10 Benefits of CBD Oil (Cannabidiol)… What It Is and What It’s Not
The use of CBD Oil… extracted from the hemp plant, has come under a lot of legal and moral questions. And opinions are all over the board, but what can’t be ignored is the incredible healing power CBD oil seems to possess and how versatile it is as a supplement and natural remedy.
CBD Hemp Oil: What Is It & What Does It Do?
The use of medical marijuana has brought attention to using cannabis-derived products for health, but it’s important to understand that CBD Oil and medical marijuana are not the same thing. The key difference lies in the variety of the cannabis plant being used to make the product.
There are two different types of CBD oil products — hemp-based CBD oil (the one I’m talking about in this article) and marijuana-based CBD (which is what someone would buy at a medical marijuana dispensary). Both contain CBD, and they’re both derived from the cannabis plant, but hemp and medical marijuana are very different varieties of the plant.
For example, CBD oil is also different from hemp seed oil. CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves and stalks of hemp…NOT from the hemp seed.
Does CBD Oil Create a High?
The short answer is: No. (Though oils with THC can also contain CBD).
Marijuana-based CBD is generally going to have more THC and other cannabinoids. CBD oil does not contain THC (the compound that causes a “high” feeling). This is an important distinction that many people don’t understand.
The variety that’s typically (and legally) used to make CBD oil is hemp. How is hemp oil different? A plant can only be legally considered hemp if it contains .3% per dry unit (or less) of the compound THC.
In a nutshell, CBD oil or hemp oil contains the benefits of the cannabis plant without the potential drawbacks of psychoactive compounds typically found from smoking or other ways of consuming it.
Cannabidiol (CBD) Benefits & Uses
CBD oil can be a great remedy for a lot of different ailments. Here are just a few that folks just like you… and medical research, have reported:
- Relief for Chronic Pain
Those suffering from chronic pain from diseases like fibromyalgia are finding relief with CBD. Taking CBD can offer pain relief and can even prevent nervous system degeneration. In fact, it has been approved in Canada for multiple sclerosis and cancer pain.
What’s really amazing is that CBD doesn’t cause dependence or tolerance, so it’s a great choice for those trying to stay away from opioids.
- Calms Childhood Epilepsy
CBD has anti-seizure properties that have been shown to successfully treat drug-resistant children who have neurological disorders like epilepsy (with no side effects!). In one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, CBD decreased frequency of seizures by 23 percentage points more than those taking a placebo.
While I always prefer a natural remedy first, even the Food and Drug Administration seems to agree that cannabis-derived drugs may have something to offer. In April 2018 FDA advisers cleared the very first cannabis-derived drug for approval, one that promises to help control seizures.
- Reduces Anxiety and Depression
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression affects 6% and anxiety affects 18% of the U.S. population each year. Research shows that CBD oil can help with both.
CBD has been shown to reduce levels of stress and anxiety in those suffering from conditions such as PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. CBD even reduced the stress and discomfort surrounding public speaking.
Though a B-12 deficiency may also be to blame, CBD has been shown to reduce depression by enhancing both serotonergic and glutamate cortical signaling (both are lacking in those with depression).
- Fights Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria
Researchers discovered that cannabinoids (including CBD) have an unusual ability to destroy bacteria (especially drug-resistant strains). More research is needed to find out how and why it works.
A 2011 study found that CBD can also slow the progression of tuberculosis in rats. Researchers concluded that CBD likely does this by inhibiting T-cell proliferation, rather than possessing antibacterial properties.
Whatever the mechanism is for destroying bacteria, CBD seems to be a potent weapon against the antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that are becoming more and more of a problem today.
Chronic inflammation is a huge problem in our society that contributes to many non-infectious diseases including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disease, and more, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Diet and lifestyle play a huge part in chronic inflammation but when folks are already eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and getting enough sleep and exercise for example, CBD oil can help. Research also shows that CBD oil can reduce chronic inflammation that leads to disease.
- Reduces Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is responsible for many ailments today. Oxidative stress is when the body has too many free radicals and can’t keep up with neutralizing them (with antioxidants). This is more of a problem now than in the past because our environment is so much more toxic than it once was. A 2010 study shows that CBD oil acts as an antioxidant and another study found CBD has neuroprotective qualities. So CBD can reduce neurological damage caused by free radicals.
- Promotes Healthy Weight
Cannabidiol can help maintain healthy blood sugar, stimulates genes and proteins that helps break down fat, and increase mitochondria that helps burn calories.
CBD also encourages the body to convert white fat to brown fat. White fat is the kind of fat we typically think of when we think about body fat. Brown fat is said to improve health by enhancing the body’s ability to burn white fat, create heat, and even regulate blood sugar.
- Improves Heart Health
Heart disease is a growing problem today. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the U.S. A healthy diet and lifestyle is a top priority for heart health, but CBD oil can also help. According to research cannabidiol reduces artery blockage, reduces stress induced cardiovascular response, and can reduce blood pressure. It may also reduce cholesterol.
As mentioned earlier, CBD oil is helpful in preventing oxidative stress and inflammation. Both of these are often precursors to heart disease.
- Improves Skin Conditions
CBD oil can be used topically to treat skin conditions. Studies show CBD oil has a high potential for treating skin conditions like eczema by encouraging abnormal cell death. It can also help regulate the skin’s oil production, reducing acne. CBD also contains many nutrients like vitamin E that help improve and protect the skin.
- Fights Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, CBD oil can slow the growth and spread of some kinds of cancer in animals and in human cells in a petri dish. However, the effect of cannabinoids haven’t been tested on humans to a great extent, so it’s obvious that CBD oil’s role in cancer treatment still needs more research, but what is available is looking promising.
Because it fights oxidative stress and inflammation (and both are linked to cancer) it makes sense that CBD oil could help fight cancer cells.
CBD vs. Hemp Oil
This is a common question and misconception. As mentioned above, while they come from the same plant, they are different strains and CBD is harvested from the plants that contain no THC (or negligible levels). CBD is completely legal and is not considered a drug. Because of the often confused history of these plants, many manufacturers use “hemp oil” instead of the more controversial “CBD oil” in their marketing. CBD levels can vary drastically based on manufacturing, so it is important to find a high quality manufacturer with verified levels.
From a sustainability standpoint, it is a shame that hemp has gotten so much negative press because it comes from a similar strain of plant. Aside from the CBD benefits, hemp is one of the strongest, longest, and most durable natural fibers and it can be grown without any type of pesticides or herbicides! It also:
How to Use CBD Oil
CBD oil is most often taken internally as a supplement. Because CBD oil is a relatively new supplement, exact dosing isn’t well established. While more long-term studies are needed, there’s no established CBD “overdose” and there are very few if any side effects at any dosage.
When trying to find the right dosage, consider these things:
- Start by purchasing a high quality oil from a reputable company. A higher quality oil will be more bioavailable, so a lower dose can be enough.
- Begin with the recommended dosage on the bottle (especially if using preventatively).
- Some notice a change immediately, while others don’t notice any improvement for several weeks. If after several weeks there is still no change, increase the dosage.
- As with most herbal supplements, a small dosage 3-4 times a day is usually more therapeutic than one large dose.
Important note: Though CBD oil on its own is very safe, it may interact with medications, particularly opioids. Speak with your doctor if you’re concerned about interactions or are unsure about using hemp oil for your conditions.
CBD: What I’ve Tried (& What I Will)
There are lots of benefits to using CBD oil as a supplement. A healthy diet and lifestyle should always be the first step to better health, but CBD oil can help build on that foundation.
Lastly and foremost… if you’re going to use CBD oil, it’s extremely important to use pure CBD oil from a reputable company.
What are your thoughts on CBD oil? Do you use it? If you were in pain and had heard from a friend that it might help… would you even try it?
Or do you think it’s still too controversial? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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