Since the FDA approved Epidiolex, a Cannabidiol CBD-based drug that addresses seizures in certain rare forms of epilepsy, there’s no question that this compound may have great value. Already, multiple clinical trials of patients with various stages of epilepsy show that it does. But CBD is in the spotlight for more than just its ability to treat certain forms of epilepsy. While research is early, CBD oil is also being studied for its anti-inflammatory properties and its potential to address symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, and pain. Now you may be wondering: what all can CBD oil treat? Read on to learn more about the potential effects of CBD.
Already, thousands of individuals are using CBD oil as an alternative way to address many conditions, including nerve degeneration, psoriasis, and irritable bowel syndrome. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at CBD, what it is, its effect on the body, how to use it, and the conditions it can potentially help alleviate.
So, What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol often referred to as CBD, is one of the many active compounds (cannabinoids) naturally found in the cannabis plant. When extracted from the plant, it produces a thick paste that is then mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or hemp oil, in order to deliver a product with a specific CBD concentration. The final product is referred to as CBD oil.
What Does CBD Oil Do in the Body?
Simply put, cannabidiol interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), a huge messaging network in the body that plays a vital role in psychological function regulation. As a matter of fact, cannabinoids are so important to staying healthy that the brain produces its own.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, your ECS affects several physiological functions including:
- Motor control
- Memory, mood, and sleep
- Appetite and metabolism
- Pain perception
- Fertility and pregnancy
- Immune function
Can You Get High or Stoned on CBD?
You may be wondering if CBD oil can treat certain conditions, but you might also be wondering if CBD has any psychoactive effects. Simply put, no. It is impossible to get high from using CBD oil alone. But it is a chemical cousin to THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the high that comes from marijuana consumption. As such, it is imperative to know the kind of CBD you are purchasing.
CBD oil derived from marijuana is extracted from high-THC strains of cannabis Sativa plants. In contrast, legal CBD is derived from hemp plants, which are simply low-THC and high-CBD strains of cannabis. If you want to stay within the legal federal guidelines, just look at your product label: the ratio of CBD to THC is usually stated right there in plain sight. Any product that contains more than 0.3% THC is regarded as a controlled substance and can only be purchased in a state where recreational or medical marijuana is legal.
The research is minimal, but according to the British Journal of Pharmacology, some experts say that combining CBD and THC actually enhances the therapeutical benefits of cannabidiol, something we refer to as the ‘entourage effect’.
Hemp-derived CBD is usually from low-THC plants, although a full-spectrum product will contain trace amounts of THC so you can still experience that entourage effect. This kind of cannabidiol is sold over the counter in supermarkets and nutrition stores, added to lattes in some coffee shops, and even infused into skin products. Many people say that CBD oil gives you the relaxing effects of marijuana without having to worry about any psychoactive effects.
How to Use CBD Oil?
There are numerous CBD oil-infused products out there, but they fall into four primary categories:
Swallowing CBD enables it to pass through your digestive system, where it is metabolized by the liver and then sent throughout the bloodstream over the course of several hours. CBD is often ingested in capsules and tinctures or added to beverages and food like coffee and gummies. It can also be ingested as a powder (CBD isolate), which is created by getting rid of all plant matter to reveal a crystalline substance that has no odor or taste.
CBD infused skin products are applied topically to deliver targeted relief from pain and inflammation. Topical products include creams, patches, lip balms, personal lubricants, suppositories, shampoos, lotions, and salves.
Putting a few drops of a CBD tincture or oil, or a pinch of powder, under your tongue and holding it in place for a few seconds is known as sublingual dosing. This is another popular method of CBD consumption, especially if you want fast effects: with sublingual CBD, the active substance is instantly absorbed into your bloodstream via the mucus membranes beneath your tongue.
You can inhale CBD by vaping it or by adding the powder/oil to e-cigs and smoking them. Inhaled cannabidiol also quickly reaches your bloodstream, as it’s absorbed by the lungs. This is another good alternative to ingestion as the product doesn’t need to go through your digestive system, where you have to wait for about an hour to experience the effects. The instant effects have led to the popularity of vaping CBD. However, there has been an increase in lung injuries associated with vaping products, and this has led the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) to urge individuals to avoid vaping.
What Conditions Might CBD Oil Help Alleviate?
Now, you may be wondering what exactly CBD oil could treat. Well, even though we are in the early stages of CBD research and the results are not conclusive, CBD oil has been shown to have therapeutic benefits in certain specific areas:
CBD may help manage anxiety. CBD changes the way your brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, a hormone that is linked to mental health. Receptors are simply proteins that are attached to your cells; they receive messages so that the cells can respond to varying stimuli. According to studies, a 600mg dose of cannabidiol can help people with anxiety make a public speech without discomfort. Other studies conducted on animals have shown that the compound can help alleviate anxiety by:
- Improving PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms.
- Alleviating stress
- Reducing anxiety’s physical effects like increased heart rate.
- Inducing sleep for people with insomnia.
As previously mentioned, Epidiolex is a CBD-based drug that addresses seizures in certain rare forms of epilepsy. This may have you wondering if CBD oil can be used to treat seizures. While studies are still in their early stages, and doctors are testing how significantly CBD reduces seizures, we do know that the cannabinoid can effectively treat certain epilepsy symptoms. According to the American Epilepsy Society, CBD research provides hope for disorders related to seizures, with current research focusing on the safety of the substance.
Back in 2016, a study was done on 214 individuals suffering from epilepsy. The participants took doses between 2 and 5mg of CBD oil per day in addition to their normal medication. The study monitored the participants for three months, recording any undesired effects and the frequency of the seizures. Overall, there was a 36% decrease in the number of seizures subjects experienced each month.
CBD oil’s effects on the brain’s receptors may also help with pain management. According to research, cannabis has therapeutic effects on individuals after chemo treatments. Other studies overseen by the National Institute of Health are examining the role of the substance in alleviating symptoms caused by the following:
- Muscle pain
- Chronic pain
- Spinal cord injuries
- MS pain
Sativex or Nabiximols, a multiple sclerosis drug made by mixing CBD and THC, is already approved in Canada and the UK to treat multiple sclerosis pain. However, doctors think that the cannabidiol in the drug contributes more to its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD clinical trials are still needed to determine if the compound may be used for pain management.
Doctors are also studying the CB1 receptor found in your brain, to look for ways that CBD oil can help individuals with neurodegenerative disorders, which are conditions that cause the nerves and brain to deteriorate over time. CBD, in this aspect, is being explored for its applications to patients with:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
The theory is that CBD can alleviate the inflammation that worsens neurodegenerative symptoms. However, more research in this field is needed.
Some researchers have been exploring the role of CBD oil in preventing cancer development, although these studies are in their infant stages. So, could CBD oil help treat some symptoms of cancer and side effects of treatment? According to the National Cancer Institute, the cannabidiol may help reduce cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. However, the NCI does not endorse any kind of cannabis as a treatment for cancer. The ability of CBD to moderate inflammation as well as cell reproduction is what makes it a potentially promising cancer treatment for the future. CBD oil appears to minimize the ability of some tumor cells to grow or reproduce.
This is the case for many chronic or acute conditions. While certain CBD oil properties suggest it may effectively target symptoms of many medical conditions, we simply don’t have enough research to introduce CBD oil as a replacement for conventional medical therapies. Still, as research progresses, we hope that CBD oil will help many individuals suffering from debilitating diseases.
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