Recently, CBD is becoming a popular trend in the wellness market. It is promoted by health companies as an effective ingredient that can cure even the most serious health conditions, like Alzheimer’s. Moreover, you can find CBD extract included in almost all products now—from coffee to lotion—and many health supplements take pride in having it as an ingredient.
However, questions, such as about its origin, safety, and effectiveness, are being brought out into the open. Now, if you are among the many who are curious about CBD, then continue to read on and find out everything you need to know about it.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD actually means cannabidiol, which comes from the hemp plant—a cousin of Cannabis sativa or more commonly known as marijuana. This natural substance is turned into edibles or extracted as oils for its benefit of calmness and relaxation.
It is found out that CBD is one of the active and common components that are found in medical marijuana, but there is no report or study that says it can cause a user to be “high” by using this ingredient alone.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) itself confirms that it does not result in dependency or abuse in humans. In addition, no health problems associated with CBD usage has been reported yet.
CBD is the component of the cannabis plant that is not psychoactive. For this reason, it will not give you the euphoria effect. However, there are people whose bodies experience side-effects when taking some drugs, so you should watch out for possible reactions in case you have this tendency. It is advised that before you start taking CBD supplements you ask guidance from a health worker first.
Moreover, it is necessary to purchase CBD products that have been third-party tested to ensure quality. This is important since some products may not be as effective as what advertisers claim, especially that FDA does not regulate CBD products yet.
HOW DOES CBD WORK?
There are a lot of supplementation products that offer a lot of health benefits, and some even guarantee to cure their customers’ illnesses. Since not all supplements are really able to work according to what has been promised, it is not surprising anymore that there are people who have become sceptical about wellness products.
Yes, it is wise and necessary for people to confirm the authenticity of any health product before believing everything that is said in advertisements. For this reason, reading this article about CBD is a good step to be taken first. This way, you can judge if cannabis oil is really effective and worth the try or not.
Many people use CBD oil to treat a wide variety of health problems. It is often taken by people who are suffering from anxiety or depression because of the relaxation it gives. In addition, cannabis oil is used to treat various illnesses that range from small to serious, like from acne to cancer.
How does CBD work?
Studies on CBD Functions
There are several studies and reviews published online that support the claims of CBD’s effectivity. Research conducted both on humans and animals showed that this substance has potential benefits that consumers can take advantage of.
In 2017, a review was published in a journal describing how CBD can support the hippocampus, which is the brain’s region that is responsible for a person’s cognitive functions, such as memory and learning process, against stress. Moreover, it is stated that it may help preserve the brain cells from deterioration due to schizophrenia. (1)
Another published review in 2017 gave a summary of how cannabis oils can aid in chronic pain management. According to studies, CBD helps in reducing chronic pain by interacting with the neurotransmitters, influencing the activity of the endocannabinoid receptor, and decreasing inflammation. (1, 2)
More other studies support the claim that CBD can be used to treat different forms of chronic pain. Another study published in the European Journal of Pain proved that CBD is effective in reducing inflammation and pain as results of arthritis. Based on a study, this substance can inhibit neuropathic and inflammatory pain, which are among the kind of chronic pain it can be used to treat.
How to Take CBD
There are many ways to take CBD. It depends on the purpose of the consumers and their preference.
The most common way is by taking it as an extract or oil, or as edibles, such as gummies or capsules. Nevertheless, there are people who prefer applying this substance as a topical ointment or cream, especially as a remedy to joint and muscle pains. Other methods are by taking it via vape pens and tinctures.
More than the purpose and preference, what customers should consider when selecting the way of taking CBD are the speed and duration of effectivity. There are methods which work faster, but their effect disappears faster too. On the other hand, some others may take a longer time to work, but the effect lasts longer as well.
Vape pens work quicker compared to other means, usually within ten minutes, but its effect only lasts for more or less two hours. On the other hand, even though edibles and tinctures may take more time to deliver relief, about half an hour, but at least the effectivity stays for around five hours.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CBD AND THC?
CBD is usually associated with another compound that is present in medical marijuana—the THC. How does CBD differ from it?
There are thousands of compounds that cannabis plants produce. However, the most popular compounds are part of the cannabinoids class. Among the several cannabinoids, the two most recognised in the health market are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Between the two compounds, THC is the psychoactive substance that gives marijuana the power to make its consumers “high”. On the other hand, CBD does not have any psychoactive effect, so if used on its own, it cannot make people “high”.
CBD Isolate is pure CBD that was extracted from the hemp plant, and then isolated from the other cannabinoids that were present, resulting in a 99% pure CBD extract.
Full Spectrum CBD is CBD that was extracted from the hemp plant along with all the other cannabinoids that were present, including THC.
Broad Spectrum CBD is a bit of a mix between both CBD isolate and Full Spectrum CBD. Essentially, Broad Spectrum CBD is Full Spectrum CBD, without the THC.
Therefore, if you are questioning the legality of CBD products, then this is how it goes. There are still countries and states that prohibit the usage of marijuana. The main reason for it is its psychoactive effects, which are caused by THC. Thus, cannabis products that only contain CBD, like oils and edibles, are acceptable in society and legal to be sold.
CBD is becoming more popular as a wellness supplement. Forbes even predicted that by 2020, CBD products would be a $2.2 billion industry already.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CBD?
So, what are the health benefits that one can get from CBD? Why is it considered by many a wonder drug or supplement that can beat a lot of health conditions that are usually hard to prevent or treat?
The following are some of the CBD benefits that you may be able to experience if you take this supplement:
Can Decrease Depression and Anxiety Symptoms
Among the mental health disorders known, depression and anxiety are among the most prevalent that affect millions of patients all over the world.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that among the mental conditions that contribute to disability all over the world, depression ranks first, while anxiety disorders rank sixth. (1)
CBD oil is seen to be a promising cure for both anxiety disorders and depression. For this reason, many patients whose lives are greatly affected by these illnesses are interested in trying this approach.
Based on studies conducted on animals, CBD releases effects that are similar to those of anti-depressants. These are associated with CBD’s capability to affect how the brain receives the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can regulate social behaviours and moods. (1, 2)
Furthermore, CBD has also been given as a treatment to children who experienced anxiety and insomnia as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder. (1)
Another study was conducted on a group of 24 people suffering from social anxiety disorder, and it confirmed that CBD worked better than a placebo. The patients who received 600 mg of CBD before a speech performance test appeared to be less anxious and with lesser discomfort and cognitive difficulties than those in the placebo group. (1)
Acts as a Pain Reliever
Even as early as 2900 B.C., marijuana has already been used as a cure for pain. Modern scientists have found out that CBD is one of the components that give marijuana its pain-relieving properties. (1)
Our bodies have a system known as the endocannabinoid system or ECS. This is responsible for regulating several bodily functions, such as immune system response, appetite, sleep, and pain. Now, the neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids are produced, and they work by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. CBD can help alleviate pain by interacting with these neurotransmitters and by impacting the ECS. (1, 2)
Other studies done on humans concluded that the combination of CBD and THC can also treat pain that is related to arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Sativex, an oral spray used to cure multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis is one of the approved medications that contain CBD and THC. Several studies have shown that using Sativex leads to significant results in improving pain symptoms. Among the effects are improved sleep, rest, and movement. (1, 2)
Improves heart health
According to research, CBD may have some benefits for the circulatory system and the heart too. One of the benefits is lowering the high blood pressure, which is associated with many health risks including metabolic syndrome, heart attack, and stroke. CBD is indicated by studies to be an effective–and at the same time natural–cure for high blood pressure. (1)
One study involving treating ten men with a dose of CBD oil reported that it could lower blood pressure more than a placebo. The same men were also put under stress tests afterward, and their blood pressure only increased lower than what was normally expected. (1)
According to researchers, its ability to decrease blood pressure could be the result of CBD’s capacity to reduce anxiety and stress.
In addition, there were animal studies that explained how CBD’s stress-reducing and antioxidant qualities aid in decreasing cell death and inflammation that are related to heart problems. For instance, a study conducted on diabetic mice discovered that CBD treatment resulted in oxidative stress decline and prevented heart damage. (1)
May Help Treat Neurological Disorders
With CBD’s capability to interact with brain signaling systems, like ECS, it may help prevent or treat neurological disorders. As a matter of fact, several studies have been conducted on how this substance can treat multiple sclerosis and epilepsy among other neurological disorders, and the results were promising.
As stated in the previous number, the oral spray Sativex has been proven to be an effective and safe medication for people with multiple sclerosis since it can decrease muscle spasticity. A study confirmed this by showing that 75% out of 276 multiple sclerosis patients, who originally had muscle spasticity that did not respond to treatments, were able to experience reduced spasms. Another study reported that CBD oil can also help decrease seizures of patients with Dravet syndrome, which is a complicated childhood epilepsy disorder. (1, 2)
CBD is also being considered a potential epilepsy treatment. One study involved 214 patients of severe epilepsy who were given dosages of CBD oil, with the amount depending on the body weight of each respondent. The result was reduced seizures by a certain percentage. (1)
More researches are being conducted on how CBD can be used to treat other neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Several test-tube and animal studies showed a promising effect on Alzheimer’s patients. In one study conducted on mice with Alzheimer’s in their genes, the CBD given to them stopped the decline in their cognitive capabilities. Other studies summarised that CBD may stop neurodegeneration and reduce inflammation associated with this mental condition. (1, 2)
Clears Out Acne
More than 9% of the population is affected by acne. This skin condition is usually caused by several factors such as bacteria, genes, oily skin secretion, sebum overproduction, and inflammation. (1, 2, 3)
According to research, CBD oil may be an effective cure for an acne outbreak. This is because CBD has the capability to slow down sebum production, plus it is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. (1)
A test-tube study discovered that cannabis extract, with its anti-inflammatory properties, could fight off inflammatory cytokines and other agents that promote acne and stop excessive sebum secretion of sebaceous gland cells. (1)
There are other studies that support this claim too. However, more studies on humans need to be done to seal the effectiveness of CBD as an acne treatment.
Decreases cancer symptoms and side effects caused by treatment
CBD is also claimed to be a promising cancer cure. Several studies reported that it can help alleviate cancer-related signs and symptoms. Plus, it can reduce the side effects of cancer treatment, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting.
There have been animal and test-tube studies conducted to prove the anti-cancer qualities of CBD. There was one study done on mice that showed how CBD could prevent or slow down the spread of breast cancer cells. Furthermore, a test-tube study reported that concentrated CBD prompted the death of breast cancer cells.
CBD may also provide relief to people who experience cancer-related pain. There was a study conducted on 177 respondents that aimed to look at the effectiveness of THC and CBD as a pain reliever. Compared to those who only took THC extract, the respondents who received both THC and CBD compounds experienced more pain relief. (1)
Studies also confirmed that CBD can help decrease chemotherapy-related side effects like nausea and vomiting. One study which involved 16 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy proved the efficacy of the THC and CBD combination in reducing these side effects that followed chemotherapy. (1, 2)
More studies are needed to be conducted on humans to make concrete evidence that cannabis oil has cancer-fighting qualities, making it effective in alleviating cancer-related symptoms and cancer-treatment side effects.
Other Possible Benefits
Aside from the aforementioned benefits, there are a lot of other health advantages that are associated with CBD. They are the following:
• Prevents diabetes- Done on diabetic mice, CBD treatment decreased inflammation and the occurrence of diabetes by 56%. (1)
• Cures drug abuse- CBD may also help treat substance abuse by modifying the brain circuits that have been affected by drugs. A study conducted on rats reported that CBD could decrease dependence on morphine and craving for heroin. (1)
• Reduces psychotic symptoms- CBD has antipsychotic effects too. There are studies suggesting that this substance may help patients with mental illness, like schizophrenia, cope with their situation by minimising its symptoms. (1)
• Has anti-tumor properties- Animal and test-tube studies showed that CBD has the capacity to prevent tumours from spreading, thus being a big help in the prevention of cancer. (1)
CBD is a potential cure for many health conditions. However, there is a need for more studies to be conducted on people to prove its effectiveness and safety in treating certain human disorders.
Just like with other substances, people taking CBD may experience side-effects too. Some of the side-effects that have been reported are irritability, fatigue, and nausea. Furthermore, CBD may elevate the levels of the blood thinner and other medications in the body, the same way a grapefruit juice can.
Consumers should understand that CBD is currently marketed as a supplement, meaning it does not have any therapeutic claim at the moment. As of now, health supplements are not regulated by the FDA yet. For this reason, it is necessary to consult a physician first before taking a CBD product or any supplementation.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND
Now, there are hundreds of CBD products being marketed and sold. Before buying anything, you should consider some important things to protect your safety and ensure your wellness.
Here are some reminders you better keep in mind:
• Third-party tested
To make sure the product’s label is accurate it is best if you look for a product which goes through a third party testing first before being sold. To find about this information, you can directly search for the quality assurance stamp given by the third party on the packaging. You can also check the brand’s website.
• FDA disclaimer and warning
When buying any dietary supplement, it is important that you check for the section that provides this information from the FDA. This is proof that the product has been screened by the FDA first before being out in the market. The disclaimer says that the product has no approved therapeutic claim.
In connection with the previous bullet, consumers need to be cautious in believing supplements that assure customers that they can cure certain diseases. Brands that make such claims have to be avoided. This means it is either they are not aware of the FDA rules, or they are willing to break them.
Look for a brand that gives clear instruction on the dosing. It should give you a head’s up to whether the CBD in that product is isolate or full-spectrum. Isolate means it only includes pure cannabis oil, while full-spectrum has other cannabinoids included. This information is necessary since the dosage can affect the effectivity of a product.
Find out what other ingredients are included in the product. It is important to know everything that you take in, especially when it comes to drugs and supplements. Some of the additional ingredients might cause side-effects or interaction with your medications if you have.
Without a doubt, the popularity of CBD products is soaring higher, especially as more studies confirming its health benefits are coming out. However, just like with other supplements, consumers must not believe everything that is being said about it by companies trying to sell their products.
CBD supplements must never replace conventional medicines in treating diseases. They are only meant to help our bodies get all the nutrients they need to be healthier and stronger against health threats.