In recent months, cannabidiol (CBD) has attracted substantial public interest. As various forms of CBD become more widely accessible, many consumers are becoming intrigued by the potential applications of this mysterious molecule.

Because CBD produces no psychoactive effects, experimenting with it can seem especially appealing. With no possibility of intoxication and fewer known side effects than many pharmaceuticals, CBD may offer valuable benefits with relatively few risks. Accordingly, the CBD industry is growing rapidly: By 2024, experts estimate, Americans will buy $20 billion in CBD products each year.

However, enthusiasm for CBD has sometimes outpaced public education, giving rise to widespread misconceptions. Moreover, many people are aware of CBD’s potential benefits but wonder about the scientific evidence supporting its prospective uses.

Much of the uncertainty surrounding CBD is understandable, as scientific progress on this subject remains uneven. CBD research is in an exciting, transformative stage, with some well-documented breakthroughs and many other hypotheses deserving further exploration.

For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Epidiolex, the first medication derived from cannabidiol to be granted such clearance. In extensive clinical trials, the drug proved effective in treating severe forms of epilepsy.

This landmark achievement is certainly exciting, but other potential applications of CBD have not yet been tested on such a thorough and rigorous scale. Accordingly, physicians and experts have consistently called for additional research into CBD in order to confirm some of the exciting possibilities raised by existing studies.

Thankfully, the scientific community is moving in this direction: New large-scale studies are already underway. In 2019, the U.S. government announced $3 million in funding for nine new CBD studies. Those following advances in CBD research eagerly await the results of these projects, hoping for more certainty about the possible advantages of CBD products.

grants for CBD

But what about the rest of us, who simply wish to understand where CBD research presently stands? Which existing scientific studies give us hope for CBD’s possible benefits, shaping our initial notions of its potential?

In this article, we’ll review 8 of the most important studies regarding CBD, distilling their most intriguing findings. We’ll cover research pertaining to CBD’s potential physical and mental benefits, discussing a wide range of prospective uses.

When discussing CBD with your friends, family, or physician, here are the eight studies you need to know about.

8 Essential CBD Studies To Know About

1. This study on how people are using CBD for many purposes

In 2018, researchers conducted an online survey of 2,409 individuals who regularly used CBD products. Their findings, published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, revealed a wide array of reasons for using CBD, and broad enthusiasm among those who did so.

It’s important to note that this study tracked the subjective experiences of those who use CBD, a group that may be predisposed to endorse its benefits. Still, on at least an anecdotal level, some of the results of this research seem quite compelling:

  • Sixty-two percent reported using CBD to help with a medical condition of some kind
  • The most commonly cited reasons for using CBD were pain, anxiety and depression
  • More than one-third of individuals reported that CBD treated their conditions “very well by itself”
  • Fewer than five percent said CBD treated their condition “not very well”

In conclusion, the study’s authors called for further research into CBD’s many possible applications. “Consumers are using CBD as a specific therapy for multiple diverse medical conditions—particularly pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders,” they wrote. “These data provide a compelling rationale for further research to better understand the therapeutic potential of CBD.”

2. This study on CBD’s potential to reduce arthritis inflammation

Many experts are hopeful about CBD’s possible anti-inflammatory properties, envisioning a wide array of applications and products. For example, some scientists believe that CBD can be an effective way to reduce exercise-related inflammation, helping reduce pain and soreness after intense workouts.

One landmark study related to CBD, inflammation, and pain was published in the European Journal of Pain in 2016. Researchers studied how rats with arthritic joints appeared to benefit from the topical application of CBD gels. By observing the rats’ behaviors and measuring their arthritic inflammation, researchers concluded that the CBD gels had positive, therapeutic effects – and no perceptible side effects.

The authors of this study saw a strong possibility that CBD could help human beings with arthritis as well. Summing up their view, they wrote:

“These studies demonstrate transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects. Thus, use of topical CBD has potential as effective treatment of arthritic symptomatology.”

3. This study on CBD’s capacity to reduce blood pressure

This 2017 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, uncovered compelling support for the hypothesis that CBD may help mitigate high blood CBD's capacity to reduce blood pressurepressure. Researchers administered CBD to nine healthy volunteers, then monitored their blood pressure at a resting state, during exercise, and in response to the stress of cold temperatures.

In contrast to the placebo group, the participants who had taken CBD saw their resting blood pressure go down. Additionally, their blood pressure didn’t rise as quickly during exercise or when exposed to the cold.

Researchers posit that these findings are related to CBD’s potential to reduce stress and anxiety, which have been linked to high blood pressure. The study’s authors suggest that further research should explore whether CBD could be a helpful tool for people with cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension.

4. This study exploring whether CBD could help with Panic Disorder

Panic disorder can be a deeply disruptive condition, characterized by recurring and unexpected panic attacks. In 2017, Brazilian researchers published an extensive review of all existing research into CBD’s potential for preventing or mitigating panic disorder symptoms. Citing studies involving both humans and animals, they made a strong case that CBD may be an effective alternative to prescription medications.

Specifically, the authors noted CBD’s beneficial effects on areas of the brain that are active during panic attacks. In human and rat studies, CBD has been associated with neurological indicators that reflect greater calm.

The authors made clear that their findings were only preliminary. Nevertheless, they suggested that CBD could provide distinct advantages compared to existing psychotropic pharmaceuticals. With no risk of impairment, dependence, or tolerance, CBD could be a preferable option for many patients.

5. This study investigating CBD’s potential effects on anxiety

One very recent study conducted by a group of Colorado researchers explored CBD and anxiety quite directly. The study tracked symptoms of anxiety and sleep disorders among patients at a mental health clinic over a period of multiple months.

While the researchers observed no statistically significant effects for sleep troubles, patients consistently reported speedy and substantial improvements in anxiety symptoms. Moreover, those effects were typically sustained over the course of the study, rather than fading over time.

The authors regard their findings as yet more evidence that extensive and rigorous trials are necessary to assess CBD’s potential mental health benefits. Additionally, they state that clarity and consistency in dosing will be essential for both researchers and consumers moving forward.

6. This study on CBD and public speaking stress

Public speaking obligations can fire up people’s nerves, so a group of researchers decided to test CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety among individuals preparing to address a crowd. Their findings, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, provide compelling support for CBD’s anti-anxiety potential.

CBD and public speaking stress

Individuals who consumed CBD before public speaking reported significantly less subjective anxiety than people in the placebo group – but only with specific doses. People who took 100 mg of CBD seemed to experience no such benefits, and people who took 900 mg were similarly unhelped. Only those who took 300 mg seemed to enjoy an anti-anxiety advantage.

Accordingly, the study’s authors called for greater emphasis on precise dosing in ongoing research. They noted that the quantity of CBD used can make all the difference when investigating the molecule’s possible upsides.

7. This study exploring CBD’s possible antidepressant properties

Many antidepressant drugs have considerable lag times, meaning patients must consume them regularly for multiple weeks before experience a reduction in symptoms. This left a group of Brazilian researchers wondering whether CBD might provide a more rapid form of depression relief. To investigate this question, they studied the brain activity of rodents dosed with CBD, looking for changes similar to those produced by pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Their findings, published in Molecular Neurobiology, indicated that CBD can bring about these neurological changes in a swift and sustained manner. Though the underlying science is quite complex, the authors’ conclusions were clear: CBD could help reduce depression symptoms and keep them at bay.

Of course, experiments with mice and rats are hardly proof that humans will experience similar benefits. But the researchers were hopeful that future studies might substantiate this hypothesis, justifying CBD’s use for humans. “The data support a promising therapeutic profile for CBD as a new fast-acting antidepressant drug,” they wrote.

8. This study assessing CBD’s potential sleep benefits

In another rodent study, researchers tested whether CBD might help rats get better sleep. They monitored and analyzed the sleep patterns of rats in both dark and daylight conditions, tracking how long they slept and how easily they drifted off. In 2013, they published their findings in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

The authors found that rats injected with CBD had a higher total sleep time. However, rats treated with CBD had a higher sleep latency in daylight conditions, meaning it took them slightly longer to doze off. Clearly, these initial results warrant far more research, especially with human subjects.

CBD Decisions: Individualized and Informed

We hope this overview of existing studies helps you assess the current state of CBD research, providing helpful context for growing public and scientific interest. Bear in mind, given the pace of ongoing inquiry, these landmark studies may soon be supplanted by even more compelling findings. Our understanding of CBD’s possible benefits is continually evolving, with new hypotheses emerging every year.

Thankfully, you don’t need to evaluate new findings alone. If you’re interested in utilizing CBD products, your doctor can help you determine whether doing so will help support your wellness goals. Remember that the research we’ve reviewed in this article is largely preliminary, and much of it did not involve human subjects. For personalized guidance, take the opportunity to discuss CBD with a qualified physician who knows your health history.

And if you do decide to incorporate CBD into your self-care routine, ensure that you’re using products of the highest quality. At DirectCBD, all of the items we sell are independently tested, and we make the results available so you can see exactly what you’re getting. When it comes to CBD’s potential benefits for your wellbeing, that testing may be the most important experiment of all.