The cannabis plant has many uses beyond getting high (although that one is awesome). Over 100 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids can be found in the plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has celebrity status among the cannabinoids and for good reason, it’s the psychoactive compound that causes a euphoric feeling when smoked. But THC isn’t the only famous cannabinoid on the block.
Better known as CBD, canabidiol is the most prevalent non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and although it may not be as fun, it has a lot of appealing uses too, especially to those looking for pain relief and relaxation.
What is CBD Oil and How is It Used?
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant to make a concentrate. This is then mixed with an oil to dilute it and make it easier to dose (often a neutral oil like coconut or hemp seed oil).
CBD oil is added to many substances to make application very easy. From tinctures, creams, gummies, or even soaps, CBD can be applied in many ways offering their own unique benefits. CBD tinctures might be better suited for helping when feeling anxious, where a topical cream can offer local pain relief for aches and pains.
CBD works much the same way as THC does. It travels through your bloodstream and ends up in the brain, binding to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate functions like appetite, pain, sleep, and immune system response. Its effects start there, and it has been known to help with pain, insomnia and anxiety.
Benefits of CBD Oil
- CBD May Relieve Chronic Pain
CBD products have been found to reduce pain in patients suffering from moderate to severe chronic pain. Studies have shown that CBD may reduce chronic pain by impacting the ECS’s receptors, reducing inflammation. It has also been shown to ease migraines and chronic headaches. Studies found that, in tandem with THC, migraines were reduced in patients by over 40%.
- CBD May Help With Anxiety and Stress
CBD has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety in patients. In one study, subjects received either a placebo or a dose of CBD before a public speaking event in order to test CBD’s effects on social anxiety. The results of the test suggest that CBD has anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties in human volunteers in stressful situations. Another study in 2010 used neuroimaging to detail the effects CBD had on social anxiety disorder (SAD). They gave patients 400mg of CBD oil daily, and found that it significantly reduced the symptoms of SAD and reduced their anxiety overall. CBD works as a stress reducer in the endocannabinoid system by binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD changes serotonin levels, changing your mood and easing stress. Low serotonin levels is associated with increased stress, anxiety, and even depression.
- CBD May Ease Depression
CBD has been shown to contain antidepressant qualities in several animal studies. One study observed that “In vivo microdialysis revealed that the administration of CBD significantly enhanced serotonin and glutamate levels in vmPFCx in a different manner depending on the emotional state and the duration of the treatment.” The increase in serotonin levels aided in elevating mood, leading to the conclusion that “CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects” on the body. Traditional antidepressants are usually pharmaceutical drugs that have many negative side effects. Sexual dysfunction, insomnia, agitation, and drowsiness, along with headaches and occasional migraines have been reported with traditional antidepressants. Medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive, leading to substance abuse. CBD works differently and is non-addictive.
- CBD Can Brings You Down From A High
Interestingly, the calming effects of CBD can actually bring you down from a high. If you have taken too much THC, you can take a small dose of CBD in order to reduce the feelings of paranoia and anxiety. It’s a good idea to keep CBD on hand in case you smoke a little too much THC
- CBD Help Your Pets Deal With Anxiety and Pain
CBD can help more than just people. Some pets have separation anxiety, joint pain, or other chronic ailments. Much in the same way it works for humans, CBD has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain in animals. Older dogs who take CBD treats are shown to be able to walk easier on their old hips, and worry less when their owners leave the house.
CBD has many benefits that can help with pain, anxiety, depression, and stress. Although more research needs to be conducted on the specifics of how CBD works, many people of reported feeling calmer and living with less pain when taking CBD. Whether it’s used to ease a high that went a little too high, a wind down after a long day, or as relief for chronic arthritis or pain, the blossoming community of CBD recreational users and patients enjoy relief from countless ailments.