People take or apply cannabidiol (CBD) to treat a variety of symptoms, but there is some confusion about what it is and how it affects the human body.
CBD is one of many compounds in the cannabis plant, known as cannabinoids. Until recently, the best-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC creates a mind-altering “high” when a person smokes it or uses it in cooking. CBD is different. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it. However, CBD does appear to produce significant changes in the body. Researchers have been looking at the possible therapeutic uses of CBD.
Hemp contains most of the CBD that people use medicinally. Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant but the two are very different. Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to contain high levels of THC. Hemp farmers, on the other hand, have rarely modified the plant. These hemp plants are used to create CBD oil.
CBD may benefit a person’s health in a variety of ways.
People tend to use prescription or over-the-counter drugs to relieve stiffness and pain, including chronic pain. Some believe that CBD offers a natural pain relief cream. Authors of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats. The researchers suggested that the non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana, such as CBD, could provide a new treatment for chronic pain.
Some promising evidence suggests that CBD use may help people to quit smoking. A pilot study published in Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who used inhalers containing CBD smoked fewer cigarettes than usual and had no further cravings for nicotine.
A similar review, published in Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may be a promising treatment for people with opioid addiction disorders. These included anxiety, mood-related symptoms, pain, and insomnia.
After researching the safety and effectiveness of CBD oil for treating epilepsy, the FDA approved the use of CBD (Epidiolex) as a therapy for two rare conditions characterized by epileptic seizures in 2018. Findings suggested that CBD may also treat many complications linked to epilepsy, such as neurodegeneration, neuronal injury, and psychiatric diseases.
Another study, published in Current Pharmaceutical Design, found that CBD may produce effects similar to those of certain antipsychotic drugs, and that the compound may provide a safe and effective treatment for people with schizophrenia.
Authors of a review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found evidence that CBD significantly helped to prevent the spread of cancer. The researchers also noted that the compound tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote their destruction.
Doctors often advise people with chronic anxiety to avoid cannabis, as THC can trigger or amplify feelings of anxiousness and paranoia. However, authors of a review from Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may help to reduce anxiety in people with certain related disorders. The authors noted that current treatments for these disorders can lead to additional symptoms and side effects, which can cause some people to stop taking them.
Type 1 diabetes results from inflammation that occurs when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas. Research published in 2016 by Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation found that CBD may ease this inflammation in the pancreas. This may be the first step in finding a CBD-based treatment for type 1 diabetes.
Acne treatment is another promising use for CBD. The condition is caused, in part, by inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands in the body. A 2014 study published by the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD helps to prevent the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance that leads to acne, partly because of its anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Initial research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that CBD was able to prevent the development of social recognition deficit in participants. This means that CBD could help people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s to keep the ability to recognize the faces of people that they know.
But is it legal? Cannabis is legal for either medicinal or recreational use in some American states. Other states have approved the use of CBD oil as a hemp product but not the general use of medical marijuana. Some state and federal laws differ, and current marijuana and CBD legislation in the U.S. can be confusing, even in states where marijuana is legal. There is an ever-changing number of states that do not necessarily consider marijuana to be legal but have laws directly related to CBD oil.