Cannabidiol is one of the substances with the fastest rising popularity in the past years. Also known as CBD, this compound is extracted from hemp plant and is just one of the 85 types of cannabinoids discovered so far in this plant. Along with THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, they represent the most active compounds in cannabis. These two substances were the first to be discovered by the scientists; therefore, they were the subject of most medical studies conducted up to this point. The results showed that both CBD and THC have similar therapeutic properties, with the main difference that THC has a psychoactive effect. This is the substance responsible for the high feeling people get when smoking cannabis. Meanwhile, CBD seems to be able to cancel the hallucinogenic effects of THC.
In the past years, cannabidiol had some intensive media coverage due to its incredible list of medical properties. With all this publicity, the dietary supplements manufacturers rushed to bring on the market various products based on CBD. Because this type of supplements is very easy to purchase, one must be careful to those less than honest manufacturers. If you want to make sure you buy a high-quality product, look for legitimate companies with multiple products available on the market and read as many reviews as you can.
Cannabis plant and its “relatives” fall under strict regulation because they are considered controlled substances. That is why this plant can’t be freely cultivated on US soil, so the majority of the manufacturers import the hemp from certain European countries where this plant is legalized. Because the laws of these countries allow for hemp to be cultivated in special farms, the plants are organic and GMO-free. High-quality ingredients are just the first step in obtaining an effective product. Once the hemp enters into the manufacturer’s possession it must be processed into laboratories approved by The Food and Drug Association. This certification is an extra guarantee that the manufacturer respects the strict safety rules and regulations. It is important to understand that even if CBD is produced in FDA approved labs, the use of CBD as a dietary supplement was not yet approved by the FDA. The association requires the results of more studies before placing this substance on the official list of supplements which are safe for public use.
CBD became the focal point of attention for scientists only several decades ago when it was discovered that all living creatures are genetically built to interact with cannabinoids substances through the endocannabinoids system. This was the moment when scientists realized that human body also produces its own form of cannabinoids. This system is spread throughout the entire body and it performs many essential functions. When the body is no longer able to produce endocannabinoids an unbalance is generated, and health problems start to show.
Studies revealed that the cannabinoids obtained from the plants have a similar structure to those produced internally by the body. This means that, if necessary, the cannabinoids can be taken as supplements and they will generate the same effect in the body as the endocannabinoids. This way the homeostasis, or balance in the body, is restored at the right level needed.
Studies conducted so far, and there are hundreds and thousands of them, found a broad range of benefits cannabidiol has on the general health. To make the product more beneficial for a particular health problem, manufacturers decided it is better to offer CBD in various forms and concentrations. This way many people will have access to an alternative for the classic treatment. Before deciding which product fits better your needs, you must learn how CBD works for improving that particular health condition.
Different forms for various health problems
The pure CBD oil is obtained from the seeds and stalks of the hemp because these parts of the plant don’t contain THC. Sometimes, due to the extracting procedure, the oil is contaminated with harsh chemicals used to obtain the CBD. To reduce this risk, researchers developed a new, but more expensive technique, which uses pressurized CO2 to separate CBD from the cold pressed hemp parts, and the result is zero contamination of the final product. Cannabidiol caught the attention of medical and scientific researchers and the promising results obtained so far made its popularity grow continuously. The Food and Drug Administration issues constant warnings stating that CBD is not approved officially as a dietary supplement and it still needs to undergo more studies. Because cannabidiol is a completely natural and organic product, preliminary results of the studies offer good reasons to consider CBD as a future alternative treatment in cases of multiple sclerosis, anxiety, schizophrenia, seizures, bipolar disorder, dystonia, insomnia, Alzheimer disease or even Parkinson’s disease. But some of the results obtained so far are contradictory.
CBD is available on the market in different forms and packages, so it is easier to use according to the health problem one is trying to improve:
- Pills or capsules – are the most common option when it comes to supplements. They are easy to take and pose little problems when it comes to keeping track of the ingested dosages. They can fit any bag, so you can always have them within reach, and its formula is friendly for vegans, as well. If consumed with the food they become even more efficient, so this is the first choice when it comes to treatments based on CBD.
- Tinctures – represent one of the most versatile and concentrated forms of CBD available right now. The taste is the primary advantage tinctures have over other forms of CBD. They come in a variety of flavors like sweet, minty, fruity, fresh or unflavored, so they make the experience that much more enjoyable. Usually, they come with a special dropper which helps you keep control over the dosage.
- Topical products – CDB is also available for local use in the form of skin lotions, shampoos, creams, and ointments. By applying it directly onto the skin, CBD enters the body slowly so it can bring a long lasting effect. CBD is proved to reduce local pain, improve the skin condition by diminishing scars, wrinkles and leave the skin soft and smooth. It could replace the classic treatment for acne, psoriasis or dermatitis.
- Vaping oils – this oil is often flavored with the purpose of making the treatment experience less traumatic. CBD can be purchased as a liquid which can be heated and inhaled through an individual device or e-cigarette.
- Spray – one of the properties which place CBD spray on the list of most useful and convenient choices, when it comes to including this substance into the daily routine, is the simple use. No matter where you are if it’s the time to take your supplement just spray it twice under the tongue, and there you go. The CBD is faster absorbed into the blood stream, so you get to feel it working within a very short time and as a bonus, the taste is better than before.
- Isolate – in the form of a powder, CBD is also effective for external and topical use. It works the same way skin lotions do, by being absorbed into the body through the It’s just a matter of personal options.
What are the benefits of cannabidiol?
Studies conducted in the past decades in order to understand how CBD works have revealed and confirmed many benefits that the extract from hemp has on the human body, but there is still need for further researches. The oil extracted from hemp contains, in addition to the main active ingredient, CBD, many other healthy substances like vitamins, amino acids, and omega 3 fatty acids, which work together to enhance CBD’s medical properties. Due to its nutritional values, it is not far-fetched that certain nutritionists and scientists would consider hemp oil part of the ‘super food’ category. Over 40% of its compounds are oils, and most of them are EFA (essential fatty oils). The highest presence is Omega 6 or Linoleic Acid with 55% of the EFA’s, followed by Omega 3 or Alpha Linoleic Acis with 22%. Last but not least, Gamma Linoleic Acid and Stearidonic Acid are each present in a concentration of approximately 4%.
The two Omegas play an important role because they sustain the heart to take oxygen to all the organs in the body and it fights to reduce the inflammation. These acids are also important for the brain because they prevent cognitive degradation. Omega 3 supports the organs to function within optimum levels, while Omega 6 strengthens the immune system, fights allergies and boosts the energy levels. Even if these two fatty acids bring significant benefits for health, just like any other supplements, when taken in high dosage they might become toxic. Medical trials have revealed that the ideal ratio between these two is 3:1 for Omega 6 and this perfect balance is found in hemp oil.
Because some people are interested in using CBD to improve only one primary health issue, manufacturers created different types of products with various concentrations of CBD, so there is an option for everyone. CBD can be used in a variety of ways according to the health condition intended to treat. Just like mentioned before, Cannabidiol can be eaten or drank, rubbed on the skin, vapor in the nose or sprayed on the mouth.
Including cannabidiol in the daily routine will bring considerable improvements for a broad range of health conditions. Everyone is aware that there is still a need for further rigorous clinical tests to be sure of its benefits and side effects, but the preclinical trials conducted until now promise to improve different medical conditions by:
- Reducing the pain – many studies focused on demonstrating the efficiency of cannabidiol in suppressing or reducing pain intensity regardless the type or source. Considering that cannabidiol has the potential to reduce inflammation, it can also act like a mild analgesic. Some recently closed medical trials concluded that cannabidiol has different ways of fighting pain compared to opioids and by joining forces these two can create a new treatment with just a few risks. Ointments and other topical products infused with cannabidiol can be used as a local painkiller by people who deal with sore muscles, pain, and aches caused by arthritis or headaches. This is a more natural cure for chronic or occasional pain than classic medication because it isn’t addictive and it doesn’t cause dangerous side effects.
- Reducing inflammation and increasing the neurological protection – Preclinical trials conducted mostly in labs found out that CBD has neuroprotective properties. This means that cannabidiol can become an official treatment for severe neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease, or multiple sclerosis. When dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis, people are willing to give a chance to any promise just to ease the pain, including over-the-counter medication, which in some cases can become life threatening. Cannabidiol represents a natural approach, and some people reported a significant reduction of inflammation and pain intensity. This is the reason why CBD is now considered by some doctors an alternative treatment for fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.
- Reducing weight and blood sugar levels – these two conditions are somehow related, and it was noticed during studies that CBD could maintain under control the sugar level in the bloodstream and suppresses the sensation of hunger. CBD can help people diagnosed with diabetes to regain control over their bodies.
- Managing diabetes – Type 1 diabetes is another health issue caused by the inflammation of the pancreatic cells. Scientists announced they found evidence that cannabidiol might represent a cure for this problem due to its potential to control an diminish the inflammation in the pancreas.
- Preventing seizures – In the past decades, scientists discovered direct links between the seizure attacks and consumption of CBD. Some studies even claim this chemical is effective on children dealing drug-resistant epilepsy, but this finding needs to be confirmed by further investigation. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke continues the work to prove that in the case of CBD the risk of dealing with side effects is lower than compared to traditional medication when it comes to improving epileptic episodes, regardless the age of the patient. Many investigations concluded that different types of neurological injuries could heal faster due to a constant use of cannabidiol. The studies focused on schizophrenia presented positive results as well.
- Treating different substance abuse disorders – Some scientists noticed that if smokers inhale CBD, they will crave less for nicotine. A similar conclusion was also reached in studies for individuals who abused opioids. This is what led them think that cannabidiol has a therapeutic influence on people who try to recover after abusing various dangerous substances. So far, only a few small tests were conducted on this subject, and more data is required to decide on the matter.
- Fighting tumors – One of the benefits which made cannabinoids famous is fighting different forms of cancer. For the moment, all the studies were conducted on animals, so scientists must take the next step and examine the effects on human patients as well. It is an option for cancer treatment which should get more attention due to its very low level of toxicity. Studies showed that CBD has therapeutic properties like reducing pain and nausea after chemotherapy, while other small studies reported that cannabinoids also have anti-tumor potential. A higher number of dead cancer cells and the reduction of metastasis was noticed in patients who took CBD. As a result, the size of the tumors was reduced. Its anti-cancer properties were studied intensely by many scientists who concluded that cannabinoids act like soldiers to suppress the sick cells and kills them in order to protect the healthy tissue.
- Reducing psychosis – Even if CBD is obtained from the seeds of hemp, high doses of marijuana generate severe psychotic episodes and in people with medical history it might even trigger chronic psychosis. Some studies suggest that CBD can cancel the adverse effects of THC. Still, studies conducted on patients with schizophrenia brought opposite results, so there is no conclusion on this for the moment.
- Reducing anxiety attacks – the idea that CBD can reduce anxiety and stress is supported by some small clinical trials conducted on animals and humans, as well. Even if the exact mechanism that cannabidiol uses to reduce stress is not yet completely understood, some subjects improved social abilities. Due to the high concentration of THC, cannabis extract should not be utilized by those diagnosed with paranoia and anxiety. There are studies which suggest that CBD has a positive influence on subjects who suffer from cognitive disorders such as panic, general or social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Considering that classic medication for these problems has a long list of potential side effects, there is the no harm in trying to find more natural alternatives.
- Inducing relaxation – cannabidiol, regardless of its form, can help relax both the mind and the body after a long day. Anxiety, aches or stress are relieved if CBD topical products are applied on the face, limbs, or entire A massage with such a product can relax the whole body, and it can be used on children as well.
- Improving the skin condition – if your usual beauty products don’t offer the expected results, you don’t need to replace them with more expensive ones. CBD cream can get the job done. Dry skin, spots, wrinkles, or any other aesthetic problem can be improved with this product.
- Curing skin problems – creams and lotions with CBD have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and they can be used to reduce the symptoms of skin problems like acne, psoriasis or eczema. It can be used to relieve pain caused by an insect bite, sunburn, or irritations. Inflammation in the skin can cause acne breakouts, so CBD could be an option for those who tried other treatments with no results because it lowers the sebum production in the skin.
- Improving sleep quality – once absorbed into the system CBD can generate a state of well-being and relaxation throughout the body. People fighting with insomnia could experience better resting during the night because both muscles and brain are soothed and relaxed
- Boosted energy levels – CBD not only relaxes you, but it also improves mental functions. If you are better rested, of course, you are more productive during the day. Once CBD gets to the receptors in the body, they respond, and it becomes more alert.
These are some of the benefits of cannabidiol discovered by scientists, and they were subject to multiple studies to confirm each therapeutic property. There are some ongoing studies which try to understand the way CBD works in relation to other medical issues like:
- Heart health – some scientists claim that CBD can influence the dilatation of arteries and strengthen the blood vessels, so the consequences of a possible heart attack are diminished
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease – CBD is believed to be able to prevent colitis and reduce symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gut inflammation
- Protection against bacteria – Some studies proved CBD is effective in fighting Staphylococcus Aureus, which is a difficult to treat bacteria
- Protection against Mad Cow Disease – in some studies it was observed that CBD could inhibit the activity of prions, which are the proteins responsible for severe neurodegenerative disorders such as mad cow disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
- Promoting bone growth – some lab trials revealed CBD helped broken limbs of rats heal faster
- Reducing Dyskinesia – CBD can minimise the production of inflammatory markers which causes involuntary and uncontrolled
All the above health problems, which seem to be cured or least get improved, turn CBD into one of the greatest discoveries of our century. Adding to this the fact that there is no dangerous side effect associated with this substance, we can expect soon to see it officially recommended as a new option for classic medication.
Precautions and warnings regarding cannabidiol
Even if cannabinoids are entirely natural elements and they have a similar structure to those produced by the human body, in some cases, and under certain circumstances, they might be the source for some mild unpleasant reactions. It is important to mention the fact that cannabidiol influences the nervous system, but it has no dangerous impact on the vital functions of the body, regardless the dosage.
Cannabidiol is supposed to be safe for use, but it is obtained from a plant which is regarded with precaution by the medical community. Although this extract has very low amount of THC, the main active ingredient of marijuana, people with high sensitivity to this substance must be cautious when using it. Some studies revealed that there are some possible long term adverse effects of cannabis on the body like:
- Increase the effects of substances like alcohol and some drugs – cannabinoids are believed to intensify the side effects of another type of medication. So if you take any medication it is best to avoid using CBD.
- Tiredness – this is a symptom often reported by some users, so try to avoid driving until you are sure you can stay focused.
- Dry mouth – some users felt a constant need to hydrate because they had the sensation of „cotton mouth”.
- Reduced focus – because CBD aims to relax the brain and reduce stress, some people might experience issues with short time memory and clouded thinking, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea which stopped when cannabinoids were not used anymore.
- Genetic congenital disabilities – since the way CBD influences our body is not entirely understood, some scientists believe that conceiving a baby while using cannabinoids increases the risks of a child born with birth defects.
- Accentuated symptoms of the pre-existing conditions – some users of cannabidiol experienced an increase of the heart rate so people diagnosed with cardiovascular disorders should use it with moderation and with medical approval
- Low blood pressure – it is believed that CBD influences the dilatation of arteries, so if you take medication to control low or high blood pressure you must talk to a doctor before using CBD
- Irritation of the lungs – smoking CBD oil might cause chronic bronchitis or respiratory disorders
- Reduced libido – constant use of CBD was reported to reduce the sex drive in some users. There were also reports of irregular periods in women and low sperm count at men. The problem can be resolved if the use of cannabidiol is interrupted.
All these side effects were noticed in cases of high CBD dosage taken over an extended period of time. The symptoms reported so far were affected only adults. Children were not included in tests due to the lack of information regarding long term use. Depending on the mood, genetic predisposition, and dosage the intensity of these side effects might vary from one person to another. These side effects are not experienced by all users. In fact, only a small percentage of the subjects reported mild discomfort which stopped when they stopped taking CBD. Even so, it is important to get the doctor’s approval before starting the treatment with CBD.
Since CBD is not officially accepted as a dietary supplement, there is no daily recommended dose established. Studies available up to now conclude that 300 mg of CBD per day will not have an adverse impact on the health. Higher doses ranging between 1200 mg and 1500 mg per day should not exceed four weeks of usage. If you chose the spray version, you must make sure you don’t exceed 2,5 mg per day and stop using after two weeks.
Humans and all vertebrate creatures are genetically equipped to process cannabinoids. CBD is a natural substance, part of the cannabinoids family, obtained from hemp. Its structure resembles the endocannabinoids produced by the human body, so they can successfully kick in when the body is no longer able to produce its own cannabinoids. CBD can be used to improve a wide variety of medical conditions, and it doesn’t have sedative or hallucinogenic effect on users. Its extensive healing properties made it the primary focus of the scientific and medical community who wants to understand how it works on both physical and psychological level.
Considering the findings so far, more and more doctors are willing to recommend CBD as an alternative therapy for traditional medication which didn’t bring the desired results. Because it doesn’t have a psychoactive effect, CBD is legal for use in the USA and most countries around the world, as well. Even if cannabidiol is believed to be helpful as a treatment option for many health issues, one should not get too confident before all controversy surrounding this substance is closed. We are all different, that is why a supplement will never have the same effect on two people. To establish the right dose for you and your medical condition, it is important to talk to a doctor.
Cannabidiol list of benefits is not closed yet, as there are still many ongoing studies which try to confirm more medical properties. The list of side effects is also opened since the FDA requires more studies before approving the substance for public use.