All of a sudden, the use of CBD oil or cannabidiol has become very a popular remedy for several ailments. The many benefits of CBD oil claiming that it helps to relieve depression and anxiety, helps you sleep better and relieves chronic pain have got people taking CBD oil supplements, adding it to their night-time tea and smoking it in their vape machines.
So, what is CBD oil? CBD is one among the 80 chemical compounds present in the marijuana or cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) and the CBD oil is extracted from it and then diluted using a carrier oil such as hemp oil or coconut oil. CBD oil can also be got from hemp, the fibrous, industrial form of cannabis. CBD oil, however, does not have the psychoactive and mind-altering properties like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis that produces the sensation of feeling “high.”
CBD oil has become very popular in the recent years owing to its therapeutic and medicinal value and its advantages in treating several ailments and diseases. According to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, the properties of CBD as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, anticonvulsant, antipsychotic and anxiolytic agent makes it excellent for the treatment of conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, schizophrenia, neuroinflammation, nausea, vomiting and oxidative injury.
How Does CBD Work?
Including CBD, all the cannabinoid compounds act as ligands and attach themselves to specific receptors in our body and produce certain effects. The human body has two types of receptors for cannabinoids – CB1 and CB2 receptors and the body also produces some cannabinoids on its own. The CB1 receptors are located throughout the body, but a large number are located in the brain which regulate various aspects such as coordination, movement, memories, cognition, autonomic, mood, sensory and pain perception, appetite and endocrine functions.
The CB2 receptors are most commonly found in our immune system and affect pain, inflammation, etc. Earlier on, it was thought that the CBD acts on the CB2 receptors; however, recent studies reveal that the CBD does not act on either the CB1 or CB2 receptors, which is probably why it does not have mind-altering and psychoactive effects like THC and in reality, CBD influences the body to make use of its own cannabinoids.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil
Helps to Relieve Inflammation and Pain
The use of marijuana or cannabis to treat pain can be seen as early as 2,900 B.C. Recent research has revealed more about the pain-relieving properties of marijuana and CBD. Our body contains the ECS or endocannabinoid system, which helps in regulating several body functions such as the response of the immune system, appetite, sleep and pain. Our body manufactures endocannabinoids that are essentially neurotransmitters which attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.
Studies reveal that CBD can help to reduce chronic pain by having an impact on the activity of the endocannabinoid receptors, interacting with the neurotransmitters and reducing pain. A study in rats revealed that CBD treatment reduced inflammation and sciatic nerve pain significantly and another study showed that administering CBD injections showed that pain caused due to surgical incision was reduced.
Many studies revealed that using a combination of THC and CBD has been found to effectively treat pains due to arthritis and multiple sclerosis. In a study, 47% of people suffering from multiple sclerosis treated with Sativex (an oral spray with a combination of CBD and THC), showed significant improvement in walking, muscle spasms and pain. Another study revealed that 58% of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis showed considerable improvement in the pain experienced during rest, movement and improvement in sleep quality when they used Sativex spray.
Can Reduce Depression and Anxiety
Ailments such as depression and anxiety are usually treated using pharmaceutical drugs that cause many side effects such as headache, drowsiness, insomnia, agitation, sexual dysfunction, etc. CBD oil has proven to be effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression without experiencing any of the side effects.
CBD has shown effectiveness in reducing anxiety in patients suffering from social anxiety disorder and other problems like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and panic disorder. And the qualities of CBD oil are linked to its ability to act on the receptors of the brain that produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter which is responsible for regulating mood and behavior.
A study showed that 24 people suffering from social anxiety disorder were administered either 600mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking event and the group which received the CBD displayed lesser cognitive impairment, anxiety and discomfort during their performance compared to the group that received the placebo. CBD oil has been shown to be effective in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia in children suffering from PTSD. Studies reveal that CBD oil also has antidepressant properties.
Helps to Relieve Nausea and Vomiting
For centuries, cannabis has been used to suppress vomiting and nausea and studies reveal that both the compounds THC, as well as CBD help to eliminate nausea and vomiting. A study in British Journal of Pharmacology revealed that CBD has antiemetic and anti-nausea properties. Also, it was discovered that CBD works in a diphasic manner i.e. in low doses, it helps to suppress vomiting that is toxin-induced; however, in higher doses, it either has no effect or it may even increase nausea.
CBD oil can also help to reduce nausea and vomiting which are the most common side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
Can Help to Treat Acne
Acne affects more than 9 percent of the people and is a condition of the skin that is caused due to several reasons such as bacteria, overproduction of sebum (which is an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands in the skin), underlying inflammation or genetics. CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce the production of sebum and so, may be effective in the treatment of acne.
May Have Neuroprotective Effects
Since CBD has the ability to act on the brain’s signaling systems and on the endocannabinoid system, it may be effective in the treatment of neurological disorders. Studies have revealed promising results of use of CBD oil in the treatment of disorders such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.
The Sativex spray containing THC and CBD has proven to be effective and safe in reducing muscle spasms in people suffering from multiple sclerosis. A study revealed that when Sativex spray was used in a group of 276 patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, 75% of the people experienced the reduction in muscle spasticity.
In another study, 214 people suffering from severe epilepsy were administered 0.9 to 2.3 grams of CBD oil/pound of body weight saw a reduction of seizures by a median of 36.5 percent. And, in another study, children suffering from Dravet syndrome showed significantly reduced seizures when given CBD oil.
CBD oil has also shown to be effective in the treatment of other neurological diseases. Studies show that the quality of life and sleep improved in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease when treated with CBD oil. Studies also show that CBD oil may help to reduce inflammation and prevent the neurodegeneration that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and may help to prevent cognitive decline.
Can Benefit Heart Health
Research shows that CBD oil has several advantages for the circulatory system and the heart and can also help to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase the risk of many health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, heart attack and stroke and CBD oil can be a natural remedy in the treatment of high blood pressure.
A study revealed that when 10 healthy men were administered a dose of 600mg of CBD oil, their resting blood pressure was reduced. When the men were given stress tests that increase the blood pressure normally, the single dose of CBD caused a smaller rise in the blood pressure of the men than the normal level as a response to the tests.
Many studies on animals have shown that the stress reducing and powerful antioxidant properties of CBD can help to reduce inflammation and cell death which is associated with heart disease. And, a study showed that when mice with heart disease were treated with CBD, it reduced oxidative stress and stopped heart damage.
Other Advantages of CBD Oil
Research shows that CBD oil has been found to be beneficial for other health issues such as:
CBD oil can help to treat people suffering from mental disorders including schizophrenia by reducing the psychotic symptoms.
Studies with diabetic mice showed that treatment using CBD reduced inflammation significantly and also reduced the occurrence of diabetes by around 56 percent.
Treatment for Substance Abuse
It has been seen that the use of CBD can modify the circuits in the brain in the case of drug addiction and in rats it has shown to reduce heroin and morphine dependence.
CBD Vs THC
Both THC and CBD are compounds derived from the marijuana plant and are the two most popular cannabinoids that are used commonly. Several strains of marijuana have high levels of THC and the ones with high levels of CBD are less common. However, with the therapeutic properties of CBD becoming more well known in the medical circles, this is changing very fast.
Both THC as well as CBD have many health benefits. CBD has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, immunomodulatory and neuroprotective properties, while THC has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-tremor, analgesic, anti-emetic and appetite-stimulating effects.
The use of THC is usually limited due to its psychoactive, mind-altering effects, which is the main reason for the increase in popularity of CBD, which is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid. CBD is, in fact, being used to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC like memory impairment, paranoia, etc.
Also, CBD counteracts the sleep-inducing properties of THC, which is making it extremely popular for medical uses, as the psychoactive side effects have been the major barrier for acceptance of the widespread use of medical marijuana. THC can cause paranoia and anxiety in people, while CBD helps to counteract these side effects and this is the main reason why CBD is being used for clinical trials on children suffering from epilepsy.
How to Use CBD Oil?
CBD oil is usually ingested and since it is a fairly new entrant as a supplement, the exact dosing of CBD is not established and more studies are required for the same. However, there are not too many side effects associated with CBD oil consumption and there is no CBD overdose that has been established.
Some of the CBD oil products can be taken by mixing into foods or beverages, taken via a dropper or is available in the form of a paste that can be massaged into the skin. The CBD oil is also available in the capsule or spray form which is usually administered under the tongue.
However, if you are planning to start CBD oil supplementation, then it is a good idea to consider the following:
- Purchase high-quality CBD oil from a reputed company. Buying a higher quality CBD oil will ensure that it is more bioavailable, so a lower dose of the oil is sufficient.
- Start with dosage recommended on the bottle, especially if you are using the oil preventatively.
- While some people taking the CBD oil may notice an improvement immediately, others may not notice any change for many weeks. If you do not notice any change even after several weeks, then you could try increasing the dosage.
- Small doses of the oil, 3-4 times in a day, may be more effective than a single large dose.
CBD Oil Safety
Although CBD oil is quite safe on its own, it may interact with other medications you may be taking, especially opioids. So, before you actually start taking CBD oil, it is a good idea to discuss it with your medical practitioner to prevent any harmful interactions and to ensure your safety.
Finally, the use of CBD oil has been studied for treating several health issues including depression, anxiety, acne, heart disease and much more. The research on the potential benefits of CBD oil is ongoing and although there is much more to be studied regarding the safety and efficacy of CBD oil, all studies conducted so far indicate that it is a powerful, natural and safe treatment that can help as a remedy for several health problems.