6 things we learned about CBD in 2023

February 15, 2024
6 things we learned about CBD in 2023
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As 2023 comes to a close, it's an excellent time to stop for a moment and appreciate the leaps and bounds CBD researchers made this year. As we demystify some of the technical jargon within these papers, one thing rings true: CBD research continues to support a lot of potential in areas like restorative sleep, chemotherapy-induced nerve damage, physical fitness, bone health, insect repellent, and food preservation— showcasing how this compound is more than just a trend; it's a frontier with limitless potential.

Join us as we journey through the latest CBD breakthroughs made in 2023, which will serve as a springboard for further research in the upcoming years. These revelations remind us that curiosity and diligence can revolutionize our understanding of the world, offering new avenues for better health and well-being. 


Insomnia, a common and frustrating sleep condition, has left over 30% of the population searching for safe and effective alternatives to pharmaceutical sleep aids for years.¹ This year, researchers conducted a pilot study to test CBD for people with insomnia.²

It should be noted that this study wasn’t large, using only six study participants with insomnia. Researchers administered an oral CBD-and-terpene formulation completely free from THC every day for 28 days, utilizing a placebo-controlled, crossover design. Despite the small sample size, the study offered exciting results and opened the door for further research. 

The primary outcome measure was the percentage of time spent in slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stages, monitored using a wrist-worn, sleep-tracking device. The results were nothing short of remarkable. The CBD-terpene regimen significantly increased the percentage of time participants spent in both SWS and REM sleep, indicating a notable improvement in restorative sleep.³ Restorative sleep is the combination of REM sleep — where a lot of your dreaming and processing occurs — and deep sleep, which helps your body repair itself. This treatment showed no adverse events, ensuring safety throughout the study.

This pilot study represents the first randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study examining how an oral CBD-terpene formulation impacts sleep physiology in people who have insomnia. In contrast to many conventional sleep medications, which often come with undesirable side effects, the CBD-terpene formulation emerged as a promising alternative. It increased SWS and REM sleep, which play pivotal roles in immune system function, tissue regeneration, cognitive processes, and memory consolidation.

While further research is needed to confirm these findings in more extensive clinical trials, this study ignites excitement about the potential of CBD for addressing sleep-related issues. It offers hope to those seeking natural and effective alternatives to improve the quality of their rest, and it represents a step forward in the quest for safer, non-pharmaceutical options for sleep management. 


Navigating the challenging terrain of cancer treatment can be an arduous journey, often complicated by a common and debilitating side effect known as Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN).⁴ This condition can significantly impact the quality of life and even the outcome of cancer treatment. However, a beacon of hope emerged in 2023 with a groundbreaking study that explored the potential of CBD in managing CIPN.⁵ 

Researchers conducted a phase 3 randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving participants with various stages of nonmetastatic breast, colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, all experiencing grade 2-3 CIPN. The study took place over two years, with participants randomized into either an active group receiving 135 mg/day of CBD or a placebo group receiving coconut oil gelcaps. The participants were evaluated every two weeks using the EORTC QLQ-CIPN20, which is a questionnaire that assesses three categories of symptoms related to sensory, motor, and autonomic functions. Side effects in these categories, like numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, difficulty walking, blurriness, and hearing loss as a result of CIPN were logged daily.⁶

The results were intriguing. CBD showed its potential in mitigating sensory symptoms, particularly reducing numbness and tingling. This is a significant breakthrough since these symptoms are among the most challenging aspects of CIPN, often with limited treatment options. While CBD did not significantly impact pain or motor function in this preliminary study, its positive effect on sensory function offers hope for improving the lives of cancer patients dealing with CIPN.

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy can be so debilitating that it affects the ability of patients to complete their cancer treatment.⁷ Managing these symptoms effectively could potentially improve treatment tolerance and, in turn, survival rates. CBD's potential role in alleviating sensory symptoms without causing serious adverse effects suggests a brighter future for those facing CIPN.

While further research is essential to confirm these preliminary findings and explore CBD's safety and efficacy when combined with chemotherapy to prevent or attenuate CIPN, this study represents a crucial step in the right direction. It hints at the possibility of CBD becoming a valuable addition to the arsenal of treatments aimed at reducing the distressing effects of chemotherapy and CIPN bringing us closer to a day when cancer patients can not only endure but thrive during their challenging treatment journeys.


One study that took place over eight weeks aimed to shed light on the impact of CBD on various aspects of health and fitness in average, healthy people. This research sought to address the lack of knowledge in this area, even though CBD is often touted as some miracle when very little is known about it. The scientists used this study to explore how CBD might affect physical activity, cognitive health, psychological well-being, and inflammation—taking a broad look at CBD and physical well-being.⁸ 

The study involved 48 participants divided into two groups: one received 50 mg of CBD daily, and the other received a placebo for eight weeks. A range of assessments was conducted before and after the intervention, including body composition, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, cognitive function, psychological well-being, and inflammation.⁹ 

The findings of this study provided valuable insights into the effects of CBD on different aspects of health and fitness. Contrary to initial hypotheses, the results did not reveal significant improvements in body composition, aerobic fitness, muscular strength, mental health, or inflammation in those who took CBD daily for eight weeks. However, one notable observation was that CBD seemed to prevent declines in peak anaerobic power over time. Additionally, there was a potential effect on average power output, warranting further investigation.

These findings have implications for researchers and average people interested in the potential benefits of CBD. While the study did not uncover widespread improvements in various health and fitness parameters, it does show that CBD might have a different relationship with our physical well-being than initially thought. This critical piece of research highlights the need for more study in this area, which can help people cut through the smoke and mirrors of what CBD actually does versus what we might want to believe it does. Longer intervention periods, higher CBD doses, and monitoring physical activity during the study could provide more comprehensive insights into CBD's effects.

The study underscored the complexity of CBD's effects on different aspects of health and fitness, emphasizing the importance of continued research to unlock its full potential and determine its limitations in promoting well-being and physical performance. 


As we age, our bodies take longer to repair themselves.¹⁰ A simple sprain may take an older person weeks to recover from.¹¹ But the devil is in the details—treatments for managing the pain associated with sprains and bone fractures may be doing more harm than good and slowing down how fast your bones repair themselves. 

Currently, managing pain in bone fracture patients involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin. While these drugs help alleviate pain, they also hinder the critical inflammatory response required for the natural healing of fractures.¹² This limitation prompted researchers to seek an alternative approach to effectively manage pain without impeding the body's inflammatory response.

The study's primary objective was to assess the individual pain-relieving capabilities of CBD and CBG. While the study was conducted with mice, it still offers preliminary data that may encourage clinical trials in the future.¹³ Surprisingly, the cannabinoids exhibited pain management abilities comparable to NSAIDs, providing a promising alternative for pain relief. However, the big picture discovery came when it was observed that CBD and CBG also played a role in promoting fracture healing.

The researchers comprehensively studied the fracture healing process using advanced techniques such as immunofluorescence microscopy, microcomputer tomography imaging, and biomechanical testing. They examined various aspects, including bone density, bone strength, and the expression of genes crucial for fracture healing. In the early stages of treatment, CBD and CBG were found to potentially increase the abundance of periosteal bone progenitors, which later develop into specialized bone cells that facilitate bone tissue formation.

During the later phases of healing, CBD and CBG may have accelerated the body's absorption of minerals, strengthening the newly formed bone. This resulted in higher bone volume fraction and mineral density compared to NSAID treatments, ultimately contributing to functional and healthy newly formed bone development.

While these findings are highly promising, researchers acknowledge that there is much to learn about the underlying biological mechanisms responsible for these effects. Future research will focus on understanding the cellular and molecular processes by which CBD and CBG influence different stages of fracture healing. Additionally, efforts will be directed towards developing a clinical formulation suitable for adult fracture patients.


New research from Cornell University has shed light on the intriguing relationship between hemp plants and cannabinoids, suggesting that these naturally occurring compounds, such as CBD, THC, and CBG, may have evolved as a defense mechanism against insect pests. This discovery challenges the conventional understanding of cannabinoids primarily for their therapeutic and intoxicating properties, highlighting their role in the plant kingdom. 

For decades, scientists have been exploring the diverse effects of cannabinoids, but how they evolved and why has remained a mystery. The prevailing hypothesis has been that cannabinoids may serve as defensive compounds, protecting plants from threats like ultraviolet light, pathogens, and herbivores. 

In the study, researchers conducted tests using hemp plants with varying concentrations of cannabinoids, mainly focusing on damage caused by leaf-chewing insects like cabbage looper larvae.¹⁴ The results were striking – leaves with lower cannabinoid levels suffered higher levels of insect damage, while those with higher cannabinoid concentrations experienced significantly less harm. This observation provides compelling evidence that cannabinoids play a crucial role in defending hemp plants against herbivores.

This research suggests that cannabinoids like CBD may one day be used as natural, eco-friendly pesticides. However, the potential applications of cannabinoid extracts as pesticides are not without limitations. For example, THC has a lot of regulations surrounding it, so it would likely be confined to non-edible plants or avoided altogether since it makes people high. On the other hand, this research may pave the way for other non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD and CBG to be used as natural pesticides. 

The study's first author highlighted the significance of these findings for understanding how cannabinoids function in natural ecosystems and their potential role in developing practical, eco-friendly pest control solutions. While the idea of using cannabinoids as pesticides is undoubtedly exciting, future research will need to delve deeper into the specific pests that cannabinoids may effectively combat and address regulatory barriers.


Good news might be on the horizon if you've ever bought berries and had them spoil one day after bringing them home. Researchers have recently made a promising breakthrough in food preservation by incorporating CBD into an edible antimicrobial coating designed to extend the shelf life of strawberries. Previous studies have shown that CBD may inhibit the growth of various bacteria and pathogenic fungi, including those responsible for the spoilage of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is why it's being tested for food preservation today. 

One of the challenges in utilizing CBD for food preservation is its natural oiliness, which must be evenly dispersed in water if it can ever be used in big batches of food. To address this issue, researchers explored the concept of encapsulating CBD molecules within edible polymers.¹⁵ They specifically focused on creating a food coating using CBD-filled nanoparticles to enhance antimicrobial activity and prolong the freshness of strawberries.

The research team encapsulated CBD within a biodegradable polymer commonly used in drug delivery, resulting in stable nanoparticles that contained 20% CBD by weight.¹⁶ These nanoparticles were then combined with sodium alginate in a water solution. From there, the strawberries were submerged in solutions containing varying quantities of these nanoparticles, followed by a second dip into a mixture of ascorbic acid and calcium chloride. This process transformed the initially colorless coating into a gel. Both treated and untreated strawberries were placed in open plastic containers and stored at refrigerator temperatures for 15 days.

The results were impressive. The strawberries treated with CBD-coated nanoparticles exhibited significantly slower ripening and decay than the untreated ones, likely due to reduced microbial growth. Moreover, the coating containing the highest concentration of CBD-loaded nanoparticles preserved the strawberries' vibrant red appearance, boosted their antioxidant activity, and provided the most extensive antimicrobial protection throughout the storage period.

This breakthrough demonstrates the potential of encapsulated CBD to create transparent antimicrobial coatings for active food packaging. One day, you might find it used as a natural preservative for the produce at the grocery store, which may help reduce our collective food waste.¹⁷ While further research and development are necessary, this innovative approach holds great promise for improving food preservation methods and ensuring that consumers can enjoy fresh, high-quality produce for longer periods. 


As we look ahead to the future of CBD research, the findings from 2023 mark a significant milestone that will undoubtedly shape the path forward. This year's discoveries and breakthroughs serve as a solid foundation upon which new studies can be built in 2024 and beyond. At Lazarus Naturals, we are filled with hope and excitement about what the future holds as we continue to explore the potential of CBD.

The continuous evolution of CBD research fuels our optimism and reinforces our commitment to providing high-quality CBD products. We eagerly anticipate the innovative developments that lie ahead, all of which have the potential to unlock the vast and transformative possibilities of CBD, benefiting individuals and industries alike.

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