CBD is getting a lot of attention from everybody these days. But if it doesn’t get you high, how does it really make you feel, and why the hype about it? Keep reading below to find out!
Over the last couple of decades, cannabis-derived products have gone from something illegal that can lead to “murder, insanity, and death,” as government warning declared in 1935, to a very popular wellness product. But why the significant change?
What happened during the last decades that changed the public’s perception of cannabis and products derived from the plant? The answer: a number of scientific studies that suggest that cannabis-derived products, such as CBD oil, have many potential health benefits.
Today, most of the cannabis-focused wellness products contain cannabidiol, or commonly known as CBD. Almost overnight, CBD products are absolutely everywhere. CBD is in shampoos, skin care products, oils, gummies, drinks, lotions, vapes, and even pet treats.
CBD oil is marketed as some kind of cure-all. But is it all a marketing scam, or does science back its potential health benefits?
First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what CBD oil is.
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CBD oil explained
CBD is one of the many compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. Another big compound is THC, which is actually the compound that has psychoactive effects, such as euphoria, pleasure, or forgetfulness, effects that many people consider to be a “high.”
Now, manufacturers have found ways to separate CBD from plants and other compounds, including the THC compound. So, no, CBD oil or other CBD-based products don’t have psychoactive effects, meaning that they won’t get you high. Yet, the best way to say it is that CBD is non-intoxicating because it does not impair people’s cognitive performance and psychomotor abilities like THC does.
We’ll get a bit technical here to make sure that you understand why THC makes you “high” and why CBD doesn’t. THC impacts the CB1 receptors in brain areas, which are the receptors linked to euphoria, relaxation, anxiety, and short-term memory impairment. Yet, you can look at CBD as a rather CB1 antagonist, meaning that this compound will actually block or regulate THC’s intoxicating effects.
So far, so good, right?
Now, CBD oil is created by extracting CBD from cannabis or hemp plant. After harvesting, the plants are placed in a container where the CBD compound is extracted from them. The plants are either soaked or have solvents like ethanol or isopropyl, which strip the cannabinoids from the plants. Next, the liquid is then taken through an evaporation process by heating it, leaving the cannabinoid concentrates in an oil form.
But why is CBD oil gaining momentum these days? Is it all a marketing thing, or does it really have so many health benefits?
What does science have to say about CBD oil’s benefits?
Research-backed CBD uses suggest that CBD, no matter its form (be it gummies, capsules, oil, you name it), can have several health benefits. Scientific studies suggest that CBD is beneficial for a number of medical conditions, including relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression, might ease inflammation and pain, reduce seizure activity in people with epilepsy, and even alleviate cancer-related symptoms.
In 2018, a review of CBD from WHO said that “for most indications, there is only pre-clinical evidence.” In other words, research on CBD’s potential is still in its early days. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean that CBD doesn’t have the potential benefits manufacturers say their products have, especially since, in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil that treats two types of epilepsy. It can mean that research on the potential positive benefits of CBD is still ongoing, so new therapeutic uses for this compound are yet to be discovered.
Health benefits of CBD oil backed by scientific studies
What does research say on CBD so far? What effects does it have on the body?
By impacting the endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies, CBD can reduce inflammation and pain. Pre-clinical studies approved by the National Institutes of Health suggest that CBD can help relieve pain and other symptoms caused by conditions like arthritis, muscle pain, or spinal cord injuries.
Anxiety and depression relief
If you are one of the 40 million American adults struggling with anxiety disorders, you’ve likely heard that CBD oil can be a potential treatment.
Researchers think that CBD can help reshape the way the brain’s receptors react to serotonin, which is the chemical linked to mental health that regulates mood and social behavior.
Several scientific studies have shown that CBD can have antidepressant-like effects, can treat insomnia, and can reduce anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
CBD oil also seems to be a promising treatment for epilepsy thanks to its anti-seizure properties. Several studies found that CBD can reduce seizure activity in people with epilepsy, children with Dravet syndrome and reduce muscle spasticity in people struggling with multiple sclerosis.
Also, as mentioned above, the FDA has already approved the prescription use of the CBD oil-based spray that can help patients with two types of epilepsy.
Researchers also believe that CBD oil can have neuroprotective benefits that can help people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease.
Research on whether or not CBD oil can be a potential cancer treatment is still in its early days. However, some studies suggest that CBD can play a role in preventing cancer cell growth. What’s more, studies suggest that CBD can help cancer patients with reducing cancer treatment-related symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or pain.
The buzz around CBD products is understandable. With all scientific evidence suggesting that CBD can help treat various severe medical conditions, it’s only natural that people are excited by this natural remedy’s benefits and uses.