CBD, better known as Cannabidiol Oil, is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants are usually referred to as hemp or marijuana, depending on their tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.
The CBD oil commonly used comes from the legal hemp plants. It is therefore important to first understand CBD to help overcome the stigma attached to it.
How does CBD work
Our body has cannabinoid receptors, called CB1, which are particularly present in the brain. These receptors are responsible for controlling the body movement, emotion, memory, appetite and various other functions. The CB2 receptors, instead, are more profound in the immune system and mostly coordinate pain and inflammation.
The THC attaches itself to the CB1 receptors and in return, the CBD present stimulates these receptors by allowing the body to produce its own cannabinoids, which are called endocannabinoids.
When THC enters the body, it produces a sense of a highly elevated feeling by affecting the endocannabinoid receptors. This activates the reward system in the brain and produces dopamine, also called the pleasure chemical. Learn more about CBD, how it works and its benefits before picking from an array of oils.
Benefits of CBD
Human studies have so far shown limited evidence to support the benefits of CBD oil, but as cannabis is gradually being recognized in more and more regions, the research which is gaining momentum is now showing promising results.
In fact, a 2020 review from the National Institute of Public Health has shown that CBD could be of help in relieving chronic pain, reducing inflammation and improving sleep, but more evidence is needed to determine their safe and effective dosage.
Some other benefits of CBD could be possible help with chronic neuropathy pain caused by damage to the nerves in humans. This ailment is common in a person with shingles infection or in multiple sclerosis. Again more study results are awaited to understand the role of CBD in treating neuropathic pain and the ideal doses.
There are several other reasons why people take CBD. Some of them could include relief from chronic pain, migraine, sleep disorders, arthritis, anxiety and depression among others.
CBD, currently, has a range of promising possible applications. These include:
- Making people quit smoking: A pilot study going back to 2013 has shown that smokers smoke fewer cigarettes if they inhaled CBD containers.
- Managing substance abuse: Specific cannabinoids such as CBD may help those with opioid addiction disorders. It was noted that CBD reduced most of the symptoms associated with substance use disorders like depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia and mood-related symptoms.
- Treating epilepsy seizures: After many years of research, only one purified form of CBD has gained FDA approval, Epidiolex, for treating epilepsy. Now those 3+ can be treated for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
- Anxiety: CBD, according to some researchers can change the way the brain responds to a stress-reducing chemical linked with the brain, known as serotonin.
- Reducing the effects of dementia: Mental health issues are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, but now researchers are searching for a receptor in the brain that CBD could help with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and stroke.
- A potential to combat cancer in the future: Scientists have found enough evidence to suggest that CBD oil can not only suppress the growth of cancer cells but promote its destruction as well. By adding CBD to chemotherapy drugs, drastic improvement was found in the immune system and even lessen the side effects of chemotherapy.
- Type 1 diabetes: When the immune system cells attack the pancreas, type 1 diabetes is the result. Research has shown that CBD eases inflammation and delays the onset of the disease.
The FDA has now approved one form of CBD oil, called Epidiolex, to treat epilepsy and seizures caused by a condition known as tuberous sclerosis complex.
Since CBD is not regulated for most conditions, the required dosages are open to interpretation. People, hence, should speak to a doctor first on how much to take and treat the use of CBD with caution.
Another reason to consult a doctor first is that CBD may react with some over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements and prescription medications that warn against consuming grapefruits.
While studies have shown promising results in the use of CBD oil, more long-term studies are needed, especially with human subjects. Till now, CBD has shown promise due to the lack of intoxicating effect and low side effects as compared to other medications for controlling pain.