CBD Oil for Candida – February 2022
Candidiasis or thrush is a medical condition caused by Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus. This type of fungus spreads over within the mouth and throat, and it usually infects men and women alike.
Certain cannabinoids, like CBD, have been shown as a natural, potent antifungal remedy that may help treat fungal and yeast infections effectively, making CBD a potential alternative treatment to candidiasis.
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that certain cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabichromene (CBC), have moderate antifungal properties (4 ) .
The study mostly examined the therapeutic benefits of THC, the cannabinoid that induces psychoactive effects on the user, and not CBD.
Still, the researchers noted that the three cannabinoids CBD, CBG, and CBC might boost the effects of an extremely potent antifungal, caryophyllene oxide.
Caryophyllene oxide is the oxidized form of beta-caryophyllene, one of the primary terpenes found in cannabis, basil, hops, pepper, and rosemary.
Terpenes, or isoprenoids, which are similar to essential oils, provide cannabis plants their distinctive aromas and flavors. Many of the terpenes have also been found to possess antifungal properties, as a study published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal in 2018 indicated (5 ) .
In the said study, the researchers noted that none of the essential oils was as effective as CBD. They also suggested that terpenoids (chemically-modified terpenes) may be used to reduce inflammation.
Inflammation promotes Candida colonization, which, in turn, delays healing (6 ) .
Meanwhile, CBD’s anti-inflammatory characteristics have been shown in several human and animal studies, like that of a 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and a 2012 research conducted by authors from the Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine in the University of São Paulo, Brazil (7 ) .
Another research published in the Free Radical Biology & Medicine Journal by George Booz from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the University of Mississippi Medical Center showed that CBD, which may interact with the endocannabinoid system, is a promising prototype for anti-inflammatory drug development (8 ) .
Studies like these suggest that CBD, as a potent anti-inflammation compound, may also help with candidiasis.
How CBD Oil Works to Help with Candida
CBD works upon the CB2 receptors of the ECS and regulates the immune response. As an anti-inflammatory agent, CBD curbs inflammation and regulates the immune system.
The proinflammatory cells cytokines activate the pain receptors of the nerve cells, and the longer they remain inside the system, the greater the stimulation of the pain receptors. This mechanism is explained in Chapter 8 of the book Translational Pain Research: From Mouse to Man by Lawrence Kruger and Alan R. Light (9 ) .
Cytokines heighten pathologic pain (caused by tissue damage) and also exacerbate the pain experienced in oral and vaginal thrush, as a 2012 study on cytokines and Candida vaginitis shows (10 ) .
As CBD binds to the CB2 receptors of the immune cells that are overactive, it activates an anti-inflammatory protein known as the caspase.
Once activated, the caspase transmits a signal that starts cell death of the immune cell, and then the inflammation gets regulated as cytokines production gets reduced.
In the African Health Sciences Journal , a 2018 study showed that the reduction of cytokines restores a weakened immune system, one of the primary causes of thrush infection and overgrowth of candidiasis (11 ) .
However, besides the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, could it also help reduce the skin itchiness and stinging felt in thrush?
Although there have been no studies specific to CBD’s effects on itchiness, there have been studies on how cannabinoids may help with alleviating itchy skin conditions resulting from candidiasis of the skin.
In a 2019 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment , researchers found that cannabinoids have shown to demonstrate anti-inflammatory and antipruritic (anti-itch) properties, making it a potential alternative to conventional skin treatments (12 ) .
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Candida
- Studies mentioned previously show CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antipruritic properties, which may help treat candidiasis or thrush.
- CBD is non-addictive, says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in a 2015 article (13 ) . This characteristic makes CBD safe for daily intake when fasting for an extended period.
- CBD “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” as the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a critical review (14 ) .
- CBD oil may be purchased without a prescription in locations where they are legally available.
- Studies are too limited to determine whether or not CBD is an effective treatment for conditions other than the ones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- As with the use of any natural chemical compound, there are risks involved in using CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite (15 ) .
- CBD can alter how the body metabolizes certain medications. Data from a 2019 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine indicate that antifungals and anti-inflammatory medicines are among those that adversely interact with CBD (16 ) .
- Dr Doris Trauner, professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital, cautions that CBD products marketed online and in dispensaries are mostly unregulated (17 ) .
The lack of regulation makes it difficult to determine whether the CBD gummies, tinctures, patches, balms, and gelcaps contain what the product label claims .
A 2107 review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed labeling inaccuracies among CBD products. Some products had less CBD than stated, while others had more (18 ) .
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Candida
In otherwise healthy individuals who have cutaneous candidiasis, thrush, or vaginal yeast infections, Candida infections can often be remedied with a short treatment or even a single dose of antifungal medication (19 ) .
However, in people with a weak immune system, Candida infections can be challenging to treat and can recur after treatment.
Fortunately, several studies, like those mentioned previously, reveal that CBD possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
Most of the autoimmune diseases are caused by inflammation, and CBD tends to be very useful in strengthening the immune system, as results from a 2009 research suggested (20 ) . When the immune system is robust, Candida infections may not be that difficult to treat.
In general, most Candida infections may be prevented by keeping the skin clean and dry, following a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition, and by using antibiotics only as the doctor prescribed.
One adverse side effect of using antibiotics is that it can promote yeast infections, as results of a study suggested (21 ) .
Published in the Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal in 2008, the said study explored the effects of tetracycline, an antibiotic, on Candida albicans. Researchers found that low concentration levels of the antibiotic caused some vaginitis symptoms to appear.
A problem occurs when an individual takes some antibiotics for an ailment but then has to deal with the unwanted symptoms of a yeast infection. In situations like this, CBD can help by acting as a potent antibiotic without causing yeast infection or overgrowth.
According to an article posted by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in June 2019, research has found that cannabidiol is active against Gram-positive bacteria, with a potency similar to that of established antibiotics such as vancomycin or daptomycin (22 ) .
Dr Mark Blaskovich led the research at The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Centre for Superbug Solutions.
Blaskovich and his team found that CBD was remarkably effective at killing a wide variety of Gram-positive bacteria, including those that are resistant to other antibiotics, and did not lose effectiveness after extended treatment.
Dr Blaskovich said, “The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive.”
The authors of the said study also noted that CBD was beneficial at disrupting biofilms, a type of bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections.
The lab studies also showed that “CBD is much less likely to cause resistance than the existing antibiotics,” Blaskovich says.
How to Choose the Right CBD for Candida
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including trace amounts of THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. These compounds work together to intensify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid, resulting in the “entourage effect”.
Those with allergies to THC may opt to use broad-spectrum CBD oil, which is like full-spectrum CBD but without the THC that makes the user high.
Meanwhile, CBD isolates carry only pure, isolated cannabidiol. CBD isolates are typically derived hemp, due to hemp plants’ low to non-existent THC-content.
However, regardless of the form of CBD product of choice, careful consideration must still be employed in selecting the best CBD oil to help with inflammation, fungal infection, and itchiness.
The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:
- Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
- Purchase only high-quality CBD products from legitimate and reliable brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers.
- Research product reviews before buying from an online store. When buying from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
- One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
- Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports.
- Consulting with a trusted medical professional who is experienced in CBD use is ideal before one purchases his or her first bottle of CBD.
CBD Dosage for Candida
There is no recommended CBD dosage specific for Candida.
According to an article written by Peter Grinspoon, MD, on Harvard Health in August 2019, experts do not know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies, effective doses cannot be determined. Also, Grinspoon says that given that BD is currently mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it is difficult to know what the consumers are getting.
Grinspoon’s advice to those looking to try and purchase CBD products is to talk with their doctor to make sure that taking CBD would not cause adverse interactions with other medications that are currently taken (23 ) .
In a 2017 study , researchers said that chronic CBD use and large doses of up to 1500 mg a day had been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans (24 ) .
While CBD is considered generally safe, as the 2011 review in the Current Drug Safety Journal suggests, the long-term effects are yet to be examined further (25 ) .
How to Take CBD Oil for Candida
There are different types of candidiasis, depending on the particular area of the body that was affected. Treatment also varies with each type.
For CBD to be effective, it must go where it is needed. Thus, it is essential to know the location of the CBD’s target.
A consultation with a doctor can help determine the type of candidiasis that one has, and this information can help an individual set a specific target for the CBD.
One of the fastest ways to feel the effects of CBD is to vape it. However, if vaping is not an option, there are still other methods.
If the target is close to the skin or a mucous membrane, like the vagina, one could first try a localized CBD product, such as a topical or suppository. These products deliver the highest concentration of CBD in a specific area.
Topicals like CBD creams, lotions, and patches may be applied to a target area on the skin.
Otherwise, there are broad-spectrum CBD suppositories available that may be used vaginally or rectally. However, this should only be used upon the advice of a doctor.
In cases of inflammation, CBD needs to travel through the bloodstream to reach its target. Oral CBD products like tinctures are best for this purpose. Sublingual (under the tongue) absorption is an efficient method of taking CBD oil.
In a 2010 review, published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences , researchers found that peak blood levels of most substances given sublingually are achieved in 10 to 15 minutes, which is faster than when those same drugs are ingested orally (26 ) .
CBD gummies and capsules are CBD products that may also be taken orally.
A Close Look at Candida
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes Candidiasis as a fungal infection caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. Some Candida species , the most common of which is Candida albicans, can cause infection in people (27 ) . The infection may cause discomfort, although it is typically harmless.
Many types of fungi live in the human body, and Candida is naturally found in minimum amounts in the gut microbiome, vaginal tract, oral cavity, and digestive tract, without inducing any problems.
Candidiasis also impacts the skin in the armpits and between the fingers or groin. The presence of this type of fungus in those areas results in a red or painful scratch or a rash that becomes serious with a yellowish or white discharge.
If an oral thrush infection is left untreated, it can lead to a systemic Candida infection. Systemic Candidiasis affects many parts of the body and is usually caused by an immune deficiency (28 ) .
The CDC also said that when Candida species enter the bloodstream or impact internal organs, such as the kidney, heart, or brain, invasive candidiasis occurs (29 ) .
Antifungal medication can cure invasive candidiasis. People with cancer or organ transplants may also receive antifungal medications to prevent invasive candidiasis, as explained in a 2016 study published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal (30 ) .
The other typical symptoms of Candida overgrowth include:
- Fatigue that may be accompanied by fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles and joints without detectable inflammation .
- Issues with the digestive system like gas, bloating, and constipation
- Sugar cravings – Sugar is food for yeast.
- Mercury overload – Yeast overgrowths may manifest to protect mercury in the body
- Skin problems like dandruff, rashes, eczema, rosacea, hives, and tinea versicolor (a condition marked by the appearance of white spots when one’s skin gets exposed to the sun)
- Seasonal allergies or chronic sinus infections
- Leaky gut connected to autoimmune diseases due to the suppression of serotonin
- Vaginal infections or urinary tract infections
Types of Candidiasis and Their Treatments
In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry , the researchers explored the different pharmaceuticals used to treat oral candidiasis (31 ) .
Although nystatin and amphotericin B were the drugs mostly used locally, fluconazole oral suspension is proving to be an effective drug as well in the treatment of oral candidiasis (32 ) .
For cutaneous candidiasis (skin candidiasis), a variety of antifungal powders and creams can be an effective medication. Keeping the skin surrounding the affected area clean and dry during the treatment is also essential.
Meanwhile, antifungal medications that are applied directly into the vagina work best to combat vaginal yeast infections.
In an article posted in July 2019, Mayo Clinic says that the appropriate treatment for yeast infections is determined by the severity and frequency of infections (33 ) .
Medications come in the form of suppositories, creams, ointments, or tablets.
Some complementary and alternative therapies may provide some relief when combined with a doctor’s supervision.
However, according to the same article, no alternative medicine therapies have been proved to treat vaginal yeast infections.
The Seven Questions
Several methods could help diagnose candidiasis, and most of these examinations are best done through the directions and advice of a medical professional.
In her book, Reset the Yeast Connection, Carolyn F. A. Dean MD ND talked about the seven questions she asks her patients to determine whether or not they have yeast overgrowth syndrome (34 ) .
Yeast Overgrowth Syndrome (YOS) is a term Dean uses to refer to candidiasis, Candida-related complex, Candida hypersensitivity, and yeast allergies.
In the book, Dean also discussed the FRDQ-7 (Fungus Related Disease Questionnaire-7) that Dr Heiko Santelmann, a German physician from Oslo, Norway, designed to diagnose YOS (35 ) .
Answering positively to two or more of these questions means there is yeast overgrowth.
- Have you, at any time in your life, taken “broad-spectrum” antibiotics?
- Have you taken tetracycline or other broad-spectrum antibiotics for one month or longer?
- Are your symptoms worse on damp, muggy days or in moldy places?
- Do you crave sugar?
- Do you have a feeling of being “drained”?
- Are you bothered with vaginal (or penile) burning itching or discharge?
- Are you bothered by burning, itching or tearing of eyes?
Supplements for Yeast Overgrowth
Common antifungal supplements that are effective in treating yeast overgrowth include caprylic acid, which is naturally found in coconut oil (36 ) .
Also, taking high-quality probiotic supplements may help during the treatment (37 ) .
These supplements would protect the body against another episode of yeast overgrown that could arise in the future.
The probiotics feed the good bacteria and yeast as well, so the supplements should only be taken after the Candida is already contained .
Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) is a type of cannabis that is one of the most recognized ancient plants. Sativa is Latin for “useful”, and it is a term that is commonly used in plant names.
Both hemp and marijuana plants belong to the plant genus cannabis. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States but is legally accepted in 16 states and the District of Columbia for therapeutic purposes.
CBD is naturally found in hemp plants, and this compound is commonly used to produce CBD hemp oil supplements. CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive. CBD derived from extracted from hemp is legal under United States federal law (38 ) .
Although CBD and THC are similar in chemical structure, they do not share the same psychoactive effects. THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 or CB1 receptors in the brain and produces a sense of euphoria.
CBD, however, binds inadequately to CB1 receptors. CBD can even disrupt the binding of THC and suppress its psychoactive effect, as researchers of a 2018 study published in the Neuropsychopharmacology Journal suggest. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, does not induce the “high” associated with THC (39 ) .
CBD and Drug Tests
Some people are apprehensive whether or not CBD would manifest on their drug test if they use CBD. The good news is that it would not. However, use only a pure broad-spectrum CBD product which does not have any THC added.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, and CBD may be detected during a drug test. To be sure that there would be no trace of THC in the body, choose a THC free product that has “broad spectrum” or “isolate THC free” on the label (40 ) .
Note that medical marijuana is legal in some states. For a complete list with the corresponding laws, fees, and possession limits, visit ProCon.org. (41 ) .
In several studies mentioned previously, CBD has been shown to possess natural antifungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties that may help with Candida and treat yeast overgrowth.
There are different types of candidiasis, depending on the particular area of the body that was affected. Treatments, even those with CBD products, also vary with each type.
Keep in mind, however, that there is no recommended CBD dosage specific for Candida. Thus, consulting with a trusted medical practitioner experienced with cannabis use is the best course of action for anyone looking to try CBD for the first time or include CBD in their current regimen.