What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol and is in various forms of cannabis. Many people confuse CBD with THC, which is the element of marijuana that contains psychoactive properties. Although CBD originates from cannabis, it does not provide any psychoactive properties and will not get you high when you smoke or ingest it.
There are two different types of cannabis, marijuana, and hemp. Marijuana contains both THC and CBD. When manufacturers extract CBD from marijuana sources, there’s always a chance that trace amounts of THC make their way into the extract. Hemp, on the other hand, does not contain any THC. Hemp extracts are 100 percent pure CBD.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government now views hemp as an agricultural product instead of a controlled substance. By doing so, the plant and its byproducts – including CBD – became legal nationwide. Marijuana, on the other hand, is on the controlled substances list, although many stages have forgone federal law and legalized it for medicinal or recreational use.
The scientific community has placed considerable attention into CBD. I’ll jump into that more below, but the one primary thing that I want to point out is the fact that CBD is safe and non-addictive.
The more research that scientists conduct about CBD, the more it appears that CBD can serve as a viable alternative to numerous dangerous medications.
The Benefits of CBD
CBD offers a wide array of benefits. While the benefits can vary depending on the dosage and your health situation. Historians discovered that people had used marijuana as a pain reliever as far back as 5,000 years ago. Below, you’ll find some of the potential benefits that CBD could offer.
One of the most primary benefits of CBD is that it could offer relief from chronic pain and inflammation. The human body contains an endocannabinoid system, which are neurotransmitters that bind to the transmitters in your central nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating things such as:
- Immune System Response
When an individual consumes CBD, a cannabinoid, the endocannabinoid system goes into overdrive. The interaction with neurotransmitters could help provide relief from chronic inflammation. One study found that injecting CBD into a surgical site helped reduce post-operation pain significantly. Another study concluded that CBD helped provide relief from sciatic nerve pain.
Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, CBD could also be quite useful for aging adults as well. Significant scientific testing has shown that CBD could help treat pain associated with arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, these studies also found that users also needed to take THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, to see any effects.
Impact on Anxiety and Depression
One of the other most significant benefits of CBD is that it could reduce anxiety and depression. Statistics from the World Health Organization demonstrate how severe the conditions are worldwide. Depression is the world’s leading disability, while anxiety is sixth.
In one study, researchers gave individuals with anxiety a dose of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking event. Those who took the CBD demonstrated considerably less anxiety and discomfort than the placebo group. Other studies have had positive results showing that CBD could help those with post-traumatic stress disorder and that it provides users with numerous antidepressant-like effects.
Potential Improvements to Cardiovascular Health
Scientists also believe that CBD could help improve the cardiovascular system. As we age, high blood pressure becomes of grave concern. High blood pressure can lead to a host of health problems including heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
High blood pressure also links to other health conditions, such as:
- Heart attack
- Metabolic Syndrome
Studies have found that CBD could help lower blood pressure. One test concluded that CBD oil dropped blood pressure considerably more than a placebo. Another found that those who took CBD before engaging in stress-related activities did not see their blood pressure peak nearly as high as those who didn’t.
Scientists are now studying why this is the case. There’s a strong belief that it’s tied to the anxiety-reducing and stress-reducing properties of CBD. Stress typically tends to drive blood pressure upwards. When you take CBD, you are not nearly as stressed, which therefore keeps your blood pressure low. It will be interesting to see the results of these potential studies moving forward.
Not only does CBD impact blood pressure, but it could also have a direct impact on heart health as well. Because of its’ anti-inflammatory properties, CBD could reduce inflammation and cell death in the heart. One study found that taking regular doses of CBD not only prevented heart damage but also reduced oxidative stress on the cardiovascular system.
Reduce Cancer-Related Symptoms
Perhaps one of the most promising benefits of CBD is the fact that scientists believe it could significantly reduce cancer-related symptoms, such as:
Many studies have given cancer patients a combination of CBD and THC. One study gave half of its patients this mixture and gave the other half THC only. Those who took both the CBD indicated that they had significantly less pain than those who took the THC only. Studies have also found that the CBD/THC treatments reduce nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy better than traditional therapies.
Perhaps most exciting is the fact that CBD may even contain anti-cancer properties. One study was able to conclude that CBD caused the death of human breast cancer cells. More testing is needed to prove this theory further. However, if you or a loved one have cancer, nothing is stopping you from purchasing a CBD product and seeing if it works after talking with your doctor.
Are There Any Side Effects Associated with CBD?
Generally speaking, CBD is very safe and causes very little in the way of side effects. However, during testing, there were a few side effects exhibited by patients of which you should be aware. They include:
- Changes in Appetite
Another thing that you need to know is that CBD could interact with several different medications. I recommend that you first talk with your doctor before you start taking the substance. Your doctor may take you off your prescription medication if you would like to begin regular CBD dosing. Otherwise, you could suffer an adverse reaction.
Which CBD Product Should You Use?
If a doctor has diagnosed you with any of the above conditions, there’s a strong chance that you could receive a prescription CBD medication known as Epidiolex. This drug first became available as a pharmaceutical substance in 2018 to help treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. If a doctor won’t prescript you Epidiolex, you can purchase CBD online or at a local retailer.
Because the Farm Bill legalized hemp, CBD is now legal in all 50 states. Manufacturers produce CBD oil by extracting the substance from hemp. So long as you purchase a CBD oil derived from hemp-based products, it will be legal, no matter where you live. It also should not contain any THC, which means it will not get you high.
The one problem, however, is that the government has not yet regulated CBD products. A lack of regulation has given way to a rise of manufacturers who are looking to ride the “CBD wave” that has seemingly swept the nation. However, the substances that these manufacturers produce are not always pure, and their labels are often misleading.
When purchasing a CBD product, you should ask to see the company’s Certificate of Analysis. As I mentioned, the federal government does not regulate CBD or require testing. Manufacturers will often hire an independent third party out of their pocket, cutting into their bottom line.
The third-party will test the CBD products to determine how much is in the product.
Companies who pay for independent third-party COA analysis have committed to delivering a pure substance. If a producer is not willing or is unable to produce a COA, I recommend that you search elsewhere for the product. You want to be sure of what you’re putting into your body.
The system will improve considerably once the federal government institutes regulatory and testing standards. While the system is not perfect now, the COA can go a long way toward ensuring you receive a product that is pure CBD.