CBD, or Cannabidiol, is an extract of the cannabis plant that has gained a powerful following amongst healthcare practitioners since becoming legal in recent years. As its use becomes more widespread, it is emerging as an effective alternative to medications for anxiety, depression, inflammation, Crohn’s and more. And that is without the side effects that come with many medications.
But are the health claims surrounding CBD warranted?
As a non-psychoactive extract, CBD is touted to provide all the health benefits of the cannabis plant, without the high. Let’s take a look at 7 research-based ways that CBD has been shown to support or improve health.
1. Pain Management
CBD is well known for its ability to decrease chronic pain, greatly improving quality of life in conditions such as fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It has a particular affinity for arthritis, effectively reducing pain, inflammation and swelling. With pain comes anxiety, and CBD can bring that right down too. Try CBD in a topical oil, cream or gel for maximum absorption and pain reduction.
2. Supportive Cancer Care
CBD is a major player in adjunctive cancer care, supporting conventional cancer treatments and reducing side effects. CBD has been shown to significantly reduce common cancer treatment side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite, and neuropathic pain. CBD actively supports conventional cancer treatments by increasing the effectiveness of common cancer drugs and chemotherapy.
3: Mood and Mental Health
CBD has a powerful impact on mood, effectively reducing anxiety and depression. Whether you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder or are simply feeling more stressed lately, research indicates that CBD acts quickly to tone down anxiety.
Anxiety is a common symptom of many mental health conditions, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for example, driving unhealthy behaviour patterns. Cannabis with a higher CBD content has been shown to reduce compulsive behaviours by an astonishing 60%.
CBD even has a role to play in mental health conditions such as Schizophrenia, having been shown to help reduce psychotic symptoms.
With mental health concerns increasing across the globe, CBD has two big advantages over other treatments. First, CBD helps you get deep, solid sleep. Better sleep is strongly linked to improvements in all mental health conditions. Second, CBD does not have the addictive properties or side effects that come with many anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs.
CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory, effectively reducing both chronic and acute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is a key driver of classic inflammatory diseases like arthritis. But it also increases the risk of developing a variety of chronic diseases including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cancer and asthma (just to name a few).
Recent research demonstrates that it is particularly helpful for gut inflammation. In inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, CBD can reduce pain and discomfort, drastically improving quality of life. CBD also protects against intestinal inflammation. This is important because inflammatory conditions such as Leaky Gut Syndrome can increase the risk of chronic disease development.
5. Skin Health
Natural beauty brands are increasingly using CBD in skin formulations – with good reason.
CBD is a powerful anti-acne agent, reducing inflammation and bacteria levels. CBD is easily absorbed through the skin and has been shown to accumulate in oil glands, fighting excess oil production.
CBD is also effective against common skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. CBD ointments applied directly to the skin of those suffering from these conditions can significantly improve symptoms like dry, scaly skin, fluid-filled blisters and red, itchy bumps. It is particularly effective to reduce the thickness and size of scars.
6. Neurological Function
CBD protects our valuable nervous system from damage and improves neurological function. Its effect is most marked in those with neurodegenerative diseases.
In Parkinson’s patients, CBD can help increase mobility, emotional well-being, cognition and communication as well as decreasing body discomfort. CBD is especially effective for improving sleep, psychosis and helping those with Parkinson’s more fully engage in daily activities.
CBD’s impact on epilepsy is perhaps the most well-known and well-documented use. In fact, it is the plight and activism of the late American teenager Charlotte Figi that inspired the movement to legalise CBD, and CBD has subsequently become an FDA-approved epilepsy treatment. CBD can reduce the severity of seizures by a whopping 82%, even in children.
CBD is not addictive. In fact, it can help break the chains of addiction.
How does it work? Addictions work via our reward pathways, causing us to keep chasing that high by taking larger amounts of the chosen drug. CBD directly impacts these pathways, reducing the strong effect of a drug reward.
High-dose CBD can help reduce cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol use. In heroin users, CBD quickly reduces cravings and anxiety. CBD also shows great promise in reducing the risk of a relapse.
Stress is a strong relapse trigger, and CBD’s anti-stress action may be a key to helping reduce drug-seeking behaviours.
Cocaine abuse can lead to serious health effects such as liver damage and seizures. CBD offers additional benefits in addiction by protecting the liver and nerves from such toxic effects.
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