Have trouble sleeping? Want to unwind before your finals? Feeling some pain in your back? Is your dog anxious?
CBD claims to be the solution to all of these.
CBD is the trendy natural remedy of the moment. It’s all over social media and used in every industry. It comes in many forms: CBD gummies, candies, chocolate bars, lattes, creams, Vape juices, pills, oils, bath bombs…you name it! But it seems a little unusual to use it as a medicine.
Isn’t it bad for you?
It kind of just sounds like a good excuse for people to get high.
Is that what you’re thinking?
Well, you’re not the only one. There are a lot of misconceptions around CBD that prevent people from using its benefits…and it has some noteworthy benefits.
But don’t worry.
We’re going to put the rumors aside and look at some facts.
What is CBD?
The first thing we think about when we hear CBD, is marijuana. And we’re all a little familiar with that.
What we might not know is that marijuana is only one of the two primary species of a plant called Cannabis sativa. The other one is hemp.
Cannabis sativa has more than eighty biologically active chemical compounds or cannabinoids. Two of its most abundant ones are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the ingredient that causes a “high” and CBD is not psychoactive on its own. Hemp contains higher levels of CBD and lower levels of TCH compared to marijuana and the trendy CBD is extracted from hemp.
So if you were looking for a justification to get high, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Unless if you are among the exceptional 5% who react differently to CBD.
How does CBD work?
Your body has a regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which naturally produces cannabinoids. These cannabinoids play an important role in different processes like sleep, pain, mood, memory, metabolism, immune function, reproductive function, and appetite.
Although it hasn’t been proven yet, the belief is that CBD interacts with these cannabinoids and enhances their effects. In fact, a survey has shown that 42 percent of people who use CBD have stopped taking other medications.
So what can you use CBD for?
- Rare childhood epilepsies such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) that don’t usually respond to other medications were successfully treated with CBD. A CNN documentary about a little girl suffering from Dravet syndrome showed this when her seizures reduced from 300 a week to only a couple a month by using CBD. Since then FDA has approved a CBD product, Epidiolex, for treating these types of epilepsies. This is the only CBD medicine approved by the FDA.
- Some studies have shown the effectiveness of CBD in alleviating chronic pains such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, back pain, and even cancer pain.
- CBD helps with anxiety and insomnia. A study found that a single dose of 600 milligrams of CBD reduced anxiety in people who were about to give a speech. This effect has driven athletes to use CBD with their smoothies or morning coffees to reduce stress.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil have turned it into a suitable product for acne-prone skin. CBD oil is also incorporated into makeup products such as eye shadow palettes and lip glosses.
What are the side effects of CBD?
- If you use CBD simultaneously with alcohol or medications for anxiety and insomnia, it can increase the risk of sedation. Also, CBD can interfere with other medications you’re taking. So you should consult with a doctor before using it.
- Since FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, unverified companies may lie about the dosage on the label and include other elements and impurities that will harm your body. A study that tested CBD products, found lower levels of CBD than what was advertised on the label. In another test, products had amounts of THC in them.
- FDA has listed liver injury and male reproductive toxicity as side effects of CBD.
- Other reported side effects that occur with high levels of CBD include fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, dry mouth, and nausea. Although if you start with small doses of CBD, you can avoid these problems.
So should you try a CBD product next time you’re stressed out or in pain? Can you use CBD oil for your dog safely? Although there is much more research to be done in this area, especially human studies, CBD has proven to be beneficial for most of its users.
Now that the World Health Organization has announced CBD’s safety and many countries including USA, Canada, and Israel have made it legal, you can safely give it a try. Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with other medications you’re taking like blood thinners and antidepressants, and buy a third-party-tested product for quality assurance.
Who knows? Maybe in a few years, pharmacy shelves will be filled with CBD products. Until then, stay safe, keep the doses low, and tell me…what’s your experience with CBD?