Since 2018, CBD and hemp have become legalized at the federal level. This monumental change in cannabis regulation meant that everyone could start enjoying the health benefits of CBD. Fortunately, now that it’s become widely available and studied, those benefits are only increasing. But, can you benefit from CBD products? And if so, what can you expect? Let’s see what CBD is all about and why it’s so healthy.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s the second primary ingredient in the cannabis plant. The other component is THC, which is the psychoactive compound that gets you high. CBD doesn’t deliver the same results, but it does interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates various bodily functions.
Although CBD exists in all cannabis plants, it’s more concentrated and potent in hemp. Since hemp is what’s legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, manufacturers can now extract as much as they like without fear of legal consequences. That said, there are small amounts of THC in most CBD products. So, consumers who want pure CBD can buy THC-free items. Otherwise, the trace THC amount may affect things like drug tests, so individuals have to pay attention, depending on their circumstances.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The ECS is a relatively recent discovery (1988), but it affects so many aspects of our bodies. The endocannabinoid system is comprised of receptors and signals forming a vast network throughout the body. Cannabinoids like CBD work as the signals telling the receptors what to do. When the ECS is working efficiently, the body is in homeostasis (balance). So, taking CBD can help make this system work faster, yielding more reliable results.
Overall, the ECS helps control everything from sleep patterns to pain to anxiety levels to inflammatory responses. So, it’s a crucial system that can benefit greatly from a cannabinoid boost.
How to Take CBD
There are a few options when starting a CBD regimen. First, you can use CBD oil, which is the most common product available. This product mixes CBD with another oil, such as MCT (coconut oil). All you have to do is take a dropper and put a few drops under your tongue (sublingual ingestion). Doing this helps the CBD enter your bloodstream faster so you can feel better sooner.
Another option is to take CBD gummies, which come in various flavors and designs. However, because you’re ingesting the substance, it takes longer to feel the effects. Similarly, you can use CBD strips, which dissolve in your mouth, making them similar to CBD oil. These days, you can also vape CBD or smoke hemp directly to absorb it into your bloodstream from your lungs.
CBD Health Benefits
There are two primary health issues that CBD can help resolve – seizures and inflammation. However, some secondary effects can yield tangible benefits for users. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the ways CBD can make you feel your best:
Shortly after the Farm Bill passed, the FDA approved an anti-seizure drug Epidiolex, which helps prevent and manage seizures in epilepsy patients. The drug is only approved for use with those who have Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet Syndrome. However, it seems to impact patients’ health significantly and can reduce the severity and frequency of seizures overall.
Anxiety and Depression
Since the ECS helps regulate anxiety and depression levels in humans, CBD can help control these levels to prevent panic attacks or severe bouts of depression. Currently, more research needs to be conducted to determine concrete evidence, but preliminary studies have shown a positive correlation. For example, in a 2017 Brazilian study, individuals were given CBD before a speech. Those who received it had substantially lower anxiety levels than those who took a placebo or nothing at all.
Inflammation can affect the body in a few ways, such as muscle aches, arthritis, and even acne. So, various CBD products can target these issues directly, although you can alleviate all forms of inflammation simultaneously.
For example, you can buy CBD muscle cream to target pain and soreness at the site. Since CBD can be absorbed through the skin, topical creams can deliver results faster than a tincture or gummy. Similarly, some acne products use CBD to help reduce sebum levels and the inflammation caused by breakouts.
In Canada and the UK, a product called Sativex, which uses both CBD and THC, has shown considerable improvement for arthritis patients and those with chronic pain. While this product is not legal in the US, consumers can take CBD to relieve at least some symptoms.
Finally, your ECS helps regulate serotonin and melatonin levels, which affect your sleep cycle. Again, more research is needed, but initial studies seem to illustrate that individuals who take CBD can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Overall, taking CBD is a personal choice, and the ingredient can interact with everyone’s body differently. It’s important to talk with your doctor about any potential complications, especially if you’re already taking medication. Fortunately, there are no reported incidents of CBD overdoses, and you’d have to take a massive quantity to experience any severe side effects.