By Emily Ledger
Since it first came to the limelight, CBD has quickly gained popularity and prominence. Initially, CBD products were considered a passing trend, but that narrative is quickly changing. This is probably due to the growing evidence – both anecdotal and clinical – of the compound’s medicinal potential.
Admittedly, more research still needs to be carried out to understand the efficacy and potential of CBD fully, but it’s off to a good start. Whether CBD was recommended to you as a treatment or you want to include it in your diet as a health booster, it’s normal to want to know more about it. Below you’ll find some of the things you should know about CBD.
What Is CBD?
CBD, full name: cannabidiol, is one out of over 100 compounds found in the cannabis plant (hemp or marijuana). Asides from CBD, other well-known compounds found in the cannabis plant are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabinol (CBN). CBD is usually extracted from the hemp plant and used in making products like CBD isolate, tinctures, edibles, and topicals.
Most people are sceptical about products made from cannabis extracts, but CBD is different. Unlike its active counterpart, THC, CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive properties that make you feel intoxicated. In fact, CBD is said to have some components that can help suppress the intoxication caused by cannabis, particularly THC.
Is CBD Legal?
CBD itself is a legal product in many countries around the world as long as it does not contain more than legal (usually trace) levels of THC. However, the legality of cannabis remains, largely, a grey area depending on where you are in the world. In the USA, the legalisation of CBD varies from state to state and ranges from fully legal, legal for medical purposes, or illegal.
The cannabinoid is fully legal in Canada, the UK, and much Europe, as well as a significant number of other countries. Seeing the huge impact of CBD and other cannabis-extracts, it probably won’t be long before cannabis-extracts, particularly for medical purposes, will be legalised in most countries.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex biological stratum that helps regulate and maintain the body’s biological functions and processes. Although there’s still so much to learn about the ECS, it’s currently believed that the ECS partners with other bodily systems to regulate biological functions such as sleep, memory retention, mood and energy boost, stamina and coordination, pain reception, etc.
The endocannabinoid system has three components that coordinate the body’s biological operations. These are the receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. CBD is thought to boost the ECS to make it perform more efficiently, and potentially aid in the processes previously mentioned.
There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are more commonly expressed in the central nervous system, while the CB2 has a higher concentration in the peripheral nervous system. Together, these receptors ensure that the body can run their internal operations smoothly. When CBD is taken, it boosts and triggers the ECS receptors to function better within the body.
Why Is CBD Beneficial To Your Health?
Although more research still needs to be carried out to fully understand CBD and its potential, there is an abundant base of anecdotal evidence for a number of health benefits associated with the cannabinoid.
Here are some of the benefits of using CBD products:
- CBD could help to alleviate feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, and even insomnia: These conditions can greatly affect individuals more than you might’ve imagined. Conditions such as these are notoriously complex, but it’s still possible to manage them well. However, the continued use of some of the combatant drugs could create more mental health problems instead of dealing with the root cause. Using CBD products is now being considered by many as a way to give a boost to your mental health. Research has found that CBD, thanks to its interactions with the endocannabinoid system, can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that could usually contribute to insomnia.
- It could help to relieve migraines: Some scientists believe that there is no true cure for migraines and headaches. They believe that even if the migraine is treated, it could keep resurfacing at one point or another. However, some believe that CBD could help to alleviate migraine symptoms. A study from the European Academy of Neurology has suggested that CBD may have some active biological combinations that can be instrumental in treating migraines. When CBD enters the body, more quantities of endocannabinoids are produced. Since the endocannabinoids contain anandamide, which is used to fight migraines, CBD may help alleviate migraines and headaches. Also, CBD regulates the body’s pain reception so you’d feel less pain.
- May improve cardiovascular health: When you take in CBD, it stimulates the production of endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids, in turn, reduce the body’s stress and anxiety levels.CBD may also help if you’re suffering from cardiovascular problems by helping reduce pain and inflammation. Additionally, CBD would work with order compounds within your body to stabilize your blood sugar levels and protect your arteries from oxidation to improve your heart health.
- Potentially helps alleviate pain and inflammation CBD products can act as an analgesic to fight pain and inflammations within the body. Some of the conditions CBD could help to manage include arthritis, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain disorder, chronic inflammations, etc. You can take CBD oil orally, or you could use topical CBD products on the skin area to relieve the inflammations and pain.
CBD has diverse health benefits. Particularly, it is known as a pain and inflammation modulator. It may be able to help improve cardiovascular health and also relieve migraines. Asides from that, CBD is currently used to treat seizures and related health conditions. Research is also ongoing about how CBD can be used to treat cancer and its post-treatment effects. CBD, in itself, is a phenomenon.
It’s still shrouded in mystery because there’s so much that’s yet to be known. But what is known so far about the compound makes a promising start.