CBD has been reported to help people in a number of ways. From pain relief, memory, and sleep to name a few, there’s a chance that we could all benefit from CBD in one way or another. So with that being said, what are the main reasons why people are taking CBD, and what do the studies say?
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a plant extract from a family of over 100 different naturally occurring compounds in hemp, a strain of the cannabis plant. People have been using cannabis and cannabis-based products for thousands of years with the aim of boosting their wellness, and recently people have been focusing specifically on CBD as a core isolate with the aims to reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate joint and muscle pain, and to aid sleep, to list just a few of the reported benefits. While we aren’t able to specifically claim any direct benefits of CBD, there are constantly many studies being conducted looking at CBD in relation to a multitude of different conditions, many of which showing very promising results.
CBD can be beneficial in these ways due to it working in harmony with a subsystem of the nervous system, comprising of a series receptors throughout your body called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system, when interacted with through the use of cannabinoids that naturally exist in our bodies (endocannabinoids) or through the additional use of cannabis products, can lead to benefits across a wide field of functions, including but not limited to the following:
Recent research has suggested that the ECS plays a critical role in learning and memory, and in particular forgetting, which many scientists have cited as a crucial ability for our brains to be able to do. The incapacity of such a role could lead to an overload of data, which can disrupt day to day activities, and as such can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety through an inability to “let go” of intrusive thoughts. Through this, CBD and further cannabis extracts have been looked at as a potential treatment for PTSD in conjunction with existing prescription medication (L. Mayo et al. 2021).
Appetite and metabolism:
CBD’s interaction with the ECS can help maintain a balance by controlling food intake (F. Rossi et al. 2013)and supporting metabolic functions such as energy storage and nutrient transport (L. Bellocchio et al. 2008). Experts have accredited these properties as a way to lose weight, and while further research is being done in this field, studies seem to trend towards the inclusion of CBD alongside a balanced diet can aid weight loss and appetite regulation (J. Farrimond et al. 2012), and an increase in healthy metabolic activity.
Recent studies have shown that cannabinoids can regulate your immune system’s cytokine and chemokine production (H. Khodadadi et al. 2020) (P. Nagarkatti et al. 2009), both of which are produced by your body to induce inflammation as a response to tissue injury. Through this, many people suffering from arthritis or conditions related to inflammation have turned to CBD as a way to help alleviate the symptoms (D.C. Hammel et al. 2016), and many of our regular customers report benefits from CBD for this specific purpose. There has also been research conducted into the use of cannabinoids and their immunosuppressant properties as a method of recovery from injury to organs such as the liver, or to boost liver function overall (M.P. Lim et al. 2011) (Y. Wang et al. 2017).
Preliminary research into CBD and exercise has been promising, with specific receptors and cannabinoids being crucial to the induction of a “runner’s high” (J. Fuss et al. 2015). This feeling experienced typically by long-distance athletes has been described as being a sudden feeling of euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief, and can have ties to the reduction of anxiety, both short and long-term. In addition, preliminary studies theorise that CBD can aid blood-sugar regulation (K. Jadoon et al. 2016), and many users report CBD helping reduce muscle tension post-workout.
Analgesia / pain relief:
Past studies have shown that CBD may be able to enhance the signalling strength of anandamide, a compound that has been associated with reducing pain perception (F. Leweke et al. 2012). Anandamide however is by itself quite a weak compound by itself and tends to breaks down quite quickly, so more recent research suggests that CBD can help make chronic pain less bothersome. Many people have also started taking (and found benefits from) CBD as a form of pain relief for forms of nerve and neurological pain (P. Whiting et al. 2015) (W. Xiong et al. 2012).
CBD has been shown to have links to dopamine regulation (P. Seeman, 2016), and having either low or irregular changes to dopamine levels can be responsible for a lack of focus and awareness (R. Pastore, 2020). By being able to regulate the activity of dopamine receptors through the use of CBD, it may lead to a calmer, more focused approach to day-to-day activities, with a reduced chance of being distracted or stressed.
There are many conditions or transitional phases throughout life that impact hormone production, with almost all of the production being controlled by the hypothalamus. The ECS can play a crucial role in hypothalamic functions due to ECS receptors being present in that area of the brain, and the use of CBD and other cannabinoids can aid a better balance of production of hormones (A. Viudez-Martínez et al. 2018) relating to stress, growth, thyroid activity, and fertility, to name just a few.
Stress & Anxiety:
Possibly the most common reason as to why people take CBD, there have been many studies into CBD as a form of stress and anxiety relief, and many people take it for conditions ranging from generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD (L. Elms et al. 2019), and many more. There have been multiple studies that have shown that CBD may alleviate the symptoms of anxiety related conditions (E. Blessing et al. 2015), and currently the studies are more focused on the dosage required to achieve these results. Many users report that CBD can allow them to feel more settled and relaxed, and are less prone to panic and anxiety attacks.
Many studies have been conducted in to the usage and efficacy of CBD in relation to sleep, and consistently the results have been promising with regards to CBD being an aid to sleep, with certain studies reporting an improvement in quality and duration of sleep in 66% of participants (S. Shannon et al. 2019). Consumers credit this to CBD’s calming effect, and its use as a form of anxiety relief, as CBD shouldn’t cause drowsiness, and instead is commonly used as a way to relax, unwind, and clear your mind.
Cardiovascular system functions:
While a majority of the research regarding CBD and the influences of the ECS on the cardiovascular system is still ongoing, there have been promising results from early studies to do with the relaxation of tensed blood vessel walls, alleviating cardiovascular responses to stress, and protection of cardiovascular functions that could be impacted by diabetes (C. Stanley et al. 2012). While the research as mentioned is still very much in the early stages, data does suggest that CBD may have many more benefits to the heart and cardiovascular system overall.
As mentioned, different cannabinoids already exist in our bodies, with anandamide being the first endocannabinoid discovered in 1992, so through taking CBD (especially broad spectrum CBD products) you are in essence giving a boost to your naturally existing levels of different cannabinoids. This can be thought of much in the same way as taking vitamin supplements, where to better support overall wellness you may require a little more than what is readily available in your body. Because of this, everyone will require differing levels of CBD to best support their wellbeing, and generally a recommendation of starting on a low amount of a 10% strength product would be given for people who are looking to start taking CBD, and then slowly increasing the amount taken until the desired result is achieved.
- Targeting the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of PTSD: A promising case of preclinical-clinical translation? (L. Mayo et al. 2021: https://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(21)01472-4/fulltext)
- Cannabinoid receptor 2 as an antiobesity target: Inflammation, fat storage, and browning modulation. (F. Rossi et al. 2013 : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27294325/)
- The Endocannabinoid system and energy metabolism. (L. Bellocchio et al. 2008: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01728.x)
- Cannabinol and Cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patters. (J. Farrimond et al. 2012: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22543671/)
- Cannabidiol modulates cytokine storm in acute respiratory distress syndrome induced by simulated viral infection using synthetic RNA. (H. Khodadadi et al. 2020: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7480719/)
- Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs (P. Nagarkatti et al. 2009: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/)
- Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behavious n a rat model of arthritis (D.C. Hammel et al. 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/)
- Cannabidiol causes activated hepatic stellate cell death through a mechanism of endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis (M.P. Lim et al. 2011 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168994/)
- Cannabidiol attenuates alcohol-induced liver steatosis, metabolic dysregulation, inflammation, and neutrophil-mediated injury (Y. Wang et al. 2017: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5608708/)
- A runner’s high depends on cannabinoid receptors in mice (J. Fuss et al. 2015: https://www.pnas.org/content/112/42/13105)
- Efficacy and safety of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabivarin on glycemic and lipid parameters in patients with type-2 diabetes: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group pilot study. (K. Jadoon et al. 2016 https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/39/10/1777)
- Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signalling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia (F. Leweke et al. 2012 : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3316151/)
- Cannabinoids for medical use: a systematic review and meta-analysis. (P. Whiting et al. 2015: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26103030/)
- Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycerine receptors. (W. Xiong et al. 2012: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/)
- Cannabdiol is a partial agonist at dopamine D2High receptors, predicting its antipsychotic clinical dose. (P. Seeman, 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315552/)
- The neurochemistry of focus. (R. Pastore. 2020: https://poweronpoweroff.com/blogs/longform/the-neurochemistry-of-focus)
- Cannabdiol regulates the expression of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis-related genes in response to acute restraint stress. (A. Viudez-Martínez et al. 2018: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30324842/)
- Cannabdiol in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A case series. (L. Elms et al. 2019: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6482919/)
- Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. (E. Blessing et al. 2015: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/)
- Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series (S. Shannon et al. 2019: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/)
- Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol? (C. Stanley et al. 2012: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3579247/)