You might have heard of CBD oil — it’s the latest health supplement taking not just the health food industry by storm, but vaping shops, the medical industry and even coffee shops! You can buy CBD drops, e-liquid, CBD to add to recipes and even CBD coffee. But what is CBD oil and why is everyone talking about it?
We’ve worked with The Natural Hemp Company, the UK’s experts in CBD, to answer your questions. If you want more information, they have an Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil that covers the topic in even more depth!
CBD stands for cannabidiol and it comes from the hemp plant. That’s the same plant from which cannabis is derived, but unlike cannabis, CBD is a legal health supplement that does not get you high.
In fact, hemp plants used to produce CBD are grown under tight regulations and only strains that cannot be used to product cannabis — because they contain less than 0.3% THC — are allowed to be grown. This means that CBD and cannabis are not the same!
THC vs CBD
The key difference between CBD oil and cannabis is in two chemical compounds: THC and CBD. These are both cannabidiols found in the hemp plant, but they have very different effects.
THC is the psychoactive chemical that causes people to become high when they use cannabis.
CBD, on the other hand, actually has the effect of bringing you down. It reduces and stabilises appetite, helps you to focus, reduces stress and anxiety, and is safe for daily use.
Not only that, but CBD has a huge number of health benefits.
The Health Benefits of CBD
Scientific research is still ongoing into the full benefits of CBD, but studies have already shown it to be an anti-inflammatory intimately connected to immune response and the hormones that impact mental health.
While scientists are still researching the way CBD impacts our bodies, it has been found that CBD is beneficial for a huge range of illnesses and people across the globe have experienced relief from a massive range of different ailments.
It is thought that CBD can:
- Improve immune health
- Increase concentration
- Improve sleep quality
- Reduce stress
- Support treatment for anxiety and PTSD
- Reduce frequency of epileptic seizures
- Reduce inflammation
With such a huge range of benefits, it’s natural to wonder how one supplement can do so much…
How Does CBD Work?
Our bodies are made up of lots of different systems, such as the circulatory system, the respiratory system and the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is not as well known as the others and research is still limited on precisely how it works. However, it impacts all the other systems and organs within the body, helping to regulate a huge number of hormones and chemicals.
Within the endocannabinoid system there are two known receptors that are found in the brain, called CB1 and CB2. When neurotransmitters bind with these receptors, it causes a response in the body, varying from reducing inflammation to reducing stress.
The neurotransmitters that bind with these receptors are called endocannabinoids — cannabinoids that our bodies naturally produce. They are extremely similar to phytocannabinoids — the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, such as CBD.
The chemical similarity between our endocannabinoids and CBD means that CBD can interact with our endocannabinoid system. It was initially thought that it bound to the receptors itself, but scientists now think it encourages our natural endocannabinoids to work more effectively.
The endocannabinoid system in our bodies has a big impact upon immune health. Scientists haven’t yet fully discovered how it works, but thousands of people report an improvement in their immune health after taking CBD oil.
Neurotransmitters in the endocannabinoid system function as signaling mechanisms, like instructions, for the chemicals and processes involved in immune response. Not only does CBD help with this, it also promotes new cell generation (neurogenesis) and reduces cell degeneration caused by autoimmune response. This means that CBD oil can have a far-reaching positive effect on immune health.
CBD is used as a support treatment for people suffering from HIV/AIDs, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, which is the form of arthritis caused by an autoimmune response.
However, CBD oil is also fantastic for the average healthy person to reduce the risk of colds and other illnesses.
CBD oil can impact a huge number of mental health illnesses, including PTSD, general anxiety, depression and more.
Anxiety, along with a number of other mental health illnesses, is impacted by levels of serotonin in the brain — this is often known as the ‘happy chemical’. Serotonin is a mood boosting chemical that also reduces cortisol (the primary stress chemical) that’s present in the brain.
A lot of prescription drugs are used to tackle anxiety and depression. These are known as SSRIs and they interact with the serotonin receptors in the brain to promote a better balance and improve mental health.
It’s thought that CBD works in a very similar way to SSRIs, but while SSRIs can have a lot of side effects, CBD is thought to have no negative side effects at all. It’s a natural way to handle anxiety and other mental health problems, particularly for those who don’t want to take prescription drugs.
(It’s worth noting that you should never stop taking prescribed medication without speaking to your doctor.)
One of the leading causes of chronic pain is inflammation. Inflammation is a normal biological response that’s intended to protect joints or muscles from further damage. However, inflammation is extremely painful and healing can’t occur until inflammation has reduced.
CBD oil is a known anti-inflammatory and it works by promoting cytokines in the body. Cytokines are proteins that reduce inflammation, helping to regulate the inflammatory response in the body. Cannabinoids, including CBD, interact with cytokines in an immune response to stimulate them to reduce inflammation.
CBD is therefore an extremely effective way to reduce chronic pain, whether it’s caused by arthritis, repetitive strain injury, sport or a chronic illness.
Should You Try CBD?
With a huge number of health benefits, you might be asking the obvious question: should you try CBD oil?
CBD oil is a health supplement and not a medicine, which means that it’s intended to support the functioning of your body’s systems alongside other health decisions such as your diet, exercise or any medication you take.
It is not monitored or regulated by the FDA, which means that it can’t be marketed as a medicine or a cure for illnesses. This could be confusing; after all, you’ve heard of all the ways that CBD can improve health. However, there has not yet been enough research done into the positive effects of CBD, so there’s no guarantee that this health supplement works for every person.
However, there are countless testimonies and accounts of the impact CBD has on people. In June 2018, CBD was used for the first time in an approved drug, Epidiolex, which is used to manage epilepsy. Many people think this is the beginning of prescription companies researching more into the effects of CBD on health and the body and we’ll see it being used in more and more medication in the future.
If you’re interested in CBD oil, you can find loads more information on the Natural Hemp Company’s website, as well as range of CBD oil products.