It does seem that cannabidiol or CBD is everywhere these days. From the myriad of dispensaries opening up around the country to all sorts of products, CBD has become more than a trend, it’s a phenomenon. You can find CBD in products ranging from lattes to beauty products and more. But what is CBD, how does it work, and does it help for conditions such as anxiety, pain, and stress relief?
An acronym for cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical compound that is found in cannabis and industrial hemp. CBD should not be confused with THC which is the active psychotropic element in marijuana. CBD does not make you feel “high”. Rather, cannabidiol is a substance that promotes relaxation, a reduction of inflammation, and treats a number of different conditions.
While CBD does not get you high, it does affect people in different ways. While there is no feeling of euphoria, there is a small percentage of people who have a mild reaction similar to those who take over-the-counter pain relief products such a Tylenol or Advil. This is why it is recommended for those who have never taken CBD before to take a small amount and under supervision.
When taking a recommended dose of CBD, the first effect that you will notice is arguably a dulling of pain and feeling more relaxed. The effects themselves are mild, but it is noticeable especially the first time you take the product. Although the full extent of what CBD does to the body has yet to be fully researched, so far there have been relatively few adverse reactions.
This is important because it speaks to the mild nature of what is CBD. It seems to have a calming effect which works for anxiety, pain, and mild forms of depression. It may have other effects as well, but that has yet to be fully researched.
Food & Drug Administration
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one medication that includes CBD, Epidiolex. This is a drug used to combat certain effects generated by epilepsy. But while the FDA has not officially approved other medications, there is no reason to believe that the product itself presents a danger. In fact, it does seem mostly through anecdotal evidence that CBD offers considerable benefits in many other areas of treatment.
Of course, if you are taking CBD for anxiety or CBD for pain, then you should only use recommended brands. As with any product that you take internally, you only want those that have been properly tested first. This is to ensure proper quality control and that some CBD products do contain a small amount of THC.
Why Industrial Hemp?
Although CBD may be most associated with cannabis or marijuana, most of the CBD products on the market come from hemp or industrial hemp. This is because hemp contains little to no THC which is heavily regulated, if not banned outright in most states. Because industrial hemp contains about 0.3% of CBD compared to marijuana, it is legal in most states.
This is not to say that all CBD comes from hemp. In certain states, CBD may have a higher percentage of THC which usually means that the product is derived from cannabis. You will need to check with your state laws, rules, and regulations about CBD, the THC content allowed, and other effects of the local laws that are in place.
In addition, the CBD oil that is extracted from the hemp contains other healthy properties such as healthy fats which are used in beauty products and the like.
Understanding what is CBD means more than just the obvious effects that it delivers. While it must be stated that the research into CBD is still in the early stages, there are benefits that you can use in your daily life.
Treatment Types: You can take CBD internally or apply it topically to the area that needs treatment. This means that if you are feeling pain, you can take CBD by inhaling, applying to the skin, swallowing or using tincture products that are applied under the tongue.
The tincture method allows the CBD to be absorbed into the blood stream without having to go through the digestive process. This allows the CBD to be more effective in treating general symptoms of pain or anxiety.
Digestion is one of the most common methods and there are many food products that include CBD. From gummy bears to brownies to all sorts of treats, CBD is present in such products that allow for a quick dose to be introduced. However, the downside is that the digestive process will destroy some of the CBD before it can be absorbed into the body.
The inhalation of CBD through vaporizers is arguably considered the most effective means of reaching the blood stream quickly. However, it has come under scrutiny recently due to a number of people suffering from damage to their lungs. This means that more research is needed into the inhalation method before it can be recommended as an effective means of receiving CBD.
Applying the product to the skin is performed when a specific area of the body needs pain relief. This is often true after workouts when muscle soreness is an issue. In addition to treating the pain, the healthy fats also promote softer, younger skin. So, while the benefits are limited, they are considerable if you have muscle soreness that CBD can treat through the skin.
CBD for Pain: Although not fully understood, using CBD to manage pain may be the most common use of the product. It does appear that CBD does help with those who suffer from the two most common types of pain, nerve and musculoskeletal. In this regard, some research does indicate that a small amount of THC included with the CBD accentuates the pain relief. However, you will need a prescription to get THC in states that allow it.
What CBD does do is reduce inflammation, which is well-suited to treat both main types of pain. By reducing inflammation in the joints, CBD can help those who suffer from arthritis and similar conditions. The same is true for those who suffer from muscle aches and pains. In addition, back pain can be reduced when the inflammation goes down as well.
Add to this the relaxing feeling that many have experienced when taking CBD and the combination does address pain quite well.
CBD for Anxiety: If you suffer from mild anxiety or want an effective way to treat stress, CBD may hold the answer. The effect is one that calms the nervous system and reduces the “flight or fight” response that many have felt when in this state. The effect is not psychotropic as with THC, it is more of a general calming effect that manages to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
It is true that there may be a placebo effect in play when taking CBD. After all, many people who believe that a product will work for them will perceive it to be so. However, there does seem to be enough anecdotal evidence that CBD is an effective management for anxiety symptoms. For those who suffer from mild forms of anxiety or stress, then CBD may be part of an overall treatment to reduce the symptoms.
CBD Does Not Treat Everything
Despite the hype that surrounds CBD, it is not a fix-all treatment. Even for the conditions that it does treat, there are specific products that arguably do a better job. The difference is that the effects of CBD are strong enough to have a noticeable effect while being gentle enough that it is not addicting and can be used frequently if needed.
People who take CBD regularly may offer their opinions on the effectiveness of the product. But there is little evidence to suggest that it cures serious conditions such as cancer. While CBD may treat some elements associated with cancer and perhaps when combined with a healthy diet and exercise along with other products may limit the ability of certain cancers to form. The truth is that CBD is not a miracle drug nor should be perceived as one.
As with any other treatment, CBD has its advantages and limitations. Understanding how CBD works, how much you should take for treating certain conditions, and when to not take it. This can be important if you are taking over the counter or prescribed medications. You will want to check with your doctor about the use of CBD with your medications.
It is true that CBD for pain and CBD for anxiety does seem to work for most people. While additional research needs to be done, there are good reasons to believe that CBD does reduce inflammation and creates a calming, relaxing effect on the body which addresses both pain and anxiety. For those who wonder what is CBD, how it works, and will it work for them, the answer for the most part is that CBD will have a beneficial effect.