Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over a hundred chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.1 The most well known cannabinoid is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the “high” in marijuana use. However, CBD does not have the same psychoactive properties of THC, and thus provides its natural benefits without getting you high.2
According to the World Health Organization, CBD also “exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”3 . These factors make CBD an attractive option for those looking for relief from severe symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana, or the addiction potential for narcotics and opiates.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and then binding it with a carrier oil like hemp seed, olive, or coconut oil.
Cannabinoids have their effect by binding to receptors in the human body known as CB1, found in the brain and body, and CB2, found mainly in the immune system.4 CBD binds mostly to CB2, which demonstrates its positive effects over a broad range of health issues.
Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo and King’s College in London have found that high concentrations of CBD activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which creates a chemical response in the body that alleviates anxiety.5 This same protein receptor is involved in numerous biological processes, including anxiety, appetite, addiction, sleep, nausea, and pain.6 A 2012 research review of multiple international assessments concluded that CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety, particularly social anxiety.7
CBD also has a similar anti-depressant effect.8 This is because CBD acts as a stabilizer, helping to restore balance and homeostasis. “CBD benefits and improves the activity in the endocannabinoid system by increasing the time anandamide works on the CB1 and CB2 receptors,” writes Dr. Michael Moskowitz. “Its main role is restoring balance through inhibition when levels are too high and enhancement when they are too low.”9
CBD’s effect on the endocannabinoid system also has benefits for those experiencing chronic pain. CBD also binds to TRPV1 receptors in the body which are known to mediate pain perception, inflammation, and body temperature.10 In fact, CBD is already well known as an effective treatment for chronic pain. CBD medications have been approved in Canada and Europe for the treatment of spasticity with Multiple Sclerosis,11 and additional studies have shown anti-inflammatory effects in Arthritis patients 12, while cannabis for fibromyalgia patients is being studied in Israel.13
CBD is also known to be neuroprotective, reducing damage to the nervous system and brain and encouraging new growth.14 This has been widely shown in its treatment of epilepsy 15, but may also have implications for other neurological conditions such as Parkinsons Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
You already know that CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory in the treatment of pain, but a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reached the conclusion that CBD oil can significantly improve the dryness and itchiness associated with conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.15
CBD also has tremendous antioxidant properties, even more than Vitamins E and C.16 Oxidative damage is what is primarily responsible for the visible aging process on your skin cells.
Additionally, CBD can both treat and prevent acne, not only through its anti-inflammatory properties, but it also helps regulate sebum production even when triggered by hormonal factors.17 Add to that CBD’s natural pain relieving and relaxing properties, and you can see why CBD is so effective at improving the health of your skin.
The known benefits of CBD are only continuing to grow as more research is allowed and reviewed. CBD has also been shown as a potentially strong cancer treatment, both in the management of pain symptoms and also its anti-tumor effects.18 CBD has been linked to a reduction in high blood pressure,19 anti-psychotic benefits,20 treatment for addiction,21 and diabetes prevention.22
Cannabis is documented to have been used to treat ailments for over 2500 years, and science is just now beginning to understand why. However, the consensus is that CBD promotes balance in a number of systems in the body which can lead to better physical and mental health.