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The cannabis plant contains 85 chemical compounds that are known Cannabinoids and occur naturally in the cannabis plant. The human body is receptive to cannabinoids like CBD and THC which activate specific cells in the brain called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors transmit signals and have several physiological effects on our bodies. There are two different types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 (which can be found primarily in the brain, the liver, kidneys and lungs) and CB2 (which can be found in the immune system).
Cannabidiol or CBD oil is a product that is derived from the cannabis plant. It is a form of cannabinoid, which is a naturally occurring chemical found in the marijuana plant. Although CBD comes from a marijuana plant, it doesn’t cause any form of intoxication or “high”. It is a different cannabinoid chemical found within the plant known as THC that will have these effects.
There are a lot of mixed views and controversy around products such as CBD oils as some associate it with recreational cannabis use. However, with the growing awareness of what CBD oil actually is and its potential health benefits opinions are gradually changing. Below are some of the potential health benefits and medical uses of CDB oil and the research that has gone into it so far.
Researchers believe that CDB oil may be able to help those suffering with anxiety manage their symptoms. Research carried out by Trusted Source has led them to believe that CBD oil may have an impact on the way the brains receptors respond to serotonin, which is a chemical linked to mental health. Receptors with the brain are small proteins that are attached to cells that receive chemical messages and help cells create responses to different stimuli.
During one study Trusted Source discovered that a 600mg dose of CBD oil seemed to help people with social anxiety stand up in front of people and give a speech.
Other earlier studies that were carried out on animals revealed that CDB oil may help to relieve anxiety by:
- Improving symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Decreasing the physiological effects of anxiety, such as lowering an increased heart rate
- Reducing stress
Inducing sleep when suffering from insomnia
You may have seen in the news in the recent years that CBD oil is a possible treatment for epilepsy. Research into this is very much in the early stages, researchers are currently testing how much CBD oil potentially reduces the number of seizures in people suffering with epilepsy, and how safe it is to use.
The American Epilepsy Society states “cannabidiol research offers hope for seizure disorders, and that research is currently being conducted to better understand safe use.”
A study conducted by Trusted Source in 2016, involved 216 people suffering with epilepsy. The participants in this study each used two oral doses of 5mg CBD oil along side their usual anti-epilepsy medication. The participants were closely monitored over twelve weeks and recorded any negative side effects as well as the frequency and number of seizures. Overall, it was found that 36.5% of participants had fewer seizures per month.
Researchers are observing a receptor known as CB1 in the brain in order to understand ways in which CBD oil could potentially help people with neurodegenerative disorders. These are diseases that result in the deterioration of the brain and nerves over time.
Research is being conducted around the use of CBD oil being used to potentially treat the following:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
It is also thought that CBD oil may be able to reduce the inflammation which could reduce neurodegenerative symptoms. More research is being conducted to fully understand the effects that CBD oil can have on people suffering with neurodegenerative diseases.
The effects that CBD oil has on the brain’s receptors may also help people to manage pain. Studies have already shown that CBD oil can provide some benefits when taken after chemotherapy treatments. In other pre-clinical studies being sponsored by the National Institutes of Health are also looking into the role CBD oil may be able to play in relieving the symptoms caused by the following:
- Chronic Pain
- MS Pain
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Muscle Pain
A multiple sclerosis drug named Nabiximols (Sativex) is made from a combination of TCH and CBD has been approved in the UK and Canada to be used to treat MS pain. With this said researchers believe that the CBD in the drug may be having a greater influence with its anti-inflammatory properties than acting against the pain. It requires more clinical trials in order to establish whether or not CBD should be used for pain management.
It is thought that the effects that CBD has on receptors in the immune system could help reduce overall inflammation within the body. This has led researchers to believe that CBD oil may have some benefits when used for acne management. The Journal of Clinical Investigation published a study which found that CBD oil prevented activity in sebaceous glands. These glands produce sebum, which is a naturally occurring oily substance that hydrates the skin. However, if these glands produce too much sebum, this can lead to acne.
It is worth consulting a dermatologist before using CBD to treat acne.
Researchers are conducting studies to evaluate the role CBD oil may have in preventing cancer cell growth. Research into this is still in the early stages. The National Cancer Institute Trusted Source (NIC) believes that CBD oil may help to ease some symptoms caused by cancer and some cancer treatment side effects. CBD oil is showing promising signs for cancer treatment with is ability to moderate inflammation and may change how cells reproduce. CBD oil may have an effect on reducing the ability of some types of tumor cells being able to reproduce.
How to use CBD Oil
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plants as either a powder or an oil, these can then be mixed into gels or creams and vape liquids. They can also be put into capsules to take orally or rubbed directly onto the skin, for example the MS drug nabiximols is sprayed in liquid form directly into the mouth. How CBD oil should be used much depends on what it is being used for. It is always worth having a chat with your doctor before using CBD oil.