What are the benefits of CBD oil?
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CBD is becoming increasingly popular as a supplement with various benefits. And while it is true that encouraging research on the cannabinoid is mounting, its full potential is far from being intimately understood. To help you decide if CBD could make a valuable addition to your lifestyle, we’re going to review the latest scientific findings to see what the evidence suggests about CBD’s effect on pain, inflammation, anxiety, and more.
HOW DOES CBD OIL WORK?
First, it helps to quickly recap how CBD interacts with the body. Inside all of us is a regulatory network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This vast system of receptors monitors parts of the brain, immune system, and digestive system to maintain a state of balance. CBD’s primary role is to mediate the ECS, supporting it when needed.
As a result, CBD’s influence could extend throughout all of our biological systems. Put simply—wherever our endocannabinoid system exists, CBD could be useful. This affiliation has naturally given the cannabinoid a reputation as a potential aid for numerous conditions. While there is potential for CBD to exert a significant impact on our physiology, the majority of studies are still in preclinical stages.
5 POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF CBD OIL
Evidence may be preliminary, but that doesn’t stop results from being encouraging. With that in mind, below you’ll find a summary of CBD’s effect on several common and debilitating conditions.
1. PAIN RELIEF
Pain affects us all, but for those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and several other chronic conditions, that pain is often overwhelming and unrelenting. Prescription painkillers are an option, but these carry a wide range of possible side effects. Thankfully, a natural approach to pain management could stem from CBD, thanks to possible interactions with pain pathways, neurotransmitters, and nerve endings.
Frontiers in Pharmacology examined the impact of cannabinoids on pain by conducting a meta-analysis of current research. Their comprehensive review found there to be “a moderate amount of evidence that cannabis/cannabinoids exhibit analgesic activity, especially in neuropathic pain".
Researchers did conclude that, despite encouraging results, evidence is lacking regarding the “long-term efficacy and long-term safety” of cannabinoids.
Although inflammation is an essential mechanism for repair and recovery, too much of a good thing has significant repercussions. Chronic inflammation is believed to be the precursor to dozens of severe medical conditions, so keeping your inflammatory response in check is crucial.
In a 2011 study, the University of Mississippi Medical Center reviewed cannabidiol's effect on inflammation and oxidative stress. They believed that the ECS and its CB1 and CB2 receptors could play a role in mitigating the impact of oxidative stress.
Due to its mediation of the ECS, researchers suggested that “cannabidiol may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders”, going on to add, “these include rheumatoid arthritis, types 1 and 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and neuropathic pain”.
3. ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
With an estimated 300 million people suffering from depression, and up to 10% of people in the UK experiencing anxiety, both conditions have a significant impact on quality of life. The University of São Paulo found CBD to reduce the “anxiety induced by simulated public speaking”. Using a double-blind, randomised design, results showed that “CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort”.
Later, in 2016, a study published in the Journal of Neuropharmacology showed that CBD influenced 5-HT receptors. These receptors are involved in functions including aggression, anxiety, sociability, and mood. Although the study couldn’t identify the exact mechanism of action, researchers concluded that “CBD could present a novel fast antidepressant drug” by enhancing the signalling of 5-HT receptors.
4. EPILEPSY AND SEIZURES
One area in which researchers have made the most progress concerns the relationship between CBD and two specific types of epilepsy. In 2018, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Epidiolex (a synthetic version of CBD) for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome—two types of severe epilepsy—in young children.
Due to the complexity of epileptic conditions, it will be some time before we see definitive results for other types. However, a 2017 study from the University of São Paulo presented findings supporting the “anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of CBD”.
5. SKIN CONDITIONS
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and despite doing an excellent job of protecting us, sometimes it needs a helping hand. CBD has demonstrated the ability to penetrate deep beneath the skin's surface, affecting CBD receptors involved in conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne. A 2007 study from the School of Biomedical Sciences found that CBD may inhibit the proliferation of immune cells involved in psoriasis.
Another study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggested that CBD may also be useful in the treatment of acne. The findings highlighted unique interactions between CBD, human sebaceous glands, and adenosine receptors. The study concluded that “CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris”.
RESEARCH INTO THE BENEFITS OF CBD OIL IS ONGOING
As you can see, interest in the therapeutic capabilities of CBD is at an all-time high. Researchers and scientists from around the globe are keen to understand exactly how the cannabinoid could positively influence the endocannabinoid system, and in turn, all the biological systems it monitors.
However, we still have a long way to go before we can make concrete claims regarding CBD oil. Nearly all of the studies highlighted above are still in animal or preclinical stages, and a lot can change once human trials begin. Although, that doesn’t stop us from celebrating the results we do have, as even early indications are an encouraging sign of what might be to come.