CBD - The Benefits, Uses, And Side effects Explained
Have you heard about the craze of CBD that is reaching the far corners of the globe?
Maybe you struggle with anxiety, chronic pain, or another form of illness and find yourself wondering – what is CBD Oil? And could it help me too?
CBD was legalized at a federal level by the 2018 Farm bill, which allowed industrial hemp production.
This permitted businesses to start marketing CBD products.
Consequently, CBD exploded into the mainstream wellness products, and the surge has been steady as new products continue to mushroom.
However, a recent survey by the Consumer Brands Association shows that American consumers’ knowledge about CBD is lacking.
In this article, we take an in-depth look at ‘what is CBD Oil’, the potential benefits of CBD, and its common side effects.
What Is CBD?
CBD has been rigorously researched, and animal studies have indicated beneficial impacts on various diseases.
Apart from its potential health benefits, CBD is well-tolerated by the body, and it causes minimal to no side effects.
To put it simply, cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the cannabis plant.
Cannabis plants produce more than 400 chemical compounds, of which more than 80 of them are cannabinoids.
CBD can be obtained from either of the two varieties of cannabis known as hemp and marijuana plants.
Does CBD Get You High?
CBD is non-psychotropic, meaning that it does not produce psychoactive effects, and it won’t cause a ‘high.’
Perhaps the most popular cannabis cannabinoid is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, due to its psychoactive properties that create a sensation of getting high and feelings of euphoria.
But CBD’s popularity has skyrocketed due to its potential health benefits like relieving chronic pain and inflammation without the mind-altering effects of THC or the side effects of many prescription medications.
What Form Does CBD Come In?
Its non-psychoactive nature makes it a popular option for dietary supplements and in many wellness products like tinctures, capsules, and oils.
Once pure CBD is extracted from the cannabis plants, it is then diluted with an appropriate carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or coconut oil to make CBD oil.
CBD oil can be infused in numerous products, including;
- Bath Bombs
- Pet Treats
CBD Vs Marijuana
As mentioned above, CBD is a cannabinoid found in Cannabis Sativa plants. Hemp and marijuana belong to the same Cannabis Sativa species.
By legal definition, hemp is a variety of cannabis plants that produce less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana is a variety of cannabis plants that produce more than 0.3% THC, normally up to 5%-30%.
Hemp plants produce a much higher concentration of CBD than marijuana. Hence, pure CBD is mainly extracted from hemp plants.
CBD oil typically contains zero THC amounts. However, full-spectrum CBD products usually contain small amounts of THC (less than 0.3% THC), and they do not cause a ‘high’ or make you fail a drug test.
How Does CBD Work?
Cannabis cannabinoids, including the prevalent THC and CBD, offer their effects on the human body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a complex and biological cell signaling system.
It is composed of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that work in synergy to regulate and balance many vital processes in the body such as;
- Pain sensation
- Immune response
- Communication between cells
- And much more
The CB1 And CB2 Receptors
When you consume CBD or THC, it interacts with the ECS by linking with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. THC has an incredibly high binding affinity with the CB1 receptors.
The CB1 receptors are primarily located on the nerve cells in our brain, where they are involved in activities like motor skills, cognition, pain sensation, and memory.
When THC binds with the CB1 receptors, it inhibits the release of neurotransmitters. This results in a range of both desirable and undesirable effects on the body, like;
- Changes in mood
- Memory processing
- Motor control
Comparably, CBD does not bind to the CB1 receptors in the same way as THC.
Instead, researchers suggest that it works by hindering the breakdown of our natural endocannabinoids, allowing them to have a greater positive effect on the body, like;
- Reducing pain
- Fighting inflammation
- Alleviating anxiety
Is CBD Legal?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not definite.
But a general starting point in CBD legality is that if CBD is extracted from hemp, it is legal- but if it is obtained from marijuana, it is illegal
The DEA’s Take On CBD
In 1972, The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ranked cannabis (both hemp and marijuana) as a schedule 1 drug in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Schedule 1 drugs are described as having no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse.
Presidential Pardon For CBD?
However, when President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) into law, it removed hemp and all hemp extracts from the definition of marijuana in the CSA.
This move legalized hemp (cannabis containing a little bit of THC, i.e., 0.3% THC or less by dry weight) and hemp products at a federal level.
Marijuana (cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC) is still listed as a schedule 1 drug.
The federal government considers marijuana and medical marijuana products an illegal drug.
5+ Health Benefits Of CBD Oil
CBD has primarily been marketed as a miracle cure-all.
Its proponents claim that it can treat everything from stress, anxiety, chronic pain and even hinder the spread of cancer cells.
Multiple studies have been done, and some results have supported these claims.
It’s important to note that most CBD studies have been done on animals or in the laboratory, and human studies are still very limited.
Below are some of the health benefits of CBD backed up by research:
1. Relieve Chronic Pain
The use of medical cannabis to treat pain dates as far back as ancient times.
Recent studies have revealed that the active ingredients in cannabis, such as CBD, are responsible for its pain-relieving properties.
According to one study, CBD can offer chronic pain relief by influencing endocannabinoid receptor activities and interacting with neurotransmitters to reduce inflammation.
Other studies suggest that the use of CBD may effectively treat specific types of pain like back, nerve, and joint pain when used on its own.
Comparably, this research has found that CBD can offer more potent effects when used together with THC.
2. Help Alleviate Cancer Related Symptoms
CBD use may help ease cancer-related symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment like;
An earlier study investigated the effects of CBD and THC in 177 cancer patients who did not experience relief from pain medications.
The researchers found that the patients treated with an extract containing both THC and CBD experienced significant pain relief than those who received a THC extract only.
3. Help Treat Drug Addiction
CBD is a potential treatment for people with substance use disorder.
A 2015 review of 14 published studies concluded that CBD shows great promise in the treatment of opioid, psychostimulant, and cocaine use disorders.
The review, published in the journal Substance Abuse, found that the effects of CBD varied depending on the substance.
For instance, while CBD without THC did not reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms, it had a significant reduction in the drug-seeking behavior of cocaine and methamphetamine users.
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4. Treatment Of Mental Health Disorders
Mental illnesses are one of the most prevalent health conditions in the United States, with at least 1 in every 5 Americans experiencing a mental illness in a year.
Mental disorders can lead to severe emotional, physical, and behavioral problems and cause devastating impacts on overall health.
Unfortunately, most prescription drugs for mental health disorders are associated with adverse effects like
- Sexual dysfunction
Luckily, a Brazilian study involving 57 men who received oral CBD or a placebo before undergoing a public speaking test, found that a dose of 300mg CBD effectively reduced anxiety disorder during the test.
Comparably, the placebo effects on anxiety were minimal to none.
CBD oil has been used to effectively alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms like nightmares in adults.
It was also shown to treat insomnia & social anxiety in children with PTSD without any safety concerns.
5. Reduce High Blood Pressure
According to a 2017 study, CBD can help lower the risk of heart diseases by lowering high blood pressure in its users.
During the study, healthy men consumed a daily dose of 600mg CBD.
The men had low blood pressure before and after experiencing extreme cold, exercise, and other stressors compared to those who took the same dose of placebo.
The researchers also looked at the blood amount left in the heart after a heartbreak (stroke volume).
They found that the stroke volume was lower in those who consumed CBD than in the placebo group.
This means that the hearts of men who took CBD were pumping more efficiently.
5 Evidence-backed Benefits Of CBD Oil
- Treating neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Multiple sclerosis.
- Helping with sleep disorders and improving sleep quality.
- It may help extend the life of people with glioblastoma (an aggressive form of cancer).
- It may help people with schizophrenia and other mental conditions.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based solution known as epidiolex for the treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy in children below two years- Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
7 Possible Side Effects Of CBD
CBD is generally well-tolerated by the body and considered safe for use. However, clinical trials have found that it may have potential side effects that vary from one user to another.
The commonly reported side effects of CBD include:
- Changes in appetite, mood, and weight
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drug interactions
CBD oil can interact with other drugs like antidepressants, pain, diabetes, and seizure medications, resulting in adverse reactions.
It has also been shown to increase liver enzymes, which can lead to liver inflammation.
Hence, you should consult your healthcare provider first before introducing CBD oil into your healthy routine.
Can You Take CBD If You Are Pregnant?
Even though CBD is generally considered safe, its potential risks have not been rigorously studied.
However, CBD can pass through the placenta, hence pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are advised against using CBD-based products.
If you are pregnant, you should always consult with your healthcare provider before using any new supplements or medications.
What Is CBD Oil? The Bottom Line
CBD is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid produced naturally by cannabis plants.
It has been studied for its potential health benefits like alleviating pain, anxiety, and inflammation.
Multiple studies have shown promising results, making it a preferred cannabinoid in many wellness products.
The cannabinoid may also play an important role in benefiting heart health, alleviating cancer-related symptoms, and preventing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The health benefits of CBD seem to be more potent when used together with THC, thanks to the entourage effect.
If you are a novice looking to try CBD to manage any symptoms or enhance your immune system, please consult your healthcare provider first.
They will recommend the best way to use CBD and how much CBD is ideal for your symptoms.
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