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Significant evidence has emerged in recent years on the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) in treating various clinical conditions; with many people now turning to CBD as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs which carry unpleasant side effects. The following article will discuss why CBD capsules may be beneficial in managing common health issues.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
The cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of different cannabinoids. CBD is one of the main cannabinoids of this plant and is extracted from cannabis Sativa; from the stems, stalks and leaves of the plant. It exists in several forms, such as waxes, crystals and isolates, however, to date, cannabidiol oil, the most popular form. Cannabidiol oil - more commonly referred to as CBD oil - is used to produce CBD capsules which are widely available throughout the world and allow for a slow and extended release of CBD into the body.
Research into the medicinal values of CBD has increased in recent years with mounting evidence to support CBD as an effective therapeutic for alleviating chronic pain, inflammation, muscle ache, and various skin conditions. It can also be beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, as well as regulating sleep patterns. CBD has also recently emerged as a promising therapeutic for alleviating cancer-related symptoms.
How does CBD differ from Marijuana?
The key difference between CBD and marijuana is that marijuana is psychoactive. This is due to the psychoactive chemical, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), found in the hemp plant or Cannabis Sativa. THC is responsible for the high that individuals experience when smoking or consuming marijuana.
CBD oil differs from THC oil in that it is extracted from the leaves, stems, and stalks of the Cannabis Sativa plant, whereas, THC is predominantly synthesised in the flowering part of the plant. Thus, THC is extracted from the flowers. It is possible to extract CBD from all areas of the plant, however, the flowering parts are excluded to ensure the THC content is minimal or nonexistent.
1.) CBD Can Reduce Acne
Acne is the most common skin condition in humans; with 95% of people being affected by acne at some point in their lives. CBD capsules are thought to reduce various forms of acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to control how the body produces sebum - a waxy, oily substance secreted by the skin.
The skin is a vital organ that fulfils numerous functions, one of which is to act as a protective barrier against a wide range of environmental challenges. Sebum is secreted to help protect the skin, however, it can mix with dead skin cells and other pollutants which get trapped inside a pore, resulting in the development of acne. In addition, there are other factors which can also increase the severity of acne, including, genetics, diet and certain medications.
To date, the evidence is limited on CBD reducing acne, however, a systematic review on the antibacterial and antifungal effects of cannabis indicated these properties to be potentially beneficial in reducing dirt and other pollutants on the skin. While preliminary trials are promising, further research and human trials are necessary to fully determine if CBD capsules can be used as an effective anti-acne skin routine. Research has suggested that topical CBD products, such as CBD moisturiser, are increasingly effective at combatting acne when used in conjunction with ingestible CBD.
2.) CBD can Regulate Sleep Patterns
A clinical trial evaluated the acute effects of 300mg of CBD in the sleep patterns of healthy individuals. Overall, CBD did not interfere with the sleep cycle in comparison to individuals using anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs. Individuals administered with CBD also reported falling asleep quicker than usual.
One reason for this could be that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is broken down as the brain uses its carbohydrate supply for energy, leading to adenosine gradually building in the brain. Binding of adenosine to neurons is known to block the release of neurotransmitters, encouraging the body to relax and inducing sleep. As the body sleeps, it metabolizes adenosine levels and once levels are significantly decreased, the body is encouraged to wake up. CBD is thought to bind to the same adenosine receptors which block adenosine uptake. This results in increased levels of adenosine in the brain and helps the body feel sleepier. Thus, CBD capsules could be a safe and effective treatment for achieving better sleep whilst maintaining REM sleep architecture.
3.) CBD is an Effective Painkiller
Despite there being a limited number of clinical trials evaluating the pain killing properties of CBD, a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2018, investigating the effects of a range of cannabis-based medicines concluded they were of some benefit in managing chronic neuropathic pain - a common issue for individuals with conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.
This review selected 16 randomised, double-blind controlled trials of medical cannabis and CBD oil products and reported some evidence of cannabis-based medicines and CBD oils being effective treatments in reducing pain and psychological distress. However, this review also discussed several adverse effects
including dizziness, nausea, and mental disorientation and stated that these side effects may outweigh the benefit of such medicines. It is important to be aware that these studies administered cannabis-based products in a variety of ways, including inhaled cannabis, sprays, oils and oral tablets containing THC and/or CBD from plant sources. Therefore, the reported side effects are likely due to the products containing THC than the CBD only products.
4.) CBD can be used to Treat Drug Addictions
CBD could be effective in helping individuals quit smoking or other drugs. For instance, a study investigated the effects of CBD in reducing cue-induced cravings and anxiety, two important features of addiction that often leads to relapse and continued drug abuse, in individuals with heroin use disorders. The study administered either 400mg or 800mg of CBD daily for three consecutive days and concluded acute CBD administration to significantly reduce both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drugs. This study has provided the basis for further research of CBD as a treatment option for opioid use disorder.
Tobacco addiction is another global health concern, with over 8 million deaths every year attributed to tobacco use. A clinical trial using 24 smokers provided half of the participants with a CBD inhaler and half with a placebo-control inhaler. The participants were instructed to use the inhaler whenever they had the urge to smoke. Overall, individuals using the CBD inhaler reduced their tobacco consumption by approximately 40%, whilst the placebo group was found to increase their smoking habit. Furthermore, another clinical trial using 30 smokers administered participants with 800mg of oral CBD or placebo for seven consecutive days. Findings from this study, highlighted CBD as an effective agent in reducing the salience and pleasantness of tobacco in dependent smokers.
Although CBD may help relieve symptoms of addiction, it is not a substitute for official medical care. Always speak to a qualified healthcare professional when battling addiction.
5.) CBD can Relieve Chronic Cancer-Related Pain
Although it is too early to conclude CBD as an effective cancer treatment, CBD products, such as CBD capsules, are thought to help alleviate symptoms that occur due to the disease or its treatment.
Several studies have highlighted CBD and cannabis-related products as effective therapies that help patients with cancer by stimulating appetite. Many individuals who are undergoing chemotherapy experience nausea and loss of appetite, making it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Studies administering THC and other CBD-related products have shown ingested cannabis to stimulate and encourage appetite, however, evidence of CBD-only products producing equivalent effects remains limited.
Furthermore, cancer patients often experience intense pain due to inflammation, pressure on internal organs or nerve damage. Once pain levels have reached a certain point within the body, opioids which are normally strong pain relievers become non-effective. CBD indirectly interacts with the CB2 receptor, which research has suggested to reduce pain by reducing inflammation.
6.) CBD is Non-Addictive
As previously mentioned, CBD capsules have been shown to have anti-addictive properties, which may be beneficial to people weaning themselves off alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, or heroin. In 2018, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependance (ECDD) published a critical review report on CBD and determined it to be non-addictive, with no withdrawal symptoms and to be well tolerated in the majority of individuals. Furthermore, the WHO ECDD suggested CBD should be removed from international drug control as it possesses no potential for abuse or dependence.
7.) CBD can Reduce Depression and Anxiety
Researchers believe CBD to be beneficial for treating depression due to the positive effect it has on serotonin receptors in the brain. Low serotonin levels are known to be linked to depression and although CBD does not increase serotonin levels, it is known to alter the brain's chemical receptor response to the serotonin that's already present.
A review of animal studies administering CBD oil to assess its application as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound found that, overall, CBD demonstrated non-activation of neuroreceptors CB1 and CB2. Furthermore, the majority of these experiments using CBD reported positive interactions between CBD and the brain. This review concluded CBD to have significant antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. In addition, a more recent systematic review, carried out in 2018, discussed the anti-stress effects of CBD and suggested this property to be responsible in reducing depression linked to stress.
There is some evidence of CBD capsules being a safer treatment for depression than certain antidepressant medications. The majority of antidepressant medications require administration for at least a week before any effect can be felt. A study using animal models showed CBD to have a quick and long-lasting antidepressant effect. CBD capsules may also produce fewer adverse effects than currently prescribed medication. Common side effects of antidepressants include but are not limited to; insomnia,
sexual dysfunction, mood swings, irritability. No study to date has found CBD to produce any of these side effects.
It is crucial to remember, research is only in its infancy, with several experiments currently underway. As scientists achieve a deeper understanding of CBD and its possible benefits or concerns, advice regarding the most suitable and efficient use of the product will continue to change.
CBD capsules are appealing due the range of health benefits and lack of negative side effects. CBD could offer a new alternative for treating physical and mental health issues and is increasing in its popularity.
As mentioned already, it is important to consult with a doctor or medical professional before quitting or starting new medication, including supplements. Although CBD capsules are extremely popular, CBD comes in a variety of other forms including topical creams, patches, sprays, vapes and edibles. Hence, there’s a wide range to try in order to find the CBD product that works best for you.