“In terms of the products found in shops, there’s virtually no evidence to support the claims made for a lot of them.” Harry Sumnall, Professor in Substance Use at Liverpool John Moores University
However, it also notes that this research is still in the early stages, and that more studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn on whether CBD is effective.
A 2018 report by the World Health Organization suggested that CBD may help treat symptoms relating to conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), anxiety, depression, insomnia and Alzheimer’s disease.
What is CBD used for?
CBD is the latest health craze to sweep the high street, with claims it can help everything from chronic pain and inflammation to anxiety. But what is CBD, and can it really help the heart? Emily Ray finds out.
Some of this work is still in animals, and much more research is needed before we can definitively say that CBD can help in this area.
CBD’s popularity has been given a boost by the fact that two CBD-containing medicines have been approved for prescription use by the NHS in England: Epidyolex, which has been found to reduce the number of seizures in children with severe epilepsy, and Sativex, which contains a mixture of CBD and THC, and is licensed for treatment of muscle stiffness and spasms in people with MS.
The choice of CBD products has exploded recently: you can buy oils, capsules, muscle gels, sprays and oral drops, as well as beer, tea, sweets, hummus and even CBD-infused clothing.
Hempseed oil has a very interesting polyunsaturated fatty acid composition, Fernández-Arche told Reuters Health in an email, because it has an optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of about 3 to 1.
Fernández-Arche said, however, that her team is studying “the effect of the intake of this oil and this effect on the stress induced in animals, and the preliminary results are very promising.”
He noted that hempseed oil contains less oleic acid than other heart-healthy oils, such as olive or canola oil, but added that studies on animals indicate hempseed might reduce the clotting of blood platelets that lead to heart attacks.
“C. sativa L., an annual herbaceous plant, is known by its long, thin flowers and spiky leaves. The plant is considered to be native of western and central Asia and has also been cultivated commercially in Europe and in parts of China, Japan, Canada, and the United States,” write Maria Angeles Fernández-Arche, a pharmacology researcher at the University of Seville, and her colleagues.
A high ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis, so the proportions seen in hemp oil have the potential to help prevent heart disease, the researchers write.