Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD is rapidly becoming one of the most popular natural remedies to treat various ailments that impact people’s daily lives. CBD is one of over one hundred chemical compounds named cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, specifically Cannabis sativa.
Tetrehydrocannabinol better known as THC, is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid active in cannabis. It is THC that causes the sensation of getting ‘high’ that is probably most common perception of cannabis and marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects and does not cause the user to get ‘high’.
CBD not having any psychoactive side effects is a quality that makes CBD oil an attractive option for anyone who is seeking relief from pain or other symptoms. The mind-altering effects of marijuana, cannabis and even some pharmaceutical drugs can be intolerable and make it difficult to use on a daily basis.
CBD oil is created by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant which is then diluted with a carrier oil such as MCT oil, hemp seed oil or vegetable oil. CBD oil is growing in popularity and is gaining significant momentum in the health and wellness industry. Certain scientific studies are beginning to confirm that CBD oil does ease the symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety and depression.
There are some key benefits that CBD oil may have when you incorporate it into your daily life.
1. Pain Relief
Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years, with the earliest instances estimated to have occurred in 2900 B.C.
In more recent history, scientists and researchers have uncovered that there are specific components of the marijuana plant, including CBD that are responsible for the pain-relieving effect that CBD can have. Identifying the therapeutic effects of specific cannabinoids is imperative to develop an advanced understanding of how the cannabis plant and individual cannabinoids interact with the human body and the resulting effect that cannabinoids can have on the body.
The human body contains a specialised system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is integral in regulating both physiological and cognitive processes in the human body. The endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating functions such as pain, sleep, appetite, immune responses and mood.
The body produces endocannabinoids which are neurotransmitters which bind to the cannabinoid receptors within the central nervous system. Studies have illustrated that CBD could help to reduce chronic pain by impacting the endocannabinoid receptors activity. This results in a reduction of inflammation and an interaction with neurotransmitters.
A study in rodents discovered that CBD injections decreased the pain response to a surgical incision. Another rodent study found that oral CBD treatment dramatically reduced inflammation and sciatic nerve pain.
There have also been several human studies undertaken that have found a combination of CBD and THC is actually effective in treating pain related to arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
In the UK and in some other countries around the world that have approved an oral spray named Sativex which is a combination of CBD and THC. Sativex is an approved medication to treat pain in patients suffering with multiple sclerosis.
There was a study conducted on 47 people with multiple sclerosis that examined the effects of taking Sativex for a 30-day period. The participants disclosed that they felt improvements in their pain, ability to walk and their muscle spasms. However, the study did not include a placebo control group, meaning that a placebo effect cannot be ruled out.
A study into the efficacy, safety and tolerability of Sativex in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis was carried out with 58 people who all suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. The study found that the Sativex significantly improved pain during movement, pain at rest and the quality of sleep of the participants who partook in the study.
Initial research shows that CBD in combination with THC is probably the most effective solution to helping those suffering from chronic pain. A combination of CBD and THC seems to be the most effective formulation for long term pain relief. CBD on its own is probably not quite strong enough and THC in isolation has the psychoactive side effects that may make it unsustainable over a period of several years.
Due to the current difficulties of obtaining a medical cannabis prescription in the UK, trying a CBD oil that you can buy online is probably the best option when first considering a cannabis-based solution for pain relief. Many people have found that CBD products significantly improve their symptoms of pain and there are innovative delivery methods available such as CBD patches that provide the user with a daily dose of CBD that can allow them to manage their symptoms of chronic pain.
A medical cannabis prescription in the UK must be paid for by the patient. Unfortunately, medical insurance policies do not cover medical cannabis and cannabis-based medicines are only available to cancer patients and those diagnosed with rare forms of epilepsy on the NHS.
To obtain a medical cannabis prescription the patient will have to pay for an eligibility consultation to ensure that they are indeed eligible to receive a medical cannabis prescription. Being determined eligible for a medical cannabis prescription, means that the patient has exhausted all other treatment options and has yet to find a medication or therapy that works for them. If the patient has exhausted all options and has a chronic pain condition or another disease, they will then be deemed eligible by their GP or a private cannabis clinic for a medical cannabis prescription. The patient will then have to pay again for an appointment with a medical cannabis specialist doctor to discover what treatment options is likely to work best for them. The patient will also have to pay for the cannabis-based medicine and front the cost of the entire prescription. The total cost to the patient to have the medical cannabis product in their hands ready to use, is likely to be in excess of £500. This is simply unaffordable for the majority of people and it means that the millions of people who could benefit from a medical cannabis prescription do not have access to one.
A successful randomised clinical trial is the only way that the NHS will contemplate medical cannabis being available on the NHS and more accessible through private clinics.
2. Reduce the Impact of Anxiety & Depression
Following the crisis of the coronavirus and the unhealthy state of the global economy, mental health issues are rising at an unprecedented rate. Modern life is conducive to paranoia and insecurity and more people than ever are being diagnosed with mental health issues such as chronic anxiety and depression.
Both depression and anxiety can have a devasting impact on not only the person suffering but their family too. The World Health Organisation has declared that depression is the biggest contributor to disability throughout the world and anxiety is ranked as the 6th biggest contributor.
Anxiety and depression are often treated with pharmaceutical drugs and anti-psychotic medication. These drugs often have nasty side effects and can have a negative impact over an extended period of time. Side effects can include drowsiness, agitation, sexual dysfunction, headaches and insomnia. There are many medications like benzodiazepines which are highly addictive and can often lead to substance abuse problems.
CBD oil has shown it has massive potential as a treatment for both anxiety and depression, this has meant that many people who suffer from either condition have begun to try CBD oil to see if it works for them. There are countless anecdotal stories about the success many people have had by using CBD. CBD oil is a natural and holistic approach that does not harm the user in the long term, unlike many anti-psychotic medications and pharmaceutical drugs.
A study that took place in Brazil gave 57 male participants either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes prior to them undertaking a simulated public speaking test. The researchers found that a 300mg dose of CBD was the most effective at significantly reducing the participants level of anxiety during the test.
The placebo and a 150mg dose of CBD had little effect on reducing the participants level of anxiety.
CBD has also been shown to have safely treated children for insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder, more commonly known as PTSD. A reduction in stress and a regular good night’s sleep can have numerous health benefits.
CBD has an innate ability to act on the brain’s serotonin receptors, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behaviour. Many recreational drugs also create their effect by altering the serotonin that is secreted by the brain.
3. Alleviate Symptoms of Cancer Patients
CBD could be able to help to reduce the impact of symptoms related to cancer and side effects caused by cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Pain, nausea and vomiting are all common side effects of cancer treatments.
There was a study that was undertaken that investigated the effects of CBD and THC on 177 participants with cancer related pain who did not have a positive experience from pain medication. Those given an extract containing both CBD and THC experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those who received only THC extract, illustrating that CBD has a crucial role to play in treating pain with cannabinoids.
CBD could help to alleviate nausea and vomiting that is induced by chemotherapy. Nausea and vomiting are extremely common side effects of cancer treatment and providing an aid to patients undergoing this gruesome process must be seen as a great help to their mental state when undergoing treatment. There are existing drugs that claim to address these symptoms, but they can be ineffective which is why cannabis-based medicines could be a great alternative.
16 people took part in a study that investigated how a one to one CBD to THC combination administered via a mouth spray could reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. The study concluded that the CBD and THC combination reduced the chemotherapy related symptoms.
CBD has illustrated that it can help to reduce the symptoms related to cancer treatment and may even be able to fight the cancer too. However, more research needs to be carried out to assess its efficacy and the safety of CBD.
4. Treat Chronic Skin Conditions such as Acne
More than 9% of the population suffer with acne. Acne is thought to be caused by a number of factors including genetics, underlying inflammation, over production of sebum and bacteria. Sebum is an oily secretion made by the skin via the sebaceous glands.
Studies have suggested that CBD oil could help to treat acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to decrease sebum production. One study uncovered that CBD oil prevented the sebaceous gland cells from secreting too much sebum and exerted anti-inflammatory actions that prevented the activation of acne agents such as inflammatory cytokines.
Another study found that due to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil, treating acne using CBD oil could be an efficient and safe option. It is widely regarded that using a topical CBD product, such as CBD moisturiser, or CBD balm alongside a sublingual or ingestible CBD product is the most effective treatment.
5. CBD Oil may have Neuroprotective Properties
Scientists have suggested that CBD’s ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system and other neuro signalling systems could provide benefits to those who suffer from a neurological disorder.
One of the most studied benefits of CBD oil is for treating neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. While there is still a tremendous amount of research that needs to be conducted, there have been several studies with very promising results.
Sativex, which is an oral spray that combines CBD and THC, has been approved as a safe and effective prescription to reduce muscle spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. A study that was undertaken into Sativex found that Sativex decreased muscle spasms in 75% of the 276 participants in the study who had multiple sclerosis and were struggling with muscle spasticity that was resistant to existing treatments.
Another study that was carried out discovered that when compared with a placebo, CBD oil dramatically reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome which is a complex form of childhood epilepsy. However, there were some that partook in the study who experienced adverse side effects from the treatment, with some participants reporting convulsions, fatigue and a fever.
There are other neurological diseases that CBD oil may be able to treat. Two studies showed that using CBD oil as a treatment improved the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease, CBD oil was also found to improve the quality of sleep for people who used it.
While the amount of research is still limited, initial studies do suggest that CBD can ease symptoms related to epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
6. CBD Could Benefit the Heart
There has been recent research that has associated CBD with effects that optimise the heart and circulatory system, one crucial prospective benefit is the ability to lower high blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to increasing the risk of many health conditions such as suffering a stroke, a heart attack and causing metabolic syndrome. Initial studies suggest that CBD could help those who have high blood pressure.
A recent study gave 600mg of CBD oil to 9 healthy male adults. The study found that the CBD oil helped to reduce blood pressure compared to a placebo. Within the study the participants were also given stress tests that normally increase blood pressure, a single dose of CBD oil led the men to have their blood pressure increase by a smaller amount than normal in response to the stress test.
Scientists have also suggested that CBD oil’s stress and anxiety reducing effects are what enable CBD oil to help to lower blood pressure.
7. Other Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD and THC are both being examined to see what other prospective health benefits they may contain. The quantum nature of cannabis means that it will take decades of research to unlock the full capability of the plant. Other prospective benefits could include;
Substance Abuse Treatment – CBD has proved that it can modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction. CBD oil has been shown the decrease the morphine dependence and heroin seeking behaviour in rodents.
Anti-Tumour Effects – In animal studies, CBD has demonstrated that may have anti-tumour effects. CBD oil has also been shown to prevent the spread of breast, brain and lung cancer in animals.
Diabetes Prevention – A study conducted with diabetic mice found that CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes by 56% and dramatically reduced inflammation.
a. What are the side effects of CBD?
Despite CBD being well tolerated and widely considered to be totally safe. Some people may have an adverse reaction to taking CBD.
b. Is CBD Oil Legal?
In the UK, CBD oil is totally legal and has been Federally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as legal in the United States of America. While the Cannabis plant as a whole remains illegal in the UK, certain cannabinoids are legal, such as CBD and CBG.
While cannabinoids such as THC are illegal under The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. CBD products are legal so long as there is less than 0.2% THC in the product.
There is incoming Novel Food legislation in the UK and Europe that is going to be implemented on the 31st of March 2021. This new legislation dictates that all ingestible CBD products must be formulated using CBD isolate and full-spectrum products will no longer be allowed to sell on the market. Classing CBD as a Novel Food will mean that the is definitive legislation that CBD manufacturers and brands must abide by. This should result in a higher quality of product across the market and ensure that all CBD products are tested by third parties to ensure what is being advertised on the bottle is actually what is contained.
The Novel Food legislation is a positive step for the CBD industry as it is the first instance of regulation within the CBD market, this will build the foundation on which appropriate legislation can be implemented for other cannabinoids too.
c. Is CBD Oil Addictive?
Many prospective CBD users worry that CBD is addictive and are concerned about whether CBD is addictive. CBD does not cause the user to become dependent and CBD is not addictive. The body can’t build up a tolerance of CBD. It is THC that is the cannabinoid that can potentially cause addiction, but the level of THC in CBD products is not high enough for this to be considered a risk. The World Health Organisation declared in 2017 that CBD is not addictive and stated that CBD products do not have any effects that could be addictive, and that CBD is well tolerated and safe for human consumption.
CBD oils are considered safe and are not toxic, even at very high doses. Side effects of CBD are often very mild if they occur and do not last for a long time. The World Health Organisation have stated that even regular doses of up to 1500mg of CBD per day is well tolerated by humans and does not have any side effects.
d. How Can CBD be Consumed?
CBD can be consumed in a variety of ways and different delivery methods work for different people. CBD oil is the most popular manner of consuming CBD at the moment. However, innovative delivery methods such as CBD patches are becoming increasingly popular. CBD cosmetics are becoming common place online and within renowned high street brands’ product offering. Other options include CBD capsules, which are a convenient way of incorporating CBD into your daily life.
CBD sprays are also an intriguing way to take your CBD. They typically taste better than CBD oil and can be a better option if standardised dosing is something you are concerned about.
CBD vape oils are also very popular, particularly with the younger demographic of CBD users. Using a CBD vape is a cool way to get your daily dose of CBD.
CBD oil has been and is being researched into how it can ease the symptoms of many common health issues such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, acne and symptom relief. Research on the potential health benefits of CBD oil are ever developing and hopefully CBD’s therapeutic uses are definitively proven. There is more to be learned on the safety and efficacy of using CBD over an extended period of time and the early evidence suggests that CBD could provide a safe and powerful natural treatment for many health issues that have a devastating effect one people’s lives. An alternative treatment for depression, anxiety and chronic pain is desperately needed as there are so many people suffering in silence with illnesses that have no treatment that is definitively safe without adverse side effect.
Current treatments for chronic pain and mental health issues can have disastrous side effects and can make the condition worse in the long run. More research needs to be undertaken but CBD make provide a viable alternative for people in need.