CBD– It’s short for ‘cannabidiol,’ and it’s a term you might have seen cropping up in the news, on holistic health sites, and on all sorts of product labels. But what is CBD?

It’s most famous for being the second most prevalent chemical in marijuana. It doesn’t get you high on its own and can be extracted from non-psychoactive types of cannabis, like hemp. If you’ve ever smoked marijuana, you know it has a lot of different effects on your body. You might experience changes in mood, relaxation, hunger, or attention. This is because it reacts with a receptor system in your body called the endocannabinoid system.

You might remember a little about the cardiovascular, respiratory, or nervous system from high school science. The endocannabinoid system is similar: a series of receptors throughout the body that are responsible for maintaining certain aspects of homeostasis. Endocannabinoid receptors also react to the chemicals in cannabis and make changes in your brain, digestive tract, muscles and other places they concentrate when they interact with cannabis’ active chemicals, like CBD.[1]

Because of the various interactions, CBD has with your body, it has many different therapeutic or medical uses. In recent years, commercial CBD products have flourished. The most popular way to use CBD is to ingest pure CBD oil, but there are lots of options like tinctures, vape cartridges, chewing gum and topical creams. Let’s look at some of the major proven benefits of CBD, so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth a try!

 

1) Reduces Pain

Perhaps the most universal use for CBD is to treat pain. Studies suggest CBD blocks some of the neural transmission in our pain pathways.[2] People with chronic pain conditions have reported CBD to be as effective as over-the-counter painkillers when regular doses are taken over a period of time, without the same gut-destroying side effects as long-term painkiller use. It’s even being researched as a medical treatment for serious pain conditions like multiple sclerosis and cancer pain.[3]

 

2) Lowers anxiety and depression

In our stressful modern world, anxiety disorders affect a huge percentage of people, causing many to take anti-anxiety medications or relieve stress in unhealthy ways. Studies show CBD to be effective in lowering symptoms of anxiety in those with anxiety disorders.[4] Depression often comes as a co-diagnosis to anxiety. A study on mice tested the effectiveness of CBD against a common prescription antidepressant and found them comparable.[5] CBD also came without the long list of unwanted side effects that accompany other antidepressants.

 

3) Reduces inflammation

One reason CBD may be so effective at reducing pain is that it also reduces inflammation. Many conditions that cause chronic pain like fibromyalgia, arthritis or IBS are ultimately caused by inflammation in the body. This means that CBD is a more well-rounded solution for these types of conditions than using painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs alone.[6]

 

4) It’s an Antipsychotic

Psychosis is the effect of someone losing touch with reality because of mental illness, substance abuse or extreme stress. Multiple studies over the past 30 years have shown CBD to have antipsychotic effects. This makes it a promising treatment for people suffering from conditions that include psychosis, like schizophrenia.[7]

 

5) It’s an Anticonvulsant

Anticonvulsants are drugs used to prevent or stop seizures and are most commonly used by patients with epilepsy. CBD’s powerful anticonvulsant effect might be one of its most promising potential medical uses. CBD is already being used to treat cases of extreme epilepsy in children and adolescents who were previously unresponsive to other anticonvulsant drugs.[8]

 

6) Fights cancer cells

Hippies have been claiming that weed cures cancer since the ‘60s. But due to marijuana’s legal complications, it has only been in the past ten years that studies have been approved to test CBD’s effect on cancer. The results have been promising; CBD prevented growth and stopped the spread of cancer cells in animal studies. The new research is exciting to many, and it’s very plausible we could see CBD-based cancer treatments in coming years.[9]

 

7) Reduces nausea

Another way CBD might be valuable to cancer patients is in the reduction of nausea from chemotherapy treatments. A study by the British Journal of Pharmacology found CBD to reduce nausea in rats.[10] This isn’t new science since cannabis was used to treat nausea dating back to ancient China,[11] but now modern medicine is catching up with ancient wisdom.

 

8) Supports healthy digestion

The digestive tract has a high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors, and we already mentioned CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation in the body. This is most relevant to the large percentage of the population that suffers from an inflammatory bowel condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease. CBD can help reduce inflammation in your gut and encourage healthy regulation of the digestive system.[12]

 

9) Promotes cardiovascular health

Another place where reducing inflammation can be beneficial is in your arteries. Reducing inflammation can reduce blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. [13] Other studies suggest that CBD also lowers cholesterol.[14] Because of this combination of heart benefits, CBD is being researched as a treatment for heart conditions like Celiac’s disease.

 

10) Reduces cravings to smoke

A study instructed smokers to use CBD vape cartridges in place of cigarettes when they felt the urge to smoke. The results of the study found that smokers were able to reduce their cigarette consumption over one week, and didn’t feel additional nicotine cravings.[15]  Another study found it helpful to people recovering from opioid abuse.[16]

 

11) Helps healthy skin

CBD reduces inflammation everywhere, even in the most visible place; our skin. Studies found it effective against inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis.[17] It can also help your skin regulate healthy levels of oil production, according to another study.[18] This has seen rise to anti-acne CBD face oils.

 

12) Promotes good sleep

Endocannabinoid receptors are also found in the part of our brain that regulates sleep cycles. It’s well known that weed can make you sleepy. A study showed that THC (the main chemical in marijuana that gets you high) increased sleep, while CBD increased wakefulness and alertness.[19] This means CBD could be a viable alternative for the coffee-addicts among us.

 

13) Regulates the effects of TH

It’s not just the sleep-inducing effects of smoking weed that CBD can help to counteract. Recreational cannabis use can have undesirable effects like increased anxiety or paranoia. Research suggests that cannabis that contains high percentages of CBD as well as THC produced less undesirable side effects.[20]

How useful is CBD Oil?

If you are someone who has excess inflammation in your body, suffers from some of the conditions mentioned in the list, or has difficulty with sleep or mood, CBD may prove to be very useful to you. It isn’t a cure-all and can’t be used to replace prescription medications completely, but CBD can be a great tool in combating a wide range of conditions and promoting overall health. If this list was useful to you, make sure to let us know in the comments section below and share this article! If you are interested in learning more about or trying CBD, have a look through the site to find all the information you need.

 

References

[1] Cannabinoid Receptors: Where They Are and What They Do, Journal of Endocrinology vol 20 issue s1, 17 April 2008, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01671.x.

[2] Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors, Journal of Experimental Medicine, 14 April 2012, http://jem.rupress.org/content/209/6/1121.long

[3] Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 4 Februrary 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

[4] Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug, Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria vol 34 issue 1, 1 June 2012, http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-44462012000500008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en

[5] Antidepressant‐like effects of cannabidiol in mice: possible involvement of 5‐HT1A receptors, British Journal of Pharmacology, 4 December 2009, https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00521.x

[6] Cannabidiol as an Emergent Therapeutic Strategy for Lessening the Impact of Inflammation on Oxidative Stress, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 14 January 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085542/

[7] A Critical Review of the Antipsychotic Effects of Cannabidiol: 30 Years of a Translational Investigation, Current Pharmaceutical Design vol 18 issue 32, 2012, http://www.eurekaselect.com/102849/article

[8] Could Cannabidiol be a Treatment Option for Intractable Childhood and Adolescent Epilepsy?, Journal of Epilepsy Research vol 16 issue 20, 30 June 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5540685/

[9] Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise, American Association of Cancer Research vol 69 issue 2, 15 January 2008, https://www.theroc.us/researchlibrary/Cannabinoids%20for%20Cancer%20Treatment-%20Progress%20and%20Promise.pdf

[10] Cannabidiol, a non‐psychotropic component of cannabis, attenuates vomiting and nausea‐like behaviour via indirect agonism of 5‐HT1A somatodendritic autoreceptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus, British Journal of Pharmachology vol 165 issue 8, 9 August 2011, https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01621.x

[11] Chinese Materia Medica: Vegetable Kingdom. Smith, Frederick Porter (1911) Shanghai: American Presbyterian Mission Press. p. 90

[12] Cannabidiol in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Brief Overview, Phytotherapy Research vol 27 issue 5, 20 July 2012, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.4781

[13] A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study, JCI Insight vol 2 issue 12, 15 June 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5470879/

[14] The non-psychoactive plant cannabinoid, cannabidiol affects cholesterol metabolism-related genes in microglial cells, Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology vol 31 issue 6, 30 April 2011, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10571-011-9692-3

[15] Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: Preliminary findings, Addictive Behaviors vol 38 issue 9, September 2013, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030646031300083X

[16] Early Phase in the Development of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Addiction: Opioid Relapse Takes Initial Center Stage, Neurotherapeutics vol 12 issue 4, 13 August 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604178/

[17] Increased mast cell expression of PAR‐2 in skin inflammatory diseases and release of IL‐8 upon PAR‐2 activation, Experimental Dermatology vol 19 issue 2, 2 November 2009, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00998.x

[18] Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes, Journal of Clinical Investigation vol 124 issue 9, 25 July 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4151231/

[19] The Role of the CB1 Receptor in the Regulation of Sleep, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry vol 32 issue 6, May 2008 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eric_Murillo-Rodriguez/publication/5337345_The_role_of_the_CB1_receptor_in_the_regulation_of_sleep/links/59e666c24585151e545cdd04/The-role-of-the-CB1-receptor-in-the-regulation-of-sleep.pdf

[20] Does Cannabidiol Protect Against Adverse Psychological Effects of THC?, Frontiers in Psychiatry vol 130 issue 4, 16 October 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797438/