Medically review by Kim Langdon
Depending on where you live, you might be seeing CBD oil pop up in shops lately.
Despite being closely associated with marijuana - considering they're derived from the same plant - it's more widely, legally available.
In fact, you could probably order some to your door right about now if you're convinced you'd like to try it after reading this article.
As the industry grows and it's more closely studied, we've seen some clear benefits of using CBD oil as a supplement for stress, sleep and even epilepsy treatment without many of the negative side effects experienced when smoking or ingesting marijuana.
It's actually been used for more than 6,000 years in Oriental Medicine. Let's get into it.
What is CBD oil?
CBD is short for cannabidiol which is a compound found in the Cannabis plant known for making marijuana and hemp.
The other compound that most people are more familiar with is THC, which is what classifies marijuana as a psychoactive drug.
CBD doesn't contain the same side effects as THC, so it's gaining traction as a useful, medicinal supplement without the stigma that surrounds weed.
THC vs. CBD
In essence, the major difference is that CBD doesn't intoxicate you. This makes it a more suitable option to use as medicine because ideally, medicine has little to no side effects.
Additionally, this means that people could potentially reap the benefits of medicinal marijuana without having their daily lives impacted much.
This study shows that CBD does not decrease psychomotor skills or psychological functioning, which are obvious drawbacks of medicinal marijuana for some patients.
See, THC acts on CB1 receptors - pathways that are responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana - whereas CBD does not.
These receptors determine whether you feel a little more relaxed after a long day, or you're sitting on your couch munching on crisps for a few hours.
The way CBD interacts with receptors also makes it a non-addictive substance.
So, how do we separate the two?
Simple enough: unpollinated female hemp plants hardly contain any THC.
Hemp plants - and the oil extracted from it - can legally be sold if their THC content is less than 0.3%, and this is where CBD fits in (and why it's okay to use).
Finally, it's worth noting that exploring the benefits of both CBD oil and THC is valuable because they are non-lethal drugs.
On the contrary, even Ibuprofen can kill you if you take enough.
Moreover, over-the-counter NSAIDs like Advil can compromise gut integrity and do some serious damage to the liver and the kidney.
We'll talk more about why this comparison is important in the benefits section.
8 benefits of using cBD oil
It helps smokers quit
Naturally, one of the best ways you can ensure a healthy, long life is to abstain from smoking cigarettes.
Unfortunately, it's one of the nastiest habits to kick, and it's no easy feat.
One study found that smokers who used CBD each time they had the urge to use nicotine ended up smoking around 40% fewer cigarettes than those who received the placebo dose.
Over time, this could help smokers completely replace cigarettes, and quit for good.
Powerful anti-inflammatory properties
Autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis are often marked by chronic pain due to inflammation in the body. They cannot be cured, but they can be treated.
One of the most popular ways to reduce symptoms is through diet; a paleo diet or the autoimmune protocol can often reduce symptoms significantly. Turns out, CBD oil has the potential to eliminate pain, too.
This study shows that it was effective in improving the quality of fibromyalgia patient's lives overall with noted mood changes, as well as decreased stiffness and pain.
In another study with rheumatoid arthritis patients, CBD decreased inflammation by around 50%.
CBD has been shown to reduce tumor growth in animals and decrease cancer cells in the body, making it a fantastic therapeutic treatment for cancer patients with minimal side effects.
Better mental health
While medicinal marijuana is often used to treat anxiety, it can also be a serious cause of anxiety and/or paranoia for some.
CBD not only counteracts the negative effects of THC, but it works on its own as a natural remedy for anxiety, depression, and even PTSD.
How so? Neurogenesis. CBD is thought to encourage new neurons in a specific region of the brain known as the hippocampus.
Neurogenesis tends to happen when we partake in stress-relieving activities such as exercise, and this study was promising in showing that CBD oil does the same.
Crohn's disease treatment
Evidently, CBD can be used for a wide variety of autoimmune disease treatment. Both THC and CBD interact with the gut.
It can reduce intestinal inflammation, which is also promising for those who suffer from IBS or individuals who simply want to improve digestion.
It's a common side effect of THC, and it's a common side effect of CBD - users tend to start feeling a little drowsy!
While CBD oil generally presents no issues in terms of operating a vehicle during or after use, for instance, it can relax you enough to get a good night's rest.
This is especially helpful for people who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders as it provides a safe alternative to strong sleep aids.
For one, many sleep aids are habit-forming which causes the body to need more for the treatment to be effective.
Finally, CBD oil won't leave you feeling groggy when you wake up the next morning.
One of the most widely studied medicinal marijuana treatments is its therapeutic effects on epileptic patients - children in particular - and the results are astounding.
Many patients using THC or CBD-enriched THC have seen a reduction in epileptic seizures.
According to this study, 11% of patients under treatment reduced seizures to none, and 42% of patients saw an 80% decrease in frequency!
CBD has been proven effective in endocrine regulation which impacts proper energy levels, the body's response to stress by lowering cortisol levels and even addressing appetite which means it could be an effective weight-loss treatment or intervention for obese patients.
Contrary to its sister plant THC which is known to induce a serious case of the munchies, CBD can actually be an effective appetite suppressant.
With that said, CBD also has the potential to prevent type 2 diabetes as it helps to control blood sugar. Read more about balancing hormones naturally.
How to use CBD oil
Make it bioavailable! Some vitamins (A, E, D, and K) are fat-soluble while others are water-soluble - this means you need those other components to make them ready to use by the body.
The same goes for CBD.
The secret? Turmeric. Considering its amazing anti-inflammatory benefits and medicinal properties, it makes the perfect partner to CBD oil. Why?
Curcuminoids, of course. Turmeric contains curcumin which makes the CBD easily absorbed and transported by the body. In essence, it makes the CBD water-soluble, and you can use it in capsule form.
It is also available in some places as an ingredient in baked goods, but it's likely a better choice to make your own if you choose the edible route as you can avoid white flour, refined sugar and other less-than-ideal ingredients.
Here's a clean recipe you can use to infuse your coconut oil with CBD:
- 1 gram High CBD Oil
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 cups water
What do you think? Have you tried using CBD oil, or would you be open to using it in the future? Let us know!
This article was fact checked for accuracy by Dr. Kim Langdon, MD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
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Barrett ML, Scutt AM, Evans FJ. ?Cannflavin A and B, prenylated flavones from Cannabis sativa L. Experientia. 1986;42:452–3.
Budney AJ, Hughes JR, Moore BA, et al. Review of the validity and significance of cannabis withdrawal syndrome. Am J Psychiatry. 2004;161:1967–77.
Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She delivered over 2000 babies to mothers in a suburban Midwestern community.