An overview of cannabidiol.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound derived from cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol is not psychoactive. It antagonizes the THC-targeted receptors to minimize the negative impacts of marijuana, such as anxiety and paranoia.
It is believed that cannabidiol activates serotonin receptors. Serotonin is the vital neurotransmitter that is responsible for much of what goes on in our central nervous system, digestive system, and bodies as a whole. This “happy hormone” controls pivotal bodily functions such as aggression, learning, appetite, sleep, and consciousness.
Cannabidiol is now a household name, transforming from an unknown member of the cannabis community to an essential and reckoned nutritional component that could be of benefit to everyone. With its power to alter the perception of pain and reduce inflammation, there’s not much more one could ask for from an all-natural plant.
Cannabidiol is found in the stalk, the seeds, and the flower of the cannabis plant. It occurs in large quantities in the cannabis plant, quite unlike the hundreds of cannabinoids that exist. Because of this property, it is quite easy to get it extracted in the form of cannabis oil.
Once it is extracted, it may be processed and ultimately converted to other products such as capsules or liquids, or purified to its crystalline form.
Cannabidiol works with the endocannabinoid system. It is through this system that it exerts its effects on the human body. The endocannabinoid system is present in all mammals and is involved in the regulation of a number of body functions such as sleep, mood, appetite, production of hormones, and regulation of immune and nervous system responses. By regulating these functions, CBD helps maintain the body’s homeostasis. In order to obtain homeostasis, CBD degrades a brain chemical responsible for mental function and mood thus minimizing the psychoactive symptoms (the legal amount of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) in CBD is less than or equal to .3%).
Therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol.
Relief of anxiety: Cannabidiol may be effective in the management of anxiety. Researchers are of the opinion that it may alter the reception of the brain’s receptors to serotonin. A study has found that a dose of 600mg of cannabidiol helped people with social anxiety issues to deliver a speech. Other studies conducted have shown that cannabidiol may help in anxiety relief by:
- Stress reduction
- Reducing the physiological effects of anxiety such as tachycardia
- Inducing sleep (in insomnia patients)
Anti-seizure: Cannabidiol is a very effective treatment for epilepsy. However, research on this is still in its infancy. Current research is examining how much cannabidiol is required to reduce the number of seizures in epileptic patients, as well as its degree of safety. According to the American Epilepsy Society, research on cannabidiol offers a ray of hope for people with seizure disorders.
A study was conducted in 2016 with 214 epileptic subjects. 2 to 5mg oral doses of cannabinoids were given to the participants daily in addition to their existing medications. The participants were carefully monitored for 12 weeks, with all the negative side effects being recorded. Results from the research showed that the participants had 36.5 percent fewer seizures each month. Severe adverse effects were however recorded in 12 percent of the subjects.
Neuroprotective function: There are signs that cannabinoids may have neuroprotective functions. Research is ongoing to study how brain receptors can assist people with neurodegenerative disorders. The receptor being studied is the CB1 receptor.
The effects of cannabidiol on diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke is currently being investigated.
Cannabidiol oil may also be effective in reducing the inflammation that can worsen neurodegenerative symptoms. However, there is a need for more research to fully comprehend the effects of cannabidiol on neurodegenerative disorders.
Pain relief: Cannabidiol has analgesic effects. Studies have shown that it has some benefits if taken after chemotherapy. Research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health is studying the role of cannabidiol in relief of symptoms associated with:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle pain
- Pain associated with multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injuries
Anti-acne: Cannabidiol has effects on immune system receptors which helps reduce inflammation in the body. This, in turn, improves acne symptoms – this is more noticeable when using cannabidiol oil. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has discovered that cannabidiol oil prevents activity in the sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands are responsible for the production of sebum. An excess production of sebum leads to acne.
However, it is essential that you discuss with your dermatologist before using cannabidiol for acne. There is a need for more human studies to evaluate this claim.
Treatment of cancer: The role of cannabidiol in the prevention of cancerous growth has been investigated by several studies. However, research is still in its infancy. According to the National Cancer Institute, cannabidiol may help improve the symptoms of cancer and some of the side effects associated with cancer treatment. What makes this claim tick is the ability of cannabidiol to moderate inflammation and change the reproductive ability of cells. Cannabidiol can alter the ability of some tumor cells to reproduce.
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