The Definitive Guide To CBD Benefits & Side Effects
The CBD oil craze is here to stay. It’s no wonder then that you’ve become curious about its implication in health. While medical marijuana remains a controversial issue, the benefits of CBD vary from pain and weight management to seizure and cancer treatment.
Cannabis oil has been used in medicine long before the 21st century. Yet once the war on drugs took marijuana out of the running, CBD faded into darkness. As hemp oil benefits are distinct from strains of marijuana that produce a high, extracted CBD is a different story. Fortunately, science is catching back up with research on its therapeutic value.
What are the benefits of CBD? How does it differ from marijuana? Find out all about the top 15 CBD benefits and how you can start taking it today.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in the cannabis plant. When extracted from hemp, it comes from a strain of cannabis sativa that legally has to contain less than 0.3% THC. Although marijuana and hemp are the same species of plant, they’re not the same thing. Marijuana does have health benefits as well, but still remains illegal and controversial in many states and around the world.
CBD oil can come from marijuana or hemp, but those derived from hemp are typically stronger in concentration of cannabidiol. Hemp oil benefits
What is CBD good for?
Similar to other holistic medical treatments, CBD is a plant-derived compound used to treat anxiety, gut health, epilepsy, and more. It’s basically a non-pharmaceutical medication. While the medical community is hesitant to prescribe it in lots of cases, research has confirmed its usage in the treatment of these top fifteen conditions
- Pain management
- Seizure treatment
- Pet medication
- Stress management
- Exercise recovery
- Sleep quality
- Nervous system health
- Alzheimer’s treatment
- Weight management
- Counteracting inflammation
- Skin and hair health
- Acne treatment
- Improve mood
- Cancer treatment
If you’re interested in a lengthy explanation on how CBD works, what exactly it acts on in the brain, and more of the science, check out this YouTube video. Otherwise, read on as we’ll break down how CBD benefits each of these conditions below.
CBD oil acts on receptors in the brain responsible for perception of pain, temperature, and inflammation. No wonder marijuana has been used to treat pain since ancient times. Modern science has helped illuminate why. It turns out the human body’s natural endocannabinoid system transmits pain-relieving effects, and adding external cannabidiol enhances that response.
Oral administration of cannabidiol to rats after surgical incision reduced their perception of pain intensity. Sufferers of chronic pain condition can benefit from CBD’s anti inflammatory properties. Humans with rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis got relief with a combination of CBD and THC through reduced pain and decrease in flare ups.
Research has shown CBD oil acts on CB1 receptors to control neurotransmitter release. These are a part of that endocannabinoid system that naturally exists in the body to regulate function. When humans experience anxiety, those neurotransmitters get released en masse. In theory, this is a good thing signalling danger when it exists. However, in the absence of real danger, chronic anxiety leaves us paralyzed.
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology looked at anxiety levels during public speaking. When CBD was administered prior to speaking, anxiety was significantly reduced. The effects were shown to be better than placebo and just as good as traditional pharmaceutical intervention for anxiety. In a time where addiction to pills is real, CBD might be a good alternative for some to treat anxiety.
Epileptic seizures result from errant firing of nerves in the brain, creating unpredictable electrical activity, erratic physical contractions, and impaired mental states. CBD oil has been shown to reduce overall seizure frequency in those with epilepsy. Especially in certain conditions, such as Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, the anticonvulsant properties of CBD have incredible promise.
Research suggests that the same interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors relieve the pain and convulsions associated with seizure. These neuroprotective qualities of CBD oil with the endocannabinoid system work as an antioxidant and neuron protector to keep things in the brain running smoothly. The protective measure of CBD administration induces antioxidants to decrease both intensity and frequency of of treatment in clinical trials.
When animals experience pain, they can’t exactly take the same pain medication as humans. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs can actually be toxic to animals, causing internal bleeding, vomiting, or in extreme cases, kidney failure. CBD, on the other hand, targets the same vanilloid receptor as NSAIDs without any of the negative side effects.
Hemp oil promotes homeostasis in animals, which can help mitigate growth of dangerous cancer cells, relieve pain, and help with nausea. Some of the best benefits of CBD for your pets, however, are its role in mood stabilization for anxiety and depression. If your fur baby suffers from separation anxiety or seems lower than normal, giving them CBD regularly can raise their happiness levels and calm anxiety.
As with any medical treatment for pets, consult with a medical professional before treatment. Ask your local vet about specific timing and dosage of CBD for any concerns.
Cannabis has long been a trope for relaxation. Images of the lazy stoner fill popular culture, but now research has shown it’s not just getting high that manages stress. Hemp oil’s role in neurotransmitter regulation help modulate chronic cortisol release. Even if you lead a stressful life, you need to be able to relax from time to time. Adding CBD to your health routine can help you relax at the end of long day and keep your lifestyle healthy.
The endocannabinoid system also works to regulate energy, inflammation, and appetite. Cannabidiol supplementation through CBD oil may therefore improve workout recovery. Exercise itself adds stress and inflammation that can be problematic with chronic.If you train multiple days in a row, ingesting CBD after a workout might help you repeat efforts.
With better exercise intensity and recovery, adaptations come quicker. Athletes are starting to recognize the benefits of CBD, and the World Anti-Doping Administration has even gone so far as to remove it from the banned substance list. More research is necessary to form definitive conclusions, but there’s definitely a lot of anecdotal and clinical evidence for CBD and exercise recovery.
In high enough doses, CBD helps sleep quality. By acting on the same receptors as caffeine, it produces the opposite effect to coffee. Instead of keeping you awake, it contributes to quicker sleep onset. Research has also shown promise with CBD oil’s benefits for REM sleep. Deeper REM sleep helps you feel refreshed and recovered the next day.
Struggle with sleep due to stress or anxiety? As we’ve discussed, CBD mitigates those issues to help calm you down at night. We spend ⅓ of our lives sleeping, so take CBD to maximize the benefits of a good night’s rest.
Nervous system health
Hemp oil benefits aren’t just limited to sleep and mood. CBD’s reaction with the endocannabinoid system helps maintain health in the entire nervous system. Much like a multivitamin, supplemental CBD facilitates natural regulatory processes. By maintaining homeostasis in electrical firing and limiting inflammation on nervous cells, your cognition improves with CBD oil. Long-term nerve health as we age keeps our brains healthy and can even prevent Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is associated with oxidative stress. CBD and other antioxidants counteract free radical production by neutralizing them before they become problematic. When research studied the neuroprotective benefits of hemp oil, the results showed attenuated neuroinflammatory processes that tend to lead to Alzheimer’s disease. As studies of CBD are new, and Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that takes time, more research is necessary over time to discover just how effective it is.
When people think cannabis, they don’t typically think weight loss. In fact, the snacking that stereotypically comes from marijuana use might invoke the opposite thought. CBD from hemp oil can actually help quell your appetite. Hunger is often the most common issue for those interested in losing weight. Therefore, CBD supplementation can help you stick to your goals and manage your weight effectively.
Moreover, CBD has been linked to higher insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is correlated with good health, as insulin is used to shuttle glucose from the bloodstream to your liver and muscles. Insulin resistance, on the other hand, leads to high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and diabetes. If you’re concerned with weight management, CBD can help increase muscle mass and lower body fat by managing insulin response.
Part of weight management and health is counteracting inflammation, but those benefits extend beyond lean body mass. Cannabinoids partially control immune cell function and cytokine production to reduce skin inflammation. Mice studies found that inhibiting those CB1/2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system induced dermatitis and allergic reactions.
CBD oil avoids that by adding exogenous cannabinoids and stimulate the receptors. Therefore, hemp oil benefits can become a major part of your skin care.
Skin and hair health
Within your skin lie cannabinoid lipids that regulate temperature, pain, and epidermal homeostasis. Exogenous CBD, especially in cream and oil forms, adds to the total efficacy these lipids to keep your skin healthy. CBD treatment connects with compounds known as TRP processes to treat skin issues by synthesizing keratinocytes.
This way, hemp oil benefits extend to controlling growth, death, and regeneration of skin cells. As an extension of the integumentary system, your hair health reflects your skin quality. Keep your skin and hair shining with CBD creams for acne, scars, dry skin, or itchy spots.
In that same vein, CBD oil can control inflammation of acne scars while they heal. The anti-inflammatory processes triggered by CBD oil reduces oxidative stress on skin tissue as well. A study out of the journal Experimental Cell Research tested cannabidiol interaction with specific cells that increase wound healing. When a wound occurs, inflammatory pathways are signalled to bring blood and fluids to the area in an effort to stimulate recovery. This is great in the short term, but in the long term, prolonged inflammation brings ineffective healing. CBD oil on location can inhibit these dangerous, scarring effects of acne wounds.
Anyone who has had a bad night’s sleep can attest to the grumpiness that comes the next day. Mood issues can be alleviated with the benefits of CBD, as the endocannabinoid system partially regulates mood and sleep.
CBD’s action on the brain controls release of neurotransmitters. Overactive norepinephrine and epinephrine keep your mind in a stressed state, which could cause reactive behavior. These chemical messengers can affect your mood by balancing the former with GABA and serotonin release. Hemp oil stimulates relaxation, better mood, and quality sleep for a happier you.
Potential implications in cancer treatment
CBD clearly plays a vital role in homeostasis. When things are out of whack, mutated cells can grow cancerous. CBD has been shown to promote cancerous cell death in mice, which was then built on for reducing breast cancer cells in humans. Therefore, if cancer starts to rear its ugly head, the benefits of CBD oil can slow is growth.
For those who need chemotherapy, CBD’s pain-relieving qualities have made cancer treatment easier. While chemo is often a necessary part of treatment, it often comes with nausea and global pain. As the research on CBD continues, medicinal benefits for cancer treatment and improving quality of life become more promising.
CBD Oil: Frequently asked questions
Now that you know what CBD is and understand the health benefits, you may be convinced it’s time to try it. That’s great! But just in case you have some lingering questions, we’ll go over a few of the more common concerns people have before purchasing CBD.
How much CBD should I take?
If you’re considering using CBD oil for any of the above benefits, consult with a medical professional first. While yes, it’s a fantastic compound, there may be different or complementary medical interventions as well.
Specific dosage of CBD oil depends on the purity of the oil (concentration of CBD), extraction method, and method of administration. For most adults, a low dosage of 25 mg per day is a good starting point. Children and animals obviously need to start much lower, such as 0.5 mg/kg of body weight every day.
Individual needs will always vary, but it’s safer to start on the lower end and go from there. While side effects of CBD are rare, it’s still a fairly new product for medical treatment and should be treated with caution.
Can you feel the effects of CBD?
Some CBD products are made from hemp oil, while others are made from the cannabis plant containing THC. Hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant via CO2 to provide the benefits of CBD mentioned at length above. Hemp is usually grown for industrial purposes such as manufacturing of clothing, carpets, construction material, and more.
Cannabis oil does contain the THC compound, producing the high you can “feel”. Cannabis oil comes from the leaves and buds of the marijuana plant. While it does contain CBD, it also contains the hundreds of other cannabinoids found in cannabis. It’s not the best source of pure CBD as the ratio is likely much lower. Moreover, it’s not legal in many parts of the world.
You cannot “feel” the effects of pure cannabidiol in the traditional sense. CBD oils derived from marijuana, however, probably contain THC, which does produce a high. CBD might make you feel calmer or tired, similar to drinking a cup of chamomile tea, but it doesn’t produce a high.
How long does CBD last in your system?
The real answer depends on your method of administration. For example, a topical CBD cream is obviously not going to have the same effect as eating a CBD gummy. Each product differs in its absorption rate, time to action, and length of action. The fastest way to get effects of CBD is through vaping, as it goes directly to your bloodstream through your lungs. For those looking for longer health benefits might consider oral administration, such as a CBD pill.
Consult with a medical professional on the best method for you and your specific condition. In general, however, chronic health conditions require sublingual or oral administration, while acute health problems (such as trouble falling asleep at night) prefer vaping.
Ways to take CBD oil:
- Sublingually – preferred way of treatment for conditions like epilepsy. Comes in drops, concentrates or tinctures. Fast absorption, but only a moderate duration of action.
- Capsules/pills and edibles – As these go through the digestive tract before acting, the time to action is longer. However, the effects also last the longest.
- Topical – creams or oils to be applied to the skin. These aren’t typically for full body issues, but specific ailments like muscle soreness or skin condition. Best acting on those specific areas, but not great for total body health.
- Vaping – absorption through the lungs similar to smoking, but healthier. It’s the fastest way to get CBD in to the system, but also has the shortest duration of action.
Can you get addicted to CBD?
Anything can be habit-forming in excess, even if not chemically addicting. Look no further than cell phone use and gambling for examples. So far, no research has shown people can get addicted to CBD. But, as with anything, it’s probably unhealthy to consume all day, every day.
Research does show that CBD oil can actually benefit those with other addictions. A study from the journal Substance Abuse determined that CBD can be therapeutic for people with cocaine, opioid, tobacco, or psychostimulant addictions. What’s even more interesting, is that CBD itself can be beneficial to treat cannabis addiction itself. It might seem counterintuitive, but there’s some evidence that the CBD compound can reduce the effects of THC, and therefore help with overuse of marijuana.
What are the side effects of CBD oil?
While uncommon, CBD oil derived from hemp can come with mild side effects. Although you can’t really overdose or get addicted to CBD, medical concerns should be discussed with a doctor as they arise. Some common side effects include:
- Dry Mouth
- Stomach discomfort
- Blood-coagulation concerns in those with blood clotting disorders
- THC response in those with high-THC sensitivity (although it’s less than 0.3%, there’s still some THC hanging out in there)
CBD is not the same as marijuana. It does come from a strain of cannabis sativa, but one that’s grown to have negligible amounts of THC. It won’t get you any higher than your morning cup of coffee. Depending on how you react to caffeine, you might actually feel CBD less.
You can find CBD products in various forms, such as creams, tinctures, edibles, and vaping oils. Whatever your selection, CBD has a health benefit to match. Research chose hemp oil benefits feature treatments for pain, inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin sensitivity, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more. CBD can even be a great solution for your pet’s health.
As CBD is legal in places where marijuana isn’t, it’s emerging as a natural health solution for those who take their daily vitamins. Similar to other supplements, however, it’s not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, do your research and be selective about which products you purchase. Look for CO2 extracted CBD oils from hemp for a general guideline, but triple check the quality of the company. There are lots of people out there misleading consumers to make a quick buck.
Finally, if you’re considering CBD to treat a serious health problem, always talk to your doctor first. While CBD does have endless benefits, it might not be the best solution for you. When it is, you’ll want to get specific guidance on dosage, method of administration, and timing. By taking your health and purchasing power seriously, you’re sure to come out on top of CBD oils for any condition.
Karen Asprey is a CBD writer and enthusiast who has made it her one woman mission to break down the taboo of cannabis, and make it more accessible to those who can benefit from it.