What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is quickly becoming a rising star in the world of natural healing — and for good reason. It’s a plant-based, all-natural remedy that’s miraculous healing properties can be used to treat an abundance of common ailments.
Based on decades of research, proven results, and the recent passing of the Farm Bill, making it legal in all 50 states, CBD has been gaining a cult-like following and is now sought by millions who seek natural alternatives to dangerous pharmaceuticals.
CBD is one of hundreds of cannabinoids derived from hemp, a plant in the Cannabis sativa family. Because hemp has such low THC levels, it is non-psychoactive by definition, which means it has no euphoric effects, and is totally legal.
Our Body’s Endocannabinoid System at Work
CBD works by acting on the body’s naturally occuring endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Endocannabinoids are compounds that naturally occur in the human body, and are similar to phytocannabinoids such as CBD. (Endo = within. Phyto= Plant). CBD mimics what is naturally going on in our body with the endocannabinoids and, when used as a supplement, gives our body a boost beyond what it can generate on its own.
This ECS system’s main job is to help the body adapt to outside stressors and maintain homeostasis (our body’s efforts to keep everything in our internal environment stable and optimal no matter what’s going on in the environment around us). It has 2 main receptors, CB1 and CB2, that bond with the cannabinoids and our body generates enzymes that help break them down, once utilized.
Our body activates the ECS with preciseness so that it impacts only what it needs to. For example, if your circadian rhythm is out of whack, it will work to regulate your sleep without altering another bodily function that is already working optimally, perhaps digestion, for example.
Benefits of CBD
Because cannabinoids are found in and interact with almost every system in our body (digestive, reproductive, nervous, immune), they’re often praised as a cure-all. While they don’t quite heal thing, they do regulate many bodily functions such as metabolism,inflammation, sleep, pain, memory, mood, appetite, immune response and more.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND CBD AS A HEALING AGENT
Mood Enhancement (Anti-Anxiety & Antidepressant)
CBD directly reacts with receptors in our body affecting serotonin a chemical which helps with impulse control, pain relief, appetite, and sleep) and GABA (a chemical which has a calming effect). When our bodies are low on either of these, our ability to calm ourselves and/or be present in the moment is greatly affected. In fact, low levels of GABA or serotonin are widely attributed to anxiety and depression. CBD work with the ECS system to create balance and harmony. Clinical studies show it helps decrease anxiety when you regularly take 300 to 600 mg.
Aside from being a mood-enhancer, CBD is also known as an anti-inflammatory. CBD interacts with receptors in your body, aka tiny proteins attached to your cells, that receive chemical signals from various outside stimulation and help your cells respond. This creates both an anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effect that can help you with pain management.
A recent study conducted at UC Berkeley tracked patients who were using dangerous opioids for pain-relief and had them try cannabis instead. The majority reported that “cannabis provided relief on par with their other medications, but without the unwanted side effects.”
The CB2 receptor in our brains play a role in the body’s immune response by managing pain and inflammation. Researchers believe that when we take CBD, it attaches to these receptors and also stimulates the body to create more natural cannabinoids to attach — both having an effect on reducing pain and inflammation.
Additionally, animal studies have shown that CBD may be a potential treatment for arthritis, and one report claimed that “there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.”
CBD not only works as an anti-inflammatory and pain reducer when taken internally, but you will also find healing benefits from CBD skin-care products helpful when applied externally. CBD ointments, lotions, and salves are easily absorbed into the skin and can be applied directly to the affected areas. Regular application (containing a high enough dosage of CBD — beware of sub-par products!) provides and analgesic effect that reduces inflammation and discomfort.
Some research even points to its CBD as an effective acne treatment, since it may reduce inflammation in overactive sebum-producing glands that can often cause breakouts.
Crohn’s and IBD
Because of all the studies showing cannabinoids as an effective treatment in reducing inflammation, CBD may also be a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s. Studies have shown CBD decreases spasmodic activity commonly found in irritable bowel syndrome. Moreso, CBD helps to reduce some of what are arguably the worst components of having IBD & Crohn’s: the mental stress, abdominal pain, and anxiety.
Epilepsy and Seizures
A young girl names Charlotte Figi helped bring CBD into the spotlight after her near-300 seizures a week were reduced to almost none when her parents sought natural remedies and began putting her on a daily CBD regimine. Further, the FDA recently approved a CBD-based drug to treat seizures — a huge stride in making this natural medicine readily available to the public and to patients who need it.
For most, and in moderate doses, CBD has a mildly alerting effect. This is because cannabidiol activates the adenosine receptors (the same as caffeine), as a stimulant. This can be helpful at nightime, as it reduces daytime sleepiness, promoting a consistent sleep-wake cycle. Further, those with sleep problems experience a balancing effect that helps promote a good night’s sleep after taking a CBD-rich tincture before bed. This, in part, can be contributed to reduced REM behavior disorders (in other words – calmer sleep cycles without the presence of heavy body movement).