What is CBD?
The most common questions about Cannabidiol, or CBD, probably are: What is CBD? And does it make you high?
Quick answers: CBD is a compound extracted from hemp. And no. Even though CBD is derived from cannabis, it does not make you high, unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is also derived from the same plant.
So what exactly is CBD, and why is it trending so much?
CBD is one of hundreds of chemical components that the cannabis plant is made of.
Many people report a feeling of relaxation and calmness when they take it. Others, swear by its health properties. Because of this, CBD has quickly gained a huge number of followers.
What you’ll get from this page
- A BBC report on what CBD is
- Potential health benefits of CBD
- What CBD products are there?
- Advantages of CBD oil
- CBD oil side-effects
A BBC Report On What CBD Is
The BBC video above is pretty positive towards CBD, reflecting the public’s general attitude. It’s hardly surprising, then, that many industries are bringing out a variety of CBD-infused products.
But is CBD legal?
The quick answer is, it’s legal as long as it doesn’t contain more than 1mg of THC (no matter what size the bottle). You can read more about CBD’s legal status in the UK here.
Potential Health Benefits Of CBD
While some present CBD as a panacea, the claimed health benefits are still unproven by health authorities. This is, in part, because CBD was illegal until recently, thus hindering research.
Therefore, CBD products available over the counter are not yet clinically proven to work.
Having said that, an increasing number of studies agree that CBD has many potential health benefits.
Reduced risk of diabetes and obesity
A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined approximately fifty-two thousand participants.
According to the study, obesity was one-third lower in cannabis users. And this is despite the fact that cannabis users consumed more calories per day than usual.
Research has demonstrated that CBD may help boost weight loss by helping the body to convert white fat into weight-reducing brown fat.
Reduced risk of cancer
Can CBD really help prevent life-endangering tumours before they grow? This is the question researchers set out to answer in 2012. The result was in favour of CBD.
After treating animals with CBD, they found that those animals were less likely to develop colon cancer after being induced with carcinogens in the laboratory.
Another study, conducted in 2015, agreed. After analysing over eighty-four thousand records of male patients, scientists concluded that people who used CBD had a 45% lower rate of bladder cancer.
Protects and heals the skin
Many people suffer from skin problems. Antioxidants like Vitamin C and E, help. CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than these, so may help with sink conditions.
When applied topically, CBD can repair damage from free radicals like UV rays and other pollutants. Moreover, people use CBD to treat other skin problems, from acne to psoriasis.
Historical documents show that people used for centuries cannabis to heal wounds healing in both animals and humans as it speeds up the process of repairing the skin.
Some CBD users claim that topical application of CBD helped cure melanoma and carcinoma skin cancers. Again, it should be stressed that there is currently no cancer treatment protocol that includes CBD.
Anxiety, depression, and mood disorders
The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked depression at number 1 and anxiety as number 6 in contributing to disability.
Indeed, millions of people suffer from clinical depression. It can be characterized by persistent sadness, decreased appetite, loss of interest, low energy, and the most lethal of them all – suicidal thoughts.
To treat depression, doctors prescribe drugs which target serotonin, a chemical messenger which can stabilize moods.
Cannabis can also affect serotonin levels. However, even though THC can increase serotonin levels, it can also make matters worse if not taken in the right dosage.
Therefore, CBD is often preferred over cannabis, as it has no psychoactive properties and can be a more effective treatment for depression.
Several surveys and research performed on both animals and humans support this. They suggest that CBD oil is an efficient anti-depressant.
A study conducted in 2016 stated, “CBD could represent a novel fast antidepressant drug, via enhancing both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signalling through a 5-HT1A receptor-dependent mechanism.”
What CBD Products Are There?
If you wish to try CBD for yourself, you have a variety of ways to choose from, whether topically or ingesting it.
Here is a quick list of some ways you can use CBD:
- Balms, lotions
- Bath salts
- Sleep tablets
- CBD patches
- Vape oil
- Dog treats
All of the mentioned products can be infused with CBD. However, remember to check the THC content before buying them!
When it comes to buying these products, the simplest way is online. Depending on the city you live in, you may also find some of these products in your pharmacies, local store, and even at petrol stations.
However, it is crucial that you buy from a trusted source. CBD is made from hemp. Hemp is a so-called bioaccumulator: it soaks up heavy metals, pesticides, and pollutants from the ground. Some unscrupulous producers use this polluted hemp to make CBD, leading to contaminated CBD.
That is why you should always prefer producers who test their products and publish the results online. Alternative, you can ask for a Certificate of Analysis.
Doing so will also protect you from mislabelled products. Studies have shown that the majority of CBD products are mislabelled. Some have less CBD than advertised. More worryingly, others have more THC than claimed. This can make you test positive on drug tests.
Advantages Of CBD Oil
One of the more popular CBD products is CBD oil. This has many potential health benefits, making it one of the most popular and sought-after forms of CBD.
Records of patients being treated with cannabis exist since 2900 B.C. However, cannabis is still illegal in most countries today. Thankfully, CBD, the chemical compound responsible for pain relief, is legal.
Our body has a system called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system is responsible for regulating functions like sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response.
When we use CBD, our body produces endocannabinoids. These are neurotransmitters which bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system.
Multiple studies indicate that CBD can be effective in reducing pain related to sclerosis, arthritis, and muscle spasms. This is probably because of the way CBD interacts with our ECS.
A study found that CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from excreting excessive sebum, which is one of the most common reasons for acne.
Not only this, but CBD’s anti-inflammatory actions also prevented the activation of pro-acne agents like inflammatory cytokines.
Because CBD targets the endocannabinoid system, it makes it very effective for people suffering from neurological disorders. That is why a majority of studies currently underway study the effects of CBD on neurological diseases, particularly epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
A famous study found that CBD oil significantly reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome (a childhood epilepsy disorder). This has led to the production of Epidiolex, the only FDA-approved CBD-based medication so far.
Doctors often call high blood pressure “the silent killer.” Research has linked it to a number of heart conditions like stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome. To eliminate heart conditions, you would first have to take care of high blood pressure.
A number of recent studies focus on CBD’s potential in reducing blood pressure, thus also reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Research indicates that CBD may be a natural and effective answer to high blood pressure.
CBD Oil Side-Effects
Even though CBD oil is loved by many for its wide variety of uses and potential health benefits, it’s not suitable for everyone. The human body is a complex structure which works differently for everybody. Before trying out a new medicine, product or food item, one must always be careful.
Users have reported some minor side-effects, especially when consumed at high quantities. More worryingly, CBD can also react with several medications making them harmful instead of beneficial.
Hence, you should always check with your doctor before including CBD oil in your routine.