The medicinal benefits of hemp and the CBD isolate have been praised and practiced since early Mesopotamia. Only in recent years, however, have scientists come to understand just how the brain and body interact with the oil. And even still, the reasons the brain receptors respond as they do is beyond modern medical understanding. As a society, particularly in North America, psychiatry is still a relatively new field. Anyone who has seen Mad Men knows that it was even considered a taboo subject to discuss socially. Culturally, this attitude began to shift in the 1970s, it’s benefits popularized by public figures like Woody Allen, whose neuroses served as a springboard for groundbreaking comedy.
Initially, CBD was only used to treat chronic, severe pain. But as the societal stigma surrounding hemp has continued to grow moot – as we’ve come to accept it as a healthcare product rather than a drug – science has discovered it benefits stretch far beyond what we could have imagined, treating everything from psychological disorders, depression, anxiety, and more severe medical conditions. But to understand it benefits, we first must examine what exactly it is.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol was first discovered in 1940. It makes up approximately 40 percent of a hemp plant’s extract. There are many different ways in which CBD oil can be ingested in the body, be it by aerosol, smoke or vapor or orally.
CBD comes in a variety of flavors and delivery methods.
Is CBD the Same As Cannabis?
In short, no. CBD is just one of 104 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. When extracted, it is mixed with hemp seed or coconut oil to create what we consider cannabidiol. This is an important distinction, as the benefits effects of CBD are vastly different than marijuana. It doesn’t get you high. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active compound in weed. It’s the part of the plant that creates that sense of disorientation, paranoia light-headedness, excessive laughter and the kind of faux existential thought commonly joked about in “stoner” culture. It’s the THC that has made marijuana a controversial legal issue in some parts of the world.
CBD, on the other hand, is more commonly associated with a sense of calmness and offering a range of health benefits.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
It depends where you live. Currently, CBD oil is legal across the UK. In parts of the USA, it is only legal for medicinal purposes. The confusion about CBD’s legality stems from the marijuana issue. Ideally, it’s probably best to check your area’s laws before obtaining any oil. And those laws are constantly undergoing a great deal of change. Currently, the World Health Organization has recommended that it remains an unscheduled drug. What complicates matters in the US is the strict, vague drug laws. Illegal substances are listed as “Schedule One” drugs by the government, however, there is no Schedule Two or Three. A drug is legal or it’s not.
CBD Oil for Pain
Extract from the marijuana plant has been used to treat pain as early as 1200 B.C. More recently, scientists have pinpointed CBD as the strain responsible for relieving pain. The human body naturally contains a system is known as the Eccocanaboid System (ECS), which regulates sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. CBD use may reduce pain by stimulating the ECS, reducing such conditions as inflammation (which causes joint pain) or sciatic nerve pain. In extreme cases, CBD has even been known to treat pain related to Multiple Sclerosis and arthritis. One study has even shown those with MS have seen increased mobility and reduced muscle spasms when using the oil.
CBD Oil for Anxiety and Depression
Studies have recently discovered CBD oil can serve as a natural remedy for anxiety and depression. This is ideal for patients that react negatively to serotonin inhibitors such as Zoloft or Prozac. You don’t have to be a doctor to know the numerous side effects such drugs can potentially have; one need only listen to the long list of disclaimers the narrator of commercials lists off at the end of the ads. A 2011 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology reported that patients given 600 mg of CBD prior to a public speaking exercise were found to have markedly less anxiety and delivered speeches with less difficulty than those given the placebo.
CBD Oil for Epilepsy
Studies have shown a reduction in seizures for those with certain types of epilepsy after given CBD, though there is still much more research to be done. Just this year, the Food and Drug Administration legalized the orally-taken CBD drug Epidolex to treat two forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gestault Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.
CBD Oil for Acne
Much the way CBD oil can be used for pain due to its effects of inflammation reduction, the same effect can be used to treat acne. The oil appears to inhibit the production of sebum, the fatty acid responsible for acne, in the skin.
CBD Oil for Dogs
Veterinarians have also noted the benefits of CBD oil for man’s best friend. The same way it affects humans who suffer from anxiety, a small tiny dose from an eyedropper can have a relaxing effect on your pet. It has been proven safe and advocated by veterinarians around the world to treat not only anxiety but epilepsy and chronic pain. CBD oil also is known to boost a dog’s appetite.
More interestingly, it has also been known to fight and prevent cancer in dogs by helping their immune system battle cancerous cells, block their ability to produce energy and containing anti-tumor properties.
Negative Side Effects of CBD Oil
Most who CBD oil have reported few to no side effects, although there are some exceptions in extreme cases. These range from gastrointestinal discomfort, sleeping difficulty, mood changes, dry mouth, dizziness or fatigue. Though rare, use should be discontinued if these effects continue. Most importantly, one should consult their physician before replacing any current medications they’re prescribed and switching to CBD. The oil may well relieve pain, anxiety or depression, but suddenly cutting out medications could also lead to withdrawal.
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