5 Facts You Need to Know About CBD Oil
CBD…to say these three little letters are taking the world of pain relief by storm might be an understatement. People all over the country are raving about the incredible benefits they’ve received from this natural remedy. And given the results of recent clinical research into CBD’s potential to relieve some of the hardest-to-address health concerns facing Americans, even the most traditional medical doctors are beginning to take note.
In case you haven’t heard, CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is the new “it” supplement that is helping people with a wide range of problems—ranging from chronic pain to anxiety, sleeplessness, migraines, nausea and more—just feel better. The more we learn about CBD, the more it seems poised to revolutionize medicine as we know it.
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But what exactly is CBD, and more importantly, does it really work as well as its proponents claim? And is it truly safe and free from side effects?
Welcome to CBD 101: 5 Facts You Need to Know
Because CBD is made from the cannabis plant, which has been used throughout history both for its powerful healing properties and mind-altering effects, it has been the subject of some controversy. We have received a flood of emails from our always-curious readers asking us to weight in on the matter, so we took it upon ourselves to dive into the research on CBD and sort out fact from fiction.
Here are the basics of what you need to know:
1. CBD is not psychoactive.
It’s important to recognize that long before the cannabis plant was used recreationally, it was revered in ancient times as an important medicine with numerous beneficial effects on human health. What’s so exciting about CBD, is that thanks to recent technological advances scientists have discovered a way to extract the medicinal benefits of the plant, with none of the psychoactive effects that using the whole plant can have. In other words, it won’t get you high.
Unlike THC, the cannabinoid known for its mind-altering effects, CBD is inert. So when taken on its own, users experience none of the sensations of being stoned. And this is the single most important property of CBD from the medical—and legal—perspective.
2. CBD is safe and side-effect free.
In addition to lacking psychoactive properties, CBD has been demonstrated to be safe and free of undesirable side effects. Many studies have investigated CBD’s safety in adults and have found that it’s well-tolerated across a wide range of doses.
There have been no significant negative side effects observed with regards to the central nervous system, vital signs, cognitive health or mood among people who use it either occasionally or frequently. So if you’re curious about CBD and considering trying it for yourself, you can be assured that it’s safe to do so.
3. CBD provides powerful relief from pain and inflammation.
If you’re struggling with pain and inflammation, take note: CBD has unique anti-inflammatory properties that make it profoundly effective as a pain reliever. Specifically, CBD binds with receptors in the body’s pain-sensing endocannabinoid system to produce a response that reduces nerve inflammation. This is also the reason that CBD provides powerful protective benefits for the entire nervous system.
A review of multiple studies conducted over a 19-year period found that CBD was remarkably effective in overall pain management and without adverse side effects. The researchers also noted that CBD was beneficial in relieving sleep problems related to chronic pain.
A 2017 survey sought to determine whether cannabis could provide an alternative to the conventional approach to pain management—which too often leads to disastrous health consequences and is implicated in the current epidemic of overdose deaths occurring in the U.S.
Of the nearly 2,897 people surveyed who reported using an opioid medication for pain relief in the past six months, 81% said that cannabis-based remedies were more effective at relieving their pain than cannabis and opioids combined. The participants also reported that cannabis was as effective in providing pain relief as other medications and did not have the unwanted side effects.
4. CDB eases stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Another amazing benefit nearly all CBD users report is reduced feelings of stress and anxiousness, and often, better sleep as a result. These effects may be due to CBD’s ability to influence the production of the brain’s happy chemical, serotonin.
A recent review of the clinical research suggests that CBD may help to reduce anxious behaviors in people with anxiety in various forms. Since CBD has shown no adverse effects to date, the researchers concluded that CBD should be studied as a potential alternative to conventional approaches.
A groundbreaking 2013 study found that CBD improved people’s abilities to forget their traumatic memories. These findings are incredibly important and could be relevant for figuring out how CBD can help with more serious stress disorders.
5. CBD could help protect your brain.
Scientists believe that CBD’s protective effects on nerves may mean that it could have beneficial long-term effects on the brain and nervous system. One preliminary study found that CBD halted the progression of cognitive decline in people experiencing symptoms.
Researchers are still trying to figure out the exact mechanisms behind the cognitive decline that affects so many Americans as they get older. Scientists know that the accumulation of proteins in the brain may play a role, and that’s why the findings of a 2006 study, which showed that CBD might play a role in interfering with the formation of these proteins, was so exciting. More research is needed, but it seems that CBD may be a valuable ally in protecting your brain and nervous system as you age.
And that’s not all CBD can do. Ongoing research is revealing an amazing variety of benefits, including:
- Relief from migraines and other headaches
- Reduced nausea
- Better skin health
- Balanced blood pressure
- Healthier digestion
- Improved blood sugar balance
- Support for a healthy weight
- And more!
How CBD Works: Meet Your Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis plants are chemical powerhouses that produce more than 400 different compounds, which scientists call “cannabinoids.” However, not all cannabinoids are created equal. CBD seems to be the cannabinoid that holds the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects cannabis offers.
Research into the effects of cannabinoids on the human body led directly to the discovery of a biochemical communication system that runs throughout your entire body called the endocannabinoid system. This important, yet previously unknown, system plays a crucial role in regulating your physical health and mood because it involves both naturally occurring cannabinoids that your body produces and neurotransmitters like serotonin, which allow your nerves to communicate and work efficiently. CBD binds to receptors within the endocannabinoid system and helps to influence its functioning.
To simplify the science, one could say that human beings are “hard-wired” for CBD. The endocannabinoid system runs deep and touches all the major systems of your body. When CBD binds to its receptors, it stimulates all kinds of positive changes in the body. And that’s why CBD can do so many things for you, from reducing pain and easing stress, to improving your overall health and sense of wellbeing.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Find the Best CBD Supplement
Virtually everyone can benefit from taking a CBD supplement, but because CBD is so wildly popular, and many fly-by-night companies are looking to cash in on the craze, you really need to be careful when shopping for CBD products. There are many low quality, contaminated products out there, and if you end up picking one of them, you’ll end up wasting your money, not to mention missing out on CBD’s powerful pain relief and other benefits.
Here’s a quick “cheat sheet” so you know what to look for when shopping:
- Potency: You can find extremely watered-down CBD products in drugstores, but they won’t provide much in the way of noticeable benefits. Most people need a minimum of 15 milligrams of pure CBD per day to get pain relief, mood, and sleep benefits.
- Source: It’s important to choose a product that is made from cannabis that is grown without pesticides. Ideally, it should also be made from a specially cultivated CBD-rich strain of cannabis rather than from low-grade industrial hemp, as many products are.
- Purity: Verify that any CBD product you use is free of solvents, pesticide residues, heavy metals and other contaminants that can be dangerous to consume on a regular basis. If possible, choose a product made from plants grown in the U.S.
- Full-Spectrum (but THC-Free): One of the biggest differences you’ll see among CBD products is full-spectrum versus isolate. Isolate means just that—you’re getting just the CBD from the plant. Full-spectrum means you’re getting other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes along with CBD. Verify, however, that your product is free of THC.
- Healthy Oil Base: Some CBD products are made with unhealthy processed oil bases that detract from its beneficial effects. Look for a product made with a healthy oil like coconut that provides its own benefits for your body.
Follow these five guidelines, and you’ll quickly reap CBD’s profound body and mind benefits.
Have you tried CBD? Please share your experiences in the comments section below!