Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard the letters “CBD.” This compound, called cannabidiol but shortened to CBD, has become the subject of an overwhelming health craze of late. Derived from cannabis, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, but increasing research is indicating that it might be more than worthy of its praise as a cure-all. Here are a few of the important effects CBD has on the human mind and body:
Reduction in Seizure Frequency
By far, the most compelling effect that CBD has demonstrated in scientific research is its ability to help those with particularly vicious forms of epilepsy gain a much better quality of life. Roughly 30 percent of epilepsy sufferers are unable to control their symptoms through traditional medications and methods.
Fortunately, even in the most violent and destructive forms of epilepsy, CBD seems to help. CBD reduces the frequency of seizures with such reliability that the FDA has approved a medication utilizing CBD to help treat seizure disorders. As yet, researchers aren’t certain of the mechanisms by which CBD impacts the brain and prevents seizures, but the relative safety of CBD and its wide accessibility make this drug a viable treatment even for sufferers of childhood epilepsy.
Management of Moderate and Chronic Pain
CBD users have long contested that the compound provides pain relief, and recently science has been able to demonstrate that this is likely true, thanks to preclinical animal trials. In several studies, researchers have found that animals experience less pain and inflammation when given doses of CBD. Again, the mechanisms for this aren’t well-understood, but early research indicates that CBD might influence the body to block certain pain messages from reaching the brain. While this won’t work in instances of severe pain — like a broken bone — it could be effective in making chronic pain more manageable or eliminating mild to moderate pain, like that experienced after a tough workout.
Potential Alleviation of Anxiety and Depression
Alongside pain, CBD users strongly believe that the compound has the power to eliminate symptoms of anxiety, and also like pain, the science to support this claim is only just getting started. Animal models do indicate that CBD could have an impact on feelings of stress; animals in CBD studies tend to display fewer behavioral signs of anxiety, and physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as heart rate, also tend to improve. How this translates to human CBD users is yet undetermined.
However, it is important to note that not all cannabis products have a similar effect on anxiety and depression. There is plenty of research that demonstrates THC, the most common cannabinoid in marijuana products, can exacerbate feelings of stress, even worsening anxiety and depression during and after the period the user feels high. Thus, it is important that those attempting to use CBD to manage anxiety be careful to buy only hemp-derived CBD or else seek medical CBD products from a Maryland marijuana dispensary.
Management of Mild or Moderate Acne
Studies on topical applications of CBD largely demonstrate that the compound does not penetrate deep enough into the skin to reach the blood stream — but that doesn’t mean the drug can’t be effective on the surface. In fact, test-tube studies have found that CBD could be an effective treatment for mild or moderate acne, especially that caused by over-active sebaceous glands. In particular, CBD both prevented the glands from producing excess sebum — the oil that clogs pores and results in acne — and demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and swelling on the skin. As with animal studies, test-tube studies are not proof, but they do open the door to human trials.
This finding regarding topical CBD could have broader applications for skin conditions beyond acne. Conditions like psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis all involve redness, swelling and other irritation that might be benefited by a reduction in inflammation. Sufferers of these conditions might consider consulting their dermatologists for advice on whether CBD topical products will integrate into their current treatment strategy.
There are plenty of other claims regarding CBD’s effects — that it improves sleep, combats neurodegenerative diseases, improves cardiovascular function and more. However, until we have more research on how CBD works within the human body, it is best to use CBD only for what we know it can do, which include the science-backed benefits above.
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