December 08, 2022 4 min read

Does CBD Really Work: Behind the Hype


The health and wellness space is a robust and growing industry. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of health products that are designed to enhance your wellness routine and daily lifestyle. Supplements, drink mixes, you name it and you can probably find it at your local health store. 

CBD products formally entered the health and wellness scene just a short time ago  when the Trump Administration’s 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp for industrial use. Their move exploded the small, virtually unknown CBD market into what it is today, an industry that was estimated at $7.1 billion in 2019 and is expected to be valued at $9.3 billion in 2020. With such exponential growth in a seemingly very short amount of time, a lot of people wonder “Does CBD really work? Is it just another wellness trend that will come and go?”

The truth is that the science behind CBD and its relationship with our body is not new. While it may seem like a concept that is still in its infancy, there are many pieces of already-published research to suggest that CBD can help people combat their health issues and gain a sense of control over their lives. A lot of this research goes back decades. A team led by organic chemist Roger Adams from Illinois University first identified and isolated CBD from the cannabis plant in 1940. The team also identified and synthesized CBN, another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. In 1942, Adams won a patent for his method of isolating CBD. Also in 1942, the newly formed Office of Strategic Services took interest in Adams’ work and asked him to develop a “truth serum” for their use. Cannabis was used on U.S. soldiers as well as scientists working on the Manhattan Project, but was not successful as a truth serum.

CBD works because of a bodily system called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system contains receptors that are designed to receive cannabinoids like CBD. These receptors are found all over our bodies and work with cannabinoids to promote balance, wellbeing, and homeostasis in the body.

Phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids are the two different kinds of cannabinoids that work with our endocannabinoid system. Phytocannabinoids are those found in the cannabis plant, they are compounds like CBD, THC, CBN, CBG, and CBC. Endocannabinoids are those that are naturally occurring and already being produced in our body. Both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids work with the endocannabinoid systems’ receptors to achieve the same goals.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of two main cannabinoid receptors: the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors work primarily with the cannabinoid THC. THC is actually said to fit this receptor like a key! CB1 receptors are mainly found in places like the brain stem, spine, and nervous system, though they are located in other places, too. CB2 receptors primarily work with CBD, however, CBD does not fit this receptor perfectly like THC fits the CB1 receptor. Different scientists have different explanations for how CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, but experts can agree that CBD has an affinity with this particular group of receptors. CB2 receptors are found primarily in immune cells and our major organs. 

So, does CBD really work? The answer is yes. CBD is not a cure-all, we do not claim that CBD treats or cures any diseases. However, with that being said, those who use CBD have reported an improvement in their sleep, reduced stress levels, sharper focus, reduced inflammation, and other wellness milestones. The industry continues to grow as more and more people harness the possibilities that CBD can provide them.

One area of interest for researchers looks at the use of CBD and multiple sclerosis. This particular piece of research was published in 2018 and it looked at a THC and CBD spray in multiple sclerosis patients. (Hint: If you want to try this approach with minimal and fully legal amounts of THC, check out our full spectrum CBD oil oral drops. PS, they taste incredible!)The study explains that traditional multiple sclerosis treatments are ineffective in approximately 40% of cases. “In studies of patients with resistant MS spasticity, THC:CBD spray consistently improved the timed 10-meter walk test and significantly improved multiple spatial-temporal and kinematic gait parameters,” according to the research, and concludes that “THC:CBD oromucosal spray warrants further investigation as a treatment for MS spasticity-related gait impairment.”

CBD typically comes with very little side effects, which is a plus for many people. There are a lot of prescription medications that come with side effects, sometimes so debilitating they can discourage you from using the medication at all. Most people report that CBD does not cause them any major side effects aside from possibly being a little bit sleepy. In addition, CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects unlike medical marijuana does. It is important to note that these scenarios may not represent your experience using CBD, so talk to a CBD-educated physician that knows your medical history before proceeding.