What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of over 60+ naturally occurring cannabinoid compounds found in Cannabis, an annual herbaceous flowering plant.
CBD oil is derived from an organic substance formed in the plant’s secretions. Both marijuana and hemp are forms of cannabis.
However, cannabis does not mean marijuana. Cannabis is the genus name and general umbrella term, under which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall.
Until recently, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, was the most well-known and studied cannabinoid due to its abundance in marijuana.
However, as the second most prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana and the top non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp, CBD has been gaining momentum in the scientific community and media.
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause any feeling of “high,” which contributes to its legalization across the United States. CBD does not typically have any immediate noticeable effect, though some customers have reported otherwise when using isolates.
How does CBD work?
CBD primarily interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a grouping of millions of cannabinoid receptors found throughout your body, but are primarily clustered in the brain and central nervous system.
While CBD is a phytocannabinoid, or plant-based cannabinoid, your body also naturally produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.
Almost every organ of your body, including your skin and digestive tract, contains cannabinoid receptors.
The endocannabinoid system has four primary purposes including neuroprotection, stress relief, immune response, and regulating the body’s general state of balance, impacting faculties such as appetite, sleep, mood, and pain.
Unlike THC, CBD does not interact directly with the two classical cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). This is why CBD does not cause any psychoactive effect.
Instead, CBD inhibits the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, leading to an increase in your body’s naturally-produced cannabinoids.
CBD’s molecular formula is C21H30O2, and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636.
Health Benefits Of CBD Oil
CBD May Protect Against Neurodegenerative Diseases
CBD was found to prevent toxic effects of neurotransmitter glutamate and radical oxygen species (ROS) in the brain, thus preventing brain cell death.
It has antioxidant activity greater than vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or vitamin E (α-tocopherol).
This may also protect brain cells from beta-amyloid toxicity, making it a potential therapy in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
It may also protect the brain in cases where blood flow is reduced (ischemia).
Early human studies showed a dose-related improvement in patients with Parkinson’s disease treated with 100 to 600 mg/day of CBD over a 6-week period.
However, another study failed to show any beneficial effect of a mixture of THC and CBD either on Parkinson’s disease or dyskinesia.
In animal models, CBD reversed the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer’s disease.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, CBD may be a promising agent to treat and prolong survival in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients.
CBD May Relieve Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Cannabis derivatives may relieve symptoms in multiple sclerosis patients.
A combination of CBD and THC is effective and well tolerated in the treatment of muscle tightness, pain, sleep disturbances, and loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) in people with multiple sclerosis.
CBD Relieves Pain
Studies suggest that cannabinoids may be a new class of drugs for the treatment of chronic pain.
CBD significantly decreased chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rodents.
Cannabidiol, especially in a combination with THC, shows promising results for the treatment of postoperative pain. Chronic pain associated with multiple sclerosis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and neuropathic pain.
Sativex, a combination of CBD and THC as a sublingual spray, is effective in treating neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and in cancer patients with advanced pain.
Studies show that CBD and opioids act together to relieve pain.
CBD May Be Beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Due to its anti-inflammatory effect, cannabinoids may provide relief of joint pain and swelling. And decrease joint destruction and disease progression.
Administration of CBD protected joints against severe damage, decreased progression, and produced improvement of arthritis in animal models.
The first controlled trial showed that administration of Sativex over 5 weeks produced significant improvements in the intensity of pain on movement and at rest, quality of sleep, and inflammation. No serious adverse effects were observed.
Cannabidiol May Help with Insomnia
Research suggests taking CBD before bed improves sleep in people with insomnia.
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Cannabidiol Lowers Incidence of Diabetes
A study, which included 4,657 adult men and women, showed that current marijuana use was associated with 16% lower fasting insulin levels. And smaller waist circumferences, a factor connected to the onset of diabetes.
Cannabidiol significantly reduced the development of diabetes in young non-obese mice, from 86% in non-treated mice to only 30% in mice treated with CBD.
Cannabidiol can inhibit and delay the destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic cells and the production of inflammatory cytokines in diabetics.
This data strengthens assumptions that CBD, which is known to be safe in humans, can possibly be used as a therapeutic agent for treatment of type 1 diabetes at an early stage of the disease.
Improves Skin Conditions
CBD oil can be used topically to treat skin conditions. Studies show CBD oil has a high potential for treating skin conditions like eczema by encouraging abnormal cell death.
It can also help regulate the skin’s oil production, reducing acne. CBD also contains many nutrients like vitamin E that help improve and protect the skin.
May Fight Cancer
CBD oil’s role in cancer treatment still needs more research, but what is available is looking promising. According to the American Cancer Society, CBD oil can slow growth and spread of some kinds of cancer (in animals).
Because it fights oxidative stress and inflammation (and both are linked to cancer) it makes sense that CBD oil could help fight cancer cells.