7 Proven Health Benefits of Cannabidiol: What is CBD & How Does it Work?
People all over the world are interested in the health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). This is compound found in the cannabis plant and modern science started using it after a chemist who graduated from Harvard University, Roger Adams became the first person to successfully extract CBD from the Cannabis sativa plant.
CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, it has many health benefits and it is legal in most places. It doesn’t contain any psychoactive elements that are usually associated with something we would call a “recreational cannabis use”.
But it’s not that simple. You need to determine how CBD can boost your health. You need to learn about it before you start using it. It can help you, it has hundreds of health benefits, but is the Cannabidiol for you? You can’t trust everything you read online and that is why you should be careful where you look for the sources.
What Is Cannabidiol, and Where Does It Come From?
The first documented case of cannabis-derived medicine dates back to 2737 BC. The Chinese emperor Sheng Nung used it as an ingredient for his tea to help him with all kinds of health problems like malaria, rheumatism, gout, and memory problems. Later on, in 1901, Queen Victoria is believed to have used CBD to alleviate menstrual cramps during her reign.
The CBD is short from cannabidiol. This is a critical phytocannabinoid found in hemp known for supporting the body and mind in many ways. Don’t confuse this with oil from hemp seeds because that one doesn’t contain cannabinoids. It is also cold “Medical Cannabis”, and the medicinal department uses advantages of this plant for curing or relieving different illnesses.
Medical cannabis or medical marijuana is not marijuana. The two of them are from the same family of plants, but they are different because cannabis doesn’t contain that many psychoactive substances. In this plant, there are different cannabinoids from which the most important is cannabinoid CBD (Cannabidiol). Cannabinoid CBD is acquired from a natural source, it is considered as a herbal item which is safe for everybody.
Facts About CBD
CBD is non-intoxicating. The psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant that is associated with recreational cannabis use called THC is not present in CBD. You don’t feel intoxicated and mentally affected in any way possible.
CBD is just one of 113 different cannabinoids found in this plant. And the wide range of cannabinoids found in cannabis has made this plant a very important healing tool for thousands of years. And the sad fact is that we are (as a modern civilization with our modern science) just scraping the surface of the wide range of benefits this unique compound can deliver to the human body.
Which Health Conditions can CBD Help With?
Should You Take CBD for Chronic Pain?
CBD stops the body from absorbing anandamide, which is a compound, associated with regulating pain. Increased levels of anandamide in the bloodstream may reduce the amount of pain a person feels. Researchers also found that Cannabidiol may limit inflammation in the brain and nervous system. This may be a benefit for people experiencing pain, insomnia, and certain immune-system responses. There is some evidence that people have been using CBD for thousands of years to treat various types of pain, however, the medical community has only recently begun to study it again.
CBD for Inflammation
The CBD anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD are well-documented. It lowers the inflammatory responses in the body and assists with a broad range of health conditions from Alzheimer’s to arthritis… even some conditions that lead to cancer!
CBD for Seizures and Epilepsy
Multiple studies and trials have shown that CBD helps with the management of epilepsy. Just one dose of this compound can help you control epilepsy. It can stop seizures from occurring entirely.
CBD for Insomnia: Can It Help?
CBD can cause no side effects. It can make you feel relaxed and sleep well.
Is Cannabidiol CBD an Effective Antipsychotic?
CBD is good for treating many mental health conditions and as it turned out that it can, in some cases, replace antipsychotic medication entirely.
Can CBD Oil Help With Anxiety?
Not only cannabidiol can lower anxiety, but it also helps with all kinds of other psychological conditions and brain disorders. A report published by The Permanente Journal in 2016 and a study conducted in 2013 revealed that CBD may prove to be effective in the treatment for:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (check post-traumatic stress disorder stats to learn more about PTSD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety
Is CBD Legal?
Cannabis is not legal in most countries around the world. However, the use of CBD is extremely widespread and (in most cases) completely legal. It has even been removed from the World Anti-Doping Association list of banned substances which now allows athletes around the world to access all the benefits this plant has to offer.
The limit in the US is set at 0.3% THC content for health products and every product that contains 0.3% of THC or less can be sold without any legal trouble. Products with more than 0.3% of THC content are called medical marijuana products and go under specific state laws responsible for medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. Some of the countries where CBD is legal:
- The Netherlands
- The UK
How CBD Actually Works
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system. It is an extremely large and complex system in the body. And according to multiple studies, the endocannabinoid system (in further text ECS) helps regulate many things including your mood, brain function, body’s immune response, sleep, inflammation, stress, and pain. The ECS is made of endocannabinoids which are naturally produced chemicals in the body, cell receptors for cannabinoids, and enzymes that break cannabinoids down.
The ECS receptors are located… well, everywhere in your body. And they are one of the main transmitting channels for how the body responds to stimuli. At low doses, the CBD showed better results than the use of supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin E and can help in regulating some of the symptoms of arthritis, joint pain, migraine headaches, acne, and neurodegenerative conditions.
It is hard to explain how CBD works because the science behind it is very complicated… But it goes something like this – When CBD enters the body it begins its work by inhibiting the production of a specific enzyme we call FAAH. *FAAH is fatty acid amide hydrolase. An integral membrane hydrolase with a single N-terminal transmembrane domain. Member of the serine hydrolase family of enzymes.
This enzyme degrades an “endogenous” cannabinoid – the cannabinoid made by our own body – called anandamide. And by preventing the FAAH from breaking down our cannabinoids, the CBD prolongs and enhances the positive health effects they provide. *Anandamide, AKA N-arachidonoylethanolamine is a fatty acid neurotransmitter, derived from the non-oxidative metabolism of eicosatetraenoic acid (arachidonic acid), an essential omega-6 fatty acid. It is an interesting detail to mention that the word itself comes from Sanskrit word ANANDA which means “joy, bliss, delight”, and amide.
Anandamide is a very important neurotransmitter that helps CB1 and CB2 receptors bind to the human endocannabinoid system. By doing this it helps the promotion of neurogenesis, or in other words, it grows new brain cells, and it helps you eat.
CB1 receptors are actually in the brain and spinal cord… Well, most of them are. Scientists concluded that CB1 receptors play a very important role in mood, sleep, and pain sensation. Their activation has very important neuroprotective benefits.
CB2 receptors are in the immune system and central and peripheral nervous systems. Their activation leads to reduced inflammation. The secondary task of the CBD is to help you in the production of serotonin (makes you happier and calmer), it regulates pain perception, body temperature, and inflammation. By helping your body in serotonin production, CBD can play a very important role in the release of dopamine in the body.
This helps people diagnosed with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia in controlling their symptoms without the use of those problematic powerful psychiatric medications. The same properties help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease in managing their condition. It is responsible for the release of oxytocin, a very important anti-aggressive, and calming hormone.
Another interesting detail worth mentioning is that CBD somehow blocks GPR55 receptor signaling. Some early results show that these properties of the CBD can slow down the growth of certain cancers. And you can find GPR55 in almost all parts of your body like the brain, the spleen, the adrenal glands, and the gastrointestinal tract. GPR55 is responsible for the creation, growth, and migration of cancer cells throughout your body.
Can You Check the Quality of the CBD?
You have all kinds of CBD products at your fingertips if you know how to use the Internet. This is why you have to be able to assess the quality of what you are buying. And this is very difficult.
Most CBD oils that you can find on the “net” are made of industrial hemp. The quality of that hemp is… sometimes questionable. Research published by the American Medical Association that covered all kinds of cannabidiol products sold online found that almost 70% of those products were not labeled correctly or with the list of ingredients that don’t correspond with the real ingredients inside the product you are buying.
This means that only 30% of the CBD products you are buying to provide accurately labeled ingredients. Ensure that the product comes from the United States. It’s best to select a CBD product that is manufactured in the US because the best hemp comes from Colorado, Kentucky, and Oregon. And CBD products made in those states contain below 0.3% THC and that makes them legal for sale anywhere in the US.
The CBD can’t be harvested from the seed or the stem of the cannabis Sativa plant. This is why you have to avoid any products that are marketed as such. Avoid chemical additives. – Just like you don’t want any chemical additives in anything else… Avoid CBD products manufactured in Europe. They don’t grow their hemp for the CBD but fiber and seed. This is why their CBD products are not of the highest quality.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
Our bodies can easily absorb CBD. It usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes to take effect. However, the time it takes the CBD to take effect is not the same for everybody. It depends on factors like body weight, metabolism, etc.
This is why it takes a little bit of “trial and error” on an individual basis. It also depends on the delivery method. For example, the easiest and the fastest way to deliver CBD to the body is sublingual dosing (a drop of the oil is placed under the tongue). It usually takes from 10 to 20 minutes for this method to be effective.
Vaping is even faster, but we don’t understand it completely. Further studies are needed. The slowest way is to eat the CBD… Going through your digestive system takes time.
CBD Dosage: How Much Should You Take?
The dosage depends on your goal. Or in other words, the dosage depends on what you want to achieve.
To determine the best dosage for the problem you are having, start with the minimal possible dosage. Then slowly increase the dosage until you achieve the benefits. Once you achieve to ideal dosage, you can retain it for 90 days or even longer.
You should start with 12mg per day, applied three times daily. If you are experiencing problems like chronic pain or inflammation start somewhere between 22mg and 30mg per day.
CBD can help people that are suffering from certain illnesses like epilepsy or other seizure conditions. However, these kinds of problems usually require a higher dosage. Clinical trials for epilepsy determined that you should take 3mg per kilogram.
You should be careful when determining your dosage because not all products offer the same concentration of the CBD. But this follows a simple formula. Every CBD product manufacturer has to provide the exact amount of how much CBD is within the same product. For CBD oil this means that it has to provide how much CBD there is in every milliliter or gram of the product. One milliliter is 20 drops (give or take).
The Entourage Effect
The problem when a beginner is trying to determine the right dosage lies in the effect called the “Entourage effect”. Scientists believe that CBD is more effective if the THC is present. This is basically, that entourage. The THC and CBD work in tandem in our bodies to provide all those benefits.
The ratio between these two varies depending on the type of the plant harvested for the product, method used for manufacturing and the actual process of extraction. And the ratio is very important because you don’t want to hurt yourself. And it is not just the ratio of CBD vs THC but the ratio of all the isolated compounds. Every compound has a different therapeutic effect and scientists have to interpret the value of each compound to evaluate the ensemble effect. And in terms of dosing, this means that:
- You should know the ratio of CBD vs THC. The less THC the product has, the less intoxicating it will be. These kinds of products are best for the people that are seeking a “high-free” medicinal effect. BUT, people that do live in some… more tolerable regions of the globe may be able to choose from a broader range of choices with different CBD and THC ratios.
- Аs little as 2.5mg of CBD can help you and provide a powerful health boost. Sometimes, the effects of high dosage are the same as the effects of low dosage. However, the knowledge about the dosage is expanding as time goes on. The best thing you can do is to begin as low as 2.5mg. You could go up to 10mg but stay in that region. And it doesn’t matter which method of delivery you are planning, start with the low dosage. And always give the CBD a few hours to feel the effects. Only then you can increase or lower the dosage, depending on the effect.
CBD Side Effects and CBD Safety
The usual side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue, and irritability. Other side effects include:
Dryness of Mouth
It is a very common phenomenon among people who use CBD or other cannabinoids. The people who did experience this phenomenon describe it as a strange feeling of cotton balls in their mouths. You can fix this by regularly hydrating yourself before, during or after the consumption of CBD. This happens when Anandamide, an endocannabinoid that triggers this dryness of mouth start interacting with cannabinoid receptors inside the submandibular gland.
This doesn’t affect all the people. Strangely, this feeling differs from person to person. It will, in most cases keep you awake, make you more alert and energetic, and with other people it may produce the exact opposite effect. If you are in that latter category, it is best for you to not operate any dangerous machinery or driving a vehicle. You should also reduce the dosage if you start experiencing this symptom.
Dizziness or Lightheadedness
This is an extremely rare and only temporary effect. You can fix this by drinking a caffeinated beverage. And make sure you drink a lot of water with it because caffeine can dehydrate your body.
A Sudden Drop in Blood Pressure
Well, this is the reason why some people feel the lightheadedness. There is evidence that this side effect can help people with heart disease and diabetes, this quality of CBD can harm people with normal blood pressure. Only high doses cause this side effect.
Diarrhea and Change in Appetite (Weight)
These side effects have been noted but it was concluded that: “In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of the same or similar conditions, the CBD has a better side effect profile.”
Interaction with Pharmaceutical Drugs
People that do take some other pharmaceutical medicaments have to be careful with CBD. The CBD and pharmaceutical drugs use the same P450 enzyme found in the liver. These side effects are very mild and, in most cases, appear if the dosage is very high. A comprehensive clinical trial from 2011 analyzed both the effects and side effects of the CBD.
The results concluded that CBD is not toxic and that it does not impact your ability to eat, doesn’t cause catalepsy, “and does not alter physiological parameters such as your body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure (not much), and does not impact gastrointestinal function or physiological functions.” The study concluded that frequent use of up to 1,500mg/day has no negative health impact on an average human.
Is the CBD Safe When Combined with Other Pharmaceuticals?
As we already said, CBD can produce some negative side effects if you use them with certain types of medicaments. It interacts with several enzymes in your liver which are associated with the metabolism of specific drugs. These enzymes belong to the cytochrome P450 family. This means that CBD and specific drugs are using the same enzyme and there isn’t an unlimited amount of this enzyme.
This is why you should always consult your physician before beginning any CBD dosage or mixing your CBD with other medicines or pharmaceutical drugs. Other than that, CBD is safe. It’s only important that you keep your physician informed and updated!
Well, there are thousands of CBD products on the market today. Their production has been pushed by hundreds of different clinical trials and investigations proving all the good sides of this plant. The most popular delivery methods are oral dosing, inhalation, and transdermal application. The most popular CBD products are:
- Hemp oil
- CBD capsules
- Hemp powder
- CBD skincare
- CBD isolates
- CBD transdermal patches
- CBD body washes
Is the CBD Really That Good?
Well, it might seem “too good to be true”, but CBD is all-natural and it is good for our health. There are hundreds of different clinical studies that can serve as the best evidence to support the use of cannabidiol for all kinds of health conditions it can treat. CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in cannabis or marijuana plant. This particular oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
There is much to learn about the actual efficiency and safety of CBD, but for now, the results are only showing that it is an extremely powerful natural treatment for all kinds of health issues. But, when trying CBD products, always consult your physician for advice. Always!
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