CBD - Cannabidiol Explained
Cannabis contains dozens of cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds in the plant that affects our bodies in different ways. Some cannabinoids get us high, some have health benefits, and most are poorly understood compounds that need to be researched further.
In this series, we will take a look at a few of the most well-researched cannabinoids that are found in cannabis.
At the moment, one of the most well-known cannabinoids is cannabidiol - also known as CBD. There are numerous health benefits of CBD, which is why it has been a popular health trend for the past few years.
Along with THC, CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, although the exact percentage varies from strain to strain. CBD can’t get you high, and is safe for humans.
What are the benefits of CBD?
A lot of evidence has shown that CBD can treat the following conditions:
- Anxiety. CBD seems to have anti-anxiety properties, according to a growing body of research.
- Inflammation. Multiple scientific reviews have noted that CBD seems to reduce inflammation in different parts of the body. It seems to block the receptors involved in the inflammation process.
- Pain. Research shows that CBD is an analgesic (that is to say, it reduce pain). Sativex, an FDA-approved, THC- and CBD-based treatment for people with multiple sclerosis, reduce pain significantly.
- Seizure disorders. This is one of the most well-documented benefits of CBD. Recently, an FDA-approved medication called Epidolex has appeared on the US market. This CBD-based medication is used to treat certain rare, severe seizure disorders.
In addition to the proven benefits mentioned above, limited research suggests CBD may also treat or prevent:
- Acne. Not only does CBD reduce inflammation - including inflammation in the skin - but it also may regular sebum production, which could treat acne. This is partly why there are so many CBD-infused skin products on the market.
- Addiction. Some studies suggest CBD can be used to treat addiction.
- Cardiovascular diseases. Some research suggests CBD lowers blood pressure and prevents or treats certain heart diseases, although it needs to be investigated further.
- Depression. There is some evidence that suggests that CBD might be able to reduce depression by changing the way our bodies interact with seratonin, a mood-lifting chemical.
- Sleep disorders. A 2019 study suggested that CBD can reduce anxiety-related insomnia. However, it doesn’t seem to make you groggy: a 2014 study suggested that CBD could actually promote wakefulness.
So, while some of the benefits of CBD are well-documented and proven, CBD could also have other benefits that still need to be confirmed by further research.
Is CBD safe?
A lot of research has shown that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated by humans. The side effects of CBD, while uncommon, include:
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Changes in appetite
It’s important to buy high-quality CBD products from reputable companies, as some brands mislead consumers and produce products with multiple additives and little cannabinoids.
Research shows that CBD can interact with certain medications, so it’s important to speak to your doctor before taking it. If your medication carries a ‘grapefruit warning,’ i.e. a warning not to eat grapefruit with the medication, you probably can’t have CBD either. Both grapefruit and CBD affects your body’s ability to metabolize certain drugs.
The numerous health benefits of CBD mean that many people are taking it in order to support their health and treat certain conditions. In the near future, we can expect research to uncover even more uses for CBD.
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