CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the hundreds of active compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not have any powerful mind-altering properties. This makes CBD the perfect solution for those who want the pain and anxiety-relieving benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects.
What Does CBD Do?
Your brain is equipped with a wide variety of chemical receptors. One class of these receptors is called cannabidiol type 1 (CB1). Compounds in cannabis interact with these receptors in diverse ways.
THC, the chemical chiefly responsible for "high2 experienced by cannabis users, activates CB1 receptors and produces a psychoactive effect. By contrast, CBD is what's called a CB1 antagonist. It doesn't activate the receptors but blocks them instead. Thus, CBD does not produce the psychoactive effect associated with THC.
Benefits of CBD
What are the benefits of CBD? There are many positive effects associated with CBD. While more research is needed to understand its effects fully, the World Health Organization has deemed CBD safe to use in most cases.
According to studies, CBD can have benefits for people suffering from many different conditions. It's frequently used as a way of tackling stress and anxiety, offering relief from symptoms without the distressing side-effects that come with some conventional anxiety treatments.
CBD has been used successfully to reduce symptoms in people with clinical depression. It seems to help stabilize moods and reduces problems like low energy, confusion, and despair in people with depressive illnesses.
CBD can also be useful for people suffering from conditions that bring chronic pain. It seems to be especially useful for situations that involve inflammation. While research into CBD use for these conditions is still limited, anecdotal reports are mostly positive. People with arthritis, joint injuries, multiple sclerosis, and autoimmune disorders have all reported a reduction in pain and distress through taking CBD.
One area of research that's borne fruit in recent years is the use of CBD to treat some cases of epilepsy. The drugs used to control seizures are very strong and have unpleasant side-effects. In certain types of epilepsy, they may also be ineffective in fully controlling seizures. In 2018, the drug Epidolex was approved for treating some cases of epilepsy by the Food and Drug Administration. Epidolex is based on CBD and is the first treatment of its kind.
Another mental health issue that may respond to CBD is schizophrenia. CBD seems to reduce
symptoms and distress for people who suffer from this particular form of mental illness. Conventional treatments for schizophrenia come with serious side-effects, making compliance difficult for many patients. CBD, on the other hand, has much fewer adverse secondary effects. As with many conditions, more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of CBD in this instance. Initial studies do seem to indicate that CBD might be a solution. CBD can also reduce the severe side-effects experienced by many patients, making it easier for them to stick with treatment programs that could otherwise prove challenging.
Scientific investigation into CBD is still somewhat lacking in many areas, but ongoing research helps healthcare professionals gain a deeper understanding of its effects. It's hoped that many new treatments may emerge from the field of CBD research in the future.
Side-Effects of CBD
As with any effective treatment, CBD can have some negative effects. These are usually only experienced when a person is taking CBD in larger doses. It's also imperative to understand that CBD can potentially interact with other medications. If you're currently taking any medicines, you should talk to a healthcare professional before trying CBD.
Common side-effects include:
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Dry mouth
- Mild nausea
Typically, these are only experienced by those taking CBD at high concentrations. Some people are more sensitive to CBD effects, so it's important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it.
CBD is commonly taken orally as an oil. You can also find plenty of edibles that make it easier to take CBD, particularly if you're looking for a low dose. Gummies are popular, as is CBD-infused chocolate. Drinks and infusions containing CBD are also a good option.
For pain, you can get topical CBD preparations such as creams, lotions, and massage oils. These can be an excellent option for those who find undesirable secondary effects when taking CBD orally.
When choosing a CBD product, it's important to look for quality items that display the specific CBD percentage they contain. Cheaper products often contain little CBD and aren't very useful. It's worth spending a little more to get a product that delivers the relief you need.
CBD is generally a very safe and effective remedy for many conditions. Before starting any
supplement or alternative treatment, it's a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor or another healthcare professional.