When most people hear that CBD comes from cannibas, they’re a little skeptical. But, upon hearing the benefits, more and more people I come across are open to trying it out, myself included.
I was never a pot smoker, not even in high school or college when it seemed like the thing that everyone was doing. When CBD started making a name for itself in the wellness community, I was more curious and anxious than excited to give it a try. I wanted to experience for myself exactly what the hype was about (or, if it was really worth it)…and I have to say, I could not be more amazed by the benefits! CBD has helped to improve my sleep, lessen stress, pain, anxiety and much more.
Could you benefit from CBD? I’m doing a deep dive into what this popular supplement is (yes, it’s part of the marijuana plant, but no it won’t get you high) and all the research surrounding it.
What is CBD?
Cannabis has two main components, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is what gives you most of the mind-altering effects of being “high”. CBD on the other hand, is non-psychoactive so by taking it on its own, you’re not going to experience any of the tell-tale signs of being high.
Here’s the interesting part: we actually have a system in our body that was named after marijuana––the endocannabinoid system––where our body produces its own version of THC and CBD, that trigger cannabinoid receptors throughout the body and signal them to regulate different important functions like sleep and appetite. By taking CBD, you can manually signal the CB1 and CB2 receptors and reap many of the benefits.
CBD has been found to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, with stronger antioxidant activity than either vitamin E or vitamin C, and this is where many of its benefits stem from.
There are plenty of different ways to get CBD, from smoking it through a vaporizer, massaging it onto your skin through oils and lotions, or ingesting it in edible oils and baked goods. When purchasing, if you don’t want to have the psychoactive feelings of being high, look for products with minimal to none THC.
So what are the benefits of taking CBD?
The research on CBD is still growing and changing, as more and more states are making the move to legalize marijuana and its byproducts. But, what has been discovered so far makes a pretty promising case for CBD having some serious health benefits. Here are just five of the ways CBD can improve your health:
- Reduces anxiety – This is one of the most talked about benefits of CBD––studies have shown the endocannabinoid to have similar anti-anxiety effects to certain anxiety medications. One study found that participants who took 600 mg of CBD and then performed a public speaking test had significantly reduced anxiety levels and discomfort in their performance, while those given the placebo had higher anxiety and cognitive impairment levels. Similarly, CBD has been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure in response to stress.
- Can relieve pain – The endocannabinoid system is a key player when it comes to processing pain, so it’s no wonder that taking CBD can have an impact on a person’s levels of pain. There’s evidence to show that CBD can be an effective tool for those with chronic pain, mostly due to its anti-inflammatory properties. While it may help with conditions like chronic back pain and arthritis, amongst many others, it has shown the most promising results in relieving pain for those with multiple sclerosis.
- Has anti-cancer properties – While cell death might seem like a bad thing, when it comes to cancer it’s actually quite positive. In the case of CBD, studies have shown that it can stimulate cell death in certain types of cancer cells, shrinking tumors and inhibiting growth and spread of cancerous cells.
- Can help to reduce seizures – Some of the most promising research surrounding the use of CBD has to do with its use as a treatment for those with epilepsy. One study found that 39 percent of the participants who regularly took CBD over a 12-week period saw a greater than 50 percent decrease in their number of seizures. This study, however, was not controlled so further research is needed.
- Improves sleep – Because of its calming and anti-anxiety effects, CBD has been shown to improve both the quality and quantity of sleep. Research shows, that those who take CBD oil have increased sleep time and lower instances of insomnia (especially for those with chronic pain).
Always consult with your doctor before adding new supplements to your routine, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are on any medications, as CBD may interfere with them.