What is CBD Oil?
What is CBD Oil Used For?
The world is beginning to realize that cannabis is not what cheap politics make it be. The oil extracted from the plant is a healer in more ways than one.
CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the many compounds found in cannabis. This compound is quite predominant in the cannabis plant, and that is why it has been extensively studied. Different types of cannabis plants vary on the level of compound present, but research has made it possible to grow plants that have higher levels of CBD than THC. This extract is what is being used medicinally.
CBD does not affect the mind or its processes, which is why the medical fraternity use it. Lack of psychoactive properties ensures that it has no side effects when used on humans.
Research is ongoing on the medical benefits of CBD oil, but so far, it has been used for the following:
- CBD and Anxiety
Anxiety presents in any forms. It may come as the fear you get when faced with a big decision such as exams, wedding, or any other life altering decisions. While anxiety is not a desirable quality, it could help one cope with threats to survival. Before it becomes an uncontrollable disorder, you can control it quite easily with drugs and proactivity.
Anxiety disorder is entirely different, though. It can interfere with the way you live such that you are totally unable to control the way you react to almost anything. You are faced with a crippling fear for life. It becomes quite severe when that overwhelming fear incapacitates you.
The most common anxiety disorders include:
Panic attacks, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and other phobias. Anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, insomnia, feelings of dizziness and sudden panic, muscle tension, and nausea.
While Big Pharma has come up with several highly effective treatment options for anxiety, they do not work well for some people. In other instances, they leave some bad side effects. CBD oil has been seen to have positive effects on anxiety patients. Since it is non-psychoactive, it has minimal or no side effects. The key is its administration. Studies have shown that controlled levels of CBD can control anxiety. Ongoing studies show that it has the potential to treat multiple anxiety disorders.
How Does It Work?
- As a 5-HT1A agonist
Anxiety can be treated with medication that specifically targets the serotonin system. 5-HT1A, a subtype of the serotonin receptor helps here. Drug companies develop selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, abbreviated as SSRIs, which block the re-absorption of serotonin in the brain. More serotonin in the synaptic space helps reduce anxiety. CBD has qualities similar to SSRI.
- Hippocampal Neurogenesis
This part of the brain plays many roles. Brain scans of patients suffering from anxiety showed them to have a smaller hippocampus. Growth (neurogenesis) of new neurons in the hippocampus helps fight anxiety according to studies done on mice. Research shows that CBD and SSRI can help regenerate the hippocampus.
- CBD and Epilepsy
It is a condition that affects the brain and causes the patient to have epileptic seizures. Suffering one seizure does not mean that you have the condition. It is not until you have more than one epileptic seizure that it can be said to be epilepsy.
A study was conducted children with severe cases of epilepsy. Thirteen of those children had Dravet syndrome, four had Doose syndrome, and the other two had Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and idiopathic epilepsy. The results, which were submitted by 19 parents whose children had been involved in the study showed reduced frequency of seizures in 84 percent of the patients. 11percent reported complete freedom from seizures, 42 percent of them showed an 80 percent reduction in seizures, and 32 percent, 25-60 percent reduction in frequency. They all showed minimal or no side effects from the use of CBD extract. In some cases, the reduction in frequency was up to 80 percent, as reported by the parents.
The side effects from the use if this extract were drowsiness and fatigue. Apart from the frequency improvement, the children also showed improved moods, better sleeping patterns, and improved alertness.
While the study showed some side effects, which gave it a bad rap, it also shows some great improvements in children. Their level of epilepsy, which is characterized by multiple seizures, was quite severe. The fact that CBD reduced the frequency says a lot about its potency. Further studies with a more pure form of CBD could show better results.
- CBD Oil and Pain
As people age, they become susceptible to pain. Injuries from youth tend to get revived by age and small new injuries also take longer to heal. Research shows that about 1.5 billion people all over the world suffer from pain.
Pain is a trigger from the brain that alerts you of possible injury in your body. When it persists for weeks, then it becomes chronic. The brain keeps firing it up, letting you know that the body is hurting. While generic medicine is effective in relieving the body of pain, opiates are addictive, especially if the pain is persistent. CBD oil has been seen to have positive impacts on pain. The only concern is that most of the studies conducted use it together with THC for effect.
Most studies carried out to show the effects of CBD have been done on mice. This study is no exception. CBP potentiates glycine receptors, which relieve pain in the spinal cord. There are no conclusive studies to show the effect on chronic spinal pain.
In another study, Sativex, which contains both CBD and some levels of THC was tested to see its effect on neuropathic pain. The patients who were out on Sativex reported levels of relief from the application of CBD.
Further studies involving the use of Sativex show that sprays can help relief pain from multiple sclerosis, with a bias on spasticity and neuropathic pain.
- CBD As An Antioxidant
Our bodies age over time, which is normal. With age comes a host of problems, including muscular degeneration. This is one of the many reasons why we are urged to incorporate antioxidants in our diets. Antioxidants counteract oxidative stress, which occurs as a result of oxidation during biological processes. The by-product of these processes is free radicals, highly reactive and unstable molecules that damage DNA structures, proteins, and cells.
While the body has a complex system that involves enzymes and nutrients such as Vitamins C &E, oxidative stress could overwhelm them. The results of an accumulation of free radicals are degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis among others.
In this study, CBD is seen to protect neurons from exposure to the neurotransmitter (glutamate) that plays a significant role in several neurodegenerative disorders. In that study, antioxidant levels in CBD were found to be higher than those in Vitamins C & E by 30-50%. This study was then followed up by another one done on animals as opposed to cell cultures and it showed the same results.
Further pre-clinical trials have been done in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, myocardial ischemia, collagen-induced arthritis, and diabetes. Researchers favor CBD due to its affinity to CB2 receptors and its lack of psychoactive effects.
CBD oil is undoubtedly beneficial in most ways. The fact that it does not affect the functions of the brain is especially what makes it an attractive option. However, extensive further studies are needed on the benefits of the oil in the human body and maybe even to find out what else it could do. There is also need to educate the people on the difference between CBD and THC. Maybe that will reduce the stigma associated with the mention of cannabis.