CBD has exploded in popularity- It’s everywhere, and it seems to be in everything. Some of you may be wondering: What does CBD do?
From edibles to oils, bath bombs to beer, and lattes to lotions, CBD has found its way into a variety of products.
And its benefits seem bountiful- but what exactly does CBD do?
If you’re curious about all the craze, read on to find out what’s so special about CBD.
What is CBD and What Does CBD do?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and is the second most common compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant and has been used as a natural, homeopathic medicinal for centuries.
CBD has often been associated with weed, but these two bear stark differences.
Weed comes from the marijuana plant, where tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that produces psychoactive properties and can make you feel high, is found.
CBD, however, is most often derived from the hemp plant and cannot get you high.
Though both the marijuana plant and the hemp plant are subspecies of the cannabis Sativa plant, they are very different.
Hemp plants contain significantly lower levels of THC than marijuana plants, and most hemp products have THC levels of 0.3 percent or less.
Various methods of extraction are used to remove CBD from the hemp plant.
It is then purified and paired with carrier oils such as coconut oil or olive oil so that the product can be consumed in the form of edibles or topicals.
Popular forms of consumption include the sublingual ingestion of oil, digestive ingestion of edibles, inhalation via vaping, and topical application.
How Does CBD Work in Your Body?
CBD interacts with your body through a complex, biological structure called the endocannabinoid system or ECS.
The ECS maintains homeostasis and facilitates communication between organs and the other systems within your body, including the Central Nervous system.
Your ECS helps regulate immunity, mood, anxiety, sleep, appetite, headaches, and inflammation, among other functions.
As science continues to explore the ECS, further performance and functions are being discovered.
The way that the endocannabinoid system works can be reduced to a three-step process.
First, your body naturally produces endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoid molecules on its own.
Think of these molecules as tiny gears or hardware that help keep your body up and running- like a well-oiled machine.
Next, your body contains endocannabinoid receptors to which the endocannabinoid molecules cling.
Like any receptor found in the human body, endocannabinoid receptors are communication mechanisms that receive signals and translate them so that specific effects occur.
Finally, enzymes break down and disperse endocannabinoids throughout your body, sending CBD into your bloodstream.
This process is what allows you to feel the effects of CBD. In other words, this is how CBD brings about the benefits.
CBD for Pain Relief and Anti-Inflammation
CBD could help reduce chronic or temporary pain and inflammation through neurotransmitter and receptor activity in the ECS.
Widely, CBD targets headaches, backaches, and menstrual cramping, among other ailments.
Pain prevention can be approached by digesting, vaping, or applying CBD topically.
You Can Use CBD for Anxiety and Insomnia
CBD is often used to help alleviate anxiety and its causes or symptoms like insomnia or stress.
CBD1 and CBD 2 receptors are essential for relieving anxiety, as they are the receptors within your ECS that monitor anxiety-related feelings and behaviors.
Both animal and human-based research has shown CBD to function as an anxiolytic.
One study tested the effects of CBD on public speaking-induced anxiety and found that it reduced feelings of anxiety.
CBD is also a common remedy for sleeplessness.
A scientific experiment found that out of 25 participants who were experiencing restlessness, over half slept better after taking 25 milligrams of CBD.
Further research also points to CBD assisting with REM-related sleep and dreaming problems.
Insomnia is a common cause of anxiety, so using CBD to target one or the other could help assuage both.
CBD Has Anti-Cancer Potential
CBD has, perhaps most excitingly, is a promising anti-cancer drug in the medical community. Studies have found it could potentially prevent and reduce cancer.
Mounting evidence has found CBD may prevent or slow cancer in different types of cancers, too.
For instance, some research finds that CBD can kill cancer cells without jeopardizing healthy breast cancer cells, while stimulating cell death via apoptosis in pancreatic, colon, and bladder cancer.
More than helping treat cancer itself, CBD can target the severe symptoms that arise with it, such as pain, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting.
The medical world will continue to watch as CBD helps transform cancer symptoms and treatment efforts.
CBD and Seizure Disorders
The discovery of the relationship between CBD and seizures was one of the defining factors for medicinal cannabinoid use and making CBD legal.
After research found CBD has anti-seizure effects, the first-ever (and only) FDA approved CBD medication called Epidolex became available by prescription and opened the doors to CBD medicinal studies.
Epidolex is used to treat two specific types of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
It is speculated that CBD helps prevent or assist with seizure disorders by manipulating neuron activity in the endocannabinoid system through GPR55 and TRPV1 ECS receptors- but that’s about all scientists can say at this point for sure.
Though the exact science still isn’t fully understood, this breakthrough set the stage for further research into how CBD helps with epileptic episodes and seizures caused by brain damage, electrolyte imbalances, and drug overdoses.
CBD Can Promote Healthy Skin and Hair
CBD may promote healthy skin and hair.
Because CBD obtains anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces your acne or helps prevent acne from forming altogether.
Research has also shown that CBD lowers sebum production, which minimizes the amount of oil your skin produces.
Cannabidiol topicals such as balms and lotions can also help maintain moisturized skin- without clogging up your pores.
What’s more, CBD has been shown to delay aging skin, prevent wrinkles, and help stop collagen loss.
All in all, CBD skincare could prevent breakouts and reduce oil secretion, swelling, blemishes, redness, pain, and irritation caused by acne.
Early-stage research also estimates CBD and hemp seed oil may support healthier hair.
Increased blood flow, more nutrients, and fewer toxins could lead to further follicle growth, though more studies are needed at this time.