As cannabis is being legalized across the country, CBD oil is quickly becoming a popular option for people looking to cannabis for medical purposes. From serious illnesses like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy to more common conditions like anxiety and insomnia, CBD products are demonstrating the wide range of medicinal benefits cannabis has to offer.
CBD products are also trending in the health and wellness sectors because many people are keen to get the medicinal benefits without the psychoactive effects of smoking weed.
Whether you’ve heard about how CBD is changing lives and helping people with certain conditions, or you’re simply curious about this new wave in cannabis, this guide will help get you up to speed on CBD, how it’s consumed, and what effects it has on your body.
What is CBD?
CBD is extracted from marijuana or hemp plants, and it’s most often found as an oil. The CBD-rich oil that is often harvested from cannabis plants is used to create an array of different products for consumer use. You can find CBD oil in creams, salves, and gels for direct application to the skin. You can also get CBD capsules for simple consumption by swallowing in pill form. And you can also get CBD in tinctures that you simply drop under the tongue or mix in a glass of water.
If you prefer edibles, you can get CBD-infused chocolates or other sweet treats. However, just as with most edibles, CBD concentration levels in edibles are often higher, which means there could be more dramatic effects. You can also find CBD oil products that are inhaled and smoked using vape pens or other tools that turn the oil into a vaporized product that’s easily inhaled.
Because CBD does not induce the same psychoactive effects as THC, it’s becoming a highly researched cannabis compound that’s expected to help with a wide scope of ailments and health conditions. The effects of CBD are more therapeutic in nature, which means even those who aren’t looking for the mind-altering effects of cannabis can safely enjoy the benefits of CBD.
How does the Endocannabinoid System Work?
Your body naturally has an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that determines how the chemical compounds in cannabis plants will affect you. The ECS is a network of receptors that are laced throughout your brain and body. These ECS receptors are constantly managing typical life functions like sleep, mood and appetite.
There are two primary forms of receptors that make up the ECS: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
The CB1 receptors work directly with the brain to manage your body’s biochemistry. These receptors are located in your brain and spinal cord, as well as your central nervous system. One specific compound in cannabis plants, called Tetrahydrocannabinol (or more commonly THC), interacts with the CB1 receptors and produces that traditional ‘high’ feeling that most people associate with marijuana.
If you smoke or consume marijuana with high levels of THC, you can expect more interaction with the CB1 receptors, and of course a more significant cerebral high.
On the other hand, CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system, mainly in your body’s white blood cells. These receptors are responsible for regulating the immune system, and this is where CBD interacts with your body. Rather than bonding with CB1 receptors in the brain, CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors in your white blood cells and promotes your immune system, providing the health benefits without the psychoactive effect.
Does CBD Oil Get You High?
So to get to the point: CBD alone does not get you high. CBD reacts with completely different receptors than THC, and does not product the cerebral high feeling. Many experts recommend taking CBD and THC together to get the full effects of cannabis plants.
So How Does CBD Make You Feel?
Unlike the telltale mental high of regular cannabis use, CBD oil does not provide the same effects, so how exactly does it make you feel? For the most part, using CBD oil will not result in an altered state of consciousness on any level. The concept of CBD oil is to provide the medicinal advantages of cannabis without the high, and it simply reacts with your body’s immune system. People who use CBD oil products on a regular basis may experience things like:
- Improved sleep patterns
- Higher levels of energy
- An overall sense of relaxation
What are the Potential Side Effects of CBD?
Because CBD is non-psychoactive, there are no negative side effects to report as far as altered sensory perception or behavior of any kind. Because CBD oil is frequently sold without THC, it will not bind with your CB1 receptors.
There have been various studies on the side effects of regular use of CBD oil, however, the negative effects appear minimal. The most commonly reported side effects of consuming CBD oil regularly, according to WebMD and a study titled An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies include things like:
- Low blood pressure
- Dry mouth or excessive thirst
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Changes in appetite
WebMD actually states that doses of 300 mg daily have been taken for as long as six months without negative side effects. Overall, CBD oil proves to yield fewer negative side effects to contend with than a lot of traditional prescription treatments for various illnesses and medical conditions.
It’s important to note however that it’s best to consult your doctor before trying CBD oil for your specific health conditions.
What Ailments is CBD Known to Treat?
CBD is currently being studied for its effectiveness in helping everything from psychological conditions to physical ailments, and pretty much everything in between. So far, results have been promising. Here is a short list of various ailments CBD is currently known to help and treat.
Sleep Disorders and Conditions
Regular marijuana users know to use indica strains to help with sleeping disorders, because they are known to have higher concentrations of CBD, naturally encourage a relaxed state, and can have sedative properties.
In a publication by PubMed, CBD was reviewed for its effectiveness in treating negative sleep conditions and sleeping patterns, and the findings up to this point have been positive. There are specific types of sleep apnea related to serotonin issues that CBD seems to alleviate, as well as excessive daytime sleepiness, PTSD-associated nightmares, and even REM sleep disorders.
Treatment for Pain and Inflammation
CBD also interacts with pain receptors in the body, where it naturally encourages the release of dopamine and serotonin to reduce pain levels. This is why CBD is highly recommended for reducing pain and inflammation. From chronic back pain to pain associated with cancer, these conditions can be alleviated with high dosage CBD products. The National Institutes of Health says CBD has benefits for things like:
- Antiepileptic treatment
- Multiple sclerosis pain
- Neuropathic pain from spinal cord injuries
- Muscle pain
There have also been drugs approved in the UK and Canada containing THC and CBD to help treat with multiple sclerosis pain. The pain relief provided by CBD seems to be mostly related to its anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD oil affects how the brain responds to serotonin, according to researchers. This is why doctors often recommend CBD oil to improve your overall mood, lower levels of stress, and help combat feelings of anxiety.
It’s even thought that regular use of CBD can offer anti-panic effects in stressful situations. In one study, CBD was given to participants before they had to give a speech. The study came back with impressive results:
“Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert levels in their anticipatory speech.”
CBD is capable of regulating your mental state, and often provides a relaxing feeling that actually can work together and temper any feelings of paranoia or anxiety caused by THC. For example, a patient who suffers from PTSD may use CBD products to lower their heart rate and combat sudden stress.
While the stigma associated with cannabis is still alive, the ever-expanding knowledge on CBD and its medicinal benefits is becoming better known. Cannabis brings benefits in a multitude of ways for different people, and CBD offers a variety of ways to help improve your health.
Interested in learning more?