Disclaimer: It's important to understand that research in this area is still in its early stages, meaning the list of potential benefits, and risks, is likely to grow.
How does CBD affect the body?
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of [cannabinoid] receptors extended throughout our body that play a significant part in managing our most important control systems and functions, including our immune system, nervous system, sleep, appetite, and mood.
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2
CB1 receptors - densely located in the brain and throughout the body
CB2 receptors - generally found in the immune system, but also located in the brain
The endocannabinoid system does not only respond to endocannabinoids produced by the body, but also responds to external cannabinoids like CBD, and THC.
THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) binds well to the CB1 receptor in the brain, hence, the brain-altering effects.
CBD (the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis) actually doesn't bind to either receptor, but rather impacts them indirectly. For example, CBD activates TRPV1 receptors, which control functions such as inflammation, body temperature, and pain sensitivity. CBD also boosts the body's anandamide level - which has been called the "bliss molecule" - affecting mood and motivation.
Health Benefits of CBD Oils
The following list compiles the most commonly reported, and research-backed, health benefits of consuming CBD.
For your mind, CBD may aid in the relief of:
1. Anxiety and panic disorder - CBD can produce an anxiolytic-like (anxiety reducing) effect. Unlike THC, which may promote anxiety or paranoia, CDB may reduce feelings of anxiety by interacting with, and perhaps altering, serotonin signals - which plays a role in our mental health - to promote a feeling of sedation
2. Depression - CBD has been found to be effective in the treatment of depression. While it is not the cure, it may improve the symptoms of depression by working with serotonin receptors to enhance mood
3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - CBD can potentially reduce the compulsive response by soothing anxiety-ridden tendencies
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - CBD has been used to treat the agonizing symptoms of PTSD
For your body, CBD may aid in:
1. Pain suppression and inflammation reduction - studies have shown that the effects of CBD on your brain's receptors may help manage pain. Additionally, CBD helps to reduce inflammatory pain by affecting the way that the pain receptors respond to external stimuli
2. Fighting cancer - studies have suggested that CBD plays a role in preventing cancer cell growth by reducing the ability of some types of tumor cells to reproduce, but research is still in it's infancy
3. Nausea relief - evidence has shown that the ECS regulates nausea, a response to pain or general unease. By manipulating the endocannabinoid system, the feeling of nausea may be suppressed
4. Supporting cardiovascular health - research has suggested that the anxiety reducing / calmness promoting properties of CBD may be responsible for its ability to help lower high blood pressure and hypertension
5. Treating seizures - earlier in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Epidolex (a pure form of CBD), for the treatment of epilepsy in children. It was tested and found to be effective in reduce the frequency of seizures caused by epilepsy.
6. Reducing acne - acne, which affects ~9% of the world's population, can be muted by CBD. One study found that CBD was a quick and efficient way to reduce acne thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities, while another study found that CBD was able to reduce sebum production (oil secretion by the sebaceous glands in your skin)
7. Improving sleep quality - studies have shown that, through stress reduction, CBD may be effective at reducing sleep difficulties, such as insomnia and restlessness, and in turn, help you feel more alert during the day
CBD as an Antioxidant:
CBD is an incredibly effective and potent antioxidant (even more effective than vitamin C and E). Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, or unstable molecules that can damage the cells in your body, and ensures that your body is working as efficiently as possible. As a result, CBD may aid in the treatment and even reverse progression of neurodegenerative diseases, caused by oxidation of cells within the brain (neurotoxicity), such as Alzheimer's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease.
Risks (very few)
Users tend to tolerate a wide range of doses well. However, in some cases, rather large doses may lead to the following side-effects:
1. Lightheadedness - which may be the result of a rapid drop in blood pressure
2. Tiredness - consistent with its ability to promote a state of sedation
3. Some consumers may experience an allergic reaction