It’s hard to get away from CBD at the moment – it’s a common topic in the media, and you most likely have a friend that thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread. And to be fair, they have a point! Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinoid science in general is unlocking secrets about our health which have always been mysterious if not unknown.
Cannabis and hemp have been staple medicines for various cultures around the world, dating back millennia, but now that researchers have been able to isolate the most important compounds in the plant, we are building a detailed picture of just how it affects us.
Crucially, we can now buy products that offer the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, sans the psychoactive and intoxicating properties of the herb, which are mostly down to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD fulfils a vital role in regulating the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), and full-spectrum CBD products also contain miniscule amounts of other non-psychoactive cannabinoids which appear to provide extra therapeutic value, as a result of synergistic reactions between the compounds.
Here are five intriguing uses for CBD.
CBD may help with fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia patients are often left feeling helpless with their condition, which causes an array of symptoms, which are seemingly unconnected – such as pain and reduced cognitive function. But a group of cannabinoid researchers think they have found the underlying cause for fibromyalgia, suggesting that it is due to dysregulation in the ECS. They argue, with steadily accumulating evidence, that some people cannot produce enough of the body’s natural cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, to keep their ECS regulated, hence why they suffer from this strange set of symptoms.
CBD addresses imbalances in the ECS, by indirectly boosting concentrations of anandamide, an endocannabinoid which binds to both cannabinoid receptors.
CBD’s soothing psychological effects are great for anxiety
Keeping a clear head is key to managing anxiety, but some people find this more challenging than others – some research indicates that this is down to brain chemistry. What is apparent is that CBD can be more effective at treating anxiety than a placebo, and that the cannabinoid promotes an essential inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, which is associated with anti-anxiety effects. In 2018, a study also found that CBD produces an anxiolytic effect as an agonist of the 5-HT1A receptor.
Using CBD Juul pods to vaporize CBD is an efficient way of relieving symptoms of anxiety and managing panic attacks.
Enjoy controlled pain relief with CBD
Prescription painkillers may be effective at relieving pain, but can often be very addictive, this is particularly the case with opioids which have a high overdose risk. However, CBD can deliver pain relief without getting the user addicted, and also without causing psychoactive effects or any kind of euphoria.
Scientists are still trying to work out what gives CBD its analgesic properties, but this may be down to its promotion of anandamide, a known agonist of the CB1 receptor which regulates pain sensitivity. Another g-protein coupled receptor, the vanilloid receptor, which is not a part of the ECS, can also be activated by anandamide – this may be responsible for additional pain relief.
Have a great night’s sleep with CBD
As with painkillers, sleeping tablets can often do the trick, but give the users an unwanted set of problems, such as an addiction, as well as side effects including inconsistent appetite, diarrhea, dizziness and drowsiness during the day.
In contrast, the sedative properties of CBD – which are felt best with a strong dose – are neither physically nor psychologically addictive and can increase the quantity of deep sleep that the user gets. Deep sleep is essential for rejuvenation, growth and improved cognitive function.
Regulate the immune system with CBD
The immune system is notorious for being difficult to control, and aggravation can easily lead to an influx of pro-inflammatory messages which end up causing harm rather than protecting from it. Researchers have unearthed a key link to immune system response via the ECS, which comes from activating the CB2 receptor. Both anandamide and 2-AG have immunomodulatory properties, which come from binding with this receptor. CBD may increase the available amount of both, helping the immune system to find that crucial balance.