Less than a generation ago, most people assumed that cannabis was nothing more than a dangerous recreational drug that had little therapeutic potential. Now, all of that has changed. Researchers have uncovered the wealth of advantages the plant has to offer and, even better, a way to enjoy the natural therapeutic benefits of CBD without the psychoactive qualities of THC.
Despite the increasingly well-known therapeutic value of CBD, there are still some misconceptions about this natural substance. As a result, if you’re considering cbd, you need to do some research first. Read on to learn the basics about this plant-based supplement and when to choose natural CBD products.
What Is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in both male and female cannabis plants. The federally legal and widely available CBD products are derived from hemp, so there’s no need to worry about whether they are safe and free from THC, which is only found in abundance in marijuana plants.
How CBD Works
Research into how, exactly, CBD works on the brain and body is ongoing. However, scientists and clinicians do have a basic understanding of its underlying mechanisms. It acts on the endocannabinoid (ECS) system, which runs through the brain and body and helps to maintain a state of homeostasis.
It’s important to note here that CBD does not bind directly to CB receptors. Instead, researchers believe it affects them in a more indirect way by reducing the reuptake of endogenously produced cannabinoids such as anandamide. This, in turn, may have a regulatory effect on the ECS, helping to alleviate dysfunction that can cause worrisome symptoms in other parts of the body.
Wondering why it seems like everyone who recommends CBD takes it for a different reason? It’s simple. Because the ECS is responsible for regulating everything from hunger levels to sleep-wake cycles, keeping it in balance can help to improve a wide range of systems. Plus, because it encourages the brain and body to maintain a state of homeostasis on their own, it produces next to no side effects. Now, let’s take a look at some of those essential functions.
Potential Health Benefits
Although the research into CBD is ongoing, there is already ample evidence to show that it is both safe and effective for treating or managing the symptoms of at least some physical and mental health conditions. In many cases, CBD is a safer alternative than the treatment modalities offered by conventional medicine, so it’s certainly worth trying this natural product. People often use CBD products to alleviate the following:
Research into CBD’s effects on anxiety shows a positive association. Animal studies indicate that it could be helpful at not just reducing overall stress but also decreasing anxiety’s physiological effects, aiding with sleep, and reducing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Human clinical trials have also shown CBD to be effective at reducing social anxiety.
CBD may help to alleviate anxiety by changing the way the brain responds to serotonin. As with CB receptors, the brain has serotonin receptors that help to control how cells respond to stimuli. In this case, balanced serotonin levels are thought to contribute to lower stress and improved mental health, and CBD may help to achieve balance with far fewer side effects than prescription anti-anxiety medications.
One of the earliest therapeutic benefits of CBD introduced to the general public was its effectiveness as a possible treatment for epilepsy and other seizure disorders. The evidence for CBD’s effectiveness at treating seizures is so convincing that the FDA has approved one CBD-based drug for treating seizure disorders in children.
The same benefits can be derived from other CBD products. However, it’s important for consumers to find products that are all-natural and safe. Because the FDA does not regulate other CBD products, it’s up to consumers to find brands that use certified-organic products and guarantee a non-toxic extraction process.
CBD oil may also have a positive effect on the brain’s processing of pain, which is good news for those who don’t want to resort to daily opioid use to manage chronic pain disorders. There is at least some scientific evidence to support the use of either CBD alone or CBD in conjunction with THC to treat many common chronic pain conditions, including:
Spinal cord injuries
In some cases, as with cancer patients, doctors generally recommend using products that contain both CBD and its better-known, psychoactive cousin THC. The theory is that they work better in concert with each other than they do alone thanks to what’s known as the entourage effect. However, for those who live in places that have not legalized medical marijuana or who don’t want to risk using products that could have mind-altering effects, CBD alone could still provide many positive effects.
CBD’s effects on the immune system are believed to reduce overall inflammation throughout the body. This, in turn, can help reduce skin inflammation, a contributing factor for acne. The current pharmaceutical drugs designed to treat acne almost always come with problematic side effects, while natural CBD oil and topical creams do not.
So far, the research into orally and topically administered CBD products for acne is limited. However, one study did show that CBD oil prevents activity in the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing sebum. Sebum helps to keep the skin hydrated, but if it’s overproduced, it often leads to acne. Reducing levels of sebum production could thus be an effective preventative measure against acne.
Where to Buy All-Natural CBD
Because the FDA doesn’t regulate herbal supplements, there’s no guarantee that the CBD found on the shelves of grocery stores or even supposed natural medicine stores is pure. The only way for consumers to know that they are purchasing all-natural CBD free from solvents and other additives is to do their research first. Buying CBD online from a reputable vendor that exercises transparency about its extraction and refinement processes is the best option both in terms of purity guarantees and finding the most competitive prices.