Unless you are living under a rock, you have likely noticed the massive rise in availability and popularity of CBD. This came as a result of changes to federal law which reclassified CBD, removing it off of the federal Schedule 1 drug list, thus allowing it to be produced and sold commercially. The popularity of the drug has increased dramatically, and driven by a rapidly changing legal universe, it’s expected to generate $20 billion in revenue by 2024.
Short for Cannabidiol, CBD is a substance which is manufactured from the cannabis plant. Millions of users, and numerous scientific studies, have reported that the chemical compound has made a positive difference in their lives.
How CBD Works
CBD works by altering the functioning of your Endocannabinoid System. Everyone has an Endocannabinoid System, and the system works by regulating the uptake of your body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids. When you consume CBD, you are making your endocannabinoid receptors more likely to bind with cannabinoids, and making those connections last for a longer period of time. This can affect a variety of bodily sensations, including (but not limited to) pain temperature, hunger, mood, energy levels and more. Different CBD products may effect your Endocannabinoid System in different ways, but this is the basic way by which CBD operates.
It is also important to note that CBD is not marijuana. While both come from the cannabis plant, they are grown, manufactured and processed differently. When it comes to commercially available CBD, the compound is never sold with more than .3% THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compounds in marijuana which is associated with the drugs psychoactive effects). Thus, CBD will not intoxicate a person like marijuana would.
Let’s take a look at how CBD may make you feel.
CBD’s benefits at relieving pain date back to ancient China.
One of CBD’s greatest purported benefits has been its ability to reduce pain. Numerous studies – in both humans and rats – have shown that CBD can help to reduce pain associated with trauma, injury or neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.
A slew of other studies have noted that CBD has the potential to reduce pain in a variety of areas. These studies include:
- The reduction of joint pain in rats who were suffering from osteoarthritis.
- The reduction of swelling, pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis.
- Faster wound healing, pain reduction and improvement of blisters in children who suffer from the skin condition epidermolysis bullosa.
CBD’s benefits to skin have been widely noted, with numerous stories and scientific studies noting that CBD has the potential to vastly improve skin condition. This is thought, in part, to be driven by CBD’s apparent ability to reduce inflammation. Multiple individuals and skin care experts have noted that, in addition to its apparent anti-inflammatory properties, CBD has other positive benefits, including being replete with vitamins A, D, E and important fatty acids. All of these compounds have a positive impact of skin.
If you suffer from numerous skin conditions, such as dryness, psoriasis, rosacea or eczema, CBD-infused topicals may be able to provide you with some relief. The same stories have noted that, in these instances, CBD works best as a topical, balm or lotion which is applied directly to the area which is experiencing pain or discomfort.
Reduced Cancer-Related Symptoms – and Potentially Preventing Cancer
Cannabis related products have long been believed to have palliative properties, particularly for people who are suffering from the negative effects of cancer; indeed, that’s why, as of August 2019, 33 states (and the District of Columbia) have some sort of medical marijuana program, and all of them all for the prescription of medical marijuana for cancer-related symptoms. However, again, it is worth noting that CBD is not marijuana; as such, they have different impacts on someone who has cancer.
However, according to numerous studies, CBD can help people who are suffering from cancer and experiencing the negative effects of chemotherapy. It can be useful at stimulating appetite, reducing nausea and vomiting and pain relief.
Even more startlingly, it is possible that CBD may have an impact on slowing the growth of cancer. While more research is needed, there is evidence to suggest that CBD can slow tumor growth, kill cancer cells and improve the effectiveness of radiation, reduce bladder cancer, assist in the treatment of gilomas and slow the growth of certain types of cancers, like colon and breast cancer.
Reduced Depression, Anxiety & Stress
There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may be helpful at relieving depression and anxiety, as well as improving someone’s mood. For example, a 2014 study found that CBD has “antidepressant-like” effects, noting that more study is needed into this area. Other studies have found that CBD has a positive interaction with serotonin, a critical chemical in the brain which is strongly related to depression. Another study, published in 2018, found that CBD was found to reduce depression and stress symptoms in animals.
While additional study is needed in this area, one theory about why CBD may work with as an antidepressant relates to its anti-inflammatory properties. A growing body of research indicates that depression may be related to brain inflammation. Given CBD’s purported abilities to reduce inflammation, it is possible that it reduces inflammation in the brain, thus reducing depression symptoms. Furthermore, there are studies which show that CBD can help to protect neurons in the brain and stimulate neural pathways. All of these can be helpful at addressing depression symptoms.
As such, it is very possible that CBD can improve your mood – but particularly for people who suffer from depression, anxiety or stress.
Reduced Symptoms from Other Illnesses
There are numerous studies which show that, in addition to cancer, CBD can help improve symptoms for people who suffer from a number of devastating illnesses, particularly ones which attack the brain. These include:
- Multiple Sclerosis: Some studies and anecdotal reports have indicated that CBD may be helpful at reducing suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, with a particular emphasis on reducing spasticity. According to a 2018 study, CBD was found to improve the mobility of individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: CBD studies have shown that the compound can help reduce brain inflammation, cell decline and oxygen buildup – three issues associated with Alzheimer’s. The reduction of these problems has the potential to ease the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s.
- Parkinson’s Disease: Studies have shown that CBD can help individuals who suffer from Parkinson’s in a number of ways, including by reducing pain, easing muscle tremors reducing psychosis and improving sleep. Some studies indicate that CBD may be useful at preventing Parkinson’s.
Reduced Insomnia and Improved Sleep
According to Harvard Health, CBD can potentially help to improve insomnia, helping individuals to fall asleep and stay asleep. This may occur, in part, due to a reduction in anxiety levels which may occur through CBD use. Furthermore, CBD may help to reduce physical discomfort, pain levels and inflammation, and all of these positive benefits may help someone stay asleep.