Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in both hemp and cannabis. While both plants come from the plant species Cannabis sativa, they have similar, yet inherently different properties. Both plants have a rich history of therapeutic and medicinal properties, much of that likely due to CBD.
In recent decades, science-based research has given CBD more attention as a great natural resource with the ability to remedy several physical and mental health issues and disorders. Considered a safe and non-addictive substance that is also not prone to the effects of a “high,” CBD is now gaining traction in popularity to help manage everything from pain to sleep quality.
Here are 5 surprising ways that CBD may be able to help you.
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are often socially considered interchangeable. While they are two different conditions, there is no denying their relationship. Stress is the body’s response to an external cause such as an argument with a loved one or the loss of a job. Anxiety is a person’s reaction to stress and unlike the acute response of stress, anxiety lasts much longer and even after the initial concern has passed.
Stress and anxiety on their own can take their toll on a person, affecting their ability to function in society and even in their personal space. Both can lead to fear, guilt, worry, as well as additional disorders such as insomnia and depression.
The strong connection between stress and anxiety have led to several studies to determine how CBD affects one or the other. For example, a 2011 studyfound that a dosage of CBD prior to a public speaking simulation showed a reduction in cognitive impairment, anxiety, and discomfort during the speech.
The belief is that CBD affects several receptors in the body such as CB2 and serotonin 5HT1a which can help alleviate the symptoms that people with chronic stress and anxiety disorders face.
2. Treat Chronic Pain
One of the most fascinating and exciting areas of research on CBD is its effectiveness when it comes to reducing inflammation associated with chronic pain. While this is especially beneficial to seniors with studies specializing in pain directly related to cancer and arthritis, chronic pain is something that affects all ages.
CBD has shown significant inflammation reduction in arthritis. Research has also indicated that CBD may help in the reduction of muscle spasms and their strength often associated with multiple sclerosis. This same study focusing on multiple sclerosis also showed that CBD is effective in reducing the inflammation associated with general chronic pain.
CBD interacts with brain receptors that influence your immune system. So, when the brain receives chemical signals indicating pain the introduction of CBD helps to provide anti-inflammatory pain reduction.
3. Alleviate Insomnia
Insomnia is considered the second leading cause of mental health disorders for adults in the United States. It’s estimated that about 25% of adults experience chronic insomnia each year, with upwards of 40% of people experiencing acute symptoms.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes people to have difficulty falling and staying asleep. The sleep deprivation caused by insomnia prevents the affected person’s brain from being able to manage chemical functions within the body. Sleep uses chemical reactions to organize thoughts, memories, moods, and emotions. It also helps the body rest and recover from damage while reducing inflammation.
CBD has two inherent properties that benefit people who suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. First, unlike other cannabis-based compounds, CBD does not give you the “high” that you might find with THC. This appears to help reduce REM-sleep disruption. Secondly, CBD also has properties that calm the nervous system. This may be due to its ability to break down chemical neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mental function, emotion, and pain.
4. Improve Your Immune System
CBD’s effect on the immune system is showing a lot of promise. The compound plays a role in several non-immune system processes that are somewhat related such as its ability to block artery buildup and reduce inflammation. CBD may also play a vital role in the body’s ability to fight bacteria.
One study has shown that CBD reduced tuberculosis progression likely by inhibiting T-cell growth and reproduction. Where CBD seems to be most beneficial in fighting bacteria is how it is able to fend off superbugs or bacteria resistant to multiple antibacterial medications.
In addition to directly attacking bacteria, CBD has shown that it can slow the growth and spread of some types of cancer. Cancer, of course, attacks the immune system. Research regarding the immune system is still in its relative infancy, but current research is showing significant potential.
5. Improves Mood
Mood disorders cover a wide range of conditions that affect your emotional state or create inconsistency in mood—mood swings.
When it comes to how CBD affects mood there are two considerations that must first be addressed. First, CBD does not provide the “high” effect that THC causes. Secondly, CBD from hemp is safe and legal to be used in all states. The reason why these two points are important is that CBD is often affiliated in a social context with THC but may also be used complementary to THC to assist in mood regulation.
CBD is known for its calming effect on the body which is also why it is helpful to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Additionally, CBD can regulate the extremes of mood-swings while also delivering enhanced—positive—mood experiences. Due to its relationship and interactions with THC, CBD is often used to counter the effects of dysphoria and potential anxiety-increase sometimes experienced with THC.
CBD from hemp is legal in all fifty states and is quickly becoming one of the most studied compounds in medical research. Due to its scientifically proven impact on anxiety pain and sleep disorders CBD has the potential to positively affect millions of people who suffer from both acute and chronic conditions. In addition, new research has shown CBD’s potential to reduce the growth of cancer cells and fight bacteria which other drugs have become innocuous.