Recently cannabidiol (CBD) has been gaining popularity in the health and wellness world. Most of us would have heard about it somewhere. It is sometimes being used in a post-workout smoothie or morning lattes , beauty lotions and facials as well as pain relieving topical creams. You might be wondering now what is CBD and why has it gained so much traction in such a short span of time?
so, what is it:
Cannabidiol abbreviated as CBD, is found in the resinous flowers of cannabis plant. It is the second most prevalent active ingredient of cannabis (marijuana). Cannabis plant or Indian hemp has a rich medicinal history of almost thousands of years and is still cultivated as an annual herbaceous plant in central and western Asia.
Cannabidiol is also obtained from the hemp plant. Currently CBD is undergoing vast number of trials for a number of diseases. It is found to have a wide safety margin and does not normally intoxicate on an average dosage.
but, how does it work:
Cannabidiol is known to be associated with curtailing convulsions or epilepsy, however, the underlying mechanism has not been currently understood. Before we delve into explaining how CBD works, one needs to know about the endocannabinoid system of the body.
The Endocannabinoid system:
Abbreviated as ECS, was discovered by researchers in 1990’s. They found cannabinoids were normally produced in the human body. The primary role of ECS is associated with maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the normal functions of the body including sleep, mood, appetite, pain, memory and bowel movements. Since then, scientists have found that ECS is also present in other mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
Initially it was believed that receptors for endocannabinoids are only present in the nervous system. However, recent researches have shown that endocannabinoid receptors are found all over the body including the skin. Normal production of endocannabinoids takes place in our body but its deficiency may require exogenous support. CBD, derived from cannabis plant, is associated with relieving this deficiency and maintenance of the ECS. It is correlated with augmentation of endocannabinoids.
CBD has also been observed to be associated with the prevention of the breakdown of a chemical in the brain that correlates with pain, mood and normal mental functioning.
Unlike certain pharmaceutical drugs, cannabidiol is not psycho-active, therefore, it appears to be an enticing option for those who seek relief from pain and other symptoms without getting stoned. Here are some of the health benefits associated with use of CBD that are backed with scientific researches and evidences.
CBD • Pain:
Studies have shown that CBD is linked with reduction of chronic pain and improved outcomes in patients with arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Patients taking CBD experience improvement in pain during walking and pain which causes muscle spasms. CBD also correlates with enhanced sleep quality in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD • Anxiety and Depression
Both human and animal studies have shown that regular use of CBD is followed by reduction in anxiety and depressive symptoms. Improvement in sleep and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress syndrome has also been observed.
CBD • Cancer
Animal studies have shown that CBD may be associated with reduced cancer incidence. A study done on mice showed that CBD intake was linked with inhibition of aggressive breast cancer cells. Patients undergoing chemotherapy occasionally experience nausea and vomiting. Alleviation of such symptoms was found following CBD therapy. However, extended human researches and detailed clinical trials are needed to decisively establish whether CBD could be given to cancer patients.
CBD • Acne
An overall reduction of inflammation in the body is observed with CBD therapy. Scientific evidences suggest that using CBD face creams on the skin may be linked with reduction of acne, inflammation and production of sebum.
CBD • Neuro-protection
Test-tube and animal studies have shown that CBD was associated with the reduction in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, more research has been done which illustrates that cannabidiol is linked with easing of the symptoms found in Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. However, the number of researches elucidating the potential correlation of CBD as a neuroprotective agent is somewhat limited.
One cannot help but say that the current scientific studies look promising. If you are not sure about CBD or have more questions, we advise you to speak with a medical doctor who understands the mechanism of action of CBD and will help guide you on choosing the right products for your specific needs.