CBD has taken the alternative healthcare industry by storm in the 2010s, with the world learning that cannabis is much more than a plant to get high from, and that it has some pretty awesome health benefits.
Cannabidiol is just one of more than 100 rare compounds known as cannabinoids – these are incredibly powerful chemicals, since they can trigger receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
If you haven’t heard of the ECS, then you’re not alone. While cannabis scientists had long expected that the body had a biological system that functions with cannabinoids, this was not proved until 1992, with the discovery of anandamide – in a nutshell, anandamide is the body’s natural version of THC. From there, researchers started to learn more about CBD which, on its own, does not produces the psychoactive effects that THC does.
In the past 20 years or so, CBD has been shown to regulate the ECS, increasing its stock as an anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, anti-anxiety compound, natural sleeping agent and much, much more.
It is thanks to the ECS that cannabis and cannabinoids are able to help the body so much, despite years of naysaying from anti-cannabis forces in politics and the media.
Here are four awesome reasons to use CBD.
1) CBD Creams Aid Post-Workout Recovery
Taking care of your body after hitting the gym is just as important as doing the exercise in the first place, especially for those who engage in intense workouts. Aches and pains are a familiar feeling, and every time we exercise, muscle fibers become ever-so-slightly damaged. But this can be treated by applying a CBD cream – the CB2 receptor in the ECS has the power to regulate inflammation, as it has a direct neurological pathway to immune system response. Studies have found that endocannabinoids control inflammation, and CBD ensures that these important compounds get where they need to be.
The other time that the muscles get a chance to properly heal is during sleep, and particularly deep sleep. We can spend more time in this phase of sleep, which also promotes the healing of body tissues, by taking a dose of CBD before bed. This is because the ECS also regulates the sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm as it’s sometimes known.
2) Get Anxiety Under Control
Anyone who has suffered from anxiety for an extended period of time knows how devastating and restricting the mental condition can be – the frustration that builds from being psychologically unable to do once-simple tasks is often unbearable. At worst, the rumination and worrisome thoughts that are part and parcel with anxiety get so out of control that it leads to a full-blown panic attack. Not to mention, the more that the negative thoughts prevail, the harder it becomes to break free from the vicious cycle, which relentlessly batters confidence.
But CBD is here to help and has been scientifically-proven to ease anxiety – check out this 2011 study that subjected anxiety patients to a public speaking experiment. More recent research has shown that CBD reduces anxiety by treating chemical imbalance in the brain. The relentless thinking that comes with anxiety is due to an overactive brain – crucial to combatting this overactivity is a neurotransmitter called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). CBD elevates level of GABA, and in doing so, relieves anxiety.
Extreme anxiety and predictable anxiety (e.g. if you have social anxiety, symptoms may arise before meeting new people) requires quick treatment. Inhalation is the fastest method, with CBD vape oil and e-liquid ever-popular, but health-conscious people may prefer CBD oil, which is taken under the tongue.
For anxiety that is not overpowering, but seems to linger throughout the day, CBD capsules or edibles may be more economical and efficient.
3) Treating Skin Conditions
The research behind the ECS and treating skin conditions is lengthy and complex, but since the root cause of complaints such as acne and psoriasis is in immune system dysfunction, it’s no shock that CBD can be of help. Most CBD products are consumed via inhalation (vaping, smoking) or ingestion (edibles, capsules), but it’s possible to access the skin’s cannabinoid receptors with topicals.
For psoriasis, CBD addresses the hyperactive skin cell production which leads to patchy and red skin, as skin cells are forced to the epidermis too quickly. In normal circumstances, skin cells take about a month to rise to the skin’s top layer, where they can be naturally shed. But in psoriasis patients, these cells reach the surface of the skin in a matter of days, leading to the notorious symptoms.
With acne, CBD’s benefits come by reducing inflammation in the sebaceous glands, which is responsible for the unnecessarily high levels of sebum on the skin. This oil not only damages the aesthetical appearance of the skin but causes pores to become clogged with dirt and bacteria, increasing the risk of infection and the emergence of pimples and zits – the worst nightmare of any self-conscious teen.
4) Manage Appetite With CBD
If you have ever come across recreational cannabis, then you’ll likely know it as a plant which stimulates appetite – and indeed, psychoactive THC is responsible for the surge in hunger and thirst, which we know better as the “munchies” and the “drinkies”. But that’s just one cannabinoid, and interestingly, CBD can have the opposite effect, which may help with weight control.
Let us explain: while THC triggers the CB1 receptor to boost appetite, a variable regulated by the ECS, CBD interacts with this receptor quite differently. CBD is a powerful antagonist of the CB1 receptor, suppressing its influence, and therefore managing hunger. If you’re prone to getting cravings and gorging on unhealthy snacks, perhaps try some CBD gummy bears instead – one of these will satiate your appetite and stop the body from demanding more and more.
The time has come medical experts, along with fitness and dietary experts, to get up to speed with CBD, and the benefits of endocannabinoid system regulation. The science is out there, and it’s quite astounding!