CBD products have been all the rage in the recent past as marijuana has seen its acceptance grow both socially and legally. It is increasingly being legalized across many parts of the world. Canada joined the club recently, with overjoyed supporters of the move almost replacing the maple leaf on the Canadian flag with a marijuana leaf. In the US alone, 30 states out of 50 have already legalized CBD Products and it is one of the hottest new products on the market these days.
So much so, often complete new businesses haveemergedand grown by selling and dealing exclusively in CBD based products. Apparently, it has been construed as some sort of a miracle panacea for all the ills, some sort of an infinity stone. Its therapeutic powers seem not to discriminate between animals and humans and work its magic on both. Some such claims are bolstered by personal testimonies; while others are backed by some research. There’s a plethora of information on the subject in the cosmos called the internet and given the vast amount of narratives, often conflicting ones.
It’s all too easy to get bogged down. Therefore, before we explore the benefits of this miracle compound let’s establish what CBD exactly is?
What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, a naturally occurring compound found in different strands of cannabis plant. It is one of the 113 cannabinoids found in a cannabis plant. For thousands of years, the entire cannabis plant has been used for its therapeutic features. It was only in 20th century that researchled to the discovery that it has been the CBD compound all along that was largely responsible for it. While another compound, called THC, has been mainly responsible for the psychoactive effects.
The therapeutic side to this substance is being rigorously tested today and has shown immense potential for curing a wide array of ailments for humans and animals alike.
How Does CBD Affect the Body?
Marijuana or its component CBD works by affecting the bodyEndocannabinoid system. The primary task of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis and help the body adapt to external stressors.
The two main types of cannabinoids are:
- Endo- cannabinoid (naturally produced within the body)
- Phyto- cannabinoid (produced from a plant).
CBD is the one derived from the plants which makes it a Phytocannabinoid . Since they mimic Endocannabinoids, they can act as effective supplements for the body to provide it above and beyond what it can naturally produce.
Cannabinoid Receptors are found all across the human body such as in the digestive, nervous, reproductive and immune systems. And exactly because they because they interact with every most systems in the body, they’re often tipped as a cure-all product. While they don’t exactly heal everything as some testimonies seem to suggest, they do however regulate a number of bodily functions including metabolism, neurotransmitter function, inflammation etc.
What Benefits Does It Offer?
A recent World Health Organization report approves that CBD is safe for consumption for almost everyone. Caution however must be taken and you should consult your doctor before using if you’re on some special medication or if you may be pregnant. Research has also proven its benefits for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or anxiety. Let’s go over some of the benefits it is most frequently associated with.
Chronic Pain Relief
Those suffering from conditions such as fibromyalgia, a lifelong chronic pain syndrome in which the body grows extremely sensitive to pain and is fatigued all the time have found CBD to be nothing short of a miracle. CBD. Consuming CBD has conclusively proven to relieve pain for a number of ailments. In fact, it has been authorized for multiple sclerosis and cancer pain in Canada.
What’s more, CBD doesn’t even cause addiction or substance dependence, making it a great choice for those trying to stay away from opioids.
Helps with Childhood Epilepsy
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that CBD administered group of children showed a 23% decreased frequency of seizures compared to the group administered a placebo. CBD holds anti seizure properties that have successfully been used to treat children with neurological disorders like epilepsy. The epilepsy had been drug resistant in these children and the CBD again, is some sort of a miracle drug. On top of this, there were no side effects reported either.
Its efficacy for the treatment of conditions like epilepsy is quite credible. In April 2018, even FDA cleared the very first cannabis based drug for approval.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Research reveals that Depression affects about 6% and anxiety affects almost 18% of the U.S. population every year. Research has also proven the efficacy of CBD oil in this regard.
Using CBD has been effective inmitigating stress levels and anxiety in a variety of cases. It has helped those suffering from conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or social anxiety disorder. Some would even use it to reduce the stress and anxiety that consumes us surrounding public speaking.
CBD seems to enhance serotonergic and glutamate cortical signaling, that are depression victims are lacking in mostly.
Fights Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria
Researchers may not know how or why, but they have concluded that CBD has a peculiar ability when it comes to obliterating the bacteria, specially the drug resistant kind.
On the other hand, a 2011 study concluded that CBD may also hinder the development of tuberculosis in rats. It is believed to be able to do so by inhibiting T-cell proliferation, rather than as a result of its anti bacterial prowess.
Whatever mechanism seems to be at work, CBD sure sounds like an effective weapon against the antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that are becoming prevalent in the modern day.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information blames chronic inflammation to be a huge contributor to a variety of non-infectious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and more.
It is true that lifestyle medication is the best course to take when it comes to subduing the effects of chronic inflammation. However, when everything has been tried and you are already eating healthy, taking your supplements, doing your exercise and sleeping well, CBD oil can be that extra boost to your regime. Research has also proven CBD to reduce chronic inflammation that contributes to diseases.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
The air pollution is a real thing. The air that we breathe today is not the same as it was a hundred years ago. Ever since the industrial revolution, the fuel burning has led tampered with the makeup of air. This has given rise to conditions such as Oxidative stress which in turn is responsible for a myriad other ailments today. Oxidative stress is when the body doesn’t have enough antioxidants and can’t keep up with neutralizing the flood of free radicals it is exposed to. CBD has been shown to neuroprotective qualities and can mitigate the neurological damage cause by the free radicals. A 2010 study seems to corroborate this by suggesting that it serves as an anti oxidant, among other things.
Schizophrenia is a complex and serious ailment of the mind that is typically managed using therapies and a combination of pharmaceutical drugs (prone to major side effects). A flood of testimonies and anecdotes suggest the CBD has been beneficial in reducing the hallucinations for many folks. Research is still looking into its usefulness for schizophrenia. A March 2015 review of available research found that CBD was a safe, effective, and well tolerated treatment for psychosis. But more research is needed to bring CBD into clinical practice.
Promotes Healthy Weight
Among its myriad benefits, there seems to be something for those looking to just maintain a healthy weight. It does so by maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, stimulating proteins that aid in breaking down of fat, and by enhancing mitochondria that helps burn calories.
It is also known to convert white fat into brown fat. To put it simply, white fat is the unsightly one that nobody wants lying around their waist or chin or arms. The brown fat is somewhat like the good fats from nutrition. They actually help the body in burning the white fat.
Beneficial for Heart Health
The statistics paint an abysmal picture when it comes to heart disease. It is ranked as the number 1 killer in the USA, causing about 610,000 deaths annually, 1 in every 4. Along with lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, CBD oil can also serve as a useful tool in your arsenal against this killer. Research shows that CBD helps with artery blockage, mitigates stress induced cardiovascular response, and can also reduce blood pressureas well as cholesterol levels.
As mentioned before, CBD oil is useful tool against inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which contribute towards heart diseases.
Improves Skin Conditions
It seems to have a little something for everyone with its applications in treating skin conditions. Studies have shown CBD oil has a promising potential for treating skin conditions like eczema by causing abnormal cell death. It can also be beneficial in reducing acne as it helps to regulate the oil production of the skin. It is also said to contain vitamin E which is a vital ingredient in every skin care product and helps to protect the skin.
There is rigorous research going on into what useful role CBD oil can play in treating cancer. Therefore nothing is conclusive as of now when it comes to treating cancer I humans. However, a study involving rats showed promising results where lab produced leukemia was injected to the rat before he was successfully treated by exposure to CBD. A single study may not be conclusive evidence, but it sure is a promising sign.
Besides that, it is known to assist the patients during chemo by enhancing the uptake of chemo by cancer cells as well as helping with the side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
What CBD to Use?
Before you get overwhelmed by the increasingly available varieties of brands out there, let’s make things simple for you. There may be different brands available out there, but they are generally divided into two broad categories. Both are CBD but of a different strand of cannabis plants.
Marijuana and Hemp
Since Marijuana contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), ithas been classified as schedule 1 drug by the DEA (despite being legal in 30 states). It is the THC that is responsible for the “high” or the psychoactive effects. Hemp cannabis on the other hand is legal all across the USA. It has negligent traces of the psychoactive content (about 0.3%) and besides being consumed for its therapeutic features; it is also used in products such as auto parts and soap.
So Which One Should It Be?
Hemp based cannabis is largely the winner here when it comes to general health benefits.
Pure cannabis has a high THC content which deducts marijuana’s points. Besides being illegal in 20 states it can also expose one to certain unwanted side effects such as:
- Stomach problems
- Respiratory issues
- Even seizures
A Buyer’s Guide
It should preferably be organic. If that is not the case, make sure to buy the one that has the least amount of pesticides used in the growing process. Research has found that 1 in 5 CBD products contain the intoxicating pot chemical THC. Go through the label and the certificate that the manufacturer usually attaches with it listing down all the ingredients and their sources.
Don’t fall for the low price. You can’t compromise on the quality of the product for a few dollars. The general rule of thumb to follow when buying CBD products is, “better the quality, higher the price”.
The CBD content has to be just right. Make sure of that. A 2017 university of Pennsylvania study revealed that 70% of the products did not contain the amount of CBD promised. This is important as only 20% of the CBD actually gets to be digested. It will be nothing more than a placebo if the CBD content is not right.