When it comes to botanicals and using nature to help us to deal with health issues, CBD is the buzz word at the moment. As the laws have changed recently around cannabis and hemp around the world, we are finally seeing mounting scientific research which is giving us more and more information about the potential of CBD for humans and animals.
The value of CBD centres around the endocannabinoid system – a system that was only recently discovered in the ’90s by scientists who were investigating the cannabis plant. The endocannabinoid system revolves around the interaction between cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids which are made naturally by the human body.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for keeping the body in a state of homeostasis – a state of regulation and balance, ensuring that other systems work at their optimum level and chemicals are balanced. However, when there is a deficiency in these endocannabinoids, health problems can occur.
What can CBD do?
CBD (or cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid which is found naturally in the hemp plant – a particular strain of cannabis. It impacts the cannabinoid receptors in a similar way to the endocannabinoids, meaning that it can help to replenish the cannabinoid deficiencies and help people who are suffering certain health problems, as well as enhancing your endocannabinoid system and boosting your general health and well-being.
Unlike some of the other cannabinoids in cannabis, CBD won’t make you high – although it can help your mood.
Due to the fact that it has only been discovered recently, and there have been legal issues in many places up until now, there is, of course, much investigation that still needs to be done. However, some cultures around the world have been using cannabis medicinally for thousands of years, and it is, actually, us who are having to play catch up.
Until then, however, we are seeing more and more scientific research coming out about the health benefits of CBD. Here are 8 proven benefits that researchers have already found:
1. CBD can help to reduce inflammation and relieve neuropathic pain
People have been using cannabis to relieve pain for centuries, and now scientists have a much better understanding of how and why this can happen. In a 2012 study by Xiong, Cui, Cheng, Yang, Chen, Willenbring, Guan, Pan, Ren, Xu & Zhang, it was found that CBD can suppress inflammation and neuropathic pain in rats. The theory that CBD can help to reduce pain is also backed up by a study in 2014 by McDonough, McKenna, McCreary & Downer, where it was discovered that the cannabinoid system has a strong impact on pain.
Using CBD for pain relief is an important step. As it stands, people who suffer from chronic pain are given medicines which are either opioids and can be addictive, or NSAIDs like Ibuprofen which can be extremely damaging to the body and even fatal if used in high amounts for a long time. This research shows that CBD shows promise for natural pain relief.
2. CBD can help to reduce anxiety
Anxiety is an increasingly common mental health problem in today’s society, and CBD has shown to be very effective in reducing it. It is what’s known as anxiolytic, meaning that it lowers anxiety as it can affect the serotonin levels in the brain. A study by Schier, Ribeiro, Silva, Hallak, Crippa, Nardi & Zuardi in 2012 found that CBD reduced anxiety in animals and people with social anxiety disorder.
Another study in 2011 looked at a group of people who were given either a placebo or CBD before a public speaking task. They found that those who took CBD showed signs of reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech.
3. CBD can help deal with Epilepsy
It is commonly accepted that CBD can be very helpful to some people who suffer from epilepsy, helping to reduce the number of seizures that some people suffer from. In fact, the epilepsy drug, Epidiolex which is made from medical marijuana, is now approved in many countries.
Research which was carried out in 2017 found that “there is now class 1 evidence that adjunctive use of CBD improves seizure control in patients with specific epilepsy syndromes”.
4. CBD can have antipsychotic effects
One of the other compounds in the cannabis plant is THC, and it is this which gives you the psychoactive ‘high’. CBD can actually lessen the effect of the high from THC and this effect can also happen naturally in the body.
A 2012 study by Zuardi, Crippa, Hallak, Bhattacharyya, Atakan, Martin-Santos, McGuire & Guimarães found CBD to have antipsychotic effects when they looked at animals and human volunteers.
5. CBD can help people with cancer
Research shows that CBD can help people who suffer from cancer in two ways. Firstly, it can help to relieve the symptoms of harsh cancer treatment like chemotherapy. CBD has effective anti-nausea and pain relief properties as well as helping with low mood. For example, a study carried out in 2014 by Sharkey, Darmani, & Parker shows how CBD can be very effective against nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Another way that scientists believe that CBD can help those suffering from cancer is that research carried out on animals show that it can inhibit the growth of tumour cells. A study by Paola Massi, Marta Solinas, Valentina Cinquina and Daniela Parolaro in 2013 looked into CBD as a potential anti-cancer drug, and concluded that CBD is a “potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread”.
6. CBD can help the cardiovascular system
The cardiovascular system comprises of the heart, lungs and blood vessels. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of CBD suggest that it can be useful to help the cardiovascular system. A 2017 study by Khalid A. Jadoon, Garry D. Tan, and Saoirse E. O’Sullivan found that CBD can be used to lower blood pressure, in a group of healthy men, for example.
7. CBD can help to reduce nausea and vomiting
As discussed above, CBD can be very helpful in reducing vomiting – whether it is as a result of medication, external influences or something else. Another study carried out in 1012 by Rock, Bolognini, Limebeer, Cascio, Anavi-Goffer, Fletcher, Mechoulam, Pertwee, & Parker found that CBD suppressed nausea-like effects.
8. CBD can help reduce the risk of Type 1 Diabetes
Scientists believe that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body essentially turns in and starts to attack itself. Research has shown that CBD can reduce the incidence of type 1 diabetes in normal mice by suppressing the body’s autoimmune response.
The study, carried out by Weiss, Zeira, Reich, Har-Noy, Mechoulam, Slavin & Gallily, showed that CBD can suppress “cell-mediated autoimmune joint destruction in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis”.
CBD’s impact on the body seems to be less about ‘curing’ and more about stimulating it to ‘help itself’. It is making medical researchers think about medicine in different ways, and this, along with the legal obstacles which have been in the way, means that we are still needing to gather evidence.
However, CBD is showing great potential for people who are suffering all over the world, as well as for people who just want to give their endocannabinoid system a lift. As awareness and popularity grow, we should be seeing people’s lives being improved dramatically and naturally by using CBD.