When the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, the CBD market exploded. Some experts say it could be worth $100 billion in the next few years.
The excitement around CBD has been building for some time now. Medical research suggests CBD and other cannabinoids could have a wide variety of health effects.
Like many people, you probably have questions about CBD. What is it, what can it do, and is it really all it’s cracked up to be? We’ll take a look at CBD oil and health benefits, as well as uses and potential side effects.
What Is CBD?
First things first. What is CBD anyway?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a cannabinoid found in cannabis sativa plants. More than 100 different cannabinoids have been identified, including THC, THCV, and CBG. Scientists believe all of them could have health benefits for people.
CBD and THC are among the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis plants. They’re also the best-studied cannabinoids in the literature.
The Forms of CBD
CBD comes in many forms. It exists in the leaves and flowers of the plant, and it can be smoked.
CBD oil is a concentrated form of CBD made from cannabis or hemp plants. It can be made in a few ways, and there are a few forms. Consumers have plenty of choice between pure CBD oil, broad-spectrum oils, and full-spectrum oils.
CBD oil comes in capsules or tinctures. It can also be added to other products, such as balms and lotions. It can also be concentrated and then used in vaporizers.
CBD oil is often recommended, since it’s one of the most concentrated forms. This maximizes the health benefits. It helps people get fast-acting relief while avoiding the harmful effects of smoke.
There’s debate about whether CBD isolate or full-spectrum oils are more beneficial. Some people believe pure CBD oil offers the most benefit, since it delivers the most CBD.
Others say broad-spectrum or full-spectrum oils offer more to support health. These oils include terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds in the plant. These are thought to have their own health effects, as well as contribute to the CBD entourage effect.
CBD Oil and Health Benefits
So, just what can CBD do for health? The medical literature indicates a wide range of effects. Research says CBD could manage everything from anxiety to skin conditions to bone health.
Some of CBD’s best-known health effects include:
- Pain relief. CBD acts on the nervous system, affecting the same systems that opioid medications do. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe nerve and joint pain.
- Control of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Some studies used CBD to control nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing treatment. Other studies suggest CBD may affect the appetite by suppressing it.
- Effects on mood. CBD appears to act on serotonin receptors in the brain. This contributes to a calming, uplifting effect. It may be helpful in the management of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
- Bone health. Studies have suggested CBD could play a role in the healing of bone fractures. In one study, CBD made fractures less likely and encouraged better bone repair. In another, it stimulated the growth of new bone cells.
- Treatment of skin conditions such as acne and eczema. CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects could help soothe skin.
Other health benefits of CBD oil have also been proposed. Some studies have looked at the role it might play in brain health. Early studies suggest it might help the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Some studies suggest it could help prevent the formation of the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s. Other studies suggested CBD may help protect memory. Research also shows it helped tremors associated with diseases like Parkinson’s.
CBD has also gained popularity for its role in managing the symptoms of a rare form of epilepsy in children.
Some speculative research is even looking at how CBD might be used to treat disease such as cancer or HIV. In one study, researchers suggested CBD had a negative impact on the growth of cancerous cells. In another study, CBD appeared to stop the spread of HIV.
How Does It Work?
As more studies are completed, a better picture of just what CBD oil can do for health is emerging. One question people have is how CBD can have such wide-ranging effects.
It comes down to the endocannabinoid system. The ECS is spread throughout the human body, much like the immune system or the nervous system. It interacts with other systems, allowing it to affect everything from digestion to immune responses.
The human body creates its own cannabinoid-like substances, called endocannabinoids. Much like CBD, these substances play key roles in everything from appetite to mood.
As we age, the ECS shrinks and the body stops producing endocannabinoids as easily. Some research on mice suggests this could contribute to aging. Older mice given cannabinoids performed just as well as their younger counterparts.
This research suggests an important role for the ECS in almost every aspect of health. Boosting the body’s natural endocannabinoid supply with CBD could help maintain and promote health.
The Side Effects of CBD
Another question people have about CBD is what side effects it has. After all, cannabis has a reputation for putting people to sleep and giving them the munchies.
The “classic” effects of cannabis are usually associated with THC. CBD oil usually has little to no THC in it. CBD oil produced from hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC in it, the legal limit for a plant to be classified as hemp.
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you “high.” People often describe CBD as uplifting. Many people feel energized or focused when they use it.
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC appear to have dose-dependent effects. At low levels, they can reduce certain symptoms. In higher doses, they may cause or exacerbate those same symptoms.
CBD can cause:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Nausea and vomiting
Some people report other symptoms, such as anxiety.
While these side effects may not be pleasant, they’re usually mild and wear off in a few hours. It is virtually impossible to die from overdose with CBD, unlike opioids and other medications.
Nonetheless, it’s important to get the correct dose to have the best possible experience with CBD. Many people advocate microdosing or taking the lowest effective dose.
To date, research indicates CBD is not addictive. Some anecdotal reports suggest it could be. The consensus is that CBD is much less dangerous than opioids and other medications.
What Can You Do with CBD?
CBD oil health benefits show that this cannabinoid may be able do some amazing things. Knowing that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties doesn’t exactly tell you how to use it. What have people done with CBD oil?
- Topical oils and lotions act as spot-treatments for skin conditions like acne and eczema. It may also provide anti-aging benefits.
- As a daytime pain reliever for migraines, nerve pain, inflammatory pain, and more.
- As a digestive aid to relieve inflammation and pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome and more.
- As an anti-inflammatory to manage the symptoms of autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis.
- As a sleep aid for insomnia and other sleep disturbances.
- As a mood stabilizer, which can help energize, uplift and focus people.
Some people use CBD oil to help protect their bone health. Some research indicates CBD may be able to help prevent or even reverse conditions like osteoporosis. It’s also been shown to help in cases of osteoarthritis.
Some people with pre-diabetes and diabetes may also find CBD helpful. It may control pain associated with the condition and assist in reducing inflammation as well. Some research has looked at CBD’s effect on insulin and blood sugar, but a link is not well-established.
CBD oil and cannabis are often suggested as a potential solution to the opioid crisis. Some research shows CBD is an effective painkiller, on par with many opioids. Thanks to its less addictive profile, some people recommend it for those who need to manage chronic pain conditions.
Some reports suggested people were able to reduce or even end their opioid use with CBD and cannabis. This is one reason advocates support using it to treat opioid addiction.
Some people even use CBD to help their pets. Some recommend CBD for helping with pain and inflammation. CBD for cats with nausea is another common use.
A Step Toward a Healthier You
There’s a clear connection between CBD oil and health emerging in the scientific research. This cannabinoid and others seem to be able to help many people with many different conditions.
Of course, CBD oil isn’t the only thing that benefits your health. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and more can help you protect your health. Check out more of our tips right here on our blog for becoming the happiest, healthiest you.