You’ve probably heard plenty of people talking about CBD by now and maybe even some fanatics that claim it can cure absolutely everything, and you’re right to want to understand more about its validity. After all, why would something so good not be making headlines every day?
While CBD may not be a cure to all disease, it does have a wealth of healing capabilities that affect nearly every bodily function connected to the endocannabinoid system. It primarily interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors as an antagonist, which means it may help to block signals (i.e. pain, etc.).
Now, unless you work in the medical field, that probably doesn’t tell you much of anything. Don’t worry, we’ll break it down. Our understanding of the science behind CBD is constantly being updated as research to prove the efficacy of CBD continues to be conducted, but the existing results still speak for themselves. There is plenty to uncover about how CBD works in your body and what afflictions it can help you with, so let’s take a closer look.
CBD Science: The Endocannabinoid System
Brace yourself: we’re going to talk about the not-so-simple science of how CBD works in your body. Of course, we’ll boil down the scientific terms to an understandable explanation. First, let’s discuss what the endocannabinoid system is by dissecting the term. “Endo” means “body” and “cannabinoid” means, well, “cannabinoid.” We’ll talk about what those are shortly. This system promotes regular function in systems like your cardiovascular and immune systems while also regulating things like appetite, stress response, and pain.
Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters through which your endocannabinoid system communicates with your body. That’s right, everyone has an endocannabinoid system, as do many other animals (hence why CBD can help your pets, too).
The endocannabinoid system is a natural system your body uses to communicate information by sending neurotransmitters between neurons, neurotransmitters like anandamide and 2-AG. These are called endocannabinoids, as they are cannabinoids produced in the body (remember “endo” means “body”). Phytocannabinoids, like THC and CBD, are cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant (“phyto” meaning “from a plant”). Your body is constantly sending information with its endocannabinoids, and the use of cannabis products supplements and augments this information with phytocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoid Negative Feedback Loop
Your endocannabinoid system is unique in that communications can go both ways. Once your body’s desired effect is communicated, those same cannabinoids travel in the reverse direction to stop the communication. This is called a negative feedback loop.
The purpose of a negative feedback loop is to stop a given action once the desired effect has been achieved. For example, if you’re sleepy and go to sleep, a negative feedback loop will allow you to no longer feel tired once you’ve gotten enough rest. Sounds useful, right?
Not all cannabinoids are created equal; they’re tailored to fit into specific receptors in specific areas of your body. There are two proven kinds of endocannabinoid receptors:
What does CBD help with?
InsomniaThe science of sleep is a curious one that we still don’t have a full grasp of, but it doesn’t take a scientist to know a good night’s rest helps your physical and mental health. Unfortuanely for those who experience insomnia, that’s not always possible. Luckily, CBD has been found to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer with the proper dosage.5
Overall Mental HealthPreliminary research has shown CBD to have significant antipsychotic effects without some of the harsh side effects (like catalepsy) that can be caused by the currently available alternatives, even at relatively high doses.5
AnxietyIf you’re one of the many who suffer from anxiety, you know how crippling it can be. It can be just as difficult to find relief without turning to medications with harsh side effects. That’s where CBD comes in. CBD has shown to be an effective anxiolytic, meaning it is capable of reducing anxiety. It may also reduce the anxiety/paranoia that some people feel as a result of THC consumption.5
DepressionTied closely to anxiety, overcoming depression is a battle many people fight. CBD has been shown to have similar effects to standard antidepressant medications with relatively minor side effects.10 THC may also be used to treat depression, so a full-spectrum CBD product may be best to provide relief from depression symptoms.
PainThe sensation of pain is one of the duties attributed to the endocannabinoid system (which is closely tied to the central nervous system), so it makes sense that the use of CBD can affect the pain an individual may feel. Studies have shown significant improvements in the reduction of pain when the participants are administered a combination of THC and CBD,7 so be sure to consider a full-spectrum CBD product for best cumulative results. Still, many people have been able to find relief with isolate CBD products considering how CBD affects other systems involved with the feeling of pain.9
ArthritisOsteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that forms as a result of the wear and degradation of cartilage in the joints, sometimes to the point of bone-on-bone contact. This can cause some serious pain and make mobility increasingly difficult. Rheumatoid Arthritis is characterized by pain in the joints, typically caused by swelling of the tissues that protect joints. Similar to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can make mobility a challenge.
Because of its anti-inflammatory and aforementioned pain-reducing capabilities, CBD has shown to be a powerful antiarthritic for both of these forms of arthritis.5
Cardiac HealthMany Americans deal with cardiac issues, a leading one of those issues being high blood pressure. Blood pressure is typically regulated with medications or diet changes, but you may also want to consider CBD to help regulate your blood pressure. Research has shown CBD to effectively lower blood pressure in those who take it, both in terms of resting blood pressure and blood pressure after an increase in stress.8
Cancer ReliefCancer in itself is difficult to live with, and cancer treatment can be just as difficult as the disease itself. CBD has been shown in preliminary research to have noteworthy anticarcinogenic effects and to even boost the effectiveness of existing radiation therapy.4 Coupled with the pain relief previously mentioned, this makes CBD a natural choice for mitigating the symptoms that come as a result of cancer treatment.
Much, Much More!This is by no means an exhaustive list of the capabilities of CBD and its magnificent healing power. More research is being conducted every day, proving the efficacy of CBD and its natural medicinal role. For more information about how CBD can help you, schedule a free consultation with one of our cannatherapy experts. We’re eager to get you the relief you deserve, so give us a call or stop at any of our locations today.
What are the Potential Side Effects of CBD?
While CBD does have an ever-expanding list of health benefits, it does have some potential side effects to be aware of when considering it. These side effects are typically minor at their worst, and many people won’t experience any side effects whatsoever.
Some potential side effects you may notice while taking CBD include drowsiness and increased appetite. These appear to be the most common if experienced at all. In very high dosages, users may experience nausea and gastrointestinal disturbances. Keep in mind, these side effects are typically a much better alternative to those of many medications used for the afflictions CBD can mitigate. CBD may also impart drug-drug interactions, similar to how grapefruit might. If you are currently taking medications, you may wish to consult your doctor before starting the use of CBD. Of note, CBD does not have a significant effect on cognition as THC does. This means it is unlikely to affect decision-making and memory adversely.6
So while CBD is not entirely free of side effects, the few minor side effects that CBD users may experience are typically a great relief when compared to some of the rather extreme side effects that can result from other medications for their afflictions. For more on how you can find relief with CBD, feel free to contact us or schedule a free consultation.