So, what is with CBD?
You see it on tons of different labels, claiming to be a natural way to reduce general pain, alleviate anxiety and depression, help with cancer-related symptoms, reduce acne, as well as the fact that it may contain potential neuroprotective properties, benefit heart health, and other minor health effects.
According to Healthline, the following are some of these lesser-known positive effects:
- Antipsychotic effects: There’s a touch of research suggesting that CBD may help people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders by reducing psychotic symptoms.
- Substance abuse treatment: CBD has been shown to modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction. For instance, in this study done on rats, CBD was shown to reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior.
- Anti-tumor effects: In test-tube and animal studies, CBD has demonstrated anti-tumor effects. In animals, it has been shown to prevent the spread of breast, prostate, brain, colon, and lung cancer.
- Diabetes prevention: In diabetic mice, treatment with CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes by 56% and significantly reduced inflammation.
What Does CBD Do?
CBD, or the abbreviation of the substance cannabidiol, is misconstrued often as something that can give you a high, due to its association with the marijuana plant. However, the high-inducing chemical is actually THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Understanding that key difference is imperative in understanding the positive effects that CBD can have without confusing it with the psychedelic, drug-like effects of marijuana and THC.
So what exactly does CBD do and how does it work?
First, you have to have a simple understanding of the ECS, or endocannabinoid system. This system is the cornerstone in regulating functions like sleep, appetite, memory, pain, and immunity. What this system relies on is neurotransmitters called, you guessed it, endocannabinoids, that bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. That’s why THC, derived from cannabis, results in some side effects related to sleep and appetite, but also why CBD, the other cannabis-derived substance, is related to pain and anxiety relief. More information on the endocannabinoid system can be found here.
Now that you see CBD slapped on everything from makeup to cough drops to paraphernalia, it’s easy to think that it’s trendy, temporary, and inconsequential in the long run. This list of benefits of CBD is supposed to help you understand better the potential impact CBD can have on your personal pain problems, be that anything from headaches to anxiety.
Benefits of CBD
Early on, we introduced you to the main topics and areas of focus that CBD can benefit. Here we’ll go into more specifics, per scientific studies and health databases.
CBD has been shown to:
- Reduce stress.
- Decrease different effects of anxiety, such as increased heart rate or other physical nervous habits.
- Improve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
- Promote sleep in cases of insomnia and sleep deprivation.
- Potentially reduce epileptic seizures in patients that participated in a study utilizing CBD and seizure medication, but more research is ongoing to confidently verify the correlation.
- Potentially treat a number of different conditions for the elderly, including:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson's disease
- Neurological inflammation that makes these conditions worse
- Relieve pain, with evidence and pre-clinical trials showing pain relief relating to the following conditions:
- Chronic pain
- MS pain
- Muscle pain
- Spinal cord injuries
- Chemotherapy treatment pain
- Potentially help reduce acne, though evidence supporting CBD and acne are slim, appropriate use of the oil prevented activity in the sebaceous glands that produce excess oil that leads to acne. Too much, however, resulted in acne all the same.
- Help alleviate pains and symptoms commonly associated with cancer treatment side effects, though the National Cancer Institute doesn't 100% endorse or support those claims, simply saying that correlation is possible.
- The studies on this topic show that there’s promising evidence to show that CBD affects how cancer cells reproduce while simultaneously alleviating the discomfort of inflammation. For more related information, click here.
How to Use CBD the Right Way
CBD can come in either a powder or oil, which in turn can be turned into different substances like creams, gels, capsules, etc. This means that CBD can be taken orally or used externally, depending on the condition and area of treatment. Since the benefits of CBD are wide and varied, the proper use of the substance will vary in turn.
It’s important to refer to your doctor before getting started using CBD oil or powder, as it isn’t yet approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use, and there can be different side effects associated with it. Due to the strict regulation of cannabis and its substances like CBD and THC, there are hoops for researchers to jump through to continue studying and exploring the potential benefits and effects.
This Harvard Medical review on CBD claims that potential side effects can include nausea, fatigue, and irritability, but also that CBD use should be closely monitored due to its position as a supplement rather than medication. (Supplements are generally unregulated by the FDA, where medications have rules to follow and procedures to go through). CBD is not a cure-all, but it is a new option for those suffering from any of the conditions and symptoms found on this list of CBD benefits.
Though cannabis and THC have addictive qualities, CBD is non-addictive and intended for multiuse. Therefore, CBD use will not inhibit your normal routine (like driving). For more information about CBD, check out our other CBD blog here.
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