What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, is one of the components found in the cannabis plant *cannabis sativa.
THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the component of cannabis that is psychoactive but CBD is non psychoactive, making it an appealing option for individuals looking to treat specific ailments.
- Pain and chronic pain
Our bodies contain what’s known as an endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating mood, sleep, and pain and inflammation levels. Endocannabinoids are produced naturally within the body and bind to cannabinoid receptors all around the body to help maintain homeostasis (balance).
A few studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by influencing endocannabinoid receptor activity, regulating inflammation and improving neurotransmitter function. (4Trusted Source).
CBD also helps to create the optimal conditions for our Endocannabinoid system to function at its peak, meaning our bodies can produce and utilise more of the naturally occurring endocannabinoids that help elicit pain-relieving effects.
For example, one study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
- Anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression are of the most common mental health disorders that can cause destructive effects on our general health and well-being.
Anxiety and depression usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can produce some side effects including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and headache (10Trusted Source).
What’s more, medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive and may lead to substance abuse (11Trusted Source).
CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, leading many who live with these disorders to become interested in this natural approach.
CBD oil has even been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder (13Trusted Source). It has also shown antidepressant-like effects in several animal studies (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
These qualities link to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behaviour. However, CBD’s ability to control inflammation levels effectively may also play a role in it’s impacting our mental well-being.
- Sleep quality
When it comes to the question of how much sleep do I need? It is recommended that 8 hours of sleep per night is required as a minimum; however, the average amount of time people in the UK are sleeping for is 6 hours.
Large amounts of anecdotal evidence and recent studies suggest that CBD can be used to treat insomnia.
People who had long been asking themselves the question, why can’t I sleep? Have turned to this natural supplement to help and many have claimed that it has helped their sleep by leading them to become faster to fall asleep and also less likely to wake up during sleep, i.e. a more uninterrupted sleep.
CBD helps us to stay in the restorative phase of sleep for longer, which is why people report back they feel more refreshed.
Acne affects 9% of the population and is caused by numerous factors such as genetics, diet, bacteria, inflammation and overproduction of sebum.
Because of CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, it means that it can help treat acne, and even better it can lower sebum production. One study found that CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from secreting excessive sebum, exerted anti-inflammatory actions and prevented the activation of “pro-acne” agents like inflammatory cytokines (24Trusted Source).
Though these results are promising, human studies exploring the effects of CBD on acne are needed.
- Could have Neuroprotective properties
Researchers believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signalling systems may provide benefits for those with neurological conditions.
One of the most studied uses for CBD is in treating neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Though research in this area is still relatively new, several studies have shown promising results.
Sativex, an oral spray consisting of CBD and THC, has been proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.
One study found that Sativex reduced spasms in 75% of 276 people with multiple sclerosis who were experiencing muscle spasticity that was resistant to medications (26Trusted Source).
Another study gave 214 people with severe epilepsy 0.9–2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound (2–5 g/kg) of body weight. Their seizures reduced by a median of 36.5% (27Trusted Source).
One more study found that CBD oil significantly reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder, compared to a placebo (28Trusted Source).
However, it’s important to note that some people in both these studies experienced adverse reactions associated with CBD treatment, such as convulsions, fever and fatigue.
CBD has also been researched for its potential effectiveness in treating several other neurological diseases.
Additionally, animal and test-tube studies have shown that CBD may decrease inflammation and help prevent the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease (31Trusted Source).
In one long-term study, researchers gave CBD to mice genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it helped prevent cognitive decline (32Trusted Source).
6. Heart health
Recent research has linked CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of several health conditions, including stroke, heart attack and metabolic syndrome (33Trusted Source).
Studies indicate that CBD may be able to help with high blood pressure.
One recent study treated nine healthy men with one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil and found it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to a placebo.
The same study also gave the men stress tests that usually increase blood pressure. Interestingly, the single dose of CBD led the men to experience a smaller blood pressure increase than average in response to these tests (34Trusted Source).
Researchers have suggested that the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.
Additionally, several animal studies have demonstrated that CBD may help reduce the inflammation and cell death associated with heart disease due to its powerful antioxidant and stress-reducing properties.
For example, one study found that treatment with CBD reduced oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with heart disease (35Trusted Source).
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