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Health Benefits of CBD: Exploring the Therapeutic Uses and Effects

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 Health Benefits of CBD: Exploring the Therapeutic Uses and Effects

Since the government made hemp-derived CBD legal in 2018, its popularity has exploded. You've undoubtedly seen CBD products advertised, claiming all kinds of benefits. CBD can have a calming effect, and many people use it to relax after a stressful day. However, the benefits of CBD go beyond recreational purposes. Almost 62% of CBD users say they use it for medical reasons.

Scientists are beginning to uncover CBD's properties and effects on the body. Research indicates that CBD may help people manage different medical conditions. Many patients work with their healthcare providers and use CBD to treat pain, sleep problems, anxiety, and other symptoms.

Evidence is mounting for CBD's therapeutic uses. In this article, we'll discuss CBD's history and explore some of its health advantages.

Talking to Your Doctor About the Benefits of CBD

Studies and research show that CBD has therapeutic benefits for many people. It is already used in a range of treatments, and people are finding relief from pain, anxiety, and other health problems while using CBD.

However, before you use it for health conditions, it's an excellent idea to talk to your doctor. Overall, CBD is safe and well-tolerated. It doesn't have some of the harsh side effects that come with other drugs.

Possible Side Effects

CBD can have side effects, though. Generally, they include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue and drowsiness

Liver injury and male reproductive effects have been reported as well. CBD can also interact with other medications you take. As an example, the relaxing benefits of CBD can add to other drugs that cause drowsiness.

Some of the interactions are serious and require close monitoring. Therefore, your doctor needs to know if you use CBD so that he or she can keep an eye out for possible problems.

The Benefits of CBD Throughout History

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. It is a compound found in cannabis and is its second most prevalent ingredient (THC is the first). CBD is derived from the hemp plant or manufactured in a laboratory. Hemp is any part of the cannabis sativa plant with no more than 0.3% THC.

CBD doesn't make you high. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, does that. When Congress signed the Agriculture Improvement Act into law in 2018, it legalized hemp-derived CBD. Some states still list it as a controlled substance, though, so the legal status of CBD differs around the country.

Humans have used cannabis for many things since around 12,000 BC, including:

  • Food
  • Rope fibers
  • Oil from seeds
  • Medicine
  • Mind-altering purposes

The latter two uses delivered a risk. Hemp that grew in different seasons and places produced varied amounts of THC. Since no one had isolated the compound yet, overdosing was a real threat.

Scientists have now isolated more than 100 compounds from cannabis. Roger Adams first isolated CBD in 1940; scientists reported on its structure in 1963. Scientists identified THC in 1964.

Then, as THC's less exciting cousin, CBD got the cold shoulder for decades. The benefits of CBD remained hidden. Researchers correctly identified THC as the psychoactive component in cannabis. However, they overlooked CBD's potential therapeutic uses.

Luckily, research is now catching on to the advantages of CBD.

CBD's Health Benefits

Using cannabis as medicine is nothing new. Now that scientists can isolate CBD from other compounds, they can study what medical properties it has by itself.

The FDA has approved one drug, Epidiolex, for specific pediatric seizure disorders. Researchers continue to explore the advantages of CBD for other health conditions.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can make it hard to get through everyday life. It affects 20% of the population, and pain in the joints, nerves, muscles, and tendons is the most common. Chronic pain is recurring or constant and lasts for three months or longer.

Treatment for chronic pain can include taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Exercise and psychotherapy can also help. Doctors sometimes prescribe opioid drugs for severe chronic pain, but they carry a big risk of addiction, physical dependence, and overdose.

Researchers have taken an interest in the benefits of CBD for chronic pain, especially once cannabis became legal in some states. Cannabis users have known for centuries that using it can bring pain relief. Now that scientists can isolate its components, they have the chance to study which ones affect pain receptors.

Studies Showing CBD's Ability To Reduce Pain

A controlled study in 2003 gave cannabis medicinal extracts, including CBD, to people with chronic pain. The patients had significant pain relief compared to those who took a placebo. Another study on kidney transplant patients showed CBD provided partial or total pain improvement.

While these studies were limited and more research needs to happen, they demonstrate that the benefits of CBD include chronic pain relief.

Anxiety and Depression

Most people know someone who deals with anxiety and depression, if not themselves. More than 260 million people worldwide live with anxiety and mood disorders. Symptoms can affect work and school performance, relationships, and daily activities.

There's still a stigma around seeking treatment for mental health issues. Other people don't have the money or resources for counseling or medication. Add in the fact that many mental disorders present the same symptoms, and you can see why they are challenging to treat.

Looking Beyond Traditional Anxiety Medicines

Scientists continue to look for ways to overcome these challenges, and some study the benefits of CBD for mental health. Traditional medications work, but they can have unpleasant side effects. They also lose effectiveness in some patients.

CBD shows a lot of promise for helping people with anxiety and depression, though more research is in the works.

Cancer-Related Symptoms

People with cancer deal with many symptoms, including:

  • Pain
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and anxiety

The benefits of CBD for cancer-related pain have been analyzed the most. One study indicated that more than half of patients who added CBD to their current pain treatment were able to reduce opioid use. They also had significant pain reduction.

Other Benefits for Cancer Patients

Clinical trials also show cancer patients using CBD have fewer sleeping problems, mood changes, and fatigue issues. Studies show CBD also has an anti-tumor effect by slowing tumor growth and causing cancer cells to die.

All in all, the advantages of CBD for cancer patients look promising. The caveat is that patients took CBD and THC together in many studies, so more research with CBD alone needs to happen.

Brain Health

Diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's affect the function of nerve cells. Studies demonstrate that CBD can have a protective effect on the nerves because it is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It can prevent brain cells from losing function in people with these conditions. It can also provide neuroprotection to people with traumatic brain injury, ischemic stroke, and concussion.

Other studies taking place on the benefits of CBD are testing how it can help people relieve the symptoms of Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and other chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

Blood Pressure and Heart Health

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can potentially protect the heart from diseases such as:

  • Cardiomyopathy associated with diabetes.
  • Vascular damage from a high-glucose environment.
  • Stroke

Research also demonstrated CBD's ability to lower blood pressure by reducing the response to stress, though it didn't seem to affect resting heart rate.

Skin Disorders

Preclinical trials have shown CBD's benefits for skin disorders. Applied topically, it has demonstrated the ability to help people treat problems such as eczema, psoriasis, pruritus, and inflammatory issues. CBD's anti-inflammatory properties are to thank for these benefits.

It can also help reduce acne, the most common human skin disease, by causing the sebaceous glands to produce less oil. If further studies confirm what preclinical evidence shows, the benefits of CBD may be a safer, more cost-effective alternative to other prescription acne medicines.

How CBD Improves Sleep

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Scientists are learning how sleep affects overall health. Lack of sleep is linked to many chronic diseases, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression

Many adults get too little sleep for various reasons. Some are habit-related, like scrolling through your phone late at night. Others are environmental, like excessive noise, a warm room, or a changing work schedule.

People can also have sleep disorders that affect the quality of a good night's rest. They include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia. The benefits of CBD may help some sleep disorders.

Lifestyle changes and medical interventions can help people with chronic sleep problems. These methods can be as simple as turning off your phone at a decent hour, or they may involve therapy and medication. However, some medicines have unpleasant side effects.

Cannabis Use for Better Sleep

Many people report using recreational cannabis to help them sleep. A study reported by the Sleep Foundation says that 70% of young adults who are casual users do so to improve their sleep.

Of people who use medical cannabis, 85% report that it helps them sleep better. Half of long-term cannabis users, those who have used it for 10 years or more, say it improves their sleep.

While lots of self-reporting exists, scientific research is still trying to catch up. Also, when people use cannabis for better sleep, they get the effects of both THC and CBD. That makes it hard to tell which compound is causing a result.

The Benefits of CBD for Sleep Disorders

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

REM sleep behavior disorder is associated with nightmares and acting out during sleep. People with the condition often kick, punch, or yell while dreaming. A limited study showed that CBD decreased or eliminated REM sleep behavior disorder in the patients who used it.

Anxiety and Sleep Problems

One study that focused on anxiety and sleep problems showed CBD significantly helped people treat them. After a month of taking CBD, more than 79% reported anxiety relief, and more than 66% said they slept better.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a condition that makes it hard to fall or stay asleep. It can also cause people to wake up too early. Research seems to indicate that CBD helps people with insomnia when used occasionally. However, it is unclear whether long-term use is helpful.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a condition that causes people to become very drowsy during the day, falling asleep suddenly. Early research has indicated that CBD promotes daytime wakefulness. Many who live with narcolepsy also have anxiety, mood issues, and insomnia, so the benefits of CBD can potentially help them get better nighttime sleep.

Restless Leg Syndrome and Sleep Apnea

Restless leg syndrome is an uncomfortable feeling in the legs that causes a strong urge to move them. It happens when people sit still or lie in bed. Sleep apnea is when the upper airway is blocked while sleeping. It causes breathing to get shallow or stop.

Some people self-report that CBD relieves their RLS and sleep apnea symptoms. However, there isn't much scientific evidence to back up the claims. CBD could help people with these symptoms, but it's mainly anecdotal.

Sleep Duration

One study on animals indicated that mid to high doses of CBD significantly increased the total percentage of sleep. It also helped them stay awake during the daytime.

Because CBD can help people lower their anxiety, it can help them eliminate intrusive thoughts that show up at bedtime. Once their mind relaxes, they may be able to sleep longer.

While using cannabis it can also make you sleepy, one of the benefits of CBD for sleep is that it can help without the psychoactive effects of THC.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

The body's circadian rhythms regulate sleep and wake patterns. Many external factors affect them, including:

  • Daylight and darkness
  • Food intake
  • Temperature
  • Social environment
  • Physical activity

It doesn't take much to knock circadian rhythms out of balance. Changing work schedules, travel, aging, sleep habits, and genetics can all cause circadian rhythm disorder.

CBD helps restore circadian rhythm balance by working on cannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors, in turn, cause a chain of events on the body's systems to better align them with natural sleep timing.

More research needs to take place regarding the usefulness of CBD for circadian rhythm disorder, but it appears to help.

Choosing the Right CBD Product

The CBD form you use affects how your body absorbs it. Inhaling it gets it into your bloodstream the fastest. It reaches its highest concentration within 30 minutes and increases your chances of side effects.

Edibles don't always give a high concentration peak, but they can still cause side effects and interact with medications. Topical CBD, such as a cream, might not get into the bloodstream enough to interact with other drugs. However, that's a call your doctor should make because there is little information about how much CBD eventually gets into the bloodstream.

The Benefits of CBD From a High-Quality Source

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SMOKEA® supplies Certificates of Analysis, or independent lab results, for every CBD product. They are available on each product page. Buy with confidence, knowing that you get the CBD concentration you expect.

Do you have more questions about the benefits of CBD? Would you like to learn about our high-quality CBD serums, tinctures, and more? Get in touch with us today.

 

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