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A Comprehensive Look About CBD: Benefits, Usage and Potential Risks

With growing interest in CBD, the industry is flourishing by leaps and bounds. Brands are introducing new products every day to capture consumers’ attention. 

But what does the research say about the advantages of CBD? We’ll explore in the guide below!

Content Overview:

What Is CBD?

Picture of a hemp plant with the chemical structure graphics of CBD on the side.

CBD is one of the 100 chemical compounds – cannabinoids – present in the Cannabis Sativa plant.

The main psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Because THC gives a high effect, people assume the same about CBD – since it comes from the same plant. 

Nonetheless, CBD is non-psychoactive. 

Most CBD products from reputable brands have 0.3% of low THC in their products, which is not enough to get you high.

Therefore, CBD consumption is safe for the most part but may have a few side effects in rare cases. 

CBD Health Benefits

Image of a healthy woman running at the park.

While over-the-counter medications help treat several diseases, they have many side effects.

Despite that, more people want to learn about the benefits of CBD since the compound is a natural alternative. 

Here are a few health benefits of CBD backed by science. 

Chronic Pain

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that chronic pain affects almost 50 million US adults.

Cannabis was used to treat pain back in 2900 B.C. But does CBD contribute to pain relief too?

Let’s figure it out. 

Our body’s endocannabinoid system regulates several functions including, immunity, sleep, appetite, and pain sensation. 

A 2018 study indicates that CBD may alleviate chronic pain by affecting our body’s endocannabinoid activity, interacting with neurotransmitters, and reducing inflammation. 

On top of that, a few studies even claim CBD may help reduce back and nerve pain

However, CBD is more effective when mixed with THC. 

For instance, an oral spray called Sativex has a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC. Relatively old research examined several participants using the spray for a month.

The participants experienced a reduction in pain, muscle cramps, and their walking ability improved, too. 

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are often considered the same. However, there is a fine line between both mental conditions.

Yes, they share a few common symptoms, but they are different disorders.

Anxiety is a sense of fear that something terrible will happen in the future. It can be general anxiety or related to a particular place, thing (phobia), or a social situation. 

Depression, on the other hand, is a feeling of sadness. A person experiencing depression is mostly feeling down. 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that almost 40 million US adults experience anxiety disorders

What’s more, someone suffering from anxiety is likely to experience depression, too. 

Luckily, CBD can help in this regard. 

A 2015 study suggests that CBD may help treat anxiety disorders

Furthermore, serotonin – a hormone – is responsible for stabilizing our mood and feelings of well-being. 

A person experiencing depression has low serotonin levels in the brain. While CBD does not necessarily boost serotonin levels, its interaction affects how the brain responds to the serotonin already present in your system

The result? You will feel better. 

Cancer

CBD cannot cure cancer as per se, but it may help alleviate cancer-related symptoms like pain, nausea, and vomiting. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, “CBD, alone or with other agents, has been shown to successfully induce cell death, inhibit cell migration and invasion in vitro, decrease tumor size, vascularization, growth, and weight, and increase survival and induce tumor regression in vivo.”

Besides, CBD may complement other cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

Moreover, since CBD can inhibit tumor growth in animal models and test tubes, a few researchers conclude that it might help fight against cancer too

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is perhaps the only condition that led to the legality of the first CBD-infused drug – Epidiolex. 

In 2018, the U.S Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex as a treatment option for seizures associated with two types of epilepsy. 

This condition is marked by abnormal brain activity followed by unusual behavior and even loss of consciousness. 

Ryan Vandery, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says, “The potential of CBD products for the treatment of seizure disorders goes beyond seizure control alone.”

He further adds that their study showed “significant improvements in anxiety, depression and sleep when patients with epilepsy initiated therapeutic use of artisanal CBD products.”

While these studies seem promising, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking CBD for epileptic disorders. 

Heart Issues

Generally, high blood pressure results in several health conditions like metabolic syndrome, stroke, or a heart attack. 

Researchers are optimistic that CBD may benefit people with high blood pressure. 

In a study, nine healthy men were given 600 mg of CBD. The study suggests that CBD reduced their resting blood pressure

Another 2020 study highlights the positive effects of CBD on human blood. Researchers noticed that CBD might improve blood flow as it widens the blood vessels. 

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Post-traumatic stress disorder develops from a dangerous, shocking, or disturbing past event. A person with PTSD continues to feel afraid long after the traumatic situation. 

Over time, this fear affects the quality of life. 

In a small study, 11 participants with PTSD were given CBD for eight weeks – along with routinely psychiatric care. 

10 out of 11 people experienced a reduction in their PTSD symptoms

What’s more, no side effects were seen. 

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

Though a less commonly known disease, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control. 

While CBD alone may not be effective, the entourage effect of CBD and THC may help control the spasticity in ALS

Arthritis

A person with arthritis experiences inflammation and degeneration of joints. The disease causes severe pain, swelling, stiffness, or tenderness in joints. 

However, animal studies indicate that CBD may reduce pain and inflammation. Besides, it is effective for osteoarthritis knee pain as well. 

Therefore, a person suffering from arthritis pain may benefit from CBD. 

Neurological Diseases

CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These characteristics protect against several pathological problems. 

CBD is an effective compound for patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. 

Nonetheless, further research is needed to confirm these CBD benefits. 

CBD Skin Benefits

A picture depicting a woman having a smooth skin after using CBD.

Beauty freaks continuously look for new products that can benefit their skin. But, unfortunately, even the most enthusiastic skincare experts experience conditions like breakouts and skin aging.  

Luckily, CBD can help with these skin problems. Here’s how. 

Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in humans. 

Our skin consists of sebocytes – cells that produce a waxy, oily substance known as sebum. While this substance hydrates skin to protect against friction and promote moisture, excessive sebum production can lead to acne. 

A 2014 study shows the effect of CBD on sebocytes. It was seen that CBD prevents sebocytes from creating excessive sebum

Therefore, oral or topical use of CBD can reduce acne and related symptoms.

Fine lines and Wrinkles

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It maintains our skin structure and keeps it healthy-looking

As we age, our body starts to produce less collagen, which explains why we experience fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation as we grow older. 

However, aging alone does not cause fine lines and wrinkles. Stress, environmental aggressors, and sun UV (Ultraviolet) rays are also the culprit. 

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD may help reduce the aging signs.

Hence, CBD intake can contribute to better-looking skin.  

Itching and Dryness

You may experience itching due to an allergic reaction or because of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. 

Studies show that CBD can help reduce common skin condition symptoms, including dryness and itching. 

The topical application of CBD can ease skin irritation and soothe your skin. 

Skin Inflammation

Because our skin is regularly exposed to countless environmental pollutants, we can easily experience skin inflammation. 

Generally, it is accompanied by certain infections, allergic reactions, or an internal disease (in rare cases). 

CBD is an anti-inflammatory, and therefore it can significantly reduce the symptoms associated with skin inflammation. 

Topical CBD oil, balm, or salve application can soothe your skin. 

How Does CBD Work?

Closeup photo of a hemp plant.

Researchers believe that CBD interacts with our nervous system receptors in some way and benefits our body.  

Our nervous system consists of two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. 

The CB1 receptors in our central nervous system are responsible for functions like memory, mood, appetite, coordination, mood, pain, and more. 

CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are located in the peripheral nervous system, affecting pain and inflammation. 

Experts believe that CBD does not attach to the receptors. However, it influences them in some way

The activation of these receptors contributes to many health benefits. 

Frequently Asked Questions About CBD

Frequently asked questions about CBD.

Here are some questions asked by CBD users. 

Does CBD Get You High?

Since THC (the compound that causes high effects) and CBD come from the same plant, people assume CBD is psychoactive too. 

Nonetheless, studies indicate that CBD does not get you high like THC. Moreover, it contributes to your overall well-being. 

What’s more, most CBD products available on the market have 0.3% or low THC and hence are non-psychoactive. 

Therefore, if you plan to incorporate CBD in your diet, you can proceed without hesitation, as it won’t get you high. Nonetheless, make sure you consult your physician before you plan to do so.

Can I Take CBD on a Plane?

If you’re an air traveler who experiences jet lag and anxiety, you’ll wonder if you can take CBD on a plane with you.  

In 2019, the officials arrested and jailed an older woman at the Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport. 

The reason? She was carrying CBD oil in her bag. 

While the Transportation Security Administration has gone lenient regarding its regulations for CBD products, we cannot conclude it’s safe to carry. 

Several CBD and marijuana products are still illegal under federal law. 

The good news is, the 2018 Farm Bill has legalized hemp-made CBD products with 0.3% THC. 

Here are the latest TSA laws for products allowed on the plane: 

  • Items that contain no more than 0.3% THC
  • Medical marijuana 
  • Products approved by the FDA – Epidiolex. 

While TSA security does not check your luggage for CBD products, they’ll take action if the screening shows an illegal product.

So, make sure you follow the regulations set by the FDA and TSA.

CBD is federally legal as long as it comes from hemp and contains 0.3% or low THC. But as mentioned earlier, the state laws for CBD vary. 

For instance, a few states allow 0.3% THC; others ban products that contain any THC at all. So, make sure you do your homework to know what’s legal in your state.

We created a dedicated article to outline the different regulations about CBD on a state level.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Luckily, CBD is mostly well-tolerated. The key is to

  • Begin with a low dose
  • Avoid CBD intake when pregnant or nursing
  • Not consume it with other medications

In a worst-case scenario, you may experience a few side effects like

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fatigue 

Frankly speaking, your doctor knows what your body needs. Therefore, it’s best to ask your doctor when you plan to include CBD in your diet. Ideally, it’s best to follow your health practitioner’s recommendation. 

Final Words

CBD is pretty popular, and why not? It comes with a wealth of health and skin benefits. As the interest in CBD continues to grow, so does the research. 

Several studies indicate the many advantages of CBD. However, we cannot conclude that CBD can cure any disease. Instead, it may help reduce symptoms related to several health issues. 

More research is needed further to determine the potential health and skin effects of CBD.

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