There are a lot of health trends making waves right now, and one in particular has garnered a lot of interest due to its composition: Cannabidiol (CBD). You might have even heard of it or seen it used to boost workout smoothies or morning coffee.

So what exactly is CBD, and is it the same as cannabis?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is actually a natural compound, one of over a hundred chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in hemp plants or Cannabis sativa — the marijuana plant. It’s actually the second most prevalent active ingredient in the marijuana plant.

What’s usually thought of when cannabis is mentioned is how it can get you high. But the marijuana plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids, and the main psychoactive ingredient is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s what causes the sensation of being high, often associated with marijuana.

THC is different from CBD, and CBD by itself does not actually have a psychoactive effect.

In fact, the World Health Organization states that CBD exhibits no potential for dependence when used by humans.

What it does have are pain relief properties. That’s why, especially among those interested in natural remedies and diets,  it’s become quite popular among those looking to remedy their chronic pain. After all, CBD is a natural substance without the mind-altering side effects of most pharmaceutical drugs.

CBD oil is produced by extracting CBD from the marijuana plant and mixing it with a carrier oil. Manufacturers usually use coconut oil or hemp seed oil.

Benefits of CBD Oil

If you’re intrigued by this oil’s properties, here are scientifically backed health benefits of CBD oil you can potentially experience:

  1. Relieves Pain

Understanding how CBD oil works for pain management means learning about the body’s built-in system called endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is directly connected to the nervous system and regulates a variety of functions like sleep, appetite, pain, and immune responses.

The body produces its own endocannabinoids to support these functions. What CBD oil does is bind with the CB receptors in your system and help reduce inflammation. In one animal study, for instance, CBD applied on the skin helped reduce pain and inflammation from arthritis.

In human studies, an oral spray called Sativex — a combination of THC and CBD — has been shown to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Manages Neurological Disorders

Evidence suggest that CBD’s capacity to interact with the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems can bring relief for individuals suffering from neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

In one study, for example, 120 children and young adults with Dravet syndrome — a rare genetic condition that involves frequent seizures — participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Results show that CBD oils significantly reduced seizures compared to the placebo group.

In another study, a CBD and THC oral spray lessened muscle spasms in 75% of nearly 300 patients with multiple sclerosis.

As CBD has shown sound effectiveness in clinical trials, the FDA recently approved the use of oral CBD solution for two complex epilepsy disorders — the Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The FDA does note that the only approved CBD medication, which patients will receive in controlled doses, is meant for a precise therapeutic purpose.

  • Can Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety are among the most common health afflictions right now, with devastating consequences on one’s well being. The WHO considers depression as the single largest contributor to global disability. And in the US, anxiety disorders affect as many as 40 million people.

While there are countless medications for these mental health conditions, pharmaceutical drugs come with unwanted side effects, including drowsiness, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and headaches. Moreover, some drugs can be addictive and open the door to substance abuse.

CBD oil, oral spray, CBD gummies and other forms of CBD can treat both depression and anxiety without the side effects and risk for addiction. CBD’s ability to influence the brain’s receptors to release serotonin can regulate mood and social behavior.

In a case study involving a child with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), CBD oil proved to be a natural and effective option for alleviating insomnia and anxiety. This and several animal studies emphasize the potential of using CBD oil for addressing depression and anxiety.

  • Addresses cancer-related symptoms

Individuals with cancer have to contend with its painful symptoms, as well as all the side effects borne from chemo treatment, such as nausea, vomiting, and constant pain.

CBD oil can help reduce these chemo-related side effects for those fighting cancer. And as with other types of debilitating pain, CBD can also reduce the pain endured by cancer patients far more effectively than standard pain medication. 

Aside from relieving cancer-related symptoms, preliminary studies also point to CBD’s possible anti-tumor effects. Recent animal and test-tube studies have shown that CBD can inhibit the spread of different types of cancer, including prostate, breast, brain, colon, and lung cancer. The compound supported cancer cell death and strengthened the first-line agents commonly used in cancer treatment.

  • Improves Heart Health

About 1 in 3 adults in the US suffer from high blood pressure. It’s a sobering figure, given that heart disease-related emergencies like strokes and heart attacks are the leading causes of death in the country. For those looking for a natural way to treat high blood pressure, CBD oil is a promising option.

Evidence suggests that CBD can reduce resting blood pressure and keep your heart health on point. In a recent study, 10 male participants were given one dose of 600 mg CBD oil. Results show that it helped reduce blood pressure. And when the participants were subjected to stress tests, they experienced smaller elevation in blood pressure than normal. The results point to a two-fold effect that CBD oil may have for those who need to regulate their blood pressure levels.

Final Thoughts

CBD oil has shown its promise in treating a lot of health issues that bring much pain and suffering for those afflicted with them. With CBD oil’s potential benefits for neurological conditions like seizures, chronic pain, depression, and high blood pressure, it’s certainly worth exploring what this alternative compound can do. It’s best to seek advice from a medical professional to determine the suitable dosage and form for you.