Cannabidiol (CBD) has become popular during the past several years—and for good reason. It is a jack of all trades. This active compound of cannabis is proving to be beneficial to many people suffering from conditions that are either hard to treat or require prescription medicines that are hard to take.
More and more people are looking for alternatives to traditional Western health care, which tends to treat only symptoms. Natural and alternative medicines such as CBD look to the whole and to the underlying causes. CBD’s compatibility with the human body is truly remarkable. CBD and other cannabinoids address a general balance in the body that can potentially ease symptoms caused by a core condition. In some cases, it may even address the condition itself.
It wasn’t more than a year ago when the mainstream was quite skeptical about CBD’s health benefits, and research was rudimentary. Now, there are thousands of studies and countless success stories from people who are either struggling from chronic illness, are tired of the symptoms and side effects of current medications or are simply curious about what CBD might do for them.
Researchers hail CBD as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective (a fancy word meaning it protects your brain’s neurons), antipsychotic, antimicrobial and pain reliever. What this really means is that CBD has been scientifically acknowledged for addressing pain, sleeplessness, stress, anxiety, mood imbalances, and skin conditions.
The only caveat is you must take the right CBD. This means it must be quality controlled, in the right dosage, and in the right format for whatever it is you are addressing. Let’s look at some common conditions that can benefit from CBD intake.
For reasons ranging from diet to genetics, inflammation is a common human complaint. CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, ramping up the body’s defense system. Inflammation is also a key factor in acute pain and some chronic pain conditions, and as an anti-inflammatory, CBD has the potential to mitigate pain. The limitless applications of CBD as a pain reliever dominate the current research trends.
In research around neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, the way CBD blocks and disrupts the binding of the molecules that contribute to negative effects may have positive impacts. Neurological conditions are an important treatment opportunity for CBD, and beyond that, a challenging medical category, from chronic inflammation to debilitating conditions like multiple sclerosis. Many of these neurodegenerative conditions are also exasperated by oxidation and cell deterioration, also an area where CBD can help.
CBD is hailed as an antipsychotic, regulating mood, thinking and perception as it interacts with the receptors in the brain. With conversations about mental health dominating the landscape, it’s encouraging that CBD can help combat conditions like depression, stress and anxiety.
Digestive challenges and conditions that affect the gastrointestinal system (GI) are rampant. CBD has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation in the gut, which can help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. CBD oil can also help to increase the production of serotonin in the gut, which can improve digestion and reduce appetite.
As an anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, in topical circumstances, CBD can fight against bacteria and microbes that cause skin conditions. Evidence indicates CBD has had success treating eczema, scarring and acne.
CBD may also help the more than 50 percent of Americans who suffer from sleeplessness. It contributes to increased relaxation by decreasing tension and muscle stress, resulting in better and deeper rest.
And let us not forget our furred and feathered friends. Pets are a part of the CBD equation as well. They have digestive, pain, skin, immune and neurological conditions just like us – and CBD can help.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
CBD sets in motion a series of chemical interactions related to imbalances across key regulatory systems in our bodies. When these imbalances are addressed, the result is homeostasis, otherwise referred to as balance in the body’s system. The scientific short of it is, that CBD is a cannabinoid. Our human bodies have an endo (endo=internal) cannabinoid system. We literally have a complimentary cannabinoid system to the cannabis plant. So, the pairing and complementing of CBD can support our internal operating system. The ways that it supports our system are wildly diverse. This range contributes to much of the speculation that CBD is snake oil. How can it do SO MANY different things? Well, because it has chemical interactions with a system throughout our entire bodies that is designed to receive the benefits of CBD. That’s how. Simple.
The efficacy and application of CBD is not quite so simple though. Add the actual chemistry component to the sheer fact that many of the products available on the market are novice and rudimentary in formulation and quality, and we get poor efficacy. As the industry, the research and our knowledge evolve, so will the quality products available to you.
The last factor to consider here is that the way the CBD is consumed for a particular ailment also affects the efficacy. Every ailment requires a different dose, and those doses are best consumed in certain form factors. Fast onset high CBD availability is required for acute pain; slower onset, longer availability would be needed for staying asleep longer. Below is a simple bioavailability chart. In order for CBD to work, and to work well, one must consider, what form (i.e., how it is consumed), what dose (i.e., concentration of CBD) and the quality of the product.
For minor aches and pains, a tinge of stress and mild mood conditions, somewhere around 30 mg might do the trick. For severe, chronic and persistent conditions, it might require up to 300 mg per treatment. When you are taking a high dose like that, it’s wise to not take it all the time. Occasional breaks just to reset the system and prevent reliance are nice. There is no need to fear addiction, as CBD has been shown not to create chemical dependency. I just know that some of us can get attached
CBD, like anything else we take to help us feel better, is just a piece of the puzzle to address any conditions and symptoms in our bodies. There is no such thing as a magic pill. Everyone’s body is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Know yourself, pay attention to the variables around your consumption, your habits and your activities, so that when you consume CBD for the first time, you have a baseline to compare your experience. That way, when you take it again, you will be able to evaluate for yourself, when and how it works best. And always titrate, meaning start with smaller doses of about 10 mg and work your way up. Give yourself at least three days of the product in your system before you make any changes. Ï
THE MANY WAYS TO TAKE CBD
Tincture dropped and held under the tongue to absorb, then swallowed. Onset time: Immediate to 30 minutes
Absorbed through the skin by the application of a patch. Onset time: 15-30 minutes
Swallowed in the form of food, capsule or liquid, then digested in the gut.
Onset time: 30 minutes to two hours
Applied topically and absorbed through the skin. Onset time: 30-45 minutes
Smoking a joint or vapor pen and absorbed through the lungs. Onset time: A few minutes
CAN CBD GET YOU HIGH?
In a word, no. CBD doesn’t get you high because it has nothing resembling psychoactive, psychedelic, or hallucinatory properties.
The cannabis plant, hemp’s cousin, became famous as a psychedelic drug. Cannabis contains hundreds of chemical compounds. CBD is one of them, as is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance responsible for creating the psychedelic experience. But the fact that CBD and THC appear in the same plant doesn’t mean they’re the same thing in form or function.
Legally, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products can have up to 0.3 percent THC, but that amount won’t get you high. Make sure you’re buying quality products with reputable origins and proper testing and labeling, and you don’t need to worry about the high issue.
No one has ever fatally overdosed from using cannabis. The studies and anecdotal evidence around CBD all indicate that the side effects are few and far between. And these side effects are only mildly relevant, especially compared to what you’re trying to treat. The more serious side effects include possible contraindications with pharmaceutical or over-the-counter drugs. Some of these medications are processed through the liver, as is CBD. Check with your doctor regarding all the drugs you’re taking and the spectrum of potential drug interactions between those and CBD.
*Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please seek the guidance of a professional medical doctor for recommendations.