Since the 2018 Farm Bill went into law which legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, cannabidiol or CBD has exploded on the market. While there were many who predicted CBD would become popular, few had any idea that it would become an overnight sensation around the US. From fast CBD certification to producing industrial hemp, exercising proper CBD quality control, and the sheer number of CBD products on the marketplace, it is a different world today compared to just a few years ago. But with all the promises made about CBD and its positive effect on the human mind and body, does science really agree? Keep in mind that many products make promise that for the most part do not live up to the hype. But now with CBD on the marketplace for past couple of years, science is now making their voice known about cannabidiol and its effects.
What is Cannabidiol?
Otherwise known as CBD, this is one of many chemicals that is produced by cannabis and industrial hemp. Keep in mind that cannabis is a complex plant that produces many chemicals, most famously THC. But CBD does not contain THC and its effects are not psychoactive in nature. It has a different effect on the mind and body which are not nearly as dramatic or strong. When ingested, CBD has an anti-inflammatory along with neuroprotective effect that plays on the endocannabinoid system found in many different creatures, including humans. It acts as a signal that offers a positive effect on the brain, including the regulation of pain, pleasure, concentration, the movement of the body, awareness, memory, and the processing of the senses. In other words, the CBD works with the normal functioning of the brain when it is present in the body.
Effects of Marijuana
While CBD can be derived from cannabis, most of the products on the market today come from industrial hemp. The major difference is that industrial hemp contains only a small fraction of the THC, which is the psychotropic element in cannabis that causes people to get “high”, compared to marijuana. The effects of cannabis on the brain is well known thanks to numerous studies that have been conducted for decades. While cannabis has many effects, especially on the brains of adolescents which are still developing, the CBD or cannabidiol elements have not undergone the same amount of study. This is due in large part to the legalization of CBD which is now separated from cannabis. With cannabidiol being isolated from THC and many of the other elements associated with cannabis, the studies on cannabidiol are starting to come in.
Effects of CBD
With CBD being considerably different than THC, what exactly is the effect that it has, and can it be used in treatments? The answer from science is that CBD appears to have many positive effects with few downsides when taken in recommended dosages. As with almost any product, too much in the system may have downsides. But CBD when taken in the proper amounts seems to have benefits that go past its mild effect on the brain.
Safe: When including all the data as gathered through scientific research, CBD or cannabidiol is comparatively safe to use when taken in the recommended dosages. It should be noted that while the unwanted side effects are few and far between, there will always be a small percentage of individuals that may have an allergic reaction or other effect outside the design of the CBD. The research is based mostly on those who have taken CBD as part of their epilepsy treatment. While more research is needed, from what has been gathered about cannabidiol it is generally safe to use when taken in the amounts that have been recommended.
Non-Addictive: For those who are considering taking CBD, it should be noted that it is non-addictive in nature. This means that you can take it regularly and stop at any time without becoming chemically addictive to the product, such as with marijuana or tobacco. In fact, CBD has been used to help curb addictions in some cases. Especially for those who have been taking psychostimulants, cocaine, or opioids. While you should not take CBD for addiction treatment without a doctor’s guidance, it should be noted that CBD itself is non-addictive.
No THC: In other words, CBD does not get you “high”. It is a chemical compound that does have a relaxing effect on the mind and body, but it is not psychoactive as with THC.
While the research with CBD is ongoing, the current research that is available does show some of the conditions that cannabidiol does treat. This is particularly true with neurological conditions that CBD has shown some promise in treating.
Addiction: As noted previously, CBD does seem to have a positive effect on treating certain forms of addiction. While the studies are only now getting underway on a large scale, it seems that CBD helps reduce the effects of withdrawal, making it easier for someone to pull away from addictive substances and reduce the cravings. For example, for those who try to quit smoking, using an inhaler to deliver the CBD may reduce the desire to smoke tobacco considerably. More research is needed, but large-scale studies are now underway to determine the full effect that CBD has on the mind and body of those trying to quit addictive substances.
Anxiety: For generalized anxiety, CBD has proven to be a strong treatment. It also works on related conditions such as the following.
– Social Anxiety Disorder
– Panic Disorder
It is true that studies into the effects of CBD on anxiety-related disorders is not as complete compared to epilepsy. However, the information that is known shows that CBD does have a positive effect. Both in suppressing the amount of fear that is felt along with relaxing the body. There is seemingly a considerable amount of promise that CBD holds for those who suffer from anxiety-related conditions.
Autism: Admittedly, the research of CBD into autism is still in its early stages. But it does show some promise in treating autism which is a neurodevelopmental condition. With the main symptoms of autism being unresponsiveness, the initial research has shown that CBD does help stimulate the cannabidiol 2 receptors that are in the brain. There does seem to be a link between these receptors and autism. Further research is needed, but it may be that CBD does stimulate these areas of the brain which in turn helps increase social interaction.
Epilepsy: Of all the conditions that CBD is used, the treatment of epilepsy has been the most researched. In fact, studies were begun well before CBD was legalized for general use in 2018. The results of one study conducted in 2015 demonstrated a significant reduction of seizures for those suffering from epilepsy. The reduction rate was noted as being 36.5% which was considerable. This is why CBD is a popular treatment for those suffering from epilepsy.
Parkinson’s Disease: The standard treatments for this disease seek to minimize the symptoms, although they are unable to reverse its effects on the brain. Of the small amount of research that has been done with CBD and Parkinson’s, the effect on motor function has been nominal. But the research is really only beginning and there is anecdotal evidence that CBD may have some positive effect on symptoms or at the very least not have any negative effect.
Schizophrenia: This is a condition where attention, learning, memory, and other functions of the brain are impacted severely. The type of drugs used to combat schizophrenia contain antipsychotic properties much like CBD. In addition, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties as well which may be beneficial for those suffering from schizophrenia. So, on paper CBD is promising, but the limited studies that have been conducted so far have not shown the same results. More research is needed to see if CBD does have a significant effect on those who suffer from this condition.
The known side effects of CBD are few and far between. But of the more common ones that are present they include the following.
– Changes in Appetite or Weight
The effects are generally mild and may have something to do with any additional medications that might be taken. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop taking CBD and speak to your doctor especially if you are taking other medications. It should be noted that for the most part, with the exception of epilepsy, CBD is still in the early stages when it comes to research. What is known is that the substance has a mild effect and can be taken regularly in recommended doses with little harm. While more research is needed, it does appear that CBD has some promising effects on certain conditions.
Although legalized, to cultivate and sell cannabidiol requires proper CBD certification. This means employing measures that ensure the best in CBD quality control so that harmful elements are not introduced into the product.