Inside: CBD: 7 Surprising Health Benefits According To Research.
Cannabidiol or CBD which is a naturally occurring compound found in marijuana and hemp plants has gained popularity in the last few years for its use in many different ailments. Before we delve into the benefits of CBD let’s make one thing clear, CBD doesn’t contain any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound of the marijuana plant that gets you “high” and causes you to eat entire sleeves of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting. Truth be told you don’t have to be high to devour a sleeve of Thin Mints, but it doesn’t hurt.
CBD is made from extracting the oil from the cannabis plant and then mixing and diluting it with a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp seed to create CBD oil.
I am not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV, but I have done a fair amount of reading and studying on this topic as it is fascinating to me. Much like the marijuana debate that rages on in the United States, there is also controversy around CBD mostly due to false information. In this article, I will explain some of those false accusations and provide insight into the benefits of this wonderful remedy.
To understand how cannabidiol works you need to understand a bit of the science. The human body contains the endocannabinoid system. This system plays a part in homeostasis, the process that keeps our body and mind in check with the outside. The body tries to keep itself level and in check no matter what is going on around it. When it’s hot outside and you begin to sweat or when it’s cold and you shiver is an example of your body maintaining homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system has receptors in different tissues in your body and these receptors help to regulate functions such as, appetite, temperature, pain, mood, sleep, inflammation and more. Both THC and CBD react with these receptors but they do so in very different ways and have very different effects on our bodies and minds.
What are some of the benefits of CBD
CBD has been proven to benefit many health conditions of the body and the mind. Keep in mind that CBD is not addicting and is 100% safe to use. It may help some wean off addicting drugs like opioids if they can get the relief they need from non-addictive CBD.
People who deal with constant pain from conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis can experience relief with the use of CBD oil. CBD affects the brain’s receptors that help manage pain. It also provides anti-inflammatory effects, which can have impacts on several different conditions such as arthritis, MS pain, muscle pain, and migraines. Countries like Canada have approved it for use in multiple sclerosis and with treating pain from cancer.
Medicines like ibuprofen and NSAIDS that are used to treat pain can be problematic for your stomach over long term use so consider a switch to CBD.
Reduces anxiety and depression
The popularity of CBD oil use for anxiety and depression has been growing due to studies and research in the field. These studies, though still ongoing, cover conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder (MDD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers believe that it changes the way the brain’s receptors respond to serotonin ( the feel-good chemical in the brain).
Helps with sleep
Usually, when you’re having problems related to sleep it is a type of insomnia. Often this insomnia is due to underlying factors such as anxiety, depression, pain and overall bad sleeping conditions (noisy sleep environment, poor mattress, etc.) Since cannabidiol can help with all of these other conditions it stands to reason that if it’s helping with symptoms like pain then without the pain you can fall asleep.
CBD has also been found to increase REM sleep or the deep sleep patterns your body needs to achieve each night.
Inflammation is your body’s natural response and reaction to protect itself from injuries and illness. When your body perceives a threat, your body and immune system declare war and attacks whatever doesn’t belong. At times causing damage to your tissues while trying to protect you.
The endocannabinoid system and its neurotransmitters bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. Studies have indicated that CBD interacts with these neurotransmitters, in essence, interrupting their activity.
Calms Symptoms of epilepsy
CBD has been proven to help control and reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures as well as calm symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. One such story is that of The Stanley Brothers out of Colorado and Charlotte Figi.
The Stanley Brothers started in the marijuana business in 2008 when they started researching alternative cancer treatments for an uncle that was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 2011 they met little Charlotte who suffered from a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome. Charlotte suffered over 300 grand mal seizures a day and by the time she was 5 had tried all the pharmaceutical options available and nothing helped her.
The Stanley Brothers developed a special hybrid strain of medical marijuana (a mix between industrial hemp and low THC cannabis). This special strain maintains a constant 30:1 ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ratio. The Figis began administering this new treatment to Charlotte and her symptoms improved drastically.
Treat skin conditions
Multiple studies have shown that CBD oil has the potential for treating skin conditions, like eczema and in some cases acne. It helps to regulate the skin’s production of oil. With less oil production you will have reduced acne. Cannabidiol also contains Vitamin E which helps protect the skin and provide nourishment.
Is CBD/Cannabidiol legal
Any CBD containing zero THC is legal in all 50 states. It must, however, be a CBD oil that contains zero THC as there are some in “weed legal” states that do offer a mix of THC and cannabidiol.
How do you take CBD?
Tinctures are the most popular form and are taken by putting droplets under your tongue. The strength of the oil will determine how many drops to take. It can also be added to drinks like coffee. It is an acquired taste but some brands are flavored with orange, mint chocolate and more. CBD is also available for use in a vape (though we are starting to hear negative stories on vaping), food such as gummies and cookies, capsules and topical products that you can apply directly to your skin.
The choice is yours based on what you need to treat and your preferences.
My story with cannabidiol
I began to experience sleep issues in my mid-forties and was in search of a more natural treatment as opposed to over the counter sleep medicines. My problem wasn’t falling asleep. I can fall asleep anywhere at any time but I was having issues staying asleep. Once my eyes open my mind starts racing about the day and I can’t turn it off.
I cycled through the OTC medications at first and tried breathing exercises and anything else you can think of. I began experimenting with CBD after hearing the story of the Stanley Brothers on a podcast where they discussed the benefits. I went online and researched several different products and decided on their brand, Charlottes Web.
I purchased a bottle of full-strength CBD oil and began taking it twice a day as recommended. Within a few days, I began to feel calmer during the day and began to sleep soundly at night. My sleep became so sound that I started to dream again and remember my dreams the next morning, something that hadn’t happened to me in years.
CBD is not the cure-all for every health issue but it is worth giving it a try if you are having any of the issues above. With all medical advice, it is best to speak to your doctor as well and ask their opinion. More and more physicians are coming on board with alternative treatment methods like CBD and medical marijuana and it’s only a matter of time before the stigma of this plant is put to sleep. (no pun intended)
Have you ever tried CBD or has someone you know experimented with it? Let me know your experience in the comments below.