If you are interested in wellness, health or nutrition, chances are you have probably encountered the industry’s latest trending ingredient. It seems that CBD is in everything these days, from oils, bacon, and coffees to candies like chocolates and lollipops. While the majority of people could hazard a guess as to what CBD is, it is a widely misunderstood ingredient. To understand why the food, beverage and wellness industries are going so mad for this latest trendy product, it is first necessary to understand what CBD is.
So, what is CBD?
CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the Cannabis Sativa plant, otherwise known as marijuana, cannabis or hemp. Unlike other molecules found in the cannabis plant, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD is not psychoactive, so will not produce any of the mind-altering effects typically associated with cannabis. The CBD oil popular in health, food, and wellness products, is extracted from the hemp plant and then diluted with additional oils such as coconut or hemp seed oil.
There are so many CBD myths and misunderstandings out there, and this article simply can’t cover them all, but there are some benefits CBD can provide that have scientific evidence supporting them:
It Can be Used as a Type of Pain Relief
The cannabis plant has been used for its pain-relieving qualities around the world for centuries. However, it was only relatively recently that scientists have been able to identify what the specific pain-relieving molecule in the plant is, and how to extract it.
Specifically, studies have found that CBD can reduce the symptoms of chronic pain by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptor activity, thus reducing inflammation and altering neurotransmitter interaction. Conditions which particularly benefit from regular CBD intake include multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
It Could Benefit Mental Health Issues like Anxiety
Researchers believe that CBD has the potential to help people with anxiety manage the condition, due to CBD’s ability to alter the way the brain’s receptors respond to serotonin. One particular study found that when people with social anxiety received a 600mg dose of CBD, they were able to give a speech. This is seen to indicate that CBD inhibits the anxiety that comes with fearing public speaking. These studies led researchers to conclude that the symptoms of impairment, discomfort, and hypervigilance common to social anxiety disorder patients were all relieved by cannabinoids. Other studies have found it to bring additional benefits to mental health, such as:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
It has the Potential to Reduce Acne
CBD might have the potential to reduce the signs of acne, an understanding informed by a human study that found that cannabidiol prevented activity in the sebaceous glands. It is in these glands that sebum is produced and, when too much sebum is produced, acne develops. In addition to the impact of CBD on the overproduction of sebum, the anti-inflammatory properties of the substance might also benefit acne. However, no conclusive research on that has yet been published.
It Might be a Preventative to Diabetes
Research in this area is still new, as there has yet to be a conclusive, human study, but there is evidence to suggest that CBD might have great potential when it comes to diabetes prevention. In a study performed on diabetic mice, CBD treatment was found to reduce the prevalence of diabetes by 56% as well as hugely decreasing inflammation.
It Can be Used to Treat Neurological Disorders
CBD has the potential to benefit and treat neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and these benefits have been the most widely studied. The reason that CBD has been so widely studied in this area is due to its ability to act on the endocannabinoid system, among other brain signalling systems.
One study conducted on 214 people who have severe epilepsy, found that a dose of 0.9 to 2.3 grams of CBD oil per pound of their body weight reduced seizures by a median of 36.5%. Other studies have found CBD oil to prevent and reduce seizures in other disorders, such as Dravet syndrome, which is a type of epilepsy in children. It is important to note that although the trials found CBD to be successful in the case of seizure treatments, patients reported experiencing other symptoms from the CBD treatment, such as convulsions, fever, and fatigue.
The benefits shown above are, by no means, an exhaustive list, with many scientists and researchers citing many more potential health uses of CBD oil. However, it is worth noting that while many clinical studies have already been completed, research into CBD is still in its infancy, and more is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn. That being said, with the range of potential health benefits all contained in one ingredient, it isn’t hard to understand why it is being put in everything from pet food to sweeties.