Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years, you would have heard about CBD oil almost everywhere you turn, with it developing a multi-billion-dollar industry virtually overnight. However, the controversy surrounding the use of CBD oil is equally profound, as many people do not fully understand it and instead brush it off as some sort of hippie cure.
In reality, CBD oil is extremely promising and is set to revolutionize healthcare as we know it. Let us take a more in-depth look at what CBD oil, how it can benefit you and its potential risks.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol oil, is one of the natural cannabinoids you can find in the cannabis plant. For many people, that is as far as they are willing to go, as they associate anything from the cannabis plant as being synonymous with the characteristic feeling of a high. However, this is a very broad generalization that does not apply to all the constituents found in the cannabis plant.
For instance, you can also find water naturally in cannabis plants, but does that automatically mean that you refuse to use water for fear that it will get you high? This is the same analogy that should be used when trying to understand something new.
There are well over 100 cannabinoids found naturally in cannabis plants, though the two most well-known and studied are CBD and THC. When consumed, these compounds interact with the body’s natural Endocannabinoid system to elicit the effects you may be looking for.
Indeed, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a related cousin of CBD and is the one that is known to deliver the characteristic feeling of euphoria, or what we know as a high. However, CBD oil preparations available for commercial purchase and use must adhere to stringent guidelines which dictates exactly how much THC is permitted be found in such products.
Often times, the CBD oil that you consume and purchase will contain less than 0.3% THC, which is significantly lower than the amount necessary to elicit its psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD oil typically is extracted from cannabis plants grown to produce extremely low levels of THC in the first place, with these plants actually called hemp, in an effort to differentiate them from high THC content marijuana or cannabis plants.
At this moment in time, CBD is a scheduled drug in the same way marijuana, heroin or cocaine are, and is only truly approved for the management of epilepsy. Regardless, this does not mean that you will be in trouble for owning it, as research is being feverishly conducted to prove its case to regulatory bodies.
Now that we have set the groundwork and you have a better appreciation about what CBD truly is, it’s time to move on and discover how CBD can be of benefit to you.
Benefits And Uses Of CBD Oil
Management Of Pain
One of the most common uses of CBD oil is to alleviate pain that is often times intractable or unresponsive to conventional pain medication. There is evidence that marijuana (which contains both CBD and THC) was used as far back as 2900 BC for the management of pain, showing that sometimes humanity takes an about turn rediscovering something that was well known millennia ago.
CBD oil appears to show great promise in the management of chronic inflammatory conditions which cause pain, such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis to name a few. CBD oil interacts with Endocannabinoid receptors to modulate the body’s inflammatory response, in turn reducing the degree of pain felt.
While CBD alone is effective for the management of pain, in combination with THC its analgesic actions appear to be superior. However, THC may not be suitable for everyone owing to its psychoactive actions that can result in unwanted side effects, and the fact that CBD offers flexible dosage forms makes the oil a better option for most people.
Management Of Anxiety And Mood-Related Disorders
CBD oil also is a viable option for helping to deal with anxiety and mood disorders such as depression, proving a much safer option than prescription medications which are laced with reports of unwanted side effects.
People that struggle with generalized anxiety disorders stand to benefit greatly from daily consumption of a CBD oil supplement, along with people who have a fear of public speaking. CBD oil is believed to reduce cognitive impairment that could lead to stammering or diminished speech performance under pressure, helping to improve comfort and overall social behavior.
In like manner, people with mild depressive illness may benefit from consumption of CBD oil as it is believed to help stimulate the serotonin receptors found in the brain, regulating mood and overall sense of well-being.
May Slow Progression Of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Aging comes with a lot of complications, with the loss of memory and cognitive ability worrisome. However, while these conditions are for the most part unavoidable and irreversible, CBD oil shows promise in helping to safeguard the brain from factors that may accelerate such deterioration.
CBD oil is protective of brain cells, helping to safeguard them from excessive oxidation as a result of free radical generation or exposure to toxic compounds. Oxidative damage is a major contributor to neurodegenerative diseases, so anything that slows down the rate of exposure will positively benefit brain health.
In addition to this, even persons already diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s stand to benefit from the consumption of CBD oil for management of symptoms such as dyskinesia.
Erratic movements, muscle cramps and even cognitive function stand to benefit from consumption of CBD oil, as it may also help stimulate blood flow to the brain to preserve function. CBD oil is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin C or E, making a good case for this compound.
This neuroprotective effect of CBD oil may help an individual to maintain significant amounts of his mental faculties well into old age, improving quality of life.
Management Of Epilepsy
Currently, the only FDA approved CBD preparation is one specifically for the management of epilepsy. Even though CBD oil is still considered a controlled substance, its efficacy was proven beyond the shadow of a doubt for the management of seizure disorders, helping to reduce the frequency and severity of episodes experienced by people who were otherwise resistant to conventional drug therapy.
Interestingly, use of CBD oil is even approved in children, where its use is safer than the medications typically prescribed. This is a great step in the right direction of complete approval of CBD oil-related products, but more research needs to be done to confirm it’s unquestionable efficacy in managing other disorders as well.
Management Of Nausea
CBD oil shows promise in the management of nausea and vomiting, though its overall utility is limited at this time. Rodent studies have indicated great promise, but in humans there appears to be high variability based on dose specificity, meaning that too little and no effects manifest, or too much and nausea may be worsened.
However, there is undisputed evidence that a combination of THC and CBD is effective for the management of nausea, especially when using chemotherapeutic agents. Such a combination may also positively benefit appetite in sick patients, who may otherwise not have the desire to eat.
This combination may also help to reduce the incidence of food sensitivities (manifested by diarrhea or bloating), though it is not to be considered a permanent fix to such issues.
CBD Oil May Support Heart Health
While this is not one of the most researched aspects of CBD oil usage, preliminary evidence has indicated that consumption of CBD oil could positively benefit the health of your heart, by several means.
For instance, CBD oil acts as a vasodilator, helping arteries to dilate and accommodate fluctuations of blood pressure that may prove dangerous if vessels are not flexible.
In addition to this, it may also help to reduce the incidence of arrhythmias, improving one’s resistance to stroke and heart attacks. Its well-established ability to reduce anxiety and stress can also further reduce pressure on the heart, and the hormonal changes that may spike blood pressure.
Lastly, it may be able to influence blood cells that lend themselves to the clotting cascade, reducing the likelihood of clots forming within blood vessels. Strokes and heart attacks are very likely to occur if clots form and block important vessels. Added to the fact that its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions are very potent, and what you have is reduced oxidation of cholesterol, and subsequently, less is deposited on blood vessel walls.
These are all very promising findings that may very well become a mainstay in the coming decade, but at this time definitive studies need to be undertaken.
CBD Oil May Help Treat Acne
Acne is an embarrassing skin condition that may affect as many as one in 10 people at some point throughout their lives, causing undue anxiety and stress. While diet has been implicated in the frequency of acne flare-ups, there are many factors that may be beyond the control of the individual, including genetics and anti-inflammatory potential of their skin.
CBD oil can prove beneficial in the management of acne owing to its ability to reduce the production of sebum, the substance produced by sebaceous glands in the skin that precipitates acne, and also owing to its ability to exert anti-inflammatory actions.
Several skin care products exploit this property of CBD oil, with such preparations being marketed as natural acne remedies. Consuming the oil would be just as effective, if not superior, but persons looking to use it for acne alone may prefer to apply it locally.
One of the most promising effects of CBD oil consumption on the body may be for assisting with the management of schizophrenia and associated psychoses.
This is in stark contrast to the cannabinoid THC, which is known to possess psychoactive properties of its own and instead cause effects that resemble schizophrenia, especially in susceptible individuals. Symptoms such as hallucinations, or auditory distortions are common, while CBD oil does not carry this risk.
Rather, CBD oil can be said to possess the opposite effect, helping to calm overexcited nervous systems, helping to normalize the balance of neuro-chemicals in the brain, and reducing pro-inflammatory processes.
CBD oil is fast emerging as a safe, yet effective alternative to prescription antipsychotics which carry with them a significant risk of adverse effects and complications.
CBD Oil Is Bactericidal
Although CBD oil should in no fashion be used as a substitute for antibiotics as prescribed by your physician, lab tests have shown that it carries great promise in treating infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA causes complicated infections that are very difficult to treat, but if these tests show anything it’s the fact that CBD oil may help make antibiotic therapy more effective.
May Support Bone Tissue
CBD oil will never replace vitamins and minerals that are essential in the development of bone, but it may help to support bone growth and regeneration.
It may prove beneficial in people recovering from injuries since it can stimulate multiple pathways that increase bone cell turnover and also the synthesis of collagen. Enhanced rates of cellular turnover would mean less time spent incapacitated after a fracture or other type of injury involving bone.
CBD Oil Can Improve Sleep
One of the more popular uses of CBD oil today is for its ability to help treat insomnia. Consumption of CBD oil before bed can improve sleep quality, due to its ability to relieve anxiety and stress. In contrast to THC which is more stimulating in nature and is likely to worsen insomnia, CBD takes the edge off and allows for restorative sleep.
CBD oil is even acceptable for use in children that may be experiencing insomnia as a result of anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Best of all, CBD oil is not habit-forming and works with your body and its natural endocannabinoid system to reestablish your circadian clock which may have been disrupted from years of neglect.
CBD Oil May Help With Overcoming Substance Abuse
Vices take many forms today, the most common of which include smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
CBD oil can help to diminish your desire to smoke, or the need for nicotine, which a study found could be reduced as much as 40%. While this is not complete cessation, it is still a great step in the right direction.
When it comes substance abuse disorders, there is a growing trend of opioid addiction across the world. While this problem starts out innocuously from medication your physician once prescribed for pain, their addictive potential makes it so that your body requires stimulation from these drugs even in the absence of pain.
These opioid medications actually disrupt the brain’s natural reward system, making it so that you frequently crave a sense of euphoria. CBD oil reduces the need for these opioids, helping pave the way for recovery and withdrawal. Just be warned – withdrawal is a lengthy process and is often not advised for you to do on your own. Enlist the help of a treatment facility to improve the likelihood of success.
May Help Treat Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder which involves the abnormally fast replication of skin cells, causing the cells on the top layer of the skin to be pushed off before they have fully matured. What results is sometimes raised patches of white scaly skin, which may be very itchy, ooze or appear inflamed.
CBD oil decreases the rate at which these skin cells replicate, and combined with these anti-inflammatory actions can relieve associated symptoms of psoriasis.
May Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes is regarded as mainly a disorder resulting from poor dietary practices, but many people fail to realize that there are two types of diabetes, type1 and type 2. Type 1 usually manifests in children and is also known as Juvenile onset diabetes. It is believed to occur as a result of auto-inflammatory processes on the pancreas, causing damage to the insulin-producing Islet of Langerhans cells.
Adults are also being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in alarming numbers, believed to be attributed to a lifestyle compounded with exposure to many pro-inflammatory and oxidant compounds which accelerate cellular damage.
CBD oil may be able to help reduce the impact of inflammatory damage that can contribute to Type 1 diabetes in adults, and may also play a role in reducing your relative risk of Type 2 diabetes, though diet and lifestyle choices play an important part in the development of this variety.
CBD oil usage has not been studied in children for this purpose, but owing to the fact that Type 1 diabetes possesses a degree of genetic linkage, if this is detected consumption of the oil by adults of child bearing age may be able to reduce the burden placed on children that may be born subsequently.
In addition to this, CBD may also help to support healthier cholesterol levels and can contribute to reducing your waistline, small protective steps that can stave off metabolic disorder that contributes to Type 2 diabetes.
Risks Of CBD Oil
While CBD oil is very well tolerated overall, there are instances where adverse effects have been reported from its usage, either topically or when consumed. They are generally mild and self-limiting but it is important to know what to look out for so that you may discontinue use if you notice them occurring.
Suppressed Immune System
CBD oil, while it does support the immune system by exerting anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may also inadvertently hurt it in a small number of persons. Particularly, it may suppress the activity of T and B cells, white blood cell types that are involved in phagocytosis of foreign organisms.
When these cell actions are suppressed, you are predisposed to a greater likelihood of illness occurring. This can contribute to the development of asthma, tumorous cell growth and even increase the risk to STDs which may be countered by a fully functioning immune system.
Impaired Medication Breakdown
CBD oil may also temporarily decrease the activity of liver enzymes, in particular, the cytochromeP450 isozyme system, which is responsible for the metabolism of over 60% off all commonly prescribed medications.
What this results in is altered drug patterns, in the sense that actions may persist longer than normal, or the risk of side effects may be greater as the medication in question persists longer in blood without being broken down.
Even though one of the uses of CBD oil is for the management of anxiety and related disorders, the opposite may be true when higher than recommended doses are consumed.
This is rare but is much more likely to occur if CBD is combined with THC.
Although CBD will not adversely brain dopamine too much on its own, when combined with THC it can have a negative effect on drive and motivation, as well as learning and memory retention. Dopamine is critically involved in the brain’s reward and motivation center, and explains why people that use marijuana recreationally seem extremely relaxed or blasé.
A small number of people may be allergic to cannabinoids in general, which include both CBD and THC. These effects are noticeable whether it is consumed or applied locally to the skin. If you are unsure of your response, it is best to start by testing on the skin by applying to one small area and leaving on for several hours before analyzing.
Dry Mouth Or Drowsiness
Though its ability to bring about sedation is one of its uses, it can be troublesome if it causes you to feel drowsy when you can least afford to, such as on the job or while driving. CBD and other cannabinoids are also said to possess anti-cholinergic actions, reducing salivation, urination and sweating to name a few.
Summary- CBD Oil
CBD oil has way more benefits than risks or negative effects, but before deciding to use it a smart move would be to speak to multiple health care professionals. Why multiple? Because of personal bias. Some professionals may hold a bias for or against CBD and other cannabinoids which would influence their advice.
There is no doubt that CBD will only grow even more popular in the coming years, with a good case of it becoming an unscheduled “drug” altogether.