CBD is Safe and Effective for Sleep and Epilepsy in Historic Clinical Trials from 1972-1981

CBD is Safe and Effective for Sleep and Epilepsy in Historic Clinical Trials from 1972-1981

This 1981 scientific review focuses on the data obtained from clinical trials conducted in the authors' laboratory from 1972 to 1981, involving acute and chronic administration of CBD to healthy volunteers, insomniacs, and epileptic patients. The various clinical trials found that CBD, even at higher doses, was safe to use and did not cause any harmful effects on the mind or body.

In one clinical trial, CBD significantly improved sleep duration and reduced dream recall in individuals with insomnia compared to a placebo. In another trial, CBD showed promise in improving the condition of epilepsy patients who were not responding well to standard treatments. These findings suggest that CBD may have therapeutic benefits for sleep disorders and epilepsy, and it was generally well-tolerated by the participants.

Published in 1981, this scientific review stands as a testament to the long history of clinical trials on CBD. It is essential to recognize that decades of research have been conducted on CBD, including these studies. This review of clinical trials provides substantial evidence countering the common misconception that there is insufficient research on CBD. The findings reinforce the growing body of positive evidence supporting the potential therapeutic applications of CBD in various conditions, debunking the notion that CBD lacks scientific support.

This review consisted of three experiments examining the acute administration of CBD to healthy volunteers. In experiment 1, ten volunteers received different doses of CBD (10, 40, 80, or 160 mg) or a placebo. Medical checkups and laboratory tests showed no abnormalities. Experiment 2 involved two male physicians who received 600 mg of CBD over two days (300 mg in the morning and 300 mg in the evening). Except for one volunteer reporting improved sleep, no abnormal findings were detected. In experiment 3, researchers studied the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on healthy volunteers in the presence of alcohol. The volunteers received either CBD or a placebo. They underwent tests at different time intervals after taking CBD or placebo. The results showed that CBD, at the given dose, did not have a significant impact on the participants' cognitive abilities or subjective experiences. This suggests that CBD alone, without alcohol, did not impair their mental or physical functions. These findings provide valuable insights into the effects of CBD on healthy individuals and indicate its relatively safe nature.

Continuing from the acute administration of CBD in experiments 1, 2, and 3, further investigations explored the effects of chronic CBD administration.

In Experiment 4, which took place in December 1972 and January 1973, four male volunteers from the Department of Psychobiology participated in a study. The goal was to see what happens when people take cannabidiol (CBD) every day for a longer period. Two volunteers received 10 mg of CBD daily for 20 days, while one volunteer took a placebo (a harmless substance). The fourth volunteer received CBD for the first 10 days and then switched to the placebo for the remaining 10 days. The volunteers went through medical checkups and tests throughout the experiment. The results showed that those who took CBD didn't experience any physical discomfort or psychological issues, except for two who felt sleepy at times. Overall, the tests didn't find any abnormalities, indicating that CBD was well-tolerated in this study.

In Experiment 5, conducted between February and April 1976, sixteen adult volunteers were chosen from a medical school staff. They were randomly divided into two groups and given either glucose or cannabidiol (CBD) capsules. The CBD dosage was equivalent to 1.5 mg per kilogram of body weight, taken twice a day. Throughout the experiment, the participants underwent medical and laboratory examinations. The results showed that CBD had no toxic effects. While some individuals in the placebo group experienced minor discomfort, none of the CBD group reported psychotropic effects. Two volunteers in the CBD group felt sleepy, one during the first week and the other throughout the 30 days of the study. Another participant with a history of mild insomnia reported improved sleep during the initial week of CBD use. Overall, the neurological and clinical examinations, EEG and EKG tests, and blood and urine analysis remained within normal limits.

In a clinical trial conducted from June to November 1977, researchers explored the potential of CBD as a hypnotic drug, a type of medication that is used to induce or promote sleep. Participants included 15 individuals who experienced difficulty falling asleep and had good physical and mental health. The five week trial involved the administration of different doses of CBD (40, 80, and 160 mg) encapsulated in gelatin capsules, along with a placebo group and a group receiving 5 mg of nitrazepam. Each week, participants took one assigned capsule 30 minutes before bedtime. Morning questionnaires and interviews assessed sleep induction, sleep quality, dream recall, and reawakening. The results indicated that CBD did not significantly improve sleep induction or sleep quality compared to placebo or nitrazepam. However, the 160 mg dose of CBD showed a positive effect on sleep duration, with the majority of participants reporting more than 7 hours of sleep. Additionally, all three CBD doses effectively reduced dream recall. This can be seen as a positive effect for individuals who experience frequent disruptions in their sleep due to vivid or disturbing dreams. By reducing dream recall, CBD may contribute to a more restful sleep experience, allowing individuals to wake up feeling refreshed and without the disturbance of intense dream experiences. It is important to note that this effect is specific to dream recall and does not eliminate the overall occurrence of dreams during sleep. No adverse effects or hangover symptoms were reported.

In a clinical trial conducted between May 1976 and March 1978, fifteen patients with secondary generalized epilepsy, who were not responding well to their prescribed antiepileptic drugs, were given CBD treatment. Seven out of the eight epileptics receiving CBD had improvement of their disease state, whereas only one placebo patient improved. Out of the eight patients who received CBD, significant improvement was observed in four patients, including one patient who achieved complete improvement. Two patients had subjective improvement, while one patient did not show any improvement. Vital signs and laboratory values remained normal, but drowsiness was reported as a side effect by some patients. These findings suggest the potential of CBD in improving epileptic symptoms with minimal adverse effects. 

In these studies, it was found that CBD showed a remarkable lack of toxicity in both acute and chronic administration. This conclusion was supported by the absence of subjective or physical symptoms suggestive of toxic effects, as well as the results of laboratory examinations. The preliminary data suggest that CBD may have a hypnotic effect, as it increased the duration of sleep and decreased dream recall in the subjects. Some volunteers and epileptic patients reported drowsiness when taking CBD, while the commercially available sleep aid nitrazepam did not show a significant effect. The clinical trial of CBD in epileptic patients showed beneficial effects in those who did not respond to other antiepileptic drugs. The authors conclude the potential of CBD as an antiepileptic agent is promising, with evidence of enhancing the effects of other anticonvulsants and demonstrating direct anticonvulsant effects in animal studies.

The importance of delving into the history of CBD research and summarizing the clinical trials conducted between 1971 and 1981 lies in debunking the common misconceptions that there is insufficient research on CBD's efficacy and safety. By showcasing the extensive positive clinical trials conducted over several decades, we challenge the status quo and the prevailing biases surrounding CBD and cannabis. It is crucial to emphasize that CBD has been under scientific scrutiny for a considerable period, demonstrating its potential therapeutic benefits in various medical conditions. Ignoring or dismissing this wealth of research is a disservice to patients and inhibits the wider acceptance and integration of CBD and cannabis into mainstream medicine. It is time to recognize the valuable insights gained from these studies and embrace the possibilities they offer in revolutionizing healthcare. The evidence is clear, and it is imperative that we advocate for the acceptance and utilization of CBD and cannabis based on rigorous scientific exploration, rather than perpetuating outdated misconceptions and stigmatization.

Study Title: Hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol
Study Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7028792

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