What is cannabidiol (CBD)?
As one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis, cannabidiol is a major cannabinoid that accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. Another well known cannabinoid is THC – this cannabinoid is responsible for the high associated with the recreational use of marijuana. CBD does not cause a high in users and it is considered legal to consume in 40 countries around the world.
The cannabis plant is rich in cannabinoids and humans have an endogenous endocannabinoid system in their bodies. The human endocannabinoid system interacts with the cannabinoids in cannabis plants and the manner in which these cannabinoids interact with our receptors will determine their benefits.
Even though CBD has no affinity to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, it activates other receptors and channels. CBD can delay the reuptake of important neurotransmitters. CBD can also either enhance or inhibit the binding of some G coupled protein receptors. This activity by CBD is responsible for its anti-anxiety and pain relieving properties.
Due to its many health benefits and lack psychoactivity, CBD has become one of the most exciting cannabinoids out there.
What are the effects of CBD?
CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects; it is virtually side effect free and has no known mortality threshold.
When we think of medical marijuana we often think about the high THC strains of marijuana offered to cancer patients or those with chronic pain. Most people don’t know that there are alternatives to taking the high THC strains of cannabis. You can still enjoy the many benefits of medical cannabis without dealing with the obvious side effects of ingesting high THC products, namely that you get high.
With high CBD cannabis strains you can enjoy the benefits of medical cannabis without being high. This means you can use CBD before work and not have to worry about underperforming while on the job.
When you take CBD you can perhaps expect a mood enhancing effect but nothing more, meaning you won’t feel much of anything at all. CBD acts in the background leaving the user free to continue with their every day tasks. While side effects for CBD are rare, they can happen but they’re usually very benign – the most common one reported is feeling a bit tired or lethargic. Just taking a smaller dose is usually all that’s needed to alleviate this side effect. Sometimes it only happens when you first start taking CBD, passing with time as you take CBD more regularly.
Now that we have discussed what CBD is and what its effects are let’s move on to discussing 5 health benefits of supplementing with CBD.
1. CBD has shown to help with depression and anxiety
Researchers at the University of San Paolo and in King’s College have studied the effects of CBD on anxiety and they found that elevated levels of CBD activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. This activation of the serotonin receptor makes CBD a good candidate for the treatment of depression .
Another study conducted on mice showed that mice treated with CBD quickly improved their level of hyperactivity: within 30 minutes they were displaying signs of reduced hyperactivity. Hyperactivity is considered a sign of anxiety and depression .
I am sure that going forward these lines of inquiry will be explored, as laws become less rigid and exploratory research continues to be as promising as it has been. More interest and better access will increase our overall understanding of this molecule.
If you are looking for a lift in mood, CBD can be a natural way of doing this that is not only effective but virtually side effect free.
2. CBD has shown to help with addiction
CBD is being explored as an addiction treatment and there is ongoing research in its use against various addictions such as tobacco, marijuana, heroin and alcohol.
So if you are a smoker or you know someone that is a smoker and are looking at ways to reduce or stop the habit altogether, you should consider supplementing your diet with CBD.
Here is the evidence for the reduction in smoking:
In a study, 24 smokers were given either a CBD vaping inhaler or a placebo. All participants were asked to puff on their inhalers every time they had an urge to smoke a cigarette. When a week had passed the researchers compared the cigarette consumption levels of both groups and found that those participants that were given a placebo to inhale did not reduce their intake of cigarettes whereas the group of participants given the CBD to inhale reduced their intake of cigarettes by 40% .
Pretty impressive research regarding cigarette addiction and quite promising too, so now you know of another good way of kicking the habit.
3. CBD has shown to improve skin and reduce acne
CBD oil can also be applied directly to the skin. Many people use CBD for many different types of skin ailments. One of those ailments is acne.
Researchers have found that CBD is an effective treatment for acne by using CBD on the sebaceous glands. They noticed that CBD was a highly effective sebostatic (helps to regulate amount of oil produced by our skin) and anti inflammatory agent, it does this by inhibiting lipid synthesis .
4. CBD has shown to help with insomnia and improve sleep
One of the few side effects of taking CBD can be tiredness or sleepiness.
Many people these days wished they could get to sleep earlier or that their sleep/wake patterns were more consistent. Most pharmaceuticals that treat insomnia come with their own adverse and sometimes dangerous side effects so people rightly stay away from any sleep inducing medication and maintain an irregular sleep pattern. With CBD you can regulate your sleep/wake cycle naturally and virtually side effect free.
Let’s look at the evidence they have on CBD and the sleep/wake cycle:
In one study, researchers injected rats with a CBD solution, these rats had been divided into four groups, each group was either on a different dose of CBD or they were on a placebo.
What they found was that the rats that were given the higher amounts of CBD showed significant increases in their sleep cycles .
So if you are in need of a good night’s rest, CBD might be the natural remedy for you that could just solve your sleep problems.
5. CBD has shown to help with cancer prevention
Several exploratory studies have been carried out investigating CBD’s anti cancer properties. Much of this research is positive and you can find the details of these studies on the National Cancer Institute’s website. What they say in short is that CBD: “may have protective effects against the development of certain types of tumours.”
The method of action used by CBD to prevent tumours is thought to be due to CBD’s ability to kill tumour cells, by inhibiting tumour cell growth and by inhibiting the spread of cancer cells.
One study suggested that its findings were due to CBD’s ability to turn off the gene involved in the spreading of breast cancer to the rest of the body .
Conclusions about CBD
CBD has multiple beneficial effects when consumed by us humans. This article only touches on 5 of the perhaps most interesting benefits of taking a CBD supplement. There are many other benefits that are more targeted to specific diseases and that went unmentioned in this article because we were looking at general health benefits that would suit most people.
This article is an introduction to the latest supper supplement that has mountains of scientific research to back its positive effects (a search for “cannabidiol” on PubMed yields over 1500 results).
A major benefit to most consumers is CBD’s low key side effect profile and the fact that it is 100% natural.
As we have seen above you can start supplementing with CBD supplements to help with your skin, to prevent cancer, to stabilize your sleep/wake patterns, to reduce cigarette addiction, and to fight depression and anxiety.
Along with many parts of the world coming around to the health benefits of cannabis, the UK has just passed a ruling whereby CBD is now considered a medicine legally in the UK and it will be regulated in that way from now on. The benefits of this product are being recognized all over the world with several pharmaceutical companies working on bringing their own versions of CBD products onto the market.
CBD is not snake oil. When procured from a reputable supplier you are buying a top grade product that is not going to harm you or give you nasty side effects. CBD is increasingly being recognized as a medicine of wondrous effects.