Medical Research

CBD and its Effects on Cellular Health

Written by Antonio DeRose

Cannabidiol (CBD) is often praised for having a plethora of positive health benefits. It’s well known to be used in the treatment of seizure disorders and other neurological conditions. Research into the effectiveness of CBD as medicine has led researchers to discover quite a bit about its effects on cellular health.

A study in Nature Neuroscience showed that mitochondria have cannabinoid receptors. Mitochondria are responsible for generating the majority of chemical energy we need to power biochemical reactions. In other words, mitochondria produce almost all of our body’s natural energy. The research also concluded that the cannabinoid receptors in mitochondria “directly modulate neuronal energy metabolism”. This means CBD affects our energy levels at a cellular level. [1]

It also confirms that CBD affects our cellular health in general. This brings to question how effective CBD is at affecting our cellular health. Fortunately for us, there was a systematic review of research published on the topic that looked specifically at the biological effects of CBD on normal healthy cell populations in humans.

After reviewing a total of 29 different research studies on CBD and cellular health, several key factors were identified. All of the studies that were investigated looked at normal human cell types, including primary cells and cell lines. The most commonly researched cell type was oral cells, but studies on other cell types, like different epidermal cells, were also included. [2]

One of the most positive findings was that CBD stimulated apoptosis in high doses, which they measured as 3mg. It also concluded that “CBD produced an anti-inflammatory effect, with a reduction of the pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression and secretion.” [2] Stimulating apoptosis and working as a natural anti-inflammatory are both excellent benefits of CBD for cellular health.

However, these weren’t the only findings. According to the same review, CBD in doses higher than 3mg was found to inhibit cell viability, migration, and proliferation in oral cells only. This essentially means they measured a reduced number of total oral cells, which suggests a need for more clinical research in this area to determine if this reduction in oral cells should be cause for concern. [2]

Despite some need for more studies, the researchers finished their review by confirming CBD’s effectiveness for producing an anti-inflammatory effect in both low and high dosages. Their final recommendations included the benefit of CBD as a therapeutic medicine in a variety of medical fields. Although there appears to be more for us to learn about CBD and its effects on cellular health, the benefits look quite promising.




1- Bénard, G., et al., Mitochondrial CB₁ receptors regulate neuronal energy metabolism. Nat Neurosci. 2012 Mar 4;15(4):558-64. Times Cited: 166 Journal Impact Factor: 20.07

2- Pagano, S., et al., Biological effects of Cannabidiol on normal human healthy cell populations: Systematic review of the literature. Biomedicine & Pharmocotherapy. 2020. 132:110728. Times Cited: 7 Journal Impact Factor: 6.529

About the author

Antonio DeRose