One of the newest and trendiest names in alternative medicine today is Cannabidiol oil, popularly known as CBD Oil. A lot of us may have heard of this product while reading the news report of a woman who was arrested in Disneyland for possession of CBD oil. This raises the question- what exactly is CBD oil and why the controversy surrounding it? We shall explore these themes and list out the benefits as well as the possible side effects of this product.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol oil is derived from the cannabis plant and then diluted with either hemp or coconut oil, and CBD by itself an active ingredient of medical marijuana (Cannabis sativa). CBD is extracted directly from the hemp plant, which simply belongs to the cannabis family. It also contains very low levels of cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which produces the intoxicated state or the ‘high’ as a result of doing marijuana. Therefore, by itself, CBD is not capable of producing any sort of intoxication. It does not interact with cannabinoid receptors, which in turn, interacts with the central nervous system. However, it has been found that CBD interacts with other receptors such as serotonin in varying degrees, which is why it has a broad range of applications.
How does CBD oil work?
Cannabis-derived medicine has been in use for a long time. History records that Chinese emperors would drink tea infused with cannabis to help with ailments such as malaria, gout and muscle pain. However, there have been very limited studies that can determine the exact uses of CBD and other derivatives, mainly because cannabis has not been legalized everywhere in the world.
CBD is a complex cannabinoid and there needs to be more extensive study on how it interacts with the human body, for products like CBD oil to be more mainstream.
How to use CBD oil?
There is no specific recommended daily allowance or dosage for CBD oil, since its benefits may be affected by individual properties like weight, metabolism and genetics. Self-medication is not always advised since it can cause reactions with other drugs and lead to devastating consequences. Certain studies have prescribes doses for conditions like chronic pain (2.5-20 mg, taken orally). CBD oil is mainly sold as a supplement rather than a medication; therefore, it is always advised to consult a doctor before including it in one’s daily routine.
What are the benefits of CBD oil?
Users have reported numerous health benefits of using CBD oil, such as pain relief, improved mental health and so on, some of which are also backed by scientific evidence.
- Anti-seizure properties:
CBD oil has been said to be a possible cure for conditions such as epilepsy. Certain cases such as Charlotte Figi from Colorado, have received extensive news coverage on how CBD oil helped with relieving seizures. Although research about this particular aspect is still ongoing, it has been found in a survey that most epileptic patients who took small doses of CBD per day recorded fewer seizures without any side effects.
- Anxiety-relieving properties:
As pointed out before, it has been found that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain such as serotonin, which is deeply linked to a person’s mental state and mood. These neurotransmitters regulate a person’s mood. Some of the earliest studies on CBD were linked to how it affects a mental health. Results from a number of studies have shown that CBD oil acts as an antidepressant and anxiety-relieving compound and also reduces stress. Many animal trials have also established this pattern. Essentially, CBD oil has gained popularity as an antidepressant since it does not activate the endocannabinoid receptors of the brain directly and therefore, has lesser chances of becoming addictive, unlike most forms of medication for mental health issues.
- Pain relieving properties:
Many people use CBD oil to relieve pain in muscles and joints. More research needs to be conducted to ascertain exactly how this compound relieves pain from the body, but clinical trials on rats with osteoarthritis have shown that CBD lessens the development of joint pain and inflammation significantly. Many human studies have shown promising results for conditions like arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
An oral spray called Sativex is made by combining among other compounds, THC and CBD. It has been legalized in many countries and has reported positive results linked with muscle pain, arthritis walking and multiple sclerosis.
- Neuroprotective properties:
Due to the unique nature of CBD on the endocannabinoid system, it is seen as a compound that can help people suffering from neurological disorders. As mentioned before, it has already proved effective in certain cases of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. CBD oil has reportedly shown positive results on children suffering from Dravet Syndrome, albeit with side effects. Treatment with CBD oil has been linked with better sleep patterns in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Although there needs to be more significant work in this field, certain studies have shown promising results in associating CBD oil with preventing cognitive decline, which can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
- Can help in regulating blood sugar:
CBD oil has been tested as a cure against diabetes, and results have shown that people who used it reported lower insulin levels as compared to those who did not. CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce insulin resistance and be used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have shown that CBD can delay beta cell damage in Type 1 diabetes patients.
- Cardiovascular diseases:
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil can be used to tackle high blood pressure and prevent blockages in blood vessels, although there needs to be more research on this. Certain studies have shown that CBD can regulate cardiovascular response to stress, thus, regulating heart rate. It has been proved that CBD can induce vasorelaxation which can help in controlling high blood pressure. CBD oil is prescribed for many patients due to this reason.
- Can potentially help people suffering from eating disorders:
Diseases such as Anorexia nervosa and obesity are on the rise and there are very few available medicines that can coordinate the health of patients suffering from these. CBD has been found to be an appetite regulant, which can help with Anorexia nervosa. Since eating disorders are compulsion based, CBD’s properties as an antidepressant can also help such patients.
Animal studies have also shown that CBD can interact with molecules to block CB1 endocannaboid receptors, thus suppressing appetite, which might help people suffering from obesity.
- Uses in cancer research:
This is a relatively newer strand of research, and although it is widely claimed that cannabis has cancer-relieving properties, there need to be more accurate studies linking the two. Taking CBD can help develop partial tumor response in people suffering from lung cancer. Combining CBD with chemotherapy drugs has shown extremely promising results in treating leukemia.
What are the potential side effects of CBD oil?
Just like any other form of alternative medicine, CBD oil also comes with limitations and cautionary measures. These symptoms have been seen as side effects in the numerous studies that have been conducted on CBD, and may include:
- Withdrawal symptoms
Where can I buy CBD products from?
There are genuine websites which are considered quality sources can be found here for buying CBD Oil, and provide detailed reviews and user experiences. One can filter through the products and reviews to choose the brand that suits him/her the best.
The jury is still out on the potency of CBD products such as CBD oil, and while clinical trials and studies are still being conducted; more countries would have to legalize cannabis to encourage wider research. However, this is a question of legislation and morality, so for now we have to make do with the information we have, and it looks quite promising. Do let us know about your experiences with CBD oil and how it has or has not worked for you.