Research conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse into the effects of cannabis in an effort to discredit marijuana took a U-Turn when the Endocannabinoid System was discovered, opening the door for further research into the positive effects cannabinoids have on the human brain. Decades later, government has shifted to regulate hemp and CBT products instead of criminalizing its use.
What is CBD
CBD (short for Cannabidiol) is a plant extract from the cannabis sativa family. It’s one of over 100 cannabinoids extracted from cannabis sativa plants. Of all the cannabinoids in the chemical makeup of cannabis plants, there are only two main types that have been extensively studied and found to provide therapeutic benefits for a variety of conditions.
The two types of cannabinoids are
Endocannabinoids are produced by the body naturally. Phytocannabinoids are produced by the plant. When consumed, Phytocannabinoids help the body to naturally create more endocannabinoids, and it’s this reaction within the body that’s stirring the hype surrounding CBT products, with many touting CBD as a cure-for-all, despite the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) issuing guidance for sellers on clear labelling and marketing using Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) labeling and not making treatment claims for any illness.
Some potencies containing THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) of 0.03% are legal to buy, while others are prescription only. THC remains a regulated drug and is only is available in potencies under 0.03%. CBD extract is not regulated because it is a non-psychoactive compound.
- THC is a psychoactive and it’s what causes the ‘stoner’ effect often associated with marijuana.
- CBD is a non-psychoactive and gives your body and mind the same health benefits of THC without the high or addictiveness.
The effects cannabis has on the human body has been extensively researched for decades by the medical and scientific community, however due to drug control legislations, large scale studies have been limited because of a lack of funding. The passing the of the Farm Bill 2018 will make way for further funding for more advanced research into the effects of CBD. For now, there is enough evidence to support the therapeutic benefits and the potential medicinal properties obtained from CBD.
How CBD Interacts with Your Body
The health benefits of CBD come from how cannabidiol interacts with receptors throughout your body. THC binds with receptors in your brain, causing the ‘high’ associated with consuming weed. CBD on the other hand, binds with nearly all receptors throughout your body including the digestive system, reproductive system, immune system and the nervous system. It’s because of CBDs ability to bind with multiple receptors, it’s been hailed as the cure-all drug for all health conditions.
That it isn’t.
What research tells us is that there is a far higher likelihood that CBD can be effective at either treating various symptoms of diseases, curing some illnesses, and preventing others. A number of studies show promising potential for a range of illnesses and symptoms that CBD can counteract.
Potential Uses for CBD Oils
- Chronic Pain Relief
Owing to the anti-inflammatory properties in CBD, it may be effective for pain management. One study by GW Pharmaceuticals found CBD to be effective at treating pain associated with a variety of diseases. From chronic back pain, alleviating the associated insomnia caused by the chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis pain, and particularly beneficial for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Anxiety and Depression
Depression Alliance note that CBD oil is known to be effective at treating the symptoms of depression and other brain disorders, however it does stipulate that it won’t cure the condition. It’s believed that the phytocannabinoids help regulate the endocannabinoid system by binding with certain receptors in the brain, assisting to regulate serotonin levels.
A study by Tamás Bíró, a leading researcher into CBD oil and acne found that CBD reduces sebum production and owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, it also reduces tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which is a proinflammatory cytokine contributing to acne.
Another study indicates 3% cannabis seed extract can help reduce cheek skin sebum, making it potentially effective at treating acne.
- Lowering Blood Pressure
Research into the effects of CBD on the cardiovascular system found that CBD is a vasodilator, meaning it widens your blood vessels and arteries, which improves blood flow. The Journal of Clinical Investigation report CBD to be effective at lowering blood pressure too, however, further research into the complete effects CBD has on the cardiovascular system is still needed.
- Leaky Gut
CBD can improve gut health and lessen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Anti- Seizure Medication
Epidiolex is the first FDA approved pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol, approved for prescription only to treat epileptic seizure. The cost is significantly high though and out of reach to patients without insurance to cover the cost of the prescription medication. The cost per patient is estimated to be $32,500 per year.
Consumer grade CBD products may help reduce seizure activity, however more research is needed as pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based medicines are more potent than commercially available products.
Possible Side Effects of CBD
Despite the many benefits, CBD offers very few side effects, however that’s always going to be dependent on individual circumstances as it can impact the effectiveness of any existing medications you’re already taking.
Known side effects include:
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
In comparison to other alternative medicines, and mainstream pharmaceutical drugs, the side effects are negligible. Nevertheless, if you do try CBD and experience anything negative, stop taking it and speak to your doctor. Always remember the notice (that should be) on the label stating CBT is Generally Recognized as Safe. Research into CBD is still ongoing.
How to Use CBD Oil
CBD oil can be placed under your tongue, or you can buy editable products containing CBD. Topicals are also available to apply to your skin. If you want to use CBD as a method of reducing acne, a topical lotion would be best suited. For consumption, you can place the oil on your tongue to experience the effects faster, usually within 5 to 20 minutes because consuming it lets it get into your bloodstream faster.
Edible products containing CBD will take longer to feel any effect because your body will need to digest it first. It can take from 30 minutes to two hours to feel the effects of CBD when taken in food or drink form.
In terms of how much CBD oil to use, go low and slow to start because it is new so there’s not enough data to provide guidance on dosage information.
Start low and build up.