I love remedies that have many uses, and cannabidiol oil (or CBD or hemp oil) is gaining popularity for this reason. This oil extracted from the hemp plant has come under a lot of legal and moral questions. Opinions may differ but what can’t be ignored is the incredible healing power CBD oil seems to possess and how versatile it is as a supplement and natural remedy.
CBD HEMP OIL: WHAT IS IT & WHAT DOES IT DO?
CBD oil claims many benefits that seem to include every imaginable ailment. It’s a good idea to look a little deeper whenever something seems to be a cure-all… so I dug in.
The medical use of marijuana has brought some attention to the subject of using cannabis-derived products for health, but it’s important to understand how CBD oil differs. We’ll get into this more in a bit, but the key difference lies in the parts of the plant being used to make the product. For example, CBD oil is also different from hemp seed oil, since it is extracted not from the seed but from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of hemp.
Surprisingly, research shows that CBD products are actually helpful at reducing many ailments. Such diverse ailments that they seem to be unrelated, in fact… but they are not. Emerging research shows that each of these ailments may be related to dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short.
Haven’t heard of it? You’re not alone! It’s not as familiar to us as the cardiovascular or immune system, but is a critical component of the human body.
UNDERSTANDING THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The endocannabinoid system is possibly one of the most fascinating systems in the body. It was discovered through researching the effects of cannabis on the body. In fact, this amazing system that regulates the body’s internal balance got its name from the cannabis plant that made its discovery possible.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of endocannabinoids and their receptors. These are found everywhere in the body from the brain and other organs to glands and immune cells. The endocannabinoid system works differently in different parts of the body but the end goal is homeostasis (internal balance).
Ever heard of a “runner’s high”? Research reported in the Scientific American found endocannabinoids are largely responsible for this natural “hit” of euphoria that increases feelings of well-being and decreases the perception of pain.
Cannabidiol (CBD oil) is another way to affect this powerful body system … but am I really saying “getting high” is a good thing?
It turns out there’s a very important distinction still to be made …
DOES CBD OIL CREATE A HIGH?
The short answer is: No. (Though oils with THC can also contain CBD).
There are two different types of CBD oil products — hemp-based CBD oil (the one I’m talking about in this article) and marijuana-based CBD (which is what someone would buy at the dispensary). Both contain CBD, and they’re both derived from the cannabis plant, but hemp and medical marijuana are are different varieties of the plant.
Marijuana-based CBD is generally going to have more THC and other cannabinoids. CBD oil does not contain THC (the compound that causes a “high” feeling). This is an important distinction that many people don’t understand.
The variety that is typically (and legally) used to make CBD oil is hemp. How is hemp oil different? A plant can only be legally considered hemp if it contains .3% per dry unit (or less) of the compound THC.
In a nutshell, CBD oil or hemp oil contains the benefits of the cannabis plant without the potential drawbacks of psychoactive compounds typically found from inhalation or other methods of consumption.
CANNABIDIOL (CBD) BENEFITS & USES FOR PAIN, INFLAMMATION, EPILEPSY & MORE
CBD oil is a great remedy for a lot of different ailments. Here are some of the amazing uses people (and medical research) report for CBD oil:
1. RELIEF FOR CHRONIC PAIN
Those suffering from chronic pain from diseases like fibromyalgia are finding relief with CBD. Taking CBD can offer pain relief and can even prevent nervous system degeneration. In fact, it has been approved in Canada for multiple sclerosis and cancer pain.
What’s really amazing is that CBD doesn’t cause dependence or tolerance, so it’s a great choice for those trying to stay away from opioids.
Other Remedies to Consider: Not into CBD? Research also shows that turmeric consumption and heat therapy (like sauna use) may be helpful as well. A low inflammation diet also seems to be helpful for some people.
2. Calms Childhood Epilepsy
CBD has anti-seizure properties that have been shown to successfully treat drug-resistant children who have neurological disorders like epilepsy (with no side effects!). In one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, CBD decreased frequency of seizures by 23 percentage points more than those taking a placebo.
While I much prefer a natural remedy as a first course of action, but even the Food and Drug Administration seems to agree that cannabis-derived drugs may have something to offer. In April 2018 FDA advisers cleared the very first cannabis-derived drug for approval, one that promises to help control seizures.
Other Remedies to Consider: Childhood epilepsy is a serious condition and it is important to work with a qualified practitioner with a specialty in this area. Emerging research also shows that a ketogenic diet can be very helpful for drug resistant epilepsy, especially in children.
3. REDUCES ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression affects 6% and anxiety affects 18% of the U.S. population each year. Research shows that CBD oil can help with both.
CBD has been shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety in those suffering from conditions such as PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. CBD even reduced the stress and discomfort surrounding public speaking.
Though a B12 deficiency may also be to blame, CBD has been shown to reduce depression by enhancing both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signaling (both are lacking in those with depression).
Other Remedies to Consider: Dr Kelly Brogan provides a lot of helpful information for anxiety and depression in this podcast episode. Vitamin B12 is also linked to mental health and it may be helpful to work with someone experienced in optimizing levels of B12.
4. FIGHTS MULTI-DRUG RESISTANT BACTERIA
Researchers discovered that cannabinoids (including CBD) have an unusual ability to destroy bacteria (especially drug-resistant strains). More research is needed to find out how and why it works.
A 2011 study found that CBD can also slow the progression of tuberculosis in rats. Researchers concluded that CBD likely does this by inhibiting T-cell proliferation, rather than possessing antibacterial properties.
Whatever the mechanism is for destroying bacteria, CBD seems to be a potent weapon against the antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that are becoming more and more of a problem today.
Other Remedies to Consider: Don’t want to try cannabidiol? There is also research on using garlic, honey and oregano oil for drug resistant strains, but work with a practitioner experienced in infectious disease.
5. REDUCES INFLAMMATION
Chronic inflammation is a huge problem in our society that contributes to many non-infectious diseases including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disease, and more, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Diet and lifestyle play a huge part in chronic inflammation but when folks are already eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and optimizing their lifestyle (getting enough sleep and exercise for example), CBD oil can help. Research also shows that CBD oil can reduce chronic inflammation that leads to disease.
Other Remedies to Consider: Research agrees that it is important to address gut health to manage inflammation. Removing refined sugar from the diet has also been shown to reduce inflammation in as little as a week.
6. REDUCES OXIDATIVE STRESS
Oxidative stress is responsible for many ailments today. Oxidative stress is when the body has too many free radicals and can’t keep up with neutralizing them (with antioxidants). This is more of a problem now than in the past because our environment is so much more toxic than it once was. A 2010 study shows that CBD oil acts as an antioxidant and another study found CBD has neuroprotective qualities. So CBD can reduce neurological damage caused by free radicals.
7. HELP FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA
Schizophrenia is a complicated and serious disease that is typically managed through therapy and pharmaceutical drugs (that carry hefty side effects). Anecdotally, many folks have found that CBD oil has helped reduce hallucinations. Research is beginning to catch up too. A March 2015 review of available research found that CBD was a safe, effective, and well tolerated treatment for psychosis. But more research is needed to bring CBD into clinical practice.
It should be mentioned that THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, may actually increase psychosis for those at risk. CBD oil, on the other hand, only helps reduce psychosis and may even counteract psychosis brought on by marijuana use.
8. PROMOTES HEALTHY WEIGHT
Cannabidiol can help maintain healthy blood sugar, stimulates genes and proteins that helps break down fat, and increase mitochondria that helps burn calories.
CBD also encourages the body to convert white fat to brown fat. White fat is the kind of fat we typically think of when we think about body fat. Brown fat is fat that is in small deposits that behaves differently than white fat. Brown fat is said to improve health by enhancing the bodies ability to burn white fat, create heat, and even regulate blood sugar.
9. IMPROVES HEART HEALTH
Heart disease is a growing problem today. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the U.S. A healthy diet and lifestyle is a top priority for heart health, but CBD oil can also help. According to research cannabidiol reduces artery blockage, reduces stress induced cardiovascular response, and can reduce blood pressure. It may also reduce cholesterol.
As mentioned earlier, CBD oil is helpful in preventing oxidative stress and inflammation. Both of these are often precursors to heart disease.
10. IMPROVES SKIN CONDITIONS
CBD oil can be used topically to treat skin conditions. Studies show CBD oil has a high potential for treating skin conditions like eczema by encouraging abnormal cell death. It can also help regulate the skin’s oil production, reducing acne. CBD also contains many nutrients like vitamin E that help improve and protect the skin.
Other Remedies to Consider: Diet is vitally important for skin health. Many people find that removing foods like sugar, dairy or grains (if sensitive) improves skin. I also personally use a skin probiotic spray that has made a huge difference for my acne prone skin.
11. FIGHTS CANCER
CBD oil’s role in cancer treatment still needs more research, but what is available is looking promising. According to the American Cancer Society, CBD oil can slow growth and spread of some kinds of cancer (in animals). Because it fights oxidative stress and inflammation (and both are linked to cancer) it makes sense that CBD oil could help fight cancer cells.
Read the entire story here.