Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the plant, along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a “high” or euphoric effect. This is because it interacts differently with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes, such as pain, inflammation, mood, sleep, and appetite.
The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes, and is involved in maintaining homeostasis or balance in the body. When CBD enters the body, it interacts with the ECS by binding to receptors in the brain and immune system.
This interaction may help to regulate various functions in the body, such as reducing pain and inflammation, improving sleep quality, and managing anxiety and depression.
Potential benefits of CBD that have been studied so far
CBD has been shown to have analgesic or pain-relieving properties. This is because it interacts with receptors in the ECS, such as CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are involved in pain perception and inflammation.
One study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic pain and inflammation in mice and rats. Another study published in the European Journal of Pain showed that CBD applied topically could help reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
Anxiety and Depression
CBD may have anxiolytic and antidepressant properties, which could make it a useful tool for managing anxiety and depression. These mental health conditions are often treated with pharmaceutical drugs that can have side effects and may be addictive.
One study published in the Permanente Journal found that CBD oil could help reduce anxiety and improve sleep in patients with anxiety disorders. Another study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that CBD could help reduce symptoms of depression in animal models.
CBD has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Clinical trials have shown that CBD can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in these patients. However, more research is needed to determine its long-term effects and safety.
CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective properties, which could potentially be useful in treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. These neurodegenerative disorders are characterized by the loss of neurons in the brain and a decline in cognitive function.
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that CBD could help prevent the development of social recognition deficits in Alzheimer’s disease models. Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics showed that CBD could help protect dopamine neurons in animal models of Parkinson’s disease.
While research is still in the early stages, CBD has shown promise as a potential treatment for cancer. It may help to reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells by inhibiting their ability to proliferate and invade other tissues.
A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD could inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics showed that CBD could enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy in animal models of pancreatic cancer.
Is CBD Legal?
The legal status of CBD is somewhat complicated. While CBD derived from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC, is legal under federal law in the United States, CBD derived from marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
However, several states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana, which allows for the legal use of CBD derived from marijuana in those states. It’s important to check your local laws and regulations before purchasing and using CBD products. On February 1st, 2021, medicinal cannabis companies in Australia were granted permission to sell low-dose CBD oil through pharmacies without a prescription.
How to Use CBD
CBD can be consumed in a variety of ways, including:
Tinctures: These are liquid extracts that are taken sublingually (under the tongue) or mixed into food or beverages. They are often preferred by those who want a fast-acting and discreet way to consume CBD.
Capsules: These are oral supplements that contain CBD oil in a pill form. They are convenient and easy to dose, but may take longer to take effect than tinctures.
Topicals: These are creams, balms, and salves that are applied directly to the skin. They may be used for localized pain and inflammation, as well as for skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
Edibles: These are CBD-infused foods and beverages, such as gummies, chocolates, and drinks. They may be a fun and tasty way to consume CBD, but may take longer to take effect and may be less potent than other forms.
It’s important to note that CBD can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and antidepressants. It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to use CBD.
CBD is a versatile and potentially beneficial compound that has gained popularity in recent years. While research is still ongoing, preliminary studies have shown that it may have therapeutic properties for a variety of health conditions.
It’s important to choose high-quality CBD products from reputable sources and to check your local laws and regulations before purchasing and using them. Additionally, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to use CBD, especially if you are taking any medications.
As always, it’s important to prioritise your overall health and wellness by maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercise, and managing stress. CBD may be a helpful addition to your self-care routine, but it’s not a cure-all or a replacement for a healthy lifestyle.