CBD is one of the most popular cannabinoids extracted from industrial hemp or the cannabis Sativa plant. It has a strong association with marijuana which is why its legal status is quite a grey area around the world. Industrial Hemp contains less than 0.3 % tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is safe for consumption without causing any impairment. THC and CBD are the two most important cannabinoids compounds of the cannabis or hemp plant. Even though they have a lot of structural similarities they are close to being polar opposites. THC is psychoactive and can cause euphoric effects on the other hand CBD is non-addictive and cannot cause a high.
How CBD works?
CBD and THC can interact with our bodies at the molecular level through the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is the main cell signaling mechanism of our body which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis and various physiological functions including; inflammation, pain, memory, cognitive function, and digestive function. CBD may only be able to partially interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system but the entourage effect can boost the uptake and production of the cannabinoids uptake by the cell membranes in the body.
Is CBD legal?
The increasing popularity of CBD is due to its incredible therapeutic properties which is why many states of the US / UK and other countries are also considering legalising it and give CBD the status of prescription medication. The European Union and the food and drug authority of the US have legalised the use of CBD containing less than 0.3% THC.
How to use CBD?
If you are also new to using CBD and wonder which product would work the best for you then you have a lot of options as CBD is available in several products. Oil, capsules, edibles, vapes, topicals, teas, and smoking products. Each of these products delivers CBD to the body and overall will give the same effects, just each product has different absorption rates and release rates. Meaning some products will enter the bloodstream faster than others, but others will remain in the body for longer meaning a longer release of CBD.
CBD health benefits
The supporters of CBD believe that it has the following health benefits that are also backed by science:
Let’s take look at some of the health concerns that can be managed by CBD.
People globe suffer from pain due to different conditions, which can affect the daily life and productivity of people. It is estimated that around 100 million suffer from pain daily such as neuropathic pain, chronic pain, etc. The most common treatment option used is the over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that put the long-term health of the users at risk. In this regard, people often look for natural alternatives such as CBD which carry fewer side effects and are non-toxic in long-term use.
Studies have revealed that CBD has potent pain-reducing properties. Researchers are not sure how CBD works as an analgesic but the anecdotal research on animal models has given very optimistic results. Research on rats suffering from pain due to osteoarthritis and arthritic show that the application of CBD topical such as gels can lower pain levels. Not only is that it also effective in lowering inflammation due to arthritis.
Moreover, different studies on the effects of CBD on chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and pain due to multiple sclerosis also show very optimistic results.
Can reduce Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are common present-day mental health disorders that can have drastic effects on a person’s quality of life. According to WHO (World Health Organization), about 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and a large proportion of these people suffer from anxiety as well. These disorders are usually treated with pharmaceutical medicines, such as neuro transmitter inhibiters or uptake inhibiters. These usually help to fix in balances in one area of the brain but can then unbalance other areas of the brain causing unwanted side effects.
Medical studies in humans and animals demonstrate clear evidence that CBD can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. This characteristic of CBD is linked to its ability to act on serotonin receptors of the brain. Maintaining a balance in the serotonin level is the key therapy to treat anxiety and depression. CBD is also effective in reducing symptoms of social anxiety, OCD, panic disorders, and public speaking anxiety. Moreover, there are no figures to verify that CBD causes side effects as the body’s natural homeostasis can attempt to rebalance the areas which are either too high or low in certain neurotransmitters.
Can alleviate Cancer and related symptoms
Cancer is a notorious disease characterised by the uncontrolled division and growth of cells due to cellular mutation that can result in tumour formations. Cancer can be treated at the most stages with hectic and extensive treatment.
Comprehensive medical research shows that CBD can alleviate cancer symptoms, improve the actions of chemotherapy and reduce the symptoms associated with chemotherapy. It can treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are the most common side effects of chemotherapy due to it being an antiemetic. One study also indicates that CBD and THC, both together, can significantly relieve cancer-related pain. Taking CBD oil regularly may help prevent the spread of some types of cancer. Some animal and in-vitro studies have shown that CBD may even have anti-cancer properties, but more data and research is required to confirm this.
Can reduce acne and other skin conditions
Acne is a popular skin disorder affecting about 9% of the world's population but most commonly around the teenage years. It is usually caused by inflammation and the over-production of sebum in pores in the skin. Sebum is a naturally produced oily and waxy substance that protects our skin. Sometimes it can mix up with dead cells, bacteria, and other pollutants and get trapped inside the pores that may lead to whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples on the body and face.
CBD can exhibit remarkable effectiveness against various types of acne. Some scientific studies have explored that CBD can affect the sebaceous glands of the skin and prevent them from making too much sebum. The latest researches revealed that CBD oil can inhibit inflammatory actions of cytokines, which otherwise can lead to acne. Regular use of CBD can eliminate unattractive pimples from your face and reduce redness and swelling. CBD is being used more frequently in several skin creams and ointments because applying it topically can provide relief from inflammatory and auto-immune skin disorders like psoriasis.
Can treat Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that causes seizures. Seizures are caused by unstable electrical activity in the brain or imbalances in neurotransmitters. Epilepsy cannot be treated completely, but it can be managed and reduced in a few ways.
Recent medical studies have revealed that CBD can help epilepsy patients, but the exact mechanism is still unknown. It is believed that CBD exhibits an anti-seizure effect by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors of the brain, which regulates the various functions of the body. After comprehensive research on the safety of CBD in epilepsy treatment, the FDA (Food Drug Administration) in America has approved the use of Epidiolox CBD for the treatment of two rare forms of Epilepsy; Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and Davet Syndrome. Epidiolex is a purified form of CBD and is usually prescribed in children with Epilepsy. It is also effective in treating tuberous sclerosis complex, another rare condition.
Help prevent Heart diseases
High blood pressure is the major cause of heart disease which can increase the risk of stroke. In a stroke, the blood flow to the brain is blocked due to a blood clot causing an area of the brain to be starved of oxygen. Inflammation is a process that may lead to many heart diseases like coronary heart disease and heart attack.
The current study has correlated CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system. CBD has also shown the ability to lower high blood pressure and stress levels. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD can prevent many risk factors that may lead to heart diseases. In a human study, CBD has lowered the blood pressure of people under stressed conditions this lowering the risk of heart disease. However, its efficacy under non-stressful conditions is not yet known. In addition to that, CBD can also prevent brain damage during a stroke and even help to recover brain functions. Some data also suggest that CBD can increase cerebral blood flow in stroke. Do not take CBD for heart conditions without consulting your doctor.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative brain disease that gradually worsens to dementia and decreased cognitive skills. There is evidence that supports the CBD’s role in eliminating dementia from brain cells and increasing the connection between neurones. However, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved CBD for the treatment of dementia. Inflammation within the brain is the main cause of Alzheimer's disease. CBD oil can be beneficial in reducing this inflammation within the brain and body. Furthermore, oxidative stress associated with Alzheimer's disease that can deteriorate brain functions can be handled by CBD due to its antioxidant properties. Clinical Research has indicated that CBD can reverse the progression of Alzheimer's.
Other Potential Health Benefits
CBD can benefit our health in various ways. There is some data to support these uses of CBD:
- Diabetes prevention: CBD can treat diabetes by helping the body manage and maintain blood glucose levels and reducing inflammation in certain organs associated with diabetes.
- Substance Abuse Treatment: In animal studies, CBD has been shown to treat morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behaviour. CBD act by modifying the brain systems that are responsible for drug craving and seeking behaviour.
- Treat Insomnia: CBD can treat people suffering from insomnia. According to some studies, CBD can improve sleep by controlling the stress hormone cortisol, allowing the body and brain to relax and come out of a chronic fight or flight response.
- Antipsychotic effects: CBD oil can relieve the psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia, psychosis, and other mental disorders.
CBD has emerged as a very promising therapeutic alternative for different conditions, however, research on the therapeutic properties and long-term effects of using CBD is still insufficient due to it only beginning studies and trials in recent years. Therefore if you want to try CBD for any health concern it would be wise to discuss it with your doctor before starting using it.