Health Benefits And Effects Of CBD Oil
CBD’s popularity is on the rise in the United States and the use of this magical elixir is expected to increase steadily, according to multiple surveys. But what exactly are the health benefits of CBD oil?
64% of adults in the U.S. are familiar with CBD or CBD products, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Medical experts note that the increase in CBD’s popularity may be due in part to its touted medicinal and therapeutic benefits.
You would be forgiven for wondering what exactly those benefits are and whether or not they are genuine, or is it all just hype?
Below are 10 authentic health benefits of CBD oil, backed by research.
What Is CBD?
The cannabis sativa plant naturally produces well over 400 chemical compounds.
Of these, more than 80 of them are cannabinoids, with cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most prevalent.
First discovered in the early 1940s, CBD is the second-most popular cannabinoid after THC.
Unlike the latter, CBD is non-psychoactive, and it does not cause a ‘high’ or euphoric effect.
This quality makes CBD a more popular natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs in treating multiple conditions.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
CBD can be extracted from marijuana plants or hemp plants. Hemp is a variety of cannabis plants that produces a very low amount of THC that cannot get you high.
Hemp-derived CBD may contain trace amounts of THC, usually less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana-derived CBD may contain a higher THC concentration.
CBD oil is made by combining pure CBD extract with an appropriate carrier oil like hemp seed oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.
CBD oil is available in various products from bath bombs, creams, tinctures, lotions, gummies, dietary supplements, etc.
It’s important to note that though the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp and distribution of hemp-based CBD products at a federal level, some state laws maintain that CBD is still illegal.
What Is CBD Used To Treat?
A World Health Organization report finds no public health risks or potential abuse of CBD.
Instead, the WHO report determined that cannabidiol has “been demonstrated as an effective treatment for epilepsy,” including some rare forms of epilepsy that do not respond to anti-seizure medications.
The report further stated that there is preliminary evidence that CBD might be helpful in treating;
- Parkison’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
In acknowledgment of the discoveries of the medical potential of CBD in recent years, the report noted, “Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product.”
Although more research and human studies are needed to understand how CBD works, there is anecdotal evidence that CBD might also help manage the following medical conditions:
- Chronic pain
- Inflammation, including neuropathic pain and arthritis
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Autoimmune diseases like type-1 diabetes
- Cancer-related symptoms
How Does CBD Work?
Researchers are not sure precisely how CBD works.
But they do know that, unlike THC, CBD does not have a strong binding affinity with the CB1 receptors in our brain. Hence it cannot produce psychoactive effects.
Instead, CBD is thought to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in our central nervous system, such as the opioid receptors that help your body control pain.
It also interacts with glycine receptors that are involved in serotonin control, a chemical that regulates sleep and mood.
There is also some scientific evidence pointing to the pain-relieving, calming, and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
People are increasingly turning to CBD as a natural treatment to relieve their symptoms without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs such as the highly addictive opioids.
10 Health Benefits Of CBD Oil
Now you know what CBD is, and a little bit about how it works, let’s take a closer look at the 10 major health benefits of CBD oil.
1. May Help Cancer-Related Symptoms
There is evidence from early studies that the use of CBD might help alleviate cancer-related symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment like pain, vomiting, and nausea.
In an earlier study, researchers investigated the effects of CBD combined with THC in people with cancer pain that did not respond to pain medications.
The people who received both CBD and THC extracts experienced more significant pain relief than those who received a THC extract only.
According to a review of 5 studies, Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine for treating common Multiple sclerosis (M.S.) symptoms like muscle spasms and muscle stiffness, may help reduce cancer-related pain in some patients.
Although several studies show that CBD might help manage cancer-related symptoms, more research still needs to be done to determine how CBD works and if it should be used regularly to manage cancer symptoms.
Hence, cancer patients who want to use cannabis products, including medical marijuana and CBD oil to manage their symptoms must consult their healthcare providers first.
2. CBD May Offer Pain Relief
Cannabis (hemp) has a long history of use in pain management and treating sore eyes since as far back as 2,000 BCE by ancient Egyptians.
Recent scientific studies have found that specific active ingredients in cannabis, including cannabidiol (CBD), play a major role in its pain-relieving effects.
The human body has a biological and specialized cell signaling system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS regulates vital processes like;
- Pain sensation
- Immune response
Our bodies produce endocannabinoids, molecules similar to the cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants. Endocannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors, helping regulate the processes mentioned earlier.
Multiple clinical trials suggest that CBD might help relieve chronic pain by reducing inflammation and influencing the activity of the cannabinoid receptors.
recent research found that CBD may effectively manage specific types of pain such as back pain and nerve pain when used on its own.
However, further studies show that CBD may be more effective when used with THC.
According to several human studies, a combination of CBD and THC may effectively manage pain associated with arthritis and multiple sclerosis (M.S.).
3. Neuroprotective Capabilities of CBD
The neurological benefits of CBD have been widely researched.
Researchers believe that because CBD can influence the endocannabinoid system and some of our brain-signaling systems, it may offer significant benefits for people with neurological disorders.
Although studies are still in their early stages, researchers have found promising results in the use of CBD in treating disorders like M.S. and epilepsy.
In a study, Sativex was observed to reduce spasms in approximately 75% of 276 MS patients with muscle spasticity that did not respond to medications.
CBD was also shown to reduce seizures significantly. During the study, researchers gave each of the 214 people with severe symptoms of epilepsy between 0.9 to 2.3 grams of CBD per pound of body weight. Their seizures were reduced by a significant 36.5%.
In another study, researchers found mixed results. CBD oil helped reduce seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome significantly compared to the placebo group.
However, some participants in the study experienced severe reactions like fever, fatigue, and convulsions due to the CBD treatment.
Medical experts note that the current data to support the efficacy of CBD’s neuroprotective properties is very limited, and more studies are still needed.
The FDA has only approved one CBD-based drug, epidiolex, to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy- Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
4. Supports Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders are among the most common health issues in the United States.
A recent survey finds that more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness/disorder at some point in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, there is evidence that mental health disorders are strongly associated with the risk of severe health conditions and diseases like;
- Heart diseases
In addition, mental illnesses are often treated with prescription drugs that often cause side effects like dependence, drowsiness, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction.
Luckily, CBD might help reduce the symptoms associated with some mental health disorders.
Recent studies have shown the promise of CBD as a potent treatment for mental conditions like anxiety disorders.
During a study, 57 men were given either an oral dose of CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before undergoing a simulated public speaking test.
Those that received a 300mg dose of CBD experienced a significant reduction in anxiety compared to the little to no placebo effect.
In a small study, CBD effectively reduced PTSD symptoms such as nightmares in adults. It has also been used to treat insomnia and anxiety in children with PTSD without adverse effects.
5. May Offer Heart Health Benefits
Studies have found that CBD may offer multiple health benefits for the heart and circulatory system.
For instance, although CBD does not appear to have any effect on heart rate, it may help reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and lower high blood pressure.
Unless controlled, high blood pressure increases the risk of complications such as;
- Heart attack
- Metabolic syndrome
600mg of CBD oil was shown to reduce resting blood pressure significantly in 9 healthy men compared to the placebo group.
During the same randomized crossover study, some men took stress tests that typically increase blood pressure, like exercise and extreme cold.
The researchers noted that the single CBD dose resulted in the men experiencing a much smaller increase in blood pressure than normal before and after the test.
6. May Help With Mood Disorders
Mood disorders can severely impact your daily life and increase the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and other illnesses.
Although studies are still in their initial stages, some findings have shown some positive effects.
A recent study found that CBD may produce positive effects for people with social anxiety. Some people have also found that CBD can offer significant improvements in the symptoms of depression.
However, human studies on the antidepressant potential of CBD are still limited.
Other studies show that CBD can help alleviate depressive symptoms in people with cannabis use disorders. Please note that research to investigate the effects of CBD on mood disorders is still ongoing.
7. May Improve Sleep Quality
Early research shows that high CBD dosages may support high-quality sleep.
During an investigation, 160mg CBD significantly increased sleep duration compared to placebo. CBD might also improve sleep in people with sleep disorders.
Despite more research being needed in this area, much of the anecdotal evidence provided by CBD users, does support this function of the product.
8. May Help With Addiction
A 2015 review published in the journal of Substance Abuse concludes that CBD may be useful for people with substance use disorder.
The review analyzed findings from 14 published human and animal studies.
The researchers found that CBD had very promising effects in treating psycho-stimulants, cocaine, and opioid use disorders.
However, it’s important to note that CBD effects varied significantly depending on the substance.
For instance, while CBD alone did not improve opioid withdrawal symptoms, it effectively reduced the drug-seeking behavior in cocaine and methamphetamine users.
9. May Possess Antipsychotic Effects
Some animal and human studies have demonstrated that CBD might have antipsychotic effects.
Healthy volunteers and animal models have shown that CBD is able to inhibit the psychotic-like effects induced by high doses of THC.
Further research has also found that CBD may be helpful for people with mental health conditions, including schizophrenia.
10. May Prolong Lifespan For People With Glioblastoma
According to some studies, a combination of CBD and THC seems to prolong the survival of people with glioblastoma, a highly aggressive form of cancer that spreads rapidly.
CBD appears to be effective for these patients without causing side effects. However, research is still limited.
The Side Effects And Risks Of CBD
Topical and oral CBD is generally considered safe and it is well-tolerated by the body.
However, the CBD product market is largely unregulated, and differences in CBD potency and purity can cause issues among patients and other consumers.
Because it can be pretty difficult to know exactly what you are getting, you want to strictly purchase your products from a trustworthy and reputable source.
Ensure that you go through the product’s certificate of analysis (COA) from an independent and accredited laboratory.
COA indicates what components are in the product and in what amounts. It gives you a breakdown of the cannabinoids present as well as any unwanted compounds like pesticides and heavy metals.
Possible side effects of CBD include:
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Dry mouth and anxiety
- Dizziness and diarrhea
- Changes in appetite and weight loss
- Digestive issues
- Drug interactions
- May increase liver enzymes and cause liver damage
Health Benefits of CBD Oil - The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that research into the potential benefits of CBD has shown promising results.
Note that some studies suggest that the health benefits of CBD are more potent when it is combined with THC.
In addition, more high-quality data on how CBD works is still needed, and research into the effects of CBD on various health conditions is still ongoing.
Patients looking to use CBD oil or other CBD products to manage their symptoms must talk to their healthcare providers to recommend the appropriate dosage and ideal consumption method while ensuring CBD doesn’t have harmful interactions with their medication.
A general rule of thumb is that you should start with small doses and gradually work your way up if you’re looking to boost your immune system and general well-being.
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