CBD Oil: Uses, Health Benefits and Risks You Need to Know
Chances are most of you may not have heard of CBD, an acronym for cannabidiol. If you have, do you know from where this oil is obtained and why its use is embroiled in controversy?
What is CBD?
CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa,from which marijuana, a powerful recreational drug, is also extracted. This is what makes the use of this oil seemingly risky.However, it has proved to be an important oil for therapeutic uses. In fact, in June 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a purified form of CBD oil,called Epidiolex,for prescription use in treating two types of epilepsy.
CBD vs. marijuana
The big question: Is CBD marijuana? The most active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. In addition, marijuana also contains CBD. The two compounds have different effects on humans.
Whereas, THC gives a mind-altering ‘high’, when marijuana is smoked or used in cooking, CBD is non-psychoactive and, hence, not mind-altering. But, CBD does produce significant changes in the body, which have medical benefits.
Why CBD is non-psychoactive is probably because it is derived from the least processed product of cannabis, that is, hemp. This makes it useful for medicinal purposes.
How CBD works
CBD is one of the 104 cannabinoids that attaches to certain receptors in the body to produce effects. These receptors are named as CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. Although CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, a few are concentrated in the brain.
CB1 receptors in the brain are responsible for emotions, pain, coordination and movement, mood, appetite, memories and thinking, and certain other functions. CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system, where they affect pain and inflammation.
Latest research has shown that unlike THC which attaches to CB1 receptors, CBD doesn’t directly attach to either of the receptors. Since the body contains its own cannabinoids, CBD directs the body to use these. The one question you should ask before going in for this oil is, “Is CBD legal in my state?”
Health benefits of CBD oil
CBD is not psychoactive and is a popular natural remedy for a host of common ailments. This oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and then diluted with a carrier oil, such as hemp oil or coconut oil.
Let’s see the health benefits of CBD oil:
#1 Reduces acne
It is no secret that almost nine percent of the population is afflicted with acne, a common skin condition. The reason may vary from genetics to overproduction of an oily secretion, called sebum,to bacterial infection to an underlying skin inflammation. The anti-inflammatory property of CBD not only reduces sebum production, but also prevents activation of cytokines, the acne-inducing inflammatory agents.
#2 Relieves pain
Although marijuana was in use since 2900 BC for alleviating pain, it has only recently been discovered that the pain-reliving component of marijuana is CBD. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body, that is known to regulate numerous functions in the body, such as inducing sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response, also produces neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. Using this oil impacts upon these receptors and interacts with neurotransmitters, reducing pain and inflammation.
#3 Reduces anxiety and depression
If World Health Organization’s studies are anything to go by, depression is the single largest cause of disability and anxiety, the sixth largest in the world. Whereas, allopathic drugs for these ailments have severe side effects, CBD oil is shown to be safer, since it is a natural approach.
#4 Protects against neurological disorders
The ability of CBS oil to act on the body’s ECS and other brain signaling systems, saves the brain from neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. The oil is also effective in reducing seizures in children afflicted with Dravet Syndrome, a kind of epilepsy. However, using CBS oil for this purpose has its side effects too, such as fever, diarrhea and convulsions.
#5 Maintains heart health
CBD oil displays several benefits for the heart and circulatory system. It is effective in lowering high blood pressure, thus preventing adverse health conditions associated with it, such as metabolic syndrome, stroke and heart attack. This is due to the stress and anxiety-reducing properties of this oil.
#6 Alleviates side effects of cancer treatment
CBD oil has been found to counter the side effects, such as nausea, vomiting and pain, associated with cancer treatment, including chemotherapy. Some studies also indicate that CBD may have anti-cancer properties, wherein it is able to kill off cancer cells.
CBD oil has also been found effective against conditions, such as schizophrenia, diabetes, tumor prevention and others.
The close association of CBD with marijuana makes its use illegal in many states of the US. However, its great medical benefits without any apparent side effects makes it an effective remedy for a number of ailments.