CBD comes in a number of product forms, such as capsules, edibles, balms, vaporizers, and others. It has become the most popular cannabis product in the wellness industry in recent years. CBD has also been proven to be effective against certain forms of childhood epilepsy. Epidiolex, the world’s first cannabis-based medicine, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 25, 2018 as a treatment against this debilitating condition.
CBD has also shown potential as a treatment for several medical conditions, but more clinical trials are still needed before medical professionals reach a more emphatic consensus. Be that as it may, the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 declared CBD as safe not only for humans, but for animals, too.
An Overview Of CBD And Its Growth In Popularity
CBD is among the more than a hundred chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. These compounds are also known as cannabinoids, the most popular being CBD and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is psychoactive, meaning it can make people high. CBD, however, has no psychoactive effects, so it can’t alter your mental state.
Preliminary research about the efficacy of CBD has been promising, and this, probably, contributed to the surge in its popularity. Also, the Farm Bill of 2018, which legalized hemp, helped opened the floodgates for the plethora of CBD products available in the market today. You can buy CBD products from practically anywhere in the US. Some brick-and-mortar shops have even opened their own online CBD store to serve their customers better.
A variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, hemp is CBD’s primary source. This is because hemp has a higher CBD content compared to the marijuana plant. People have also used hemp for hundreds of years as a source for materials used in making sails, ropes, clothes, and even as a source of food. Industrial hemp has long been cultivated in America, but it was made illegal under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970—until the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill may have made hemp cultivation legal, but the plant is still regulated. Hemp, for example, shouldn’t contain more than 0.3% of THC. The hemp legalization, however, resulted in the proliferation of CBD companies making all sorts of products. In a way, this is good—people have plenty of products to choose from. On the other hand, some companies, unfortunately, are taking advantage of this popularity to market fake CBD products.
Surprising Benefits of CBD
We look at four medical conditions where CBD may be, or, has already proven to be, beneficial.
1. May Relieve Pain
CBD has shown promise for treating chronic pain in preliminary studies and is considered a viable candidate as a pain medication. Sativex, a drug approved in Canada in 2005, is used to treat pain caused by multiple sclerosis. It’s an oromucosal, meaning it’s administered into the mouth’s mucous lining, where the drug is absorbed.
Canada also approved the drug in 2007 as a treatment for cancer pain that’s become unresponsive to other pain medications. Sativex contains both THC and CBD.
The science is still evolving, but research has shown that CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), discovered in the late 80s.
ECS is responsible for your body’s many vital aspects, like sleep, emotional processing, memory, learning, temperature controls, appetite, immune responses, and pain control. Scientists found that the body has receptors for cannabinoids, and they surmised that the body must naturally produce its own cannabinoids. The scientists, it turned out, were correct; they called these receptors ‘endocannabinoids.’
These cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, and, so, they called it the ‘endocannabinoid system.’ CBD and other cannabinoids work by interacting with these receptors. Its pain-management effects, among others, are exerted through the body’s endocannabinoid system.
2. May Lessen Complications From Diabetes
Tests conducted on human cells showed that CBD helps lessen the effects of high levels of glucose. A high glucose level usually precedes diabetes’s advance. With these results, researchers say CBD could be used to treat diabetic patients to help reduce the disease’s complications, such as neuroinflammation and memory deficits.
CBD has also been shown to decrease levels of resistin, a protein that can cause insulin resistance. It can also increase the production of hormones responsible for the efficient release of insulin that comes from digested food. This means that CBD could help the body control the levels of insulin-related hormones.
3. May Ease Symptoms Of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
ALS is also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after a famous baseball player who suffered from it. Dr. Stephen Hawking was also diagnosed with this condition when he was in his 20s. It’s a disease that impacts the brain’s nerve cells and causes the deterioration of the spinal cord.
Science has no answer yet as to how this condition occurs, other than it could be inherited. There’s also no way to treat this disease, as no cure has been found so far. Only two medications have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to treat its symptoms.
However, results in a study conducted in 2019 involving ALS patients being treated with a combination of CBD and THC have been encouraging. ALS patients were given a combined CBD and THC in different doses, depending on the patients’ requirements and preferences. The treatment’s overall outcome was positive, with patients reporting high satisfaction. The result indicates that THC and CBD may be a critical addition to the range of treatments used to lessen ALS’s debilitating symptoms, like spasticity.
Of course, more thorough studies are still needed. An in-depth comparison between CBD and other medications for treating spasticity and other ALS symptoms is also required.
4. May Improve Brain Health
A team of researchers from the University of London conducted a study in 2020 that showed that CBD helps to improve blood flow to the part of the brain that controls learning and memory, called the hippocampus. The study also found that the cannabinoid can increase blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for decision-making.
These findings, according to the team, could benefit people who suffer from conditions affecting memory, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Alzheimer’s disease. The team also found evidence that CBD may improve memory function, as well as help lessen symptoms of anxiety and psychosis.
Keep in mind that CBD doses may differ from one person to another, and if you decide to try it, make sure to purchase only from legitimate sellers. Additionally, consult your health professional first to ensure that it won’t interfere with whatever medicine you’re taking.