What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD oil is a popular natural home remedy for various health conditions. CBD is found in marijuana or the cannabis plant alongside 104 other cannabinoids. Among these cannabinoids is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound associated with the feeling of ‘high’ with cannabis users. CBD is however non-psychoactive hence safe for all.
CBD is rich in properties that come in handy in relieving pain among other health conditions. The best thing about CBD is that it doesn’t have any mind-altering effects of THC. CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, then diluted using coconut, hemp seed, or jojoba oil making it safe to use. Diluting the oil is essential since it helps lower the risk of reacting with your body especially if used in its concentrated form.
CBD oil is slowly gaining momentum in the world of health and wellness, with scientific studies confirming its potency in treating various health conditions including anxiety and chronic pains. Outlined below are seven health benefits (backed up by science) of CBD oil.
Benefits of CBD Oil
1. It Helps Relieve Pain
Marijuana has long been used to treat pain for many centuries dating as back as 2900 B.C. Scientists have (through research) been able to discover compounds in marijuana that are believed to contain pain-relieving properties. One of these compounds is CBD which interacts well with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) thus providing pain relief. The ECS is responsible for a wide range of functions in the body including immune, sleep, appetite, and pain response.
The human body produces endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters) which bind cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. CBD interacts with the neurotransmitters by impacting the receptors’ activity thus reducing inflammation and chronic pains. An excellent example of this is a study conducted on the effects of CBD on rats. Rats injected with CBD showed a reduced response to pain during surgical incisions while oral CBD treatment helps reduce inflammation and sciatic nerve pain on another rat as well.
Studies on humans have also revealed that the combination of THC and CBD helps treat pains associated with arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Sativex (an oral spray) is a popular drug for treating multiple sclerosis in several countries. This oral spray however combines the power of CBD and THC to manage/reduce pain in patients. According to a study on 47 subjects, individuals treated with Sativex showed a remarkable improvement in walking, pain, and muscle spams as compared to the groups that didn’t use the oral spray. Another study on the same also revealed that Sativex does help improve mobility, rest, and sleep in patients living with rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Helps Fight Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety are some of the most common mental health disorders today. Left unchecked, depression can have a devastating impact on one’s health. Statistics from the WHO confirm that depression is the leading cause of disability in the world with anxiety at the sixth place. Although most people turn to pharmaceutical drugs to treat these conditions, some of these drugs cause agitation, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and headache among other side effects. Common anxiety and depression drugs such as benzodiazepines are highly addictive.
CBD oil however contains properties potent enough to treat anxiety and depression, all at one go. Some of these properties are the reasons more, and more people are interested in the product. A study was conducted to show the effectiveness of this; where 24 individuals with social anxiety were given 600mg of CBD and the other group left without. The two groups were to take a public speaking test to see if CBD was effective. Results show that the group under CBD medication were a lot more relaxed, composed, and didn’t show any discomfort in their speech performance when compared to the other group.
CBD has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia in children with post-traumatic stress disorder safely. This, according to researchers, is the CBD’s ability to interact with serotonin receptors in the brain. This enables both children and animals under CBD to remain calm when they would otherwise be anxious or stressed.
3. Helps Fight Cancerous Cells (and cancer-related symptoms)
Cancer treatment methods can be harsh to the body. Most people experience pain, nausea, and even vomiting as a result. Studies however show that CBD oil does help counter the side effects of cancer treatment. A survey conducted on a group of 117 patients on cancer treatment revealed that taking CBD just before and after cancer treatment does help relieve the pain.
Patients under chemotherapy can use CBD oil to treat/reduce its effects. CBD helps reduce vomiting and nausea hence recommended to fight these side effects. Although your doctor may have prescribed medication for the same, some of these drugs don’t always work. Most patients seek alternative medicines to help with the distressing symptoms.
A study on the effectiveness of CBD on 16 patients on chemotherapy proved that administering CBD and THC orally does help reduce vomiting and nausea associated with the treatment method. According to the study, patients that received the CBD mouth spray coped better than those on standard medication for the same.
Test-tube studies also show that CBD has some anticancer properties that help fight the development of cancerous cells. The studies revealed that CBD induced deal of cancerous cells in the human breast. In addition to this, CBD showed signs of inhibiting progression of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice. These studies are however inconclusive as they have only been tested on animals and in test tubes.
Although test tube studies may reveal the cancer-fighting properties of CBD, researchers are yet to prove its efficacy and safety. This means CBD can only be used to reduce symptoms of cancer and related treatment for the time being.
4. CBD May Help Reduce Acne
About 9% of the world’s population has/have an acne breakout. Believed to be caused by bacteria, genetics, overproduction of sebum, inflammation, and oily secretion by the sebaceous glands, acne is one of the most common skin conditions today. CBD oil contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent excessive secretion of sebum and also fight any bacteria that cause the condition. Researchers also believe that CBD oil contains properties that inhibit the activation of agents such as inflammatory cytokines that cause acne development and growth.
Several studies have been able to quantify the effectiveness of CBD in reducing acne as well. The potent anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil prove a safe and efficient way to deal with this skin condition.
CBD’s ability to interact with the sebaceous glands in preventing overproduction of sebum and the potent anti-inflammatory properties make it a handy remedy for acne.
5. CBD May Have Neuroprotective Properties
CBD’s ability to interact with neurotransmitters and the endocannabinoid system has led researchers to believe it could be the key to treating neurological disorders. This has been shown by the numerous studies on the effectiveness of CBD oil on multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Although more research is needed for this, the results of its neuroprotective properties are promising. Sativex, the oral spray is a good example of products that make use of both THC and CBD to help treat multiple sclerosis hence confirming the assumptions.
According to one study, Sativex helped reduce spasms on a group of 276 people with multiple sclerosis by up to 75%. Most of these participants were resistant to other medications. In another study, CBD oil did help reduce seizures in more 214 individuals by up to 36%. Only 0.9 grams of CBD oil per pound of their body weight was administered to these patients. Another study shows that children with Dravet syndrome do respond well to CBD as compared to other drugs.
It is however worth noting that, some patients didn’t react well with CBD treatment with some experiencing fever, diarrhoea, and convulsions as a side effect. Further studies are still underway in the quest to determine the effectiveness of CBD on other neurological conditions. Some of these studies revolve around the efficacy of CBD treatment in people with Parkinson’s disease in improving their quality of sleep and life.
Test-tube studies also show that the potent anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may help prevent neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s. This is according to a long-running survey of mice predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease that shows increased resilience to cognitive decline after being administered with CBD.
CBD oil has shown potency in treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Research also indicates that CBD does help inhibit the progression of the Alzheimer’s disease in both mice and test tube tests.
6. Helps Protect The Heart
CBD oil is beneficial to the heart and the circulatory system as well. Research links some of the potent properties of CBD to lower blood pressure among other perks. High blood pressure is often linked to more fatal risks including heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. Numerous studies however indicate that CBD oil might be the solution for high blood pressure among other cardiovascular health conditions.
A study was conducted on a group of 10 healthy men to prove this. One group was given a dose of 600mg of CBD oil while the other wasn’t. The group of healthy men that used CBD oil were found to have a lower resting blood pressure as compared to the other group. The same group were put in conditions that would typically increase their blood pressure. Unbelievably, the single CBD dose helped these men maintain a relatively safe blood pressure even under these stress tests.
According to researchers, the anxiety and stress-reducing properties of CBD are the reason for its ability to promote heart health. The anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties of CBD oil are also to thank for improved cardiovascular health. This has been proven through several studies on the ability for CBD to reduce cell death associated with inflammation among other causes. In another study, researchers were able to determine CBD’s potency in reducing oxidative stress in diabetic mice that prevented damage to muscles of the heart and heart disease.
Although additional research and studies are needed to prove this, CBD oil could be beneficial to the human heart in more than one way. This includes preventing damage to the heart as well as lowering blood pressure.
7. Other Potential Health Benefits
CBD oil has long been used to treat these and other health issues as well. Some of the health benefits of CBD are discussed below.
- Antipsychotic effects: Studies and research show that CBD may help reduce psychotic symptoms of mental disorders and schizophrenia.
- Substance abuse treatment: Studies on rats have shown reduced dependence on drugs such as heroin and morphine.
- Anti-tumour effects: Both animal and test tube studies have demonstrated the ability of CBD to prevent the spread of prostate, breast, colon, lung, and brain cancer. This is thanks to the anti-tumour properties of CBD oil.
- Prevent Diabetes: Studies on diabetic mice showed a reduced incidence of diabetes by up to 56%. CBD also helped reduce inflammation in these mice as well.
Several studies are of the idea that CBD is an effective treatment for substance abuse, diabetes, mental disorder, and some types of cancer. Research on humans is however needed to quantify this.
Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil
Although CBD oil may be considered safe and tolerated well by many individuals, some people may experience adverse reactions. Some of the possible side effects as noted in studies include:
- Loss/gain in appetite
Although CBD is known to interact with various medications, it would be advisable to consult your doctor before using the product. Doing this should help avoid possible harmful interactions. This is because CBD may interfere with certain medications.
CBD oil has taken a significant role in its potential in treating various health conditions including heart disease, depression, acne, and anxiety. It may even be a good alternative for pain and symptom relief for cancer patients. With research still going on, on the health benefits and effects of CBD oil, it is possible that new therapeutic uses will be discovered. While much is to be learned about CBD and its efficacy/safety, recent studies suggest it could be a powerful yet safe treatment for a number of health conditions.