3 Research-Backed Health Benefits of CBD
Cannabis is a lot more than a recreational drug.
Cannabis isn’t just about psychoactive properties that give users that “high”, euphoric feeling. Aside from its recreational value, the cannabis plant poses numerous benefits to health and wellness. The cannabis plant contains hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, the most popular of which are the psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and non-psychoactive Cannabidiol (CBD).
When ingested, cannabinoid molecules alters certain bodily functions by binding with a neurotransmitter network in humans called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is made up of two primary receptors – the Cannabis Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabis Receptor 2 (CB2).
The CB1 receptors are predominantly located in the brain and nervous system. These receptors interact with our natural cannabinoids and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system. They interact with the natural endocannabinoid 2-AG and Cannabidiol. This interaction works to regulate bodily functions such as appetite, immune system function, and many others.
Many anecdotal studies have researched the benefits of CBD. While THC also has health benefits, its psychoactive effects tend to minimize its support as a legitimate medicinal remedy. CBD, on the other hand, is a more accepting medicinal treatment for a number of conditions, given its lack of psychoactive effects.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol – or CBD – is the second most popular cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is extracted from the resin of the flowers and buds. As stated, unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound. When consumed, CBD doesn’t invoke the feelings of euphoria or elation akin to the recreational consumption of THC.
The non-psychoactive properties of CBD make it a popular option for individuals who want to reap the medicinal benefits of marijuana but are averse to the psychoactive effects popularly associated with marijuana use, and its popularity continues to increase.
Cannabidiol can be consumed in 4 major of ways:
- Inhalation – Through smoking or vaping.
- Orally – Edibles (food and drinks), capsules and lozenges.
- Sublingually – Under the tongue in the form of oils or tinctures, and sprays.
- Topically – Applied on the skin in the form of balms, lotions, and soaps.
Health Benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD)
Since its discovery, CBD has shown significant promise in the medical field. Although its full benefits are yet to be discovered, research up until this point has proven CBD an indispensable method of treatment for many life-altering ailments. Here are 3 of the many areas where CBD has been found to be beneficial:
- Mental health benefits
CBD has been shown to have significant, positive effects in the treatment of mental health disorders such as anxiety, stress, and depression. It is also noted to significantly reduce anxiety in its users.
CBD and its preparations are often favoured by medical professionals over pharmaceutical medication for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression. This is due to its minimal side effects when compared to traditional pharmaceutical medications, which can have a number of unpleasant side effects, such as sexual dysfunction, weight gain, insomnia, and more.
In 2018, a survey conducted by Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research reported that a whopping 62 percent of Cannabidiol users reported that they used the chemical compound to treat medical conditions including anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.
Another study in 2011, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, ascertained that CBD could help alleviate social anxiety disorders. In this study, 24 people with social anxiety disorder were given either 600 milligrams (mg) of CBD or placebos an hour and thirty minutes before performing a simulated public speaking test. As a control experiment, an additional 12 people with the anxiety disorder performed the same simulation test without receiving any CBD. In the end, results showed that patients who were administered CBD showed significantly reduced anxiety and discomfort while performing.
Cannabidiol has also shown significant promise in treating some mental issues in children. For example, CBD has been noted to relieve insomnia and anxiety in children suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Pain management and anti-inflammatory benefits
CBD has been found to alleviate the chronic pain in patients suffering from diseases such as cancer, rheumatism, and arthritis.
Experts have determined that CBD’s ability to interact with the endocannabinoid receptors allows users experience significantly reduced pain related symptoms with little to no adverse effects.
A study published online in 2015 shows that Cannabidiol can significantly reduce inflammation and pain in conditions such as sclerosis, arthritis, and chronic joint pain. (Link to,) These conditions are rampant in senior citizens worldwide, making such a natural treatment even more important. In the United States alone, 75-80 percent of senior citizens suffer from arthritis and chronic pain
For the treatment of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, CBD shows a lot promise. Though research in this area is still fairly recent, the results indicate great possibilities.
A study conducted in 2014 showed that Sativex – a medicinal oral spray containing CBD – reduced muscle spasms in 75% of the 276 participants who suffered from multiple sclerosis. These individuals were noted to have experienced resistance to other medications.
In 2007, a study revealed that the neuro-inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease could be reduced significantly by CBD.
Several studies have also shown that the quality of life in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease can be significantly improved by CBD.
As restrictions against cannabis continue to fall, research into the effects of CBD becomes easier to conduct. Today, several scientific studies into the matter are ongoing, given the current global trend of relaxed views towards the drug. As of now though, there are already several studies on file realizing the benefits of CBD for those suffering from a range of conditions. As always though, its always a good idea to discuss using cannabis products as a treatment for these ailments beforehand.
By: Julie Adams