What Are The Effects And Benefits Of CBD?
What are the effects of CBD oil? CBD products come in a myriad of different formulas intended to produce various distinct effects. What this means is that choosing the wrong CBD product can end up causing you more harm than good. Determining which CBD oil product is ideal for your needs requires that you do some homework. We can help you with that.
What effects does CBD have on the human body? And what are the specific health benefits of CBD? While it’s not difficult to produce a list of CBD’s health benefits, explaining its actual physical effects is a little more complicated.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty here, it’s important to point out that cannabinoids such as CBD and their physiological effects are extremely complicated. Some scientists have spent vast stretches of their careers studying these fascinating compounds. And, although many of CBD’s secrets are being uncovered, we still have quite a bit to learn about how cannabinoids affect the human body.
Moreover, countless research papers have been published presenting reams of information and speculation about the workings of CBD and the human endocannabinoid system and immune system. In order to provide in this short article an understandable overview of the vast body of research on this topic, we need to greatly simplify some of the concepts involved.
However, we have provided a list of links at the end of this post to articles that provide much more in-depth information on the topic of CBD’s benefits. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to check these posts out before you delve into the science behind the effects of CBD on the human body.
How does CBD affect the human body?
How does CBD affect and benefit the human body? Again, the shortest answer to that question is, “it’s complicated.” Researchers have uncovered a number of very different ways in which CBD affects the human body.
Some of the ways that CBD affects and benefits the human body include:
- Mimics endocannabinoids
- Acts as a neurotransmitter
- Antioxidant agent
- Anti-inflammatory agent
- Antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal agent
- Anti-tumor agent
- Clear amyloid plaques involved in Alzheimer’s
Let’s take a brief look at each of these effects.
How CBD interacts with the Human Endocannabinoid System
The most commonly cited mechanism involved in CBD’s physical effects is its interaction with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). Endocannabinoids are health-critical compounds created naturally by the human body.
The cannabinoids found in cannabis are technically referred to as phytocannabinoids. Studies have shown that CBD has the ability to mimic particular endocannabinoids and to interact with the ECS in many of the same ways.
For example, CBD has been shown to modulate the production of an endocannabinoid known as anandamide that, in turn, modulates the production and uptake of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is also sometimes referred to as “the bliss molecule” for its ability to reduce feelings of anxiety.
CBD acts as a signaling molecule/neurotransmitter
However, it is less widely known that CBD and other cannabinoids also have effects on other neurotransmitter-related systems operating within the human brain and central nervous system. Although the mechanisms are not completely understood, clinical research has made it clear that CBD can have marked effects on seizure disorders.
In fact, after numerous clinical trials, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a drug called Epidiolex CBD in the treatment of certain forms of childhood epilepsy to help reduce the number of seizures. Epodiolex is essentially purified CBD.
Furthermore, CBD has additional effects that are completely unrelated to signaling molecules and receptors.
CBD as an Antioxidant
CBD is a powerful antioxidant. In fact, it’s many times more powerful than vitamin C or vitamin E.
What this means is that the CBD molecule can latch onto harmful compounds known as free radicals that can damage cells and DNA and potentially result in the development of cancer and other serious illnesses such as heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease.
CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory/pain killer
Another of CBD’s superpowers is its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Inflammation is caused by the body’s natural immune response to infections and tissue injury. When we are injured or infected, a cascade of immune and inflammatory responses unfolds. This activity results in symptoms such as increased temperature, pressure, and pain in the area of injury. CBD has been shown to attenuate the processes involved and reduce inflammation.
CBD is now a common ingredient in natural pain remedies including internal and topical remedies. Don’t be surprised if CBD starts showing up in over-the-counter and prescription pain medicines in the near future.
CBD has antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties
The full extent of CBD’s antibiotic properties is not yet known. However, lab studies have shown that CBD does, indeed, have not only antibiotic properties but also anti-viral and anti-fungal powers. Each of these categories includes potentially life-threatening organisms responsible for millions of deaths each year.
CBD might be an anti-tumor agent
A number of studies have also suggested that CBD might offer protection against the spread of cancer.
In lab studies involving breast cancer cultures, CBD has been shown to induce a process known as apoptosis. This essentially means that the cell receives a signal instructing it to stop functioning and self-destruct.
This suggests that CBD might not only be valuable in the effort to prevent the development of cancerous tumors but might also be an ally in helping to prevent their spread.
CBD might clear plaques involved in Alzheimer’s Disease
Cannabinoids such as CBD have been shown to promote the removal of toxic clumps of protein in the brain known as amyloid plaques that are believed to be involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
And, as explained above CBD also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent possibly providing additional ammunition in the fight to prevent or slow the progression of the disease.
What are the health benefits of CBD?
Given this wide array of powerful physical effects, it shouldn’t be surprising that when used properly a number of health benefits can be derived from either the use of CBD as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in topical and internal medicines.
However, nailing down those benefits can be difficult. This is because doing so relies mainly on the subjective reports of users and unseen processes taking place at a cellular level. In fact, all of the effects mentioned above happen at a cellular level.
A list that is far easier to gather is the list of specific conditions for which people who are supplementing with CBD are reporting positive results.
According to an August 2019 poll conducted by Gallup, based on U.S. adults who say they use CBD products, “CBD users in the U.S. cite relief from pain (40%), anxiety (20%), insomnia (11%) and arthritis (8%) as the top reasons for use.”
“Among men and women who use CBD products, roughly four in 10 of each say they use them for pain relief; but women are more likely than men to use them for anxiety (25% vs. 14%, respectively), and men are more likely than women to use them for help in sleeping (15% vs. 8%).” – Gallup News
Here are the actual statistics:
Pain (nonspecific) – 40%
Anxiety – 20%
Sleep/Insomnia – 11%
Arthritis – 8%
Migraines/Headaches – 5%
Stress – 5%
Muscle spasms/Soreness – 4%
General health (nonspecific) – 4%
Mental health/PTSD/ADHD/Neurological disorders – 4%
Recreational – 4%
Depression – 2%
Skincare – 2%
For pet – 1%
Gastrointestinal/Digestive issues – 1%
Inflammation – 1%
Other – 7%
No opinion – 1%
Is there actual scientific evidence that CBD has health benefits?
Mountains of anecdotal reports laud CBD’s ability to reduce a wide array of medical symptoms. But unless these reports are taken under carefully controlled clinical conditions they cannot be considered conclusive evidence.
Fortunately, however, over the past few decades, research into CBD’s efficacy in treating a gamut of medical conditions has been expanding exponentially.
In addition to the symptoms and conditions mentioned above, CBD is being studied for its effects on the symptoms of more than 50 medical conditions cannabidiol may help including acne, ADD and ADHD, Autism, ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and much more.
For a more complete list of the conditions for which CBD is being studied and to get an overview of some of the scientific evidence of CBD’s health benefits read, “Does CBD Really Do Anything?”