Everything you need to know about the main effects of CBD (Cannabidiol) on the body.
Cannabidiol (or CBD) has seen a surge in popularity in the last few years as a supplemental treatment in managing anxiety, chronic pain and more. This rise in popularity has been paralleled by an uptick in scientific research into the compound showing clinical evidence that CBD does indeed hold value as a clinical treatment as an anti-inflammatory and in managing several neuropsychiatric disorders, with research indicating a calming effect on the nervous system. Its booming popularity is reflected in cafes offering CBD lattes and workout smoothie companies offering CBD blends. But what is it, and how does it really work?
CBD is an extract of the Cannabis sativa plant, which exists in two forms, commonly known as hemp and marijuana. But don’t be confused – CBD won’t get you ‘high’. While THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis flower, affects the brain to promote altered states of consciousness, CBD won’t sedate you or provide any feelings of euphoria. It’s commonly sold in its oil form, as a tincture to be dropped under the tongue. Other forms include topical balms, creams and patches, as well as inhaling vapour. CBD acts on receptors in the body and brain – protein-based structures attached to your cells which when stimulated kick start a variety of physiological processes. Specifically, CBD acts on the receptors which are part of the endocannabinoid system in the body, which is comprised of two kinds of receptors - CB1 and CB2 - mostly affecting the nervous system and immune system. The endocanniboid system is involved in all sorts of things, ranging from sleep and appetite to pain.
Is it legal?
Yes – while marijuana is illegal in the UK, hemp isn’t – that’s where manufacturers get their CBD. Hemp is bursting with CBD, and contains less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound found in abundance in marijuana.
Why do people take it?
CBD is non-addictive and safe, showing few to zero side effects in the overwhelming majority of the population. While people might take CBD on their own volition based on their personal experiences with the compound, some of the most common and most well-researched benefits are in helping to manage anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder and PTSD. While studies of CBD are relatively new and ongoing, the anxiety reducing properties of the compound are becoming well established. For example, in a Brazilian study published in 2019, 57 men were given CBD before taking a public speaking test, with the researchers finding that a 300mg dose of CBD reduced anxiety significantly during the test (as opposed to a placebo, which had little to no effect on anxiety. In another 2019 study, 57 out of 72 (79%) patients showed reduced anxiety within the first month of taking CBD.
CBD has shown promise for other health conditions, too. CBD may help reduce chronic pain by influencing endocannabinoid receptor activity, with topical balms and creams acting as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant to help manage inflammatory pain in conditions such as arthritis – some of the most difficult kinds of pain there is to treat. And in studies investigating insomnia, there’s research to suggest that CBD can help people fall and stay asleep.
CBD is also used to treat epilepsy syndromes – in fact, this is where the scientific evidence is arguably strongest, with studies clearly showing that CBD can reduce the number of seizures in childhood epilepsy syndromes such as Dravet syndrome. In 2018, the FDA approved the first drug containing CBD as its primary ingredient – Epidiolex – for this exact purpose.
What is the best dosage?
This is a tricky one to answer; because the use of CBD is still under ongoing study, its difficult to say which dosage will work best for each person or condition. A good rule of thumb here is to start low and increase the dosage slowly.
Are there any side-effects?
Quality CBD products are extremely unlikely to cause any side effects as CBD is considered very safe. The best way to minimise your risk of side-effects here is to make sure you’re getting your CBD products from reputable suppliers. At The CBD Farmacy we pride ourselves in the purity and quality of our products, making them a brilliant option for both, CBD newbies, as well as experienced CBD users.