Cannabinoids have been used for decades on one hand for its psychoactive properties and on the other hand as a natural and potential healing remedy to combat various diseases or health conditions.
Recently you can find cannabinoids everywhere. As liquid drops, tablets or added to food. So are we going to get high globally or what is it about? Read on and you will know everything about CBD oil.
What is Cannabis?
The plant which derives cannabinoid molecules is called Cannabis sativa. There have been described more than 421 molecules, which include
terpenoids, flavonoides, antioxidants, omega 3 y 6 fatty acids, proteíns, minerals and vitamins.
Out of all of those molecules there are certain ones that can affect our organism by activating cannabinoid receptors in our body. Those are the phytocannabinoids. There are more than 60 of them described, from which the two most important ones are:
- ∆9-tetrahidrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
THC is the substance that causes psychotropic effects, which is why the upper levels of THC a plant can contain are regulated by law and can’t be more than 0,2%.
CBD is the new superstar amongst OTC molecules with promising health benefits. CBD doesn't cause psychotropic effects, just the contrary, it seems to neutralise those effects caused by THC and on top of that it could already demonstrate various beneficial effects, such an antioxidant effect, neuroprotective and analgesic effects. We wil have a deeper look at the effects later in this article.
How does it affect our body?
In the human body we can find receptors that are sensible to cannabinoids such as CBD. Those receptors can be found in between a system which is called endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS). The main responsibility of this system is to maintain physiologic parameters stable. Those are for example pain, control of the body temperature, mental state, inflammation and many more. Once the ECS gets out of control those processes can be highly affected and alterated. This is why molecule that can regulate or affect this system are of big interest.
Effects of CBD
As already mentioned CBD has shown promising outcomes in scientific studies. Amongst other the most interesting ones from a medical point of view are:
- Analgesic effect (chronic pain): Chronic pain is a serious problem that affects the daily life of people suffering from it. By now there is still a need for more research in this context. The effects could not be proved significantly in a scientific work. What has been shown is the decrease of opioid use (strong analgesics) since medical cannabis has been legalised for pain treatment in certain countries.
- Neuroprotective and anti convulsive effect (neural diseases and epilepsia). Various studies have shown the neuroprotective effect of CBD used in different neurological disorders like epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson’s disease. It is very probably linked to the antioxidant properties of CBD.
- Cancer (including treatment of secondary effects of chemotherapy)
What makes CBD very interesting for the broad society is the potential influences it can have on our mental state. People suffering from mild mental issues are increasing drastically. Many people can't cope with the pace at which life runs nowadays and it affects their mental health.
Studies have shown that CBD can positively affect emotional behavior, mood, sleep, stress, irritability and fear, among other things.
CBD can help with mental issues or instabilities like for example:
- Reducing anxiety, relaxation: CBD oil has been linked to a reduction of anxiety. Research suggests that it is so effective in this regard that it has “considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.”
Treatment of Depression: Several studies have also linked CBD to a reduction of symptoms associated with depression.
How can you take CBD?
There are many different products on the market. You can take CBD by almost any way of administration. There are vaporizers to inhale, sublingual drops or sprays, products for topical use such as skin patches and emulsions to ingest. Latter seems to be the safest way in terms of bioavailability or the way your body is able to absorb the highest amount out of the product.
Other important points to take into consideration when choosing a CBD product are:
- Isolate vs. full spectrum: Full spectrum products contain different phytocannabinoids as well as other ingredients that have shown to potentiate the efficacy of CBD. Those are for example omega 3, vitamins and minerals.
- Terpens: Terpens are natural compounds that are responsible for the flavors, smells, and colors that are found in plants, including cannabis. Their presence on the plant in quality and quantity depend on growing conditions AND, more important, it determines the way the CBD product affects your body and mind.
- Organic product: the use of pesticides in conventionally grown plants may harm the quality and quantity of phytocannabinoids.
- Third party studies: Studies conducted by independent companies without conflicts of interests are always more trustable than in house studies. Although in house studies are better than no study.
- Extracting method: As usual the less aggressive the extracting method the better for the outcome of the product. Look out for companies that use CO-2 or food-grade ethanol. These all-natural solvents will ensure that all the cannabinoids and terpenes remain intact without the use of foreign substances.
CBD seems to be a promising molecule in terms of a wide range of medical issues. Even though it is important to keep in mind that we already know something but there is a whole load of things we still don’t know about the effectiveness of those molecules.