CBD – Cannabidiol

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In this article, we have collected information about cannabidiol, its health advantages, side effects, usage, and other valuable details about this chemical.

CBD – Definition

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical and it can be found in the Cannabis sativa plant. In a study by Corroon J and Phillips JA under the title A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Usersit is mentioned that CBD is used as a medicine for medical conditions such as sleep disorders, anxiety, pain, and depression.

Cannabidiol is derived from hemp. Hemp, also known under the name industrial hemp, is a plant of the family Cannabaceae produced for its edible seeds. In case CDB has THC content between 0% and 0.3%, then it is considered legal in all fifty states of America. 

CBD – Benefits

CBD BENEFIT – PAIN REDUCTION

It is confirmed that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity. In a study by Marija Darkovska-Serafimovska et al. under the title “Pharmacotherapeutic considerations for use of cannabinoids to relieve pain in patients with malignant diseasesit is noted that CDB helps with reducing inflammation. Gathered data from various studies lead to the conclusion that CBD may be effective in reducing pain associated with conditions like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

CBD BENEFIT –MOOD IMPROVMENT

Usage of this chemical has shown positive effects when it comes to mental health issues treatment. According to a study by Claire Cartwright et al. under the title Long-term antidepressant use: patient perspectives of benefits and adverse effects it has been concluded that medical conditions such as anxiety and depression are often treated with pharmaceutical drugs. This traditional approach can cause several side effects such as insomnia, headache, and sexual dysfunction. Usage of cannabidiol can be described as a more natural approach to treating mental conditions due to its ability to increases the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates social behavior and mood. 

CBD BENEFIT –CHEMOTHERAPY SYMPTOMS REDUCTION

cbd oil with plant and seedsCBD may support the reduction of symptoms associated with cancer and side effects related to cancer therapy, like pain. In a study by Brigitte Bloechl-Daum et al. under the title Delayed nausea and vomiting continue to reduce patients’ quality of life after highly and moderately emetogenic chemotherapy despite antiemetic treatment it is noted that CBD may also help decrease chemotherapy-caused vomiting and nausea.

CBD BENEFIT –SKIN HELTH BENEFITS

Studies have shown that CDB can control the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands. This chemical is also known for its anti-inflammatory qualities which lead to the conclusion that CDB might have a beneficial effect when it comes to skin health, especially with treating medical conditions like acne. 

CBD BENEFIT –HIGH NEUROPROTECTIVE PROPERTIES

CBD can reduce symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy. In a study by M H N Chagas et al. under the title Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviors associated with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series it is noted that CBD is responsible for increasing the quality of sleep for Parkinson’s disease patients.

CBD BENEFIT – CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH IMPROVEMENT

Cannabidiol may improve cardiovascular health in several ways. It has been noted that this chemical plays an important role in lowering blood pressure and preventing heart damage. Researchers have indicated that the stress- and anxiety-reducing effects of CBD are responsible for its capacity to help lower blood pressure.

CBD RISKS

A study by Fischer B, et al. under the title Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: A Comprehensive Update of Evidence and Recommendations marked off several side effects due to CDB consumption, such as:

  • tiredness
  • reduced appetite
  • diarrhea

This is the reason why scientists advise that consulting a doctor is necessary if you plan to include and combine CDB with already existing therapy.

IS CBD LEGAL?

CBD is legal in each of the 50 states of America, yet one should remember under what kind of conditions.

If CBD is from Hemp and its THC content is less than 0.3%, you may consider it legal in all 50 states of America. CBD derived products with a THC content of more than 0.3% are supposed to be in the same class as marijuana and are considered illegal.

How Does CBD Affect Your Body?

Using CBD can have numerous beneficial effects on your body and unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. It’s because of this quality that CBD is considered a good alternative for those who are looking to relieve pain and fix other problems without actually getting “high”.

CBD has gained a lot of popularity in the health world in the last couple of years. This is mostly due to the scientific evidence that confirms it can help relieve symptoms of ailments such as anxiety and chronic pain.

In the next few paragraphs, we are going to summarize a few scientific studies to show you exactly what effects CBD has on your body, what is the evidence for it, and how powerful these effects can be.

Can CBD Help With Seizure Frequency?

Seizures are essentially surges of electrical activity in the brain that occur unexpectedly. Seizures are caused by underlying conditions such as epilepsy.

CBD has been proven efficient in helping to reduce seizures in different cases. But it is important to remember that cannabis research takes time. Although there is evidence that suggests CBD can help control seizures, scientists haven’t significantly expanded this research due to the strict government regulations around cannabis.

A lot of scientists believe that CBD could be especially beneficial for two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome. These two forms usually appear in early childhood years, resist treatment, and can cause severe seizures in some cases.

FDA-approved CBD isolate Epidolex is prescribed by some doctors to treat the seizures that are caused by these two forms of epilepsy.

Epidiolex contains about 98% purified CBD. Due to this fact, it’s considered to have a greater effect than other forms of CBD isolates. Before taking this CBD isolate, be sure to consult with your doctor.

CBD oil with plantCan CBD Help With Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that can have disastrous impacts on your health and overall well-being. Anxiety is usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause a number of side effects like drowsiness, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, or headaches. Also, some medications can be quite addictive and lead people to substance abuse.

CBD oil has had positive results in treating both depression and anxiety, leading many who suffer from these illnesses to try out this alternative medicine.
Although no long term anxiety trial currently exists, one Brazilian study had 57 men receive either oral CBD or a placebo one hour before they had a simulated public speaking test.

The researchers concluded that a 300-mg dose of CBD was the most effective at reducing anxiety during this test.
Some sources reveal that CBD oil has even been used to efficiently treat anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Can CBD Help Relieve Pain?

In the last few years, scientists have discovered that certain components of marijuana, including CBD, can significantly help in relieving pain.

Our body has a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating different functions such as sleep, pain, and immune system response.

Researchers have proven that CBD can be helpful in reducing chronic pain by impacting the endocannabinoid receptor activity. This causes reduced inflammation and interaction with neurotransmitters.

Multiple human studies have shown that a combination of CBD and THC is very efficient in treating pain caused by multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
Keep in mind that these studies are still in an early phase, with only one being randomized, and others are small and had short treatment durations.

Can CBD Help Reduce Symptoms of Schizophrenia?

Chronic marijuana use was believed to increase the risk of psychiatric problems for a long time. There’s even a name for this condition called cannabis-induced psychosis.
However, new studies have shown that a nonpsychoactive element found in cannabis seems to help reduce abnormal brain functions that are linked with psychosis, and include illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Although the knowledge of the brain mechanisms involved in diseases such as schizophrenia is still not huge, some experts suggest that the cannabinoid could potentially normalize the regions of the brain associated with schizophrenia.

CBD has proven to have kind of an opposite effect to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis since that substance is suspected of triggering psychosis in some cases.
Remember, the current trials didn’t study the impact on the development of schizophrenia, but the symptom reduction in those suffering from schizophrenia.

Can CBD Help With Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic illness that usually causes inflammation of the colon and rectum. Symptoms of this illness could be diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, and abdominal pain. It’s followed by periods of acute flares when people experience symptoms and periods of remission after these symptoms stop occurring.

The effects that cannabis and cannabis oil can have on ulcerative colitis are still a mystery. So far no conclusions can be drawn on the effectiveness and safety of CBD use in adults with active ulcerative colitis. There is still no evidence that suggests CBD could have a beneficial effect on this illness. Further studies with a bigger number of participants are needed to study the effects of cannabis on people with active and inactive ulcerative colitis.

If you do, however, want to test CBD on ulcerative colitis, don’t do so without consulting with your doctor first.

Can CBD Help With Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease, and it causes inflammation that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, most common being the small intestine. The symptoms usually include bloody diarrhea, fever, and rectal bleeding.

Although studies are still in trial when it comes to treating Crohn’s disease with CBD, there has been some progress. After two months of a trial, experts said the participants’ given cannabis oil experienced a significant improvement in their Crohn’s disease symptoms and quality of life.

Recent studies have shown that cannabis oil has a better safety profile and no serious side effects compared to the other medication commonly used for this disease.
Although CBD isn’t a cure for this disease, it may improve the quality of life for some people with Crohn’s disease.

The difference between CBD and THC

People who are just beginning to take CBD are usually worried whether or not it will cause them to be “high.” Taking advantage of the many CBD oil benefits is one of the main reasons people start using, and they don’t want to be feeling “out of it” after using it. Luckily, what we just mentioned is the exact reason why CBD is so popular. Great health benefits, without the psychoactive or intoxicating side effects that may occur with THC.

When you take a look at the elements of CBD and THC, there’s one difference that stands out, and that is the way that it alters your mind. However, this doesn’t mean that THC doesn’t have health benefits of its own. Both CBD and THC have potential health benefits for their users.

So if you are unsure whether to use CBD or THC, you should know the main differences between the two.

The Main Differences

CBD and THC are both compounds that originate from the ancient plant Cannabis sativa and are commonly found in cannabis oil. THC is known for the intoxicating effects that it produces, while CBD is the major non-intoxicating component.

Chemical Structure

The chemical structure of these two compounds is essentially the same. Both contain 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The main difference in structure is the single atom arrangement. An atom is a considerably tiny particle and even the smallest difference in chemical structure makes a big impact when it comes to the effects of these compounds.

Psychoactive Effects

Psychoactive effects are the biggest difference between these two. Using THC can lead to “unwanted” psychoactive effects that get you high while CBD is known for its non-intoxicating effects. Although THC provides the most psychoactive effect among all cannabinoids, studies show that CBD has certain effects against some negative psychological reactions that THC causes.

CBD is sometimes referred to as a “non-psychoactive,” but this is a misstatement. CBD is also psychoactive. This means that by definition a psychoactive compound affects the mind and behavior. It also means that it can affect brain function and outlook, perception, cognition, and behavior in a certain way.

CBD also affects the central nervous system, both directly and indirectly. Therefore, CBD is psychoactive, which is also the main reason for its benefits. In fact, all cannabinoids are psychoactive but operate in different ways.

CBD and THC are both psychoactive because of the mind-altering effects, but the way they make you feel is very different. CBD is non-intoxicating, unlike THC. THC use can alter your senses and open up your appetite. You could experience feeling out of control, depending on your body’s answer to the cannabinoid. CBD generally doesn’t make you feel noticeable changes, which is the reason more people turn to it for the benefits.

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System

When the beneficial effects of cannabis, specifically those of THC, were started to get studied, a biochemical communication system in the body was discovered. Now it’s known as the endocannabinoid system.

Although not much is known about this system, it’s already believed to represent one of the most important physiological systems that maintain our health. It contributes to maintaining homeostasis and making sure that the body has a stable and well-functioning internal environment.

The system consists of endocannabinoid receptors that respond to cannabinoid compounds the body makes on its own, but also those in cannabis plant species. These receptors are located in the brain and body. CBD and THC are cannabinoids that have been studied the most for their effects on the endocannabinoid system.

Scientists recognize two major types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, while additional receptors for cannabinoids are also being explored. Receptors respond to stimuli such as chemical messengers. CB1 receptors are in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are located in our immune cells. Some experts claim that more than half of all the receptors in our brain are actually cannabinoid receptors.

Neurotransmitters, usually called “endogenous cannabinoids” or chemical messengers bind to the cannabinoid receptors. But compounds found in cannabis also bind to cannabinoid receptors, producing a similar effect found within the human body. Cannabis compounds force the receptors to react and produce a specific effect that benefits many body parts and bodily processes.

It is known that THC works as a chemical messenger, but the role of CBD is still not fully explored. CBD affects the central nervous system, and it adjusts several non-cannabinoid receptors and TRPV1.

If the endocannabinoid system becomes underactive or overactive our body will begin to become imbalanced. This is known as the “endocannabinoid system dysfunction,” and it could lead to an overall imbalance.
Similar to other body systems, the endocannabinoid system dysfunction can also be due to dietary choices, lifestyle decisions, and other issues.

How Do CBD and THC Compare

CBD and THC are alike in many ways. However, a lot of people opt for CBD and avoid THC because they want to avoid feeling any intoxicating effects. This downside of THC is the reason why CBD is gaining popularity among consumers who want to experience the benefits of cannabinoids without feeling high.
Although more research is needed, CBD is considered to have a better safety profile than other cannabinoids, including THC. Humans and animals also seem to tolerate higher doses very well.

Are THC-Free CBD Products Safer?

THC-free CBD products are usually considered safer than those containing CBD with trace amounts of THC. However, as research expands we have found that these two compounds actually have what’s called “complementary effects”. This means that when they are combined, it can compound their effects.

The benefits of THC are often ignored because of the compound’s intoxicating effects. This, combined with the misstatement of CBD as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, makes people believe that THC is somewhat controversial.

Nonetheless, when small amounts of THC are used in CBD products, the benefits are greater.
 Experts suggest that CBD isolates with no THC may not be as effective as full-spectrum products that contain high amounts of CBD and small amounts of THC. These trace amounts of THC will not leave you feeling “high” or intoxicated, but the combination with CBD and other cannabinoid compounds in the product will lead to enhanced beneficial effects.

The Bottom Line

For about a decade so far, CBD oil has been studied and is believed to have a role in easing symptoms of many common health issues, such as anxiety, seizures, stress, or other chronic illnesses.

Even though there is still a lot to learn about the efficacy and safety of CBD, results from recent studies suggest that CBD could have a role in being a safe, powerful natural treatment for a number of illnesses.

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Allison King
Allison holds a PhD in Biology specializing in cell and molecular biology and undergraduate degree in biochemistry with a minor in theoretical physics. She has taught at four universities in Eastern Canada and currently consults masters and doctoral students. She believes that peer-reviewed scientific research is the best source when looking for information on a given subject. Allison also lives a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and enjoys competing in various races including half marathons and triathlons.