The latest natural health craze to hit the United States is CBD, or cannabidiol, the second most plentiful cannabinoid present in cannabis. Unlike its cousin THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t make users high.
However, CBD does have significant effects within the human body — effects that, while not fully understood at present, could revolutionize health and wellness.
If you are intrigued by CBD, you aren’t alone. Here’s what you need to know about this exciting and promising health treatment — especially how you can use it in your life.
Why CBD Works
Scientists and the medical community have been active in studying the effects of marijuana for decades, and since the 1990s, we have been aware of a complex biological system within the human body named the endocannabinoid system.
Naturally, the body produces compounds called endocannabinoids to communicate messages to different systems. For instance, certain endocannabinoids tell the immune system to activate more disease-fighting cells and migrate them to areas of the body under attack; the endocannabinoid system also seems to be involved in memory, appetite, metabolism, stress, sleep, pain relief and more.
Cannabis contains compounds that also stimulate the endocannabinoid system. THC binds with endocannabinoid receptors to mimic the effects of endocannabinoids, like high appetite and drowsiness.
However, while researchers once believed that CBD behaved similarly, now they aren’t so sure. It seems instead that CBD instead encourages the endocannabinoid system to produce more of its own endocannabinoids, facilitating the body’s own ability to regulate its systems and heal naturally.
There are precious few treatments that inspire this kind of response from the body, and if CBD truly does this, it could be a fantastic, wide-ranging medicine capable of solving many physical and mental ills.
What CBD Treats
Currently, there is only one FDA-approved CBD-based medication that doctors prescribe, and it is meant to treat particularly devastating forms of childhood epilepsy that doesn’t respond to other treatments.
Another drug is in development to help those suffering from schizophrenia. Still, considered a product of hemp as opposed to marijuana — because it isn’t psychoactive — CBD is available to all adults in the U.S., and it can help with a range of health problems, such as:
- Pain. CBD seems to reduce inflammation, making it particularly useful for pain caused by arthritis, multiple sclerosis or other types of nerve damage.
- Anxiety and depression. Though more research is necessary, some early studies have indicated that CBD affects the brain’s serotonin receptors, helping regulate to mood and social behavior.
- Heart disease. High doses of CBD seem to reduce resting blood pressure, which helps blood flow more easily through the circulatory system and thwart dangers like arterial plaque.
- Insomnia. For the same reasons CBD helps with anxiety, depression and heart disease, it has applications for treating insomnia.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Again, more studies are required before CBD can be a real treatment, but early research indicates that CBD slows the progression of Alzheimer’s.
- Cancer. CBD cannot cure cancer, but it can mitigate many of symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy, like nausea, appetite loss, low metabolism and the like.
How to Take CBD
If you believe that CBD could benefit you, you should look into the wide world of CBD products. The most common administration method is CBD oil dropped under the tongue.
This ensures that CBD will enter your bloodstream swiftly, giving you a reliable dose of the drug exactly when you need it. Vaping CBD is also an effective uptake method because the medicine goes straight into your bloodstream through your lungs.
Ingested CBD, which you might take in capsule form or as an edible, like a gummy or baked good, isn’t as ideal; it can take hours for the CBD to be absorbed through your digestive system, and then, you can’t be certain what dose you received. However, you should take CBD in whatever form you prefer.
Currently, CBD is considered a supplement, meaning it isn’t regulated by the FDA or any other government agency. As a result, you need to exercise extreme caution when purchasing CBD products.
Some research has found that unscrupulous CBD sellers fail to add any CBD to their products; others wantonly insert dangerous compounds like arsenic and lead. You should be careful to research CBD brands and buy from respected dispensaries as opposed to picking up any CBD that you see.
It is incredibly unlikely that you have anything to fear from CBD — but you likely have something to gain. If you suffer from any of the above health issues, it doesn’t hurt to order CBD from a trustworthy source and see what positive effects it has on your body and mind.