The demand for CBD products increased since the US Farm Act of 2018 that legalised the cultivation of hemp plants for medical purposes. This is because it was removed from the list of schedule 1 drugs at the federal level and also due to its therapeutic and medical benefits. As a result, manufacturers are releasing a plethora of cannabidiol infused products like shampoos, creams, pain relieving balms, hand lotions and many more with unbelievable claims. It can be a daunting task for a first time buyer or anyone who wanted to try them. Listed below are some of the research backed medical benefits of CBD; read on to know more.
Of all the medical benefits of CBD, pain relief or analgesic effect is the most beneficial one and constitutes a significant percentage of CBD use. This is due to cannabidiol’s positive effect on the vanilloid receptors that modulate pain perception. So it is useful in mitigating or managing chronic pain conditions in diseases like arthritis, sciatica, cancer, inflammatory diseases, wounds and injuries. This is because it is effective in managing nociceptive and neuropathic pain, in some cases both making it good at chronic pain relief. Besides, it is a better option than opioid painkillers that have significant side effects on long-term usage along with the risk of addiction.
CBD is a better painkiller due to its lack of or very minimal side effects. In some cases, a combination of THC and CBD with a ratio of 20:1 is used to give better pain relief and this is especially useful in treating inflammatory types. It is administered as drops, edibles or capsules and gives the maximum benefits when the right dose is used. Furthermore, research has shown that CBD to THC ratio of 4:1 is effective for both neuropathic and nociceptive pain, whereas for others a ratio of 1:1 is found to be very effective.
The other major medical benefits of CBD is its effectiveness in reducing inflammation and is useful in wide ranging medical applications. This is due to cannabidiol enhancing the endocannabinoid system by influencing the CB2 receptors that are associated with the immune system. Inflammations are immune system response to disease and infections; CBD is effective in reducing inflammatory symptoms systematically. So it is very much used by arthritic patients as topical products to reduce and manage inflammations. This slows down the progress of tissue and bone damage in the longer-term.
Skin Protection And Healing
The medical benefits of CBD are due to it enhancing the functioning of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by its influence on the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS. These receptors are found throughout the body, especially the skin being the largest organ in the body has high concentration of CB2 receptors. When applied on the skin as topical CBD oil, creams or balms, cannabidiol combines with these receptors and imparts its benefits. The high amounts of antioxidants contained in it helps in reducing the damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals from environmental pollutants and harmful UV rays.
The CBD product, CBD oil is useful in the treatment and management of serious skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes the inflammation from build-up of skin cells due to rapid replication. This results in patches of scaly skin causing redness and swelling. Eczema is the formation of patches of dry and itchy skin that forms behind the knees, elbows etc. Using CBD oil topically for these diseases helps to reduce the skin irritations, rashes, flare-up, soothe the skin and promote healing due to its effect on the ECS. The other reason is, it works as an immunosuppressant by reducing immune response like inflammation.
Reduce Anxiety And Stress
The medical benefits of CBD of reducing anxiety and stress have been established through multiple clinical trials. This is because studies have shown that consuming CBD reduced blood flow to areas of the limbic system while increased the blood flow to another important region of cognition called posterior cingulate. Also, it is known that cannabidiol binds to 5-H1TA receptors affecting how they behave to serotonin in the brain and increases its levels resulting in reduced anxiety. Research has shown volunteers who were administered with CBD before public speaking felt reduced anxiety and helped them deliver lucid speech without any stutter.
Consuming CBD helps in reducing the blood cortisol levels which is a stress response hormone that plays an important role in fight or flight situations. Sustained levels of this hormone due to stress from activities or work can reduce immune system performance, this can make you more susceptible to infections and increases chances for cardiovascular disease. Cannabidiol calms you down, mitigates the aforementioned negative effects and thereby helps to maintain sound health.
Clinical depression is a mental disorder affecting millions of people worldwide and considered by WHO as the leading cause of disability. It is characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, loss of hope, lethargy, insomnia, helplessness, suicidal and negative thought. If you experience these symptoms for more than two weeks, then in many cases it indicates clinical depression requiring professional medical care. This is caused due to lower dopamine levels in the brain and prescription medicines focus on increasing it. Medical benefits of CBD are useful in the treatment and management of depression due to its effect of increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Apart from the positive effect on serotonin levels, CBD increases the levels of the neurotransmitter anandamide by reuptake inhibition. Anxiety is very much part and parcel of depression, CBD’s allosteric modulation of GABA-A receptor amplifies the calming effect of GABA and thereby reduces anxiety. As a result of these positive effects, cannabidiol improves the mood along with other benefits like better sleep, improved appetite and hence overall improvement in the quality of life. Above all, it is a good option compared to antidepressants due to its lack of side effects on long-term usage.
The medical benefits of CBD in treating sleeping disorders can be due to a multitude of reasons and researches are conducted to better understand the complex relationship between CBD and sleep. The primary causative agent for many sleep disorders like insomnia is stress and anxiety; cannabidiol is useful because of its stress reducing and anti-anxiety effects. The other reason is CBD’s positive effect on the endocannabinoid system which is a network of neurotransmitters and hormones that regulates homeostasis. Because of this, it has an effect on the endocrine system which is a collection of glands that secrete hormones including the sleep hormone melatonin.
Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland, consuming CBD before bedtime improves its natural levels and ensures that you get restorative sleep. Because of this, it improves daytime alertness and focus on activities. Due to the above reasons cannabidiol is useful as a complementary option that helps in getting better sleep in sleep apnea. Therefore, CBD for treating sleeping disorders appears to be a viable natural option compared to prescription medicines that have side effects like lethargy and longer than average sleep duration.
Useful In Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases
The neuroprotective effect is one of the major medical benefits of CBD and it is found to be useful in the treatment of memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease, lewy body dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Also, the high amounts of antioxidants contained in cannabidiol products like CBD oil helps to reduce neuronal damage caused by oxidative stress and thereby slowdown the progress of these diseases. It reduces the tremors and muscle spasticity resulting in better mobility and improvement in daily activities. Moreover, the anti-anxiety and stress reducing effect of cannabidiol helps to reduce the anxiety and stress associated with memory loss in these patients.
Clinical trials have shown that administering regulated doses of CBD oil increased general activity and social engagement of children suffering from autism; this also made it easier to manage them. Besides, it was also found to reduce the tics and abrupt movements along with easing mental health issues in Tourette’s syndrome. This is assumed to be due to cannabidiols positive effect on the high amounts of cannabinoid receptors found in the hippocampus and basal ganglia.
Lowers Risk Of Cancer
The medical benefits of CBD in cancer treatment have been gaining attention in recent years due to the mounting evidence from growing numbers of researchers especially since it’s legalisation in 2018 . CBD’s antagonistic effect on GPR55 and the activation of PPAR receptors are assumed to be the reasons for its anticancer effect. In-vitro studies have shown that at high concentration, cannabidiol slows down tumour growth in human lung cancer cells. Besides, its antioxidant property helps in negating the effects of free radicals that are some of the primary triggers for oncogenesis in the human body. Due to the aforementioned reasons, a daily dietary supplement of CBD health and wellness products would help in preventing the early development of cancer.
Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes And Obesity
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas resulting in its inflammation. Hence, the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD makes it effective in diabetes treatment. The other medical benefits of CBD is its usefulness in managing obesity which is common in these patients. It aids in the conversion of white fat cells or adipose cells into more healthy brown fat cells. This process requires calories and thereby aids in weight loss. Last but not least, cannabidiol increases the metabolic rate due to its effect on the endocannabinoid system and helps to manage body weight.
These are some of the major medical benefits of CBD that resulted in a surge in its demand in recent times.