People use cannabidiol as a treatment for a variety of ailments, but there has been some confusion about CBD and how it affects the body.
Medical research projects funded by the federal government and also the private sector have found a lot of evidence to support the use of CBD as a legitimate treatment for things like anxiety, pain, sleep disorders, and drug addiction.But because a lot of people don’t know about cannabidiol, let’s explain what it is, its health benefits, and how it works.
What is CBD?
For those unfamiliar with hemp products, CBD is not marijuana. It does not contain any psychoactive ingredient, so it won’t make you high. The two main active ingredients in marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and these two compounds are very different. THC is psychoactive and causes mind-altering effects when smoked or used in food. CBD, on the other hand, does not affect the mind, but research shows that it has medicinal effects.
Where does CBD come from?
The hemp plant is one of the many types of cannabis plants (cannabis sativa) and it contains cannabidiol in high amounts. Hemp is not very popular with marijuana cultivators because it contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive. It is, however, the best source of pure CBD.
How CBD works
Pretty much all cannabinoids work by attaching themselves to specific brain receptors. The human body naturally produces its own cannabinoids known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are present in the brain and body, and CB1 receptors are located mainly in the brain. These receptors affect movement and coordination, emotions, pain, thinking, mood, memories, appetite, etc. THC attaches itself to CB1 receptors to cause a feeling of euphoria or “high”.
CB2 receptors are associated with the immune system, and it was believed that CBD attaches onto CB2 receptors to reduce pain and inflammation. However, more recent studies suggest that CBD causes the body to use more of its own cannabinoids, rather than attach itself onto a specific receptor.
Key health benefits of CBD
Pain relief is one of the most common effects of CBD. According to a number of studies published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, CBD causes pain relief without any adverse side effects to patients. This allows people with different forms of pain to use it without worrying about side effects.
Most people use CBD to treat physiological symptoms but there’s a growing body of evidence that points to cannabidiol as a viable treatment for a range of mental health issues, including anxiety. One study by the University of São Paulo recorded lower levels of social anxiety and attributed the effect to CBD and its activity in the paralimbic and limbic brain areas.
CBD and several other compounds found in cannabis plants have an anti-tumor effect on the body and are known to kill cancer cells particularly in patients with leukemia and colon cancer. Keep in mind that most of these cancer studies are in the early stages and more tests need to be done on humans before we can offer conclusive proof that CBD can cure cancer.
Lowers risk of diabetes
This is not a commonly discussed health benefit of CBD but there is some proof to suggest that regular use will reduce the risk of acquiring the most common form of diabetes. The medical journal Neuropharmacology published a study that explored how CBD could prevent the development of diabetes. In the study, about 32 percent of mice developed diabetes after receiving CBD, and those that didn’t receive CBD developed diabetes at the rate of 100 percent.
In closing, we’re yet to understand the full medical benefits of CBD, but what exists today is unrefutable evidence that it can be used safely to treat some of the most common medical conditions today. Talk to your doctor about using CBD safely.
(Rights of the text go to 420intel.com. Image is from shutterstock)