What are the long-term effects of using CBD oil? While this was long unsure due to the lack of research. Scientists say they now have completed the first ever in vivo study into the effects and toxicity of the lifelong use of Cannabidiol (CBD). And the results are very promising, to say the least:
CBD in short
CBD oil is known to offer a variety of positive effects on our quality of life; thanks to the cannabinoid’s interaction with our body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS). Which is a communication network consisting of receptors and neurotransmitters present throughout the whole body.
In short, this system regulates a number of essential processes to our survival and well-being. Considering hemp’s cannabinoids - like Cannabidiol (CBD) - resemble some of the body’s neurotransmitters known as ‘endocannabinoids’ (endo = body’s own). They fit the ECS’ receptors like a glove, and therefor appear to be able to support our health in various ways.
Discover all about the ECS in ‘How does CBD work: the endocannabinoid system (ECS) explained’
Although hemp products like CBD oil are gaining popularity fast because of their possible health benefits; most evidence hereof comes from consumers’ feedback. Consequently, it was long unclear if and how this cannabinoid from hemp exactly helps and supports our health. Obviously, this uncertainty is mostly due to the great lack of decent controlled research into the subject.
Nevertheless, the increased popularity and use of hemp extracts is slowly starting to open doors for researchers. Who are now beginning to understand the science behind Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids found in hemp. Finally providing us with long sought answers to questions regarding the safety and toxicity of cannabinoid treatments; and the long-term effects of CBD oil use in general.
Long term effects of CBD oil
Some of those answers are provided to us by the Canadian ‘CANOPY GROWTH’ corporation and their medical department ‘Spectrum Therapeutics’. As they recently published a research paper, reporting on the long-term effects of CBD use. Which mainly focused on the possible toxicity of the vegetal substance and the cannabinoid’s impact on the lifespan.
However, conducting such a research on humans is nearly impossible at the moment. As it would take decades to complete and offer too many variables to safely draw conclusions. That’s why the Canadian cannabis growers chose a preclinical model for the research, using Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). ‘A free-living transparent nematode about 1mm in length, that lives in temperate soil environments’, according to Wikipedia. This worm has genes that for 60-80 percent resemble those of humans and a lifespan of only 2-3 weeks. Offering scientists a widely accepted, safe, and accessible preclinical model for this type of research.
CBD for longer life
The researchers involved were tasked to evaluate the solubility, stability, acute toxicity, thermotolerance and impact of CBD on the C. elegans’ lifespan. And as far as we know, Canopy Growth presents the first ever study into chronic Cannabidiol use; focused on the substance’s toxicity and impact on life duration. The company offers this type of data in efforts to positively impact and support the Canadian governments’ stance on cannabinoids. And boy, are we glad they do!
Because their research proves that neither acute, nor lifelong CBD exposure causes any toxicity in the animals. As none of the subjects died after acute exposure to Cannabidiol in concentrations varying from 0.4–4000 μM. In fact, the results showed quite the opposite. Proving that the lifelong exposure to 10–100 μM Cannabidiol extended the lifespan of the organisms up to a maximum of 18 percent; respectively observed at doses of 40μM. Moreover, the researchers also analyzed the motility of the research groups. Showing a significant increase in late-stage life activity by up to 206 percent with use of the cannabinoid - in comparison to the control group.
As concluded by the researchers: ‘these results serve as the only CBD lifelong exposure data in an in vivo model to date.’ Meaning it is the first ever study of this kind performed on living creatures. The researchers continue: ’while further research into the lifelong use of CBD should be carried out in mammalian models, the C. elegans model indicates a lack of long-term toxicity at physiologically relevant concentrations.’
In other words, it appears that the lifelong use of CBD is completely safe. Even in extremely high doses. Moreover, using the cannabinoid might even increase your lifespan and quality of life in its later stages. Of course, this data asks for more research into CBD’s (long-term) effects on humans. Although it already proves the cannabinoid’s potential to safely improve our life’s quality and duration. In addition, it provides us with enough proof to keep exploring CBD oil’s health benefits in future studies.