CBD oil (Cannabidiol) has become the buzzword for everything healthy these days.
Aficionados are touting it to be the ultimate, non-pharmaceutical remedy for a horde of conditions, including anxiety, depression, epilepsy, psoriasis, chronic pain, insomnia and even cancer.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The entire list is ginormous.
While we would take a lot of those claims with a hefty pinch of salt. There is no denying that early research has proven that CBD oil might have some very beneficial effects.
However, it is important to separate the chaff from the wheat, so that you don’t expect it to be the be-all end-all of healthcare. Do not expect miracles that might leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.
So here’s a brief primer on CBD oil including the list of the common questions that people have when it comes to using it.
What is CBD oil?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is one of the 104 chemical compounds that are present in the Cannabis Sativa plant.
The other most famous compound in the plant is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is associated with the euphoria that one gets from ingesting or smoking the plant.
CBD however, does not produce the ‘high’. Infact, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors present at various sites in our body to alter the release of neurotransmitters.
These are chemical messengers associated with relaying a wide range of messages from one cell to the other.
So, CBD might slows down the release of a neurotransmitter that relays pain signals during chronic arthritis. thereby reducing pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
CBD, is then extracted from Cannabis Sativa or Industrial Hemp, is then mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or Olive oil to produce CBD oil in its final form.
Is CBD Oil legal?
CBD oil is legal in many countries in the world like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Peru and Switzerland to name a few.
In the United States, only few states have legalized the use of medical marijuana.
However, the product should not contain more than 0.3% of THC, to be distinguished as CBD Oil.
UK is a little more conservative and sets the limit at 0.2%.
So, any oil with more than 0.3% THC will be considered marijuana instead and that’s a gray area.
It may not be legal to produce, own or use and you may well land yourself in trouble for that innocuous looking vial of oil.
Is CBD oil better than THC?
As surprising as it sounds, both CBD and THC are almost identical in their chemical structure.
Both compounds are a chain of 21 carbon atoms, 2 oxygen atoms and 30 hydrogen atoms. It’s just the way that the atoms are arranged that’s different for each one.
This makes THC, the infamous sibling that causes the psychoactive effect that Marijuana is so popular for.
However, just because it causes the high does not mean that THC is not beneficial.
In fact, there are certain strains of THC which are believed to be far more beneficial than CBD in therapeutic value.
But due to obvious reasons, you won’t find a medical practitioner acknowledging this.
Also, you cannot use THC-based products as easily as CBD-based ones because you might find yourself stoned and unable to function normally.
CBD on the other hand offers the therapeutic benefits without the high.
This is because it does not bind with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor in your brain, which is what causes the psychoactive effects of the plant.
So, in essence, you have the perfect compound that does not cause the high, binds selectively to cannabinoid receptors in the body and offers all the therapeutic benefits.
What is CBD Oil used for?
As we briefly mentioned earlier, there are a whole range of anecdotal theories doing the rounds of the internet.
Let’s look at the ones that have some sort of evidence to back it up with.
Pain and inflammation:
CBD oil is being used increasingly to treat pain and inflammation in many countries with great results. Canada, for example, has legalized the use of CBD oil for treating pain caused due to certain types of cancer and also due to multiple sclerosis. Animal models have shown great promise as well.
In June 2018, the US FDA approved a drug called Epidiolex, which is a purer, refined form of CBD oil, for the treatment of two very severe forms of epilepsy.
Anxiety and Depression:
Experimental research and tons of anecdotal reviews point towards CBD as a possible, non-addictive therapy for treating certain anxiety disorders, and depression. Most importantly, both conditions are increasingly common these days. Therefore, CBD is indeed as effective as it is touted to be. Hence it can open up a whole world of possibilities.
CBD oil is clinically proven to be neuroprotective, which can be very beneficial in helping reduce some of the damage caused due to oxidative stress. Also, it is packed with antioxidants, which again will help reverse some of the damage caused by scavenging.
There was a very small study published in 2017 that established that even a single dose of CBD oil helps reduce blood pressure in healthy individuals. This can have tremendous applications in the prevention of hypertension and related conditions. Researchers have alsobeen hinting at CBD’s effectiveness in reducing cholesterol levels and arterial plaque.
Cannabidiols, like CBD and THC, are said to be more effective in the treatment of schizophrenia than any mainstream treatment that is used currently. However, more research is needed before a CBD-based drug is made available for treating these conditions. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25667194)
CBD can be useful in helping people cope with withdrawal symptoms when they quit using opioids, alcohol, cigarettes and psychoactive drugs like cocaine. It helps reduce cravings as well as mood-related symptoms, according to a review of multiple studies published in 2015. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444130/#b35-sart-9-2015-033)
Closing thoughts CBD Oil
If you are looking to try CBD to help you cope with one of these conditions, or for a general sense of wellbeing, we highly recommend that you buy from a reputed source that offers full-spectrum, potent CBD oil.
It’s not a regulated industry and there are chances that you might end up buying something that’s terribly under-dosed and grossly overpriced.