Better known as CBD, cannabidiol is a natural remedy used for many common ailments. It’s one of over 100 chemical compounds found in Cannabis sativa, the marijuana plant.
To make CBD oil, you must extract the CBD from the cannabis plant then dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp seed oil. It is usually taken by placing one or more drops under the tongue and holding it there for 30 to 60 seconds without swallowing.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis that causes you to get high, CBD is not psychoactive. This, therefore, makes CBD an appealing option for those looking for various treatments without the mind-altering effects of marijuana.
While the science still isn’t definitive, various studies have shown promise for the treatment of the following:
1. Pain relief
Marijuana has been used for pain relief as far back as 2900 BC and scientists have recently discovered that certain components, including CBD, are responsible for this effect.
CBD has been shown in some studies to help reduce chronic pain by affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity. In particular, some combinations of CBD and THC are shown to be effective in treating pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Sativex, which is an oral spray made of a combination of THC and CBD, is approved in several countries to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis. One study found that Sativex significantly improved pain during movement, at rest, and sleep quality in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Depression and anxiety
Generally in the Western world, anxiety and depression are treated with pharmaceutical drugs. However, these can cause a number of side effects, including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and headaches. What’s more, some medications, like benzodiazepines, can be addictive.
Natural CBD oil has shown potential as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, with antidepressant-like effects noted in several studies. CBD oil has also been used to treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This is because CBD acts on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
3. Cancer-related symptoms
CBD can also be used to help reduce symptoms related to cancer, as well as side effects related to its treatment, such as nausea, vomiting, and pain.
One study showed a significant reduction in cancer-related pain in those who used a combination of CBD and THC, while another showed CBD to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Some limited studies in test tubes and animals have even shown CBD to have anti-cancer properties. However, more studies in humans are needed before conclusions can be made.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production, CBD oil could be used to help treat acne.
One test-tube study showed that CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum, as well as encouraging anti-inflammatory actions and preventing the activation of cytokines (which are known to cause acne).
Again, though these results are promising, human studies exploring the effects of CBD on acne are needed.
5. Neurological disorders
One of the biggest uses for CBD currently being studied is for treating neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Though research in this field is still at a relatively early stage, several studies into CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain-signaling systems have shown promising results.
The aforementioned Sativex, for example, has been proven to be both safe and effective in reducing muscle tightness in people with multiple sclerosis.
Further studies have shown a significant reduction in seizures in people with severe epilepsy and in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex epilepsy disorder. That said, some people in both these studies experienced adverse reactions, including convulsions, fever, and fatigue.
The effect of CBD on several other neurological diseases has also been tested, with improved quality of life and sleep quality noted for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Animal and test-tube studies have also produced promising results with relation to Alzheimer’s disease but again, research is limited.
6. High blood pressure
CBD has also been linked to several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure, thanks to its stress and anxiety-reducing properties.
Additionally, CBD has been shown in animal studies to improve overall heart health, reducing the symptoms of heart disease thanks to its powerful antioxidant and stress-reducing properties.
Several other potential benefits
CBD is very popular at the moment and many people swear by its potential for treating many ailments. Research is ongoing and its role in treating a number of health issues is being examined closely.
Though more in-depth studies are needed, CBD is also thought to:
- Reduce psychotic symptoms
- Prevent diabetes
- Modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction
- Prevent the spread of breast, prostate, brain, colon and lung cancer
Is CBD safe?
Despite being generally well-tolerated, CBD may cause adverse reactions in some people. These commonly include fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite and weight.
It is also known to interact with several medications. Therefore, before using CBD oil, check with your doctor to avoid potentially harmful interactions.
Though there is a lot still to be learned about the efficacy and safety of CBD, results from recent studies suggest it has a lot of potential as a natural treatment for many health issues.
If you’re interested in trying CBD, you can purchase many products online – but be careful. Be sure that you are buying from a reputable source and that you have checked the legality of the products where you live or anywhere you travel.