What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol Oil, or CBD as it’s commonly referred to, is a popular natural remedy extracted from cannabis plants. The benefits of CBD have become increasingly accepted and sought after in recent years, and with plenty of good reason. But what is CBD?
CBD is a chemical compound that can be extracted from both Cannabis Sativa and Hemp plants. Cannabis Sativa plants also notably contain the cannabinoid compound THC, which when ingested, creates the feeling of being “high.” Hemp plants are a type of cannabis that contains no THC, which is the main difference between the two.
As we mentioned above, CBD can be found in both types of cannabis plants and is non-psychoactive. In other words, CBD won’t get you “high.”
In cannabis plants, over 200 chemical compounds each have their unique effects on our bodies. THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most abundantly found compound responsible for creating the psychoactive ‘high’ experience.
CBD is the second most abundant compound in cannabis and is credited with many exceptional healing qualities without making users “stoned.” While CBD oils may occasionally contain trace amounts of THC, it is a highly minimal amount that is not likely to affect users. Commonly, CBD is restricted by law to contain no more than .3% THC, though these laws may vary by region.
CBD oil is one of the most popular (and quickest) ways to ingest CBD, though there is no shortage of delicious and convenient CBD-infused products out there. Capsules, powder mixes, food & drinks, and sublingual CBD sprays are easy to find in-stores and online.
Why Is CBD So Popular?
In recent years, CBD sales and use have skyrocketed- by some estimates generating 2.8 billion dollars in revenue last year alone. The main reason for its ever-growing popularity is that it has such a wide range of applications with extremely minimal side effects.
Many proponents of CBD appreciate it as a more “natural” approach to easing the symptoms of common health conditions. It is generally considered safe for most people to use with a low potential for abuse (though it can interact with certain medications, which is why you should check with a doctor first if you are taking other medications).
While the benefits of CBD have not all been conclusively proven in trials, the increasing amount of research into the compound remains extremely promising.
7 Benefits Of CBD
One of the most sought-after benefits of CBD is its pain-relieving capabilities. Studies have shown that CBD can directly impact our endocannabinoid system (which regulates sleep, appetite, and pain & immune system response).
When CBD comes into contact with these endocannabinoid receptors, it can reduce swelling and inflammation and interact with other neurotransmitters. That’s all just a confusing way of saying that CBD cannabinoids can influence sensation and immune response in a positive way.
Some studies have shown that a combination of THC and CBD treatment can improve the symptoms of chronically painful conditions such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Anxiety & Depression Treatment
Seeking relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression has inspired many to give CBD a try, and with good reason. By this point, many successful studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of CBD in treating anxiety and depression.
Though the exact dose and regimen necessary may vary by person (and is still debated), many patients experienced decreased anxiety levels when using CBD. For depression, scientists believe that CBD can act as a serotonin regulator (the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating social behavior and mood).
One of the most appealing aspects of CBD as a treatment for anxiety and depression is that it is a much more natural approach than many pharmaceuticals prescribed for these conditions tend to be. Many of these medications (such as benzodiazepines) come with a host of nasty side effects and the potential for abuse.
We mentioned above how CBD can influence the endocannabinoid system, which regulates sleep. Many people with sleep disorders have reported improved sleep duration and quality when using CBD as a supplement.
As with anxiety and depression treatment, the amount required can vary from person to person and is not always agreed upon. Though more studies are required to understand this connection’s full scope better, this is one of the most common reasons users have cited they use CBD.
One surprising benefit of using CBD is that it can reduce high blood pressure in certain individuals (and, therefore, the risk for heart disease). A 2017 study found that a single dose of CBD improved blood pressure and restored normal heart function after a stressful event.
One of the ultimate findings in that study was that patients who had hypertension, stress, and anxiety might benefit from complementary CBD therapy. However, at this time, there is no evidence that CBD oil alone can treat or prevent hypertension.
CBD may also help reduce inflammation and cell death in the heart, which are also associated with heart disease.
In recent years, CBD has been studied heavily as a potential treatment option for epilepsy and seizures. Though the exact relationship is uncertain, CBD has occasionally been effective at treating rare epileptic disorders – particularly in newborn children.
Though the best results have been obtained when CBD is used alongside other treatment options, some patients prefer CBD as a more natural treatment approach.
Due to its anti-inflammatory capabilities, CBD oil may be effective in reducing acne for some people. It is believed that CBD may work against the conditions that cause acne, preventing it before it can appear.
Opposite harsh skin washes containing many chemicals, CBD may prove to be one of the safest and most effective acne treatment options (though, as always, more studies are needed).
In some studies, CBD has been observed as an effective supplement for addiction recovery in some patients. It is believed that over time, CBD can help “re-wire” our brain circuits that respond to drug use.
CBD seems to show particular promise in treating opioid and stimulant addiction. It has the potential to help alleviate painful and uncomfortable symptoms associated with drug withdrawal.
The Bottom Line
Though we are just beginning to understand the true potential of CBD and its healing benefits, it’s clear that it has the potential to change the way we approach treatment for specific conditions. Though a lot more investigation is needed to determine the benefits of CBD conclusively, the growing body of research gives us plenty of reason to feel optimistic!
DISCLOSURE: This is not meant to be taken as medical advice. You should always consult your doctor before entertaining the idea of adding CBD to your health regimen.