The Amazing Power of CBD

The Amazing Power of CBD

Dr Cesar Lara

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD), is extracted from various cannabis plants, such as Cannabis sativa(1), and is usually diluted with a carrier oil, like MCT, coconut, or hemp oil. The terms "cannabis" and "marijuana" both refer to any of the subspecies of the whole, unprocessed cannabis plant and its basic extracts(2).

CBD and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. The psychoactive component in cannabis responsible for the "high," or change in consciousness, that users feel is THC.

CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive — this means you won't get high from CBD. Some CBD solutions may contain THC; therefore, it's important to educate yourself about what product you are purchasing. CBD containing little to no THC is easily extracted from hemp, which is a variety of cannabis that is grown specifically for industrial and medicinal uses.

Different Types of Hemp CBD

There are two different types of hemp: medicinal and industrial. Here's the difference:

Medicinal hemp, grown for its flowers and cannabinoid production, is ideal for CBD products. Medicinal hemp is far more abundant in cannabinoids and terpenes than true industrial hemp. Because of this, medicinal hemp is the best source of hemp CBD.

Industrial hemp, grown for its fiber and seed production, is for building material, rope, canvas, paper, clothing, and much more.

True industrial hemp is genetically inferior to medicinal hemp, yet regulatory agencies define hemp the same way. All hemp — regardless if it’s industrial or medicinal — must contain 0.3% or less THC.

How Does CBD Affect the Body?

Two types of cannabinoids include endocannabinoids, produced naturally within your body, and phytocannabinoids, produced from a plant. CBD is an example of one kind of phytocannabinoid. Because phytocannabinoids mimic endocannabinoids, they act like a supplement giving you a boost beyond what your body can produce.

Cannabinoids, such as CBD, work by acting on the body's endocannabinoid system. The receptors for cannabinoids are located within the nervous, immune, digestive, and reproductive systems and interact with just about every system(3) in your body, they’re often touted as a panacea.

While they're not able to heal everything, they do play a significant role in the stress response and adaptation, metabolism, regulation of appetite(4), pain management, sleep, memory, motor functions, neuroprotection, and neurotransmitter and mitochondrial function.

Other possible effects of cannabinoids(5) include:

  • Anti-inflammatory activity
  • Inhibition of tumor growth
  • Prevention of the growth of the blood vessels that supply tumors
  • Antiviral activity
  • Relief of muscle spasms induced by multiple sclerosis

Should You Try CBD?

CBD in its pure state is safe for almost everyone, according to a recent report from the World Health Organization(6), it doesn't appear to have the potential for abuse or to cause harm. Check with your healthcare provider before starting CBD, especially if you are pregnant or on any medication. Research has shown several benefits of CBD that range from alleviating acne to calming spasms during an epileptic seizure.

Health Benefits of CBD

Improve Mood

CBD has shown to work directly on the serotonin (5HT1A) and GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) receptors in the brain. A decrease in the levels of these can contribute to anxiety and depression(7).

In one study, people with social anxiety disorder(8) took either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test. The CBD group had significantly less anxiety, discomfort, and cognitive impairment in their speech performance, compared to the placebo group.

Lower Inflammation

Suppresses proinflammatory cytokine production and induces T-regulatory cells to protect the body from inflammation(9) and attacking itself, which can help autoimmune conditions.

Decrease Chronic Pain

CBD inhibits the transmission of neuronal signaling through pain pathways(10). Topical application of CBD also has therapeutic potential for relieving the pain and inflammation of arthritis(11) without side-effects.

Enhance Gut Health

Cannabidiol can aid in the healing of the intestinal barrier(12) that contributes to leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. CBD also decreases spasmodic activity(13) caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Help Treat Seizures

May alleviate epilepsy(14) in children and help with calming spasms during seizures.

Side Effects of CBD

CBD is widely accepted as safe, but a few side effects of CBD have been reported.

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

CBD side effects are usually mild, dose-dependent, and resolve within a few hours. Some individuals may also show abnormalities in liver function testing.

How Do You Choose a CBD Product?

Choosing a CBD product that suits your needs is easy because CBD is available in several forms, such as oils and tinctures, vape pens, edibles, balms and patches, capsules, and teas.

It’s vital to choose your CBD wisely. Just like supplements, CBD production is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This could mean that the product may contain more or less CBD than advertised. Choose a company that does extensive third-party testing to ensure the highest standards.

Final Thoughts on CBD

While many emerging studies are showing the health benefits of CBD, long-term research on its effects is limited. Just as with any supplement, CBD should be used as a part of an overall healthy lifestyle, this includes whole-food diet, gut health, addressing nutritional deficiencies, exercise, and practicing stress reduction techniques like meditation.

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