Updated: Jul 31
CBD seems to be popping up everywhere – it can be found in everything from beauty products to coffee. Many people swear by CBD for treating an array of ailments, while others are skeptical of some of its claims. Because of this split, many people are left wondering, should I try CBD?
What Is CBD?
First of all, “CBD” stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is extracted from cannabis plants. Cannabis comes in two forms: hemp and marijuana.
Cannabis plants contain chemical compounds that are thought to have health benefits, called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, which has an intoxicating effect.
Therefore, the more THC concentration, the more intoxicating this effect can be. Marijuana has a THC content between 5 and 30%. On the other hand, hemp has a THC content of about .3%. Because CBD is typically derived from hemp, taking CBD won’t have an intoxicating effect.
Still, even though CBD is often very low in THC, it’s still possible to test positive for a drug test – even if you never felt a high.
How Does it Work?
Our body has something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays an important role in regulating different aspects of our bodies. From appetite and digestion to pain and pleasure, the ECS is involved.
The ECS also has two types of cannabinoid receptors, which are located throughout our bodies. These receptors are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in our central nervous system while CB2 receptors are located in our peripheral nervous system. Research suggests that when CBD bonds with a CB1 or CB2 receptor, it may positively alter the receptor’s functionality.
What Does CBD Treat?
Even though CBD has been used for many years, the scientific research on it is still very new. Still, CBD is regarded by many as an effective way to help manage a wide range of ailments, including:
type 1 diabetes
Alzheimer’s or dementia
Currently, there’s only conclusive evidence that CBD is an effective treatment option for a few conditions. One is seizures triggered by two severe forms of epilepsy. The other is chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting (but only when CBD is combined with THC).
When combined with THC, there’s substantial evidence that CBD may help with involuntary muscle contractions due to multiple sclerosis, as well as chronic pain management. Furthermore, there’s moderate support that this combination may also help with sleep problems caused by obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain.
There’s still limited evidence to support that CBD can treat anxiety, IBS, cancer, dementia, among others. So, this isn’t to say that CBD won’t help with these conditions, there’s just not enough evidence to support it yet.
If you’re thinking about trying CBD, consider any medications you may be on already. Because there’s potential for CBD to interfere with some medications, you should talk to your doctor first.
While CBD derived from hemp and containing less than .3% THC is legal in many states, CBD derived from marijuana may not be. So, be careful when reading labels and choosing a provider. It’s also not a bad idea to look into your state’s laws around CBD and THC.
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Dellwo, Adrienne. (2019, April 26). “What is the Endocannabinoid System?” Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-the-endocannabinoid-system-4171855
Dow, Caitlin. “10 Things You Should Know About Cannabis.” Nutrition Action March 2019: 9.
Hickok, Kimberly. (2019, May 21). “CBD and CBD Oil: What Is It and Does It Really Work?” Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/63452-what-is-cannabis-oil.html
Johnson, Jon. (2018, July 29). “Does CBD Oil Work for Chronic Pain Management?” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319475.php