CBD’s effect on well-being is versatile. On this page you will find studies on the effects of cannabinoids such as CBD, e.g. for the treatment of depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia and pain conditions.
During the past decades, a significant amount of research has been done on the effects of different cannabinoids. In particular, CBD has been extensively studied using various tests and methods. Several studies have taken into account the relationships of cannabinoids to each other, as well as their effect together and separately. However, research is still in its early stages and it is generally known that the factors affecting the endocannabinoid system are not yet fully understood. However, it has been shown to be true that external cannabinoids can be useful for a wide range of imbalances in the body, both in humans and in other mammals.
It seems that the endocannabinoid system is involved in the treatment of depression , although its role is not yet fully understood. Based on the published data, the endocannabinoid system provides new ideas and options in the treatment of depression, but further studies are still needed to determine which patient group could benefit from such treatment (1).
A 2018 study published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology concluded that CBD is a promising fast-acting antidepressant. While traditional antidepressants typically take some time to work, a study in rodents showed that CBD had rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects (2).
There are many individual cases in the world where cannabis has helped research patients in the treatment of depression. In addition, new studies have been conducted that report the importance of the role of the endocannabinoid system in depression, indicating that there is a link between endocannabinoid dysfunction and depression. The TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration ) is known to approve cannabis for patients with depression, which suggests that cannabis plays a role in the treatment of depression (3).
We still lack high-quality clinical studies that emphasize depression or the improvement of depression as the most important outcome. However, there are mouse experiments that show that cannabis can help with depression. Other studies, such as the Sativex studies, have shown a significant improvement in the well-being of people using cannabis medicines (4).
The anti-depressant effects of cannabis, as well as the interaction between antidepressants and the endocannabinoid system, were reported in a study in 2010. The study in question was conducted to evaluate the antidepressant-like effects of delta9-THC and other cannabinoids. The results of the study show that delta9-THC and other cannabinoids have an antidepressant-like effect and can therefore influence the mood-enhancing properties of cannabis (4).
Studies that were conducted on animals and performed various tests such as the forced swim test (FST), Elevated plus maze (EPM) and Vogel conflict test (VCT), suggest that CBD has anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects in research animals (5).
Overall, the existing preclinical evidence strongly supports the potential of CBD in the treatment of anxiety disorders. CBD has multifaceted effects that are relevant in several different areas related to anxiety (6).
Since endocannabinoids appear to play an important role in major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder, the Cannabis sativa plant is suggested for their treatment. The endocannabinoid system covers a wide range of the entire body, including the brain, and is responsible for a wide range of different body functions. The system in question is linked to mood and related disorders. Exogenous cannabinoids can alter its activity. CB1 and CB2 receptors mainly act as binding sites for endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis flowers. However, cannabis is not a single compound, but is known for its complex molecular profile, which produces numerous phytocannabinoids and many different terpenes. Thus, synergism has a positive effect due to the addition of terpenes to cannabinoids (7).
Read more in the article CBD oil can relieve anxiety .
A study published in 2018 found that CBD has stress-reducing effects that can reduce stress-related depression. The results of the study suggest that in chronically stressed mice, CBD prevents stress-induced reduced hippocampal neurogenesis and stress-induced angiogenesis, i.e. new blood vessel formation (8). Read more in the article CBD and stress .
According to the study, cannabidiol (CBD), the significant non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. This study investigated its therapeutic potential in the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain in rats. The results of the study show that CBD has potential for therapeutic use in painful chronic pain conditions (9).
A 2018 review , Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules , evaluates how well CBD works for chronic pain relief . The review looked at studies conducted between 1975 and March 2018. These studies looked at a variety of pain conditions, including cancer pain, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia. Based on these studies, researchers concluded that CBD was effective in general pain management and did not cause negative side effects (10).
One 2017 review found that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help with the following conditions (11):
- Alzheimers disease
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- general pain
- inflammatory conditions
- inflammatory bowel diseases
- heart and vascular diseases
A 2016 study looked at the effect of CBD on rats with arthritis . Researchers found that topical CBD gel reduced joint swelling and pain in rats. No significant side effects resulted from the experiment. Research shows that CBD cosmetics have therapeutic potential for reducing the behavior and inflammation associated with arthritis pain without apparent side effects (12).
Several studies on CBD, anxiety and sleep have found that many patients do not notice a difference immediately. A 2019 study found that subjects took about a month to notice a difference (13). So be patient and remember that the desired results may take time.
The final sample consisted of 72 adults with primary concerns of anxiety (n = 47) or poor sleep (n = 25). Anxiety scores decreased during the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained low during the duration of the study. Sleep quality improved during the first month in 48 patients (66.7%), but varied over time. In this chart review, CBD was well tolerated in all but three patients (13).
CBD may also be promising for those suffering from REM sleep disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness. The synthetic cannabinoid nabilone can reduce PTSD-related nightmares and improve sleep among patients with chronic pain (14).
Read more in the article CBD oil and insomnia .
Effects of CBD on concentration
CBD has several properties that not only improve our general well-being, but also increase concentration and energy. It stimulates the endocannabinoid system, one of whose functions is to regulate attention, memory, concentration and energy. By helping the endocannabinoid system to function better, CBD also helps increase our productivity (15).
If your inattention and inability to concentrate are due to health issues, we strongly recommend that you consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. While CBD can help improve concentration, focus, and energy, it is still necessary to find the root cause of your problems in order to properly address it. Your doctor can also help you find the best CBD products for focus or energy and dosage.
Terpenes in the treatment of depression, anxiety and stress
Terpenes found in hemp and their effect on anxiety, depression and stress have also been the subject of research. Terpenes are found especially in the essential oils of hemp, but also in the resin of plants. Terpenes give hemp its characteristic aroma. Listed below are 4 common terpenes and their effects. Note most of the experiments have been done on mice and further studies are needed.
- Limonene – research shows that the terpene limonene can relieve stress and anxiety (16).
- Pinene – research shows that the terpene pinene has anti-anxiety effects (17).
- Linalool – research shows that the smell of linalool can have anxiolytic effects (18).
- Myrcene – research shows that myrcene has a calming effect (19).
Possible side effects of CBD
Although many studies show that CBD is generally safe, it is worth considering the fact that people are different and that different active ingredients will cause a different reaction in some people than in others. Here you can find information about the possible side effects that CBD may cause in some rare cases.
Side effects are relatively rare. However, some users may experience possible minor side effects such as Below is a list of side effects that have been obtained in the 2019 study’s mouse experiments (20).
- Change in appetite
- Weight fluctuation
- Mood swings
- Possible interactions with medicines can reduce or strengthen the effect of the medicine.
The text on this page is not intended for product marketing. The website administrator is also not responsible for the correctness of the text and possible errors. The reader should carefully check all the sources appearing in the text. The content of the page is not intended as self-care instructions for any disease or situation. We recommend discussing possible changes in your life situation first together with an expert doctor.
- Ewa Poleszak et al. Cannabinoids in depressive disorders , Life Sciences, Volume 213, 2018
- Sales AJ, Fogaça MV, Sartim AG, et al. Cannabidiol induces rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects through increased BDNF signaling and synaptogenesis in the prefrontal cortex . Mol Neurobiol 56, 1070–1081 (2019). doi:10.1007/s12035-018-1143-4
- Wen-Juan Huang et al. Endocannabinoid system: Role in depression, reward and pain control , Mol Med Rep. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5042796/
- Abir T. El-Alfy et al. Antidepressant-like effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L . Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. Volume 95, Issue 4, 2010. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091305710000730
- Alexandre R de Mello Schier et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa . CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets, 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24923339/
- Esther M. Blessing et al. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders . Neurotherapeutics. 2015. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1?handl_url
- Ferber, Sari G. et al. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders . Current Neuropharmacology, Volume 18. Number 2. 2020. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/ben/cn/2020/00000018/00000002/art00004
- José A. Crippa et al. Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age . Front Immunol. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161644/
- Barbara Costa et al. The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain . Eur J Pharmacol. 2007. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17157290/
- Sonja Vučković et al. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules . Front Pharmacol. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277878/
- Simona Pisanti. Cannabidiol: State of the art and new challenges for Therapeutic applications . Pharmacol Ther. 2017. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28232276/
- DC Hammell et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis . Eur J Pain. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
- Scott Shannon et al. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-for-insomnia#how-to-use
- Kimberly A. Babson. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature . Current Psychiatry Reports. volume 19, Article number: 23. 2017. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11920-017-0775-9
- Ruth E Cooper. Cannabinoids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A randomized-controlled trial. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28576350/
- Naiana GPB Lima et al. A nxiolytic-like activity and GC-MS analysis of (R)-(+)-limonene fragrance, a natural compound found in foods and plants. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22995322/
- Tadaaki Satou et al. Daily inhalation of α-pinene in mice: effects on behavior and organ accumulation. Phytother Res. 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25340185/
- Hiroki Harada et al. Linalool Odor-Induced Anxiolytic Effects in Mice. Front Behav Neurosci. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206409/
- T Gurgel do Vale et al. Central effects of citral, myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia Alba (Mill.) ne Brown. Phytomedicine. 2002. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12587690/
- Ewing Le, Skinner Cm, Quick Cm, et al. Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model. Molecules. 2019; 24. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/9/1694