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What Is CBD: Science And Benefits Of CBD Oil

what is cbd

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CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound that can be found in both hemp – often as one of the components of a good full spectrum hemp extract – or medical marijuana.

CBD oil has a ton of therapeutic benefits, many of which we will get into here today.

With the rise in popularity of CBD oil in the mainstream awareness, I think it’s important to educate my readers on the true research-backed benefits of CBD oil. This is especially important because there are very few reputable websites out there right now that are taking the time to educate people on the subject.

Most people don’t have the wherewithal to dig into the research around CBD, which I think can potentially be dangerous as it creates an environment where wives’ tales and urban myths can spread easily, masquerading as “truth.”

CBD Research Is Evolving Quickly

One of the coolest things about CBD is the fact that there is already a wide breadth of research around it, ranging from clinical trials evaluating therapeutic applications in humans, to in vitro studies, which are basically test tube experiments. There have also been a fair amount of animal studies, which can teach us a bit more about mammalian applications, and typically animal studies can correlate, with a fair degree of accuracy, to human effects. Researchers tend to use certain types of animals in research settings that have biological systems very similar to humans for this reason.

While CBD oil and cannabis in general has been widely marginalized in the United States for nearly 100 years, there is actually a surprising amount of positive research around the subject already, due to the rise in popularity and nearly unstoppable momentum behind the federal legalization of cannabis. It’s only a matter of time before the flood gates open on federal funding into the amazing therapeutic healing plant.

CBD Activates Endocannabinoid Receptors

You may be wondering about the physiological basis for the wide-reaching effectiveness of CBD in helping people with things like epilepsy,1 pain management,2 sleep,3 anxiety,4 depression,5 inflammation,6 cancer,7 addiction,8 and neuropathy.9

All throughout your brain and body are receptor sites.

These receptor sites are typically bound by endogenous (from within your body) neurotransmitters. Your cells communicate with one another using neurotransmitters, hormones, and second messengers. Certain messenger molecules fit into specific receptor sites. Many of these lie within the brain itself, but they’re also spread throughout the body in things like soft tissue, muscles, organs, and even bone.

CBD molecules can specifically bind to certain receptor sites within the endocannabinoid system (ECS), as well as other neurotransmitter systems. The ECS, however, when activated by CBD, indirectly through CB1 and CB2 receptor sites,10 (which is why it does not get you “high” like THC) has been linked to the myriad health benefits typically associated with CBD Oil. These CB1 and CB2 receptor sites can be found all throughout the brain and the body, but CBD also works outside of the ECS in other neurotransmitter systems, hence the wide ranging health benefits11 and applications of consuming a high quality CBD oil.

So what are some of these key benefits?

Let’s take a quick look at some of the current applications researchers are exploring for CBD benefits in humans and animals.

3 Major Benefits Of CBD Oil (Research and Therapeutic Applications)

1. CBD and Inflammation: The Anti-Inflammatory Benefits Of CBD Oil

Inflammation is caused chiefly by free radical stress on the body, which activates an immune response. The best way to fight it is to consume natural compounds that fight this free radical stress, such as potent anti-oxidants. I’ve discussed here on the blog about how Hemp Extract is rich in the potent antioxidant Vitamin E, but you’ll be happy to know that CBD itself can also act as an antioxidant in the fight against stress.

One of the ways CBD helps fight inflammation is through activation of glycine receptors,12 which has been shown to be a major target in chronic pain and inflammation treatments.

The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD are so potent, that they’ve even been shown to help alleviate neuropathy pain in MS patients.13

Even inflammation present in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease has been suppressed via CBD application in clinical research, due to the cannabidiol’s activation of PPARγ, which triggers the suppression of pro-inflammatory signaling.14

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients have also seen improvements in colon inflammation in research with use of CBD oil.15

2. CBD and Sleep: The Sleep Benefits Of CBD Oil

CBD oil has been studied quite a bit in reducing anxiety, as well as improving certain sleep biomarkers in humans. CBD oil may help increase overall amount of sleep time16 reduce insomnia, 17 and may even help with sleep onset and staying asleep in patients with chronic pain.18

3. CBD May Help Anxiety and Depression

Like I mentioned above, CBD oil has been demonstrated in research to help patients with anxiety issues. Most antioxidants, or stress-fighting natural compounds, act as anti-depressant agents in the body. I also mentioned earlier how CBD molecules can bind to glycine receptors, where glycine expression and glycine ratios in relation to other amino acids is considered a prime indicator of anti-depressant effects during major depression.19

Where To Buy CBD Oil

I personally think that it’s very important to get a high quality CBD oil, preferably organic, and extracted from hemp that is grown outdoors without pesticides or herbicides. If you search around on the internet right now, there are quite a few shady “companies” selling CBD oil, but most of it is CBD isolate, which has almost no benefits when compared to full spectrum extract.

I put together a helpful page called Where To Buy CBD Oil to hopefully point you in the right direction on getting some CBD from a high quality source.

Medical References

Devinsky O, Cilio M, Cross H, et al. Cannabidiol: pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Epilepsia. 2014;55(6):791-802. [PubMed]
Häuser W, Fitzcharles M, Radbruch L, Petzke F. Cannabinoids in Pain Management and Palliative Medicine. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017;114(38):627-634. [PubMed]
Rong C, Lee Y, Carmona N, et al. Cannabidiol in medical marijuana: Research vistas and potential opportunities. Pharmacol Res. 2017;121:213-218. [PubMed]
Lee J, Bertoglio L, Guimarães F, Stevenson C. Cannabidiol regulation of emotion and emotional memory processing: relevance for treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders. Br J Pharmacol. 2017;174(19):3242-3256. [PubMed]
Campos A, Fogaça M, Scarante F, et al. Plastic and Neuroprotective Mechanisms Involved in the Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol in Psychiatric Disorders. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:269. [PubMed]
Ryz N, Remillard D, Russo E. Cannabis Roots: A Traditional Therapy with Future Potential for Treating Inflammation and Pain. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):210-216. [PubMed]
Soderstrom K, Soliman E, Van D. Cannabinoids Modulate Neuronal Activity and Cancer by CB1 and CB2 Receptor-Independent Mechanisms. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:720. [PubMed]
Shannon S, Opila-Lehman J. Cannabidiol Oil for Decreasing Addictive Use of Marijuana: A Case Report. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015;14(6):31-35. [PubMed]
Blake A, Wan B, Malek L, et al. A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain management. Ann Palliat Med. August 2017. [PubMed]
Blázquez C, Chiarlone A, Bellocchio L, et al. The CB1 cannabinoid receptor signals striatal neuroprotection via a PI3K/Akt/mTORC1/BDNF pathway. C. 2015;22(10):1618-1629. doi:10.1038/cdd.2015.11
Grotenhermen F, Müller-Vahl K. The therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012;109(29-30):495-501. [PubMed]
Xiong W, Cui T, Cheng K, et al. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. J Exp Med. 2012;209(6):1121-1134. [PubMed]
Iskedjian M, Bereza B, Gordon A, Piwko C, Einarson T. Meta-analysis of cannabis based treatments for neuropathic and multiple sclerosis-related pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2007;23(1):17-24. [PubMed]
Vallée A, Lecarpentier Y, Guillevin R, Vallée J. Effects of cannabidiol interactions with Wnt/β-catenin pathway and PPARγ on oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2017;49(10):853-866. [PubMed]
Couch D, Tasker C, Theophilidou E, Lund J, O’Sullivan S. Cannabidiol and palmitoylethanolamide are anti-inflammatory in the acutely inflamed human colon. Clin Sci (Lond). 2017;131(21):2611-2626. [PubMed]
Chagas M, Crippa J, Zuardi A, et al. Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats. J Psychopharmacol. 2013;27(3):312-316. [PubMed]
Carlini E, Cunha J. Hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol. J Clin Pharmacol. 1981;21(8-9 Suppl):417S-427S. [PubMed]
Russo E. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245-259. [PMC]
Altamura C, Maes M, Dai J, Meltzer H. Plasma concentrations of excitatory amino acids, serine, glycine, taurine and histidine in major depression. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 1995;5 Suppl:71-75. [PubMed]
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Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has a degree in Neuroscience from Duke University, and is the research writer for The Universal Plant. He has dedicated his life to helping men and women around the world educate themselves and take action to improve their health with natural plant-based and nutrient therapies. Follow him on Instagram @_christopherwalker

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