Uses and Benefits of CBD – Complete Overview
Heard about broad or CBD oil but don’t believe the hype? Want to get the real picture of what health benefits CBD oil provides? Well, look no further. We’ve put together a complete walkthrough so you can get the rundown on the complete and comprehensive benefits of CBD oil: This natural compound from hemp has a broad range of therapeutic benefits. Some of these include stress reduction, reduced anxiety, better sleep and lowered inflammation. Ancient cultures have been aware of the healing properties of cannabidiol (CBD) for thousands of years. You’ve probably heard about CBD oil and the wide range of health benefits its advocates promote. Let’s take a look at the benefits of CBD oil and how it might improve your recovery.
How did ancient societies use CBD?
Firstly – a quick overview of its historical use for therapeutic purposes. Several societies across the world have used CBD oil since ancient times. These cultures understood its potential as an agent of restoration and inflammation reduction, employing it as a tool to help manage ailments. The benefits of CBD have been understood for thousands of years. Its only now they are being rediscovered and popularized in many countries.
Archaeologists and historians uncovered some surprising discoveries about the use of hemp in ancient Roman society. Like many other cultures around the world, the Romans understood (likely through trial or error, or by learning from other cultures and travelers) that hemp could reduce the impact or help alleviate ailments like body aches and pains in different areas like the head or stomach.
The Greeks and Romans had numerous interactions over history in ancient times, often learning and developing from the knowledge or experience of their neighbors. This knowledge also came from travelers and traders from surrounding regions and states which brought new and useful tools or products. One of these was hemp – the Greeks realized it had properties that could help with inflammation, anxiety, and sleep. They also came to learn that many of these benefits applied to animals too and administered the product to horses and dogs to help with their pain.
Hemp’s application as a means of healing was written about numerous times in Greek scripts. The oldest ever reference to hemp being used to treat the body and mind is when Herodotus wrote of the Scythians (a nomadic Central Asian horse warrior tribe similar to the Mongols) who would use it with their baths in steam to relax and cleanse.
Middle East and Egypt
Thousands of years before even the Greeks and Romans had encountered CBD oil, the substance was well-known and used throughout the middle east. CBD and hemp extract have their origins in the middle east, where hemp grows naturally in the high mountain peaks that link Europe and Asia between Turkey and Afghanistan. As Herodotus outlined, the ancient Scythians were firm proponents of hemp as a therapeutic substance in oil and steam form. This society was nomadic and would come to use the plant for a range of purposes, particularly to help with pain and to calm the mind from stress. Nomads like the Scythians would eventually bring the product to Europe where the Romans and Greeks found its uses.
Middle Eastern cultures knew of the plant, its oil, and the real benefits it could deliver well before this though. Thousands of years before Christ the realms of the Egyptians had uncovered hemp through travelers and developed their methods of ingesting CBD oil in addition to using it for topical pain relief. Its prolific use across the Middle East by the kingdoms in Assyria, ancient Babylon, and Persia was also evidence of CBD oil’s extensive use historically by highly developed, advanced cultures.
What are the benefits of CBD oil?
Science has shown these ancient cultures were right. CBD oil works – it contains two amazing compounds which deliver a huge payload of health boosters. What are these? Cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. The cannabinoid family provides all the mental and physical relief of hemp without getting you high as it contains no psychoactive THC.
Interest and studies on CBD began in the mid-20th century, rapidly picking up in both pace and popularity once scientists realized the powerful, pragmatic compounds they had discovered. Towards the late 20th century it was revealed that both human and many animal bodies such as dogs contain cannabinoid receptors. This was a revelation. In other words – our bodies were physically designed by nature to be able to take in and use hemp compounds for different purposes.
It was discovered that CBD oil triggers certain chemicals to release that the human body produces itself which results in its range of health benefits like reduced inflammation markers. Yet while much is known about hemp and its healthy payload of effects, there is still much to be uncovered and a lot that is not yet proven or known by science. Clinical and double-blind trials are seeing a massive increase in focus and breadth for CBD oil and related products, with hundreds of ongoing animal and human trials currently progressing to derive a deeper understanding of this product’s deep and complex interactions with the body.
How does CBD oil work?
All humans (including you) have a bodily system known as the endocannabinoid system. Other important bodily systems or functions actually ‘speak’ to this system and are linked to it which is how hemp triggers different responses and benefits. In particular, the brain and stomach can receive signals from the endocannabinoid system which helps to regulate and improve mood, reduce anxiety, improve sleep and reduce stress, manage appetite and help with some types of pain. Note that many of these effects have been shown in animals and not yet in humans. Many ongoing clinical studies are happening which may eventually show the techniques used by the ancients with hemp (see above) and its oils were helping their bodies and minds.
How exactly do cannabinoids like CBD communicate with your body though? It interacts with two key receptors known as CB1 and CB2. The difference between these is that CB1 is present in the central nervous system – including the spinal cord and brain – while CB2 is located in different bodily organs like the spleen (an important organ for immune system function) as well as the pancreas, liver, and blood.
The cannabinoid compound binds with these receptors when CBD oil is ingested, causing them to trigger and release other proteins or compounds that stimulate the renowned physical and mental benefits CBD oil is known for. There are two surprising facts about this. One is that the body already contains the ability and resources to generate these powerful effects through the release of certain self-made chemicals. The other is that these receptors are present in every human. You’re born with them. In other words, the body is designed to be able to ingest and use hemp to derive benefits. What are the actual health-improving effects this mechanism drives?
Firstly let’s start with the ‘softer’ mood effects. CBD oil is renowned for its ability to calm the nerves and help people relax. Its warm, relaxing feeling enables many users to feel at ease even when stressed or anxious. This therapeutic property relates to its ability for anxiety reduction. Stress in the mind and body is caused by a hormone called Cortisol which has many triggers. It results in harm to both the body and mind, higher blood pressure, and accelerated heart rates even when resting which can cause cardiovascular issues and reduce overall well-being. It also can be a root cause of many anxiety conditions, particularly for people who are overworked and lacking in sleep where cortisol builds over time.
CBD oil reduces these negative effects by relaxing the mind. Many studies have shown the efficacy of hemp in mitigating anxiety. A long-term randomized trial study showed CBD oil greatly improved anxiety measures across around 70 patients by nearly 80%.
Similarly, one of the top peer-reviewed pharmacology journals (the Journal of Pharmacology) demonstrated that CBD oil can reduce anxiety at high doses significantly in double-blind trials. The study revealed that against the placebo tests, the subjects given CBD oil had an anxiolytic (anxiety-inhibiting) effect that helped to calm the patient. It’s important to note that studies with higher dosages or more concentrated CBD oils were able to deliver better results against a placebo (i.e. where subjects took no substance).
While not definitive or proven, there are promising studies and progress toward understanding the deeper mental and neurocognitive benefits of CBD. Some research shows that the brain may receive benefits from CBD in animal studies (ie neuroprotective properties). The biggest evidence of this is the reduction of seizures and epilepsy in some patients from multiple studies. One study looked at a large sample group of hundreds of subjects and determined CBD oil had a very positive effect on both reducing the frequency, and length of seizures and in some cases completely resolved them. CBD has been well studied for its anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing effects. It is able to produce a sense of calm, satisfaction and relaxation due to the stress reducing endocannabinoids it triggers the release of.
As CBD interacts with the brain through the signaling pathways in the endocannabinoid system and CB1 receptors, this may be the mechanism for delivering the mental neuroprotective health benefits that some preliminary studies are showing. Another key study recently done in Australia on the impact of CBD showed that trained medical workers in a small hospital for children had a majority agreed that the product was helping out kids with epilepsy significantly.
Like many of the other noted effects of CBD oil’s health benefits, the research, and science behind the physical health improvements CBD oil can offer are still fairly nascent and in the early stages of being tested, verified, and proved in the eyes of science. Some signals are promising in this space though. Some users report improvements in stress resulting in better management of body fat and weight loss. Stress and anxiety are key triggers for overeating in many people, meaning CBD oil could be a tool to help lose weight.
A study a few years ago in 2017 showed that topical CBD cream applied to certain body areas helped to alleviate some of the symptoms of arthritis, reducing inflammation of the affected joint. It’s important to highlight the study was not on human subjects but mice, although it did conclude there were prophylactic and anti-inflammatory therapeutic effects the product delivered into the joint. The treatment ended up creating longer-term strengthening and prevention of future arthritic inflammation which is very promising for human trials and real-world applications.
What side effects does CBD have?
CBD is very safe. This was the common theme across all studies we investigated and what the research in both animals and humans reveals. It has no psychoactive or psychotropic effects, unlike THC which can cause mental health and anxiety risks in many people. While anecdotal, many people report being able to think and react more clearly after using hemp extract, which may also relate to its neuroprotective and anxiety-reducing properties.
CBD oil also doesn’t raise your heart rate, blood pressure, or respiratory rate. It doesn’t mess with internal body regulators and homeostasis which is great for people with heart issues or other chronic health problems. While your sleep won’t get improved or helped by CBD oil and no research supports this, it also won’t be harmed by it and keep you awake which is great as it can be used at any hour of the day. The key risk with the product to be careful of is its interactions and effects on other drugs. It’s known to change the serum level of some drugs in the blood which can have different outcomes depending on the individual. But at the same time, you won’t get addicted to it as it has very low addictive properties and profile which is also another huge pro for its use.
A very clean, helpful, and natural chemical produced by plants, CBD oil helps calm your body and mind with no harmful side effects (providing it is not mixed or taken with anything). It’s both powerful and effective at delivering a range of CBD oil health benefits – from anxiety and stress relief to neuroprotection to anti-inflammation in the body and joints. Its clear usage through both multiple ancient societies and across broad parts of the modern world is that the benefits are realized whether subjectively or objectively by science and that its enhancement to well-being and mood is very established. Future studies and developments on the effects, interactions, and benefits of CBD will further solidify and expand the knowledge and clarity around what its true holistic well-being effects are but for now, we at least know it is still safe, non-addictive, and works for some health purposes.