBD can be bought and used legally in many countries.

Is CBD a medicine?

No, CBD is not a medicine, but a food supplement.

Can pregnant women take CBD?

No, pregnant women should refrain from taking CBD as the possible effects on the unborn child have not yet been studied.

Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Graduate Biologist, Medical Information Processing Officer and Doctor of Health Sciences
About the author

After studying in Saarbrücken, Dr Harald Stephan worked in research and teaching at the Universities of Marburg and Bochum as well as at the University Hospital in Essen before becoming a self-employed publicist in 2016. He sees acquiring and passing on knowledge as his life's work.

In addition to his publications on cell biology and tumour research in renowned specialist journals, hundreds of his articles on health topics can be found on the internet. In them, he explains the causes of diseases, laboratory values, diagnoses as well as traditional and novel therapy options.