What you need to know about CBD products

Over the past year or so, you’ve probably been hearing more and more about CBD oil and infused products. So, what is CBD and who should use the products?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a molecule found in the cannabis family. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive element in marijuana), CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t have a strong effect on cognitive brain activity and doesn’t cause the “high” associated with marijuana.

Over the past few years, research and clinical trials have been conducted to determine the effects of using CBD products to treat a variety of medical issues. Today, there are about 150 clinical trials being conducted around the world that are testing CBD as a treatment of health conditions from autism and alcoholism to schizophrenia, anxiety, and cancer.

According to Health Line, these are the top benefits of using CBD oil:

Pain Relief

Studies have shown that CBD products may help in the treatment of chronic pain due to inflammation. The human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates functions such as sleep, appetite, pain and immune system responses. CBD may reduce chronic pain by impacting the ECS receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters. The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD has been shown effective for use in various types of arthritis, including knees and hands. Other research has shown CBD treatment may help reduce inflammation for those with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Reduce Anxiety and Depression

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders are ranked sixth. Anxiety and depression are usually treated with prescription medication, but some people who suffer from these conditions may be interested in the natural approach of CBD oil due to its ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.

CBD oil has been used to safely treat insomnia, and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder. In one study, 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test. The group that received the CBD had significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, compared to the placebo group.

Alleviate Cancer-Related Symptoms

For those suffering from the side-effects related to cancer treatment and chemotherapy, including nausea, vomiting and pain, CBD infused products may reduce these symptoms.

Testing in animals and test tubes has shown that CBD may have anticancer properties where concentrated CBD induced cell death in breast cancer cells. More studies will need to be performed in humans before real conclusions can be made about its efficacy and safety.

Reduce Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that is thought to be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, bacteria, underlying inflammation and the overproduction of sebum, an oily secretion made by sebaceous glands in the skin. Based on recent scientific studies, CBD oil may help treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production. 

While initial studies are promising, human studies to determine the effects of CBD on acne are still needed.

Neurological Disorders

Though research in this area is still relatively new, several studies have shown promising results in CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems.

These studies have found reduction in spasms for people with multiple sclerosis, reduction in seizures in people with epilepsy, reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome, and improved quality of life and sleep quality for people with Parkinson’s disease. Animal and test-tube studies have shown that CBD may decrease inflammation and prevent neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease, too.

However, some people in these studies experience adverse reaction with CBD treatment including convulsions, fever, and diarrhea.

Heart Health

Recent research has linked CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure.

Researchers have suggested that the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

Additionally, several animal studies have demonstrated that CBD may help reduce the inflammation and cell death associated with heart disease due to its powerful antioxidant and stress-reducing properties.

Other potential benefits of CBD include helping people with schizophrenia by reducing psychotic symptoms, and helping in the treatment of substance abuse particularly for those addicted to heroin.

Though CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people. CBD, like many other substances, probably should be avoided in pregnancy. 

Side effects noted in studies include

  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue

CBD is also known to interact with several medications. Before you start using CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor and pharmacist to ensure your safety and avoid potentially harmful interactions. Do not stop taking your prescription medication unless instructed by a doctor. CBD oil and infused products are alternative medicines and not verified or regulated by the FDA.

However, in the future, we will most likely see more products being developed and approved by the FDA that contain both CBD and THC for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other neurological diseases.

Sources: Live Science, Health Line,