CBD Uses and Benefits
With cannabis on the rise, more talk about different hemp and CBD oils have begun to surface. The use of CBD oils to treat both mental and physical problems has become more common. What is CBD oil? How does it help? What’s the difference between this and marijuana?
This article will answer all of your questions about CBD oil and will show you the common uses and benefits of incorporating it into your life. We’ll also explore recent studies to learn more about its history and see what’s in store for CBD oil in the future.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)? Where does it come from?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound that’s found in the cannabis plant. It’s known to have therapeutic effects and relieves physical pains. You’re probably one of many who wonders if CBD oil is actually marijuana. The answer is no, marijuana and CBD oil are NOT the same.
The difference between the two is that marijuana carries another chemical compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This chemical is what produces that “high” feeling and in a sense, makes marijuana what it is. Unlike THC, CBD does NOT alter your state of mind.
According to Project CBD, “that’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body”. This non-intoxicating, a natural substance is a great solution to getting the promising health benefits of marijuana without the mind-numbing high.
About CBD Oil and how it works
CBD comes from the cannabis plant known as hemp. Hemp oil is also a popular mixture that comes from the cannabis plant. The oil is created by extracting the CBD from the hemp plant and mixing it with hemp seed oil or coconut oil.
Medical News Today explains that CBD works because of the cannabinoids in our body. We have two cannabinoid receptors in our body known as CB1 and CB2.
The CB1 receptors can be found in the body but are mostly found in the brain. They deal with pain, mood, movement, appetite, and several other functions. These receptors are mostly affected by THC. If you’ve smoked marijuana, then I’m sure you’ve felt how THC affects these things.
CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and deal with pain and inflammation. Research shows that CBD encourages the body to produce more of these receptors.
The benefits and common daily uses of CBD oil
As CBD oil gains more nationwide attention, more people are coming forth to explain why and how they incorporate it into their lives. Here are a few common uses for CBD oil.
1. Anxiety Relief
We’ve all experienced or have known someone who’s experienced anxiety. Anxiety comes in different forms, but the most common form is known as Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder, or SAD.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, defines SAD as, “intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation”.
Although clinical studies that test the effects that CBD has on anxiety are still in the works, preclinical animal studies have been conducted. Leafly reports that an animal study was done on mice to see how CBD could be used to treat anxiety.
The study showed that CBD can help the hippocampus reproduce more neurons which could help treat anxiety or depression. The hippocampus plays a major role in a variety of brain functions and is associated mainly with long term memory and emotion.
Additionally, a study was done in 2011 to see how people suffering from anxiety performed in a public speaking situation after taking CBD. The results showed that these participants had reduced anxiety and discomfort in front of their audience.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a new study is underway for participants aged 21-65 to evaluate the effectiveness of dosed CBD pills versus placebos.
2. A remedy for nausea and vomiting
One of the worst feelings in the world is the feeling of being nauseous. Recently, a study was done in 2016 to evaluate CBD and its ability to reduce nausea. Scientists combined doses of CBD and THC to test its effectiveness.
Concluding the study, The U.S. National Library of Medicine reported that, “THC and CBD may be an effective new treatment for acute nausea and anticipatory nausea…”
Personally, I’ve suffered from morning and motion sickness since I was a kid. I discovered recently that after smoking marijuana with a mixed dosage of THC and CBD, I didn’t feel so nauseated when I woke up in the morning.
Creating Better Days claims that CBD is effective against nausea/vomiting because it “modulates the flow of serotonin to reduce further stimulation of the vomiting center in the brain”.
Because CBD can be consumed in several different ways (smoke, drinks, food), it’s proven to be an ideal remedy against nausea.
3. It’s an alternative to smoking
There are so many methods that claim to help people stop smoking. Most of these ways don’t prove to be very effective. However, there have been studies created to see how CBD oil can reduce the urge to smoke.
Back in 2013, a pilot study was conducted to evaluate the effects of CBD versus placebos on smokers who wished to kick the habit. 24 people were selected and divided in half. 12 of them received an inhaler containing CBD while the other 12 received an inhaler filled with a placebo.
They had these inhalers for one week and had to use them every time they felt the urge to smoke. The research showed that those who were using the placebo inhalers showed no changing signs in their smoking habit. On the contrary, those who were using the CBD filled inhalers showed reduced cigarette use by 40%.
Then in 2015, a review was done to determine if CBD is an effective form of treatment for addiction and substance abuse. They concluded:
“The fact that patients with substance use disorders often present with various psychiatric and medical symptoms that are reduced by CBD - symptoms such as anxiety, mood symptoms, insomnia, and pain - also suggests that CBD might be beneficial for treating opioid-dependent individuals”.
4. Acne and skin care treatment
Acne is one of the most common and frustrating skin conditions around. Despite the lack of research, there is evidence to suggest that CBD can be a natural way to get rid of annoying breakouts.
Acne is a build up of bacteria underneath the hair follicle. Because of its inflammatory properties, CBD oil can reduce acne by getting rid of the inflammation in the clogged follicles. Not only that, but CBD has a direct effect on the sebaceous glands.
The sebaceous glands are the glands that sebum, an oily matter that’s released into the hair follicles to lubricate the skin and hair. Although there’s not much to go on, recent studies determined that when it’s administered as a lotion or salve, CBD can repair skin damage caused by UV rays.
CBD oil and its effectiveness on acne is widely based off testimonials from those who have used it. More scientific research needs to be conducted to determine if there’s any clinical proof of CBD as a treatment method for acne.
Science talks about CBD oil and its beneficial effects
CBD oil has been known to have numerous physical and mental benefits. Although most of these testimonies have been the word to mouth, there is clinical and scientific research to back them up. These benefits include:
- Epilepsy treatment
- Cancer fighting properties
- Fights insomnia
- Pain relief
CBD oil for epilepsy
In 2018, the first FDA approved CBD treatment was introduced to the U.S. The medicine is known as Epidiolex and is used as a therapy to treat two rare conditions, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a rare severe form of childhood epilepsy. It mostly appears in children aged 3-5. Dravet syndrome is another rare form of epilepsy that is triggered by hot weather and fevers. Symptoms of this syndrome tend to show up within the first year of life.
Those who are diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome experience a late development of basic motor skills. These patients require assisted living most of their lives.
On the other hand, people who are diagnosed with Dravet syndrome have poor language and motor skills and have difficulty interacting with other people.
“In addition to another important treatment option for Lennox-Gastaut patients, this first-ever approval of a drug specifically for Dravet patients will provide a significant and needed improvement in the therapeutic approach to caring for people with this condition,'' says Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
CBD oil for cancer treatment
According to the National Cancer Institute, there haven’t been any clinical studies to see if CBD can fight cancer cells. In 2015, a trial was supposed to take place in Israel to test oral CBD “...as a single salvage agent for recurrent solid tumors”. Unfortunately, no results were published.
Several other studies have been conducted to investigate its treatment of acute graft-versus-host disease, GVHD. Patients who had acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome were observed. The results concluded that the use of CBD is was safe and effective.
Further investigation needs to happen and has been asked by current cancer patients, to clinically test the benefits of using CBD oil in their treatment.
CBD oil for insomnia
There is a little bit of research to back up the thought that CBD oil can help people who have trouble sleeping. In January, a study was created by Colorado researchers to evaluate 72 patients who used CBD as a treatment for poor anxiety and sleep.
The study lasted three months and showed that there was definitely a reduction in anxiety levels among the patients. However, the results of CBD and poor sleep showed no drastic change. Although, some patients did claim that there were some minor improvements.
Scott Shannon, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado-Children’s Hospital, believes that CBD was effective against lack of sleep because of the placebo effects that CBD has. Conversely, Shannon also believes that the patients slept better because they weren’t as worried about sleep.
There have been studies that confirm that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the brain which has a direct effect on our sleep cycle.
CBD oil for pain relief
As I just mentioned, our body has what is known as an endocannabinoid system. This system is involved in regulating a handful of functions including appetite, immune system responsiveness, and sleep.
Research has found that CBD can reduce pain by promoting endocannabinoid activity. Healthline notes several studies that have been done on both rats and humans to monitor pain levels after taking CBD. The results of these studies claim that when combined with THC, CBD can relieve some of the pain from diseases such as arthritis and MS (multiple sclerosis).
I recently had an osteotomy and was prescribed a variety of opioid-based medicines to relieve the pain. The side effects were too harsh, so I decided to quit taking those pills and instead used CBD to help with the pain. Although it wasn’t as strong as the prescribed medicine, I found that it reduced most of the pain without any of the harsh side effects and also helped me sleep better.
CBD Side Effects And Precautions
There have been a small number of studies done to determine the side effects of using CBD oil. Because of this, scientists remain uncertain about the effects that CBD has on the body. Research has found that CBD can trigger certain side effects such as:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Mood swings
More experiments need to be conducted to clinically evaluate CBD and these side effects.
Naturally, with all these side effects, it's not uncommon to wonder if there’s any serious risk in taking CBD oil. Even though there’s not much to go on, some research has found that CBD can have negative effects when combined with other medicines such as blood thinners.
Another concern that sticks out to researchers is the incorrect dosage of CBD that happens quite often. There was a study done not too long ago that revealed that out of 84 CBD products bought online, 18 of them contained THC and the dosage of CBD labeled on more than a quarter of these products was incorrect.
Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns pregnant women of the heightened risk of ingesting marijuana during their pregnancy. They caution women to avoid it as much as possible to prevent putting the fetus at risk of negative development.
It’s VERY important that you talk to your physician about using CBD before you actually get some.
CBD Research And Facts
Here’s what we know about CBD oil.
1. CBD is legal
CBD is legal in all 50 states with a variety of restrictions for each state. According to ~Harvard Medical School, in 2015, the FDA permitted researchers to conduct CBD trials. Because it has a THC level of below 3%, you can get CBD as you please without worrying about the feds tracking you
CBD oil can easily be accessed online without the possession of a medical card. Harvard Medical theorizes that the legal status of hemp may change, making it that much easier to get CBD.
2. CBD won’t make you high
Like we discussed before, CBD will NOT get you high because it’s missing the chemical compound, THC. CBD does not attach to the CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC does. Moreso, CBD triggers their therapeutic actions.
In a report done by the ~World Health Organization, they stated, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential”.
3. CBD has natural health benefits
Research is still underway regarding the exact health benefits on CBD. On the plus side, the research that has been done has shown that CBD can be a promising form of therapy for several different illnesses. These include:
- Heart disease
4. CBD oil helps children with seizures
There is a study that evaluates the effects of CBD therapy for children who suffer from seizures. It was primarily focused on patients who were diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. The study lasted a total of 14 weeks and monitored the behaviors of 120 children and young adults.
The results showed that in patients who were treated with CBD, their seizures decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 percentage points. While this is good news, the researchers did note that those who were treated with CBD also experienced vomiting and high fever.
These results clearly show that more research is definitely required to consider CBD as a safe and effective therapy.
5. CBD and opioid use
Although it hasn’t been published yet, a 5-year $3.8 million grant has been given to the ~Albert Einstein School of Medicine to study if CBD can reduce opioid use for adults suffering from chronic pain.
The study will last for 18 months and will include adults who are diagnosed with HIV, people who have higher levels of chronic pain, and the general public.
CBD is one of the most controversial topics that is talked about today. CBD oil and other substances that contain CBD like lotion, food, and drinks have all been rumored to have positive neurological and physical benefits. At the end of the day, CBD is a non-harmful substance derived from the cannabis plant.
Because of the lack of THC, CBD will not produce the mind-altering high that regular cannabis does. Regardless, CBD will still give you the same health benefits that marijuana has proven to do.
Some of these benefits include:
- Anxiety relief (help with public speaking)
- Chronic pain treatment
- Sleep aid
- Epilepsy treatment
- Helps with vomiting and nausea
CBD is so effective because the cannabinoid receptors that are found in it interact with the cannabinoid receptors in our own body. These receptors regulate functions such as sleep, appetite, and immune system responsiveness. This means that CBD can directly impact these functions in an unintoxicated, natural way.
Unfortunately, there is not enough substantial evidence to scientifically prove the beneficial ways that CBD can help with mental and physical ailments. Without the concrete evidence, it's impossible to know what dosage of CBD will be effective.
That being said, studies such as the one being done at the Albert Einstein School Medicine are underway to further examine CBD as a form of therapy for physical and mental illnesses.
Lastly, due to a lack of CBD research, it is important that you consult with your physician before you buy any. Remember, CBD works on people in different ways and the effects can vary.
I believe that CBD is a great alternative to over the counter medicines and opioids that have harmful side effects. However, with anything, I also believe it's important that you educate yourself on the risks, if any, of using CBD.
Keep in mind that CBD should not be taken with blood thinner medications.
I hope this article has helped you understand the many benefits and uses of CBD. Also, I hope you walk away with a better understanding of the biological components of CBD and how they interact and help the body.