CBD Oil: The Science-Backed Game Changer for Pain, Anxiety, Cancer & More
As the hype over CBD oil continues, many people have become canna-curious, and are searching for more information about the potential health benefits of, and uses for, cannabis. Although its use continues to be both a politically and emotionally charged topic, more and more research is showing the amazing health benefits of the drug, and Americans are beginning to take notice. Cannabis oil preparations have been used medicinally for millennia, but concerns over the danger of potential abuse led to the banning of medical cannabis in the 1930s. We have come a long way since then, and science is pointing us in a new direction.
Only recently, cannabis and chemically- related compounds have returned for consideration as having therapeutic value. A prominent compound found in cannabis, CBD, or cannabidiol, has been shown to treat numerous conditions. Researchers believe that in light of its very low toxicity and relatively benign side effects, as well as its clinical potential, it is unacceptable to deny the benefits of CBD.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is one of more than 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of ingredients called cannabinoids. Until recently, THC ( (tetrahydrocannabinol) was garnering the most attention because it is the ingredient in cannabis that produces mind-altering effects in users. But CBD is also present in high concentrations, and the medical world is realizing that its list of medicinal benefits continues to increase.
CBD is the main, non-psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD benefits include acting as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic agent, as shown in some experimental models. It is also a potential medicine for the treatment of neuro-inflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia. Research is beginning to indicate that CBD is different than other well-studied cannabinoids. All cannabinoids act as ligands, which means that they attach onto the binding site of a protein and can modulate the behavior of a receptor. CB1 receptors are widely distributed, but are particularly abundant in the brain, especially in the areas that control movement, coordination, pain and sensory perception, emotion, memory and cognition, as well as the endocrine and autonomic systems.
CB2 receptors are mainly located in the immune system, and they appear to reduce inflammation and certain kinds of pain. Although cannabinoids have similar structure, they display a wide variety of actions at each of the different receptor sites. However, scientists are discovering that CBD has very little effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors, which most likely explains why it doesn’t have mind-altering effects, unlike THC, which positively regulates the CB1 receptor. This is the reason why most cannabis plants grown for recreational purposes are typically very low in CBD and are high in THC. THC also has a long list of health benefits, but the clinical use of this cannabis compound is often limited by its unwanted psychoactive side effects. For this reason, there has been an increasing interest in recent years in non-psychoactive phyto-cannabinoids , such as CBD. CBD is being used to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as paranoia and impaired memory. It also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC. This makes it very appealing to the medical community, since the psychoactive side effects have been a major hindrance in the acceptance of medical cannabis. Another reason is that THC causes anxiety and paranoia in some people. CBD works to counteract those side effects, and the benefits lead to its being used on young children in clinical trials for epilepsy.
Types of CBD Oil Products
As the CBD oil industry continues to grow, more products are being sold online and in local health food stores. Many types of CBD can he found and are used in a different form. The most common types of available CBD include:
- Tinctures: they are the most popular way to use CBD oil, probably because of the facility of gauging exactly how much you are ingesting. A tincture is usually extracted by using pressurized carbon dioxide gas or a solvent. With a tincture, you use a medicine dropper and place the drops under your tongue. These are usually the purest CBD products. Sometimes manufacturers will use carrier oils, natural flavors or fatty oils.
- Concentrates: Like tinctures, CBD concentrates are ingested sublingually. They are typically more potent doses of CBD. The high potency isn’t ideal for beginners who should start with a low dose and see how they respond.
- Capsules: Like other types of capsules, they can be taken with water, which is a convenient way to use CBD, although it gives you less control of the dose. Capsules typically contain between 10 and 25 milligrams of CBD.
- Topical solutions: Topical CBD products include salves, lotions and lip balms, and benefit skin, joint and muscle health. They work by being absorbed into the skin and through the dermal layers. CBD patches are also available for topical use of the compound, which allows the cannabinoids to go directly to the bloodstream.
- Edibles: CBD edibles include chocolates, coffees, baked goods, candies and gums, and are gaining popularity. Although this is a more satisfying way to use CBD oil, it can be more difficult to determine the exact amount of CBD you are ingesting, and the results are inconclusive.
- Vape oils: CBD vape oil is used to vape CBD, and requires the use of an e-cigarette or vape pen, but these can have side effects from the chemical oils being heated to high temperatures. There are CBD waxes which are available that are used by dabbing the cannabis compound, which also requires heating a small amount of it, and using a dabbing pen. It contains a higher concentration of CBD, so it isn’t recommended for beginners.
- Sprays: Sprays are another method of using CBD internally. The concentration of the CBD is usually lower in sprays, and is taken by ingesting the solution into your mouth 2-3 times.
CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil
Hemp oil, also called hemp seed oil, is extracted from the hemp seeds of the hemp plant, and contains very little or no THC. In comparison, cannabis has THC levels above 0.3 percent, usually between 5-35 percent. Hemp oil can be used without producing a high feeling afterwards because of its low THC levels. Hemp is typically grown for industrial purposes, and is used to make clothing, paper, ropes, carpets, construction materials and plastic composites. Although the hemp plant contains little or no THC, oils extracted from the resin glands of the plant do contain CBD. Most CBD oil products are made this way, and are made from what is called industrial hemp. This type of hemp naturally contain very low levels of THC and high levels of CBD, so it is legal to purchase CBD oil that comes from the hemp plant since it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. This is good news for people who wish to purchase CBD oil legally, as well as for the farmers who can now profit from hemp. Hemp is much easier to grow than cannabis, since it requires less water, no pesticides, and minimal care, and is adaptable to most climates.
The hemp seed oil in grocery stores is extracted from the seeds of the plant, and can be used to add flavor to many recipes. It is also popular because it contains important nutrients, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, terpenes, and proteins. Plain hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD or THC, but hemp oil extracted from resin plants does contain it, so when buying CBD oil products legally, this is where they come from.
CBD Oil vs. Cannabis Oil
Unlike both CBD oil and hemp oil, cannabis oil does contain THC and is psychoactive. It comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, and is bred for its trichomes. These trichomes are tiny, hair-like crystals that cover the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant. Trichomes produce the hundreds of known cannabinoids that are found in cannabis. Cannabis oil contains both CBD and THC in different ratios, depending on the variety of the plant. Research shows that cannabis oil has therapeutic benefits, such as working to improve sleep disorders, relieve anxiety, improve appetite, reduce pain, and even help to prevent cancer. But unlike CBD oil made from the hemp plant, cannabis oil is not legal throughout the United States, and you can only purchase it legally in some states. Each state has specific laws that address how and when you can obtain cannabis oil. Since it contains THC, there are more possible side effects from its use. For example, it may reduce the ability to concentrate and think, and may lead to short-term cognitive impairment, and there have been reports of adverse effects of vaping cannabis oil with higher concentrations of THC levels.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
At the federal level, CBD is classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S. because it is one of many cannabinoids present in cannabis. However, CBD products derived from industrial hemp are being sold legally, but only under strict regulations of the 2018 Farm Bill. Under this bill, legal hemp products derived from CBD must contain less than 0.3 percent of THC and can only come from licensed hemp growers. Therefore, the legality of CBD can be tricky, as the laws regarding this compound continue to change. Adding to the confusion, each state has specific conditions and requirements that need to be adhered to in order to use CBD derived from cannabis, legally. As of 2018, you can purchase cannabis- derived CBD legally in 46 states and 3 territories, with a prescription for medicinal use. Each state has different laws, especially regarding the amount of THC that can be legally present in the product. The four states where cannabis-derived CBD is completely illegal are Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota.
CBD Oil Benefits
Relieves Pain and Inflammation
Among common CBD benefits, natural pain relief tops the list for many people. Evidence suggests that cannabinoids may be useful in pain modulation by inhibiting the neuronal transmitters in pain pathways. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly suppressed chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain in rodents without causing tolerance. Researchers have found that CBD and other non-psychoactive components of cannabis may represent a new class of therapeutic agents for the treatment of chronic pain.
According to a 2007 meta-analysis conducted in Canada, a combination of CBD and THC buccal spray was found to be effective in treating neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, which is debilitating in 50-70 percent of MS patients.
Has Antipsychotic Effects
Research shows that CBD benefits include producing antipsychotic features. It appears to have a pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs, as demonstrated by using behavioral and neurochemical techniques in animals. In addition, studies show that CBD prevents human psychosis in experiments, and is effective in active case reports and clinical trials in patients with schizophrenia, with a notable safety profile.
Studies utilizing animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers suggest an anxiolytic type of effect of CBD. Cannabidiol has been shown to reduce anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder and researchers suggest that it may also be effective for panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, the above-mentioned social anxiety disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. A 2011 study which compared the effects of a simulated public speaking test in healthy control patients and treatment-naïve patients with social anxiety disorder were given either CBD or a placebo 1.5 hours before the test.
Researchers found that pretreatment with CBD significantly improved anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and decreased alertness in anticipation of the speech. The placebo group presented higher cognitive impairment, mental discomfort and anxiety.
Helps To Fight Cancer
Several scientific reports demonstrate that CBD benefits include containing antiproliterative and proapoptotic properties that inhibit cancer cell migration, adhesion and invasion. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics found for the first time that CBD potently and selectively inhibited the growth of various breast cancer tumor cells and conversely exhibited less potency in non-cancerous cells. In 2011, researchers added information on the cellular mechanism through which CBD induces cell death in breast cancer cells, and it showed that CBD induced a concentration-dependent cell death of both estrogen receptor- positive and estrogenreceptor-negative breast cancer cells. They also found that there were effective concentrations of CBD in tumor cells, with little effect on the non-tumor mammary cells.
CBD behaves as a non-toxic compound and studies show that doses of 700 milligrams per day for six weeks did not show any noticeable toxicity in humans. This data suggests that CBD can be used for prolonged treatment, and shows that the benefits include its effectiveness in fighting breast cancer cells, and that it can also be used to inhibit the invasion of lung and colon cancer. It also possesses anti-inflammatory tumorous properties in gliomas, and has been used to treat leukemia.