Your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been hard at work since before you were born to maintain balance at a cellular level, helping you heal from illness and injury. Present in all the tissues and organs of the body, the ECS regulates the function of the immune, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems, and thus has a profound influence on every aspect of our health.
The health benefits of CBD may include improvements in:
CBD for Anxiety
CBD may benefit some people with anxiety disorders, and it may be useful in helping people reduce anxiety associated with episodic, stressful situations.
In addition to CBD’s influence on the ECS, which likely accounts for some of its anti-anxiety effects, CBD also hits non-ECS targets. For example, CBD is a serotonin receptor agonist. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that’s related to happiness and feeling of contentment, and also plays a major role in anxiety as well as nausea. CBD activates that receptor similarly to the neurotransmitter serotonin — another reason why CBD can be so helpful with anxiety, focus, and other aspects of mental health.
CBD is widely recognized as safer than benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan or Valium, and if it works, it will likely start working much faster than SSRI antidepressants. Patients who don’t respond fully to CBD-dominant products may find more relief with combination CBD + THC.
LEARN MORE: GUIDE TO USING CBD & CBDA FOR ANXIETY
- Pain signaling
- Gut function
- Tissue recovery after exercise or injury
- Current and future animal and human studies promise to reveal even more…
CBD for Sleep
Many people successfully use CBD before bed and in the middle of the night, while others report that their use during the day helps them to relax and sleep more at night.
However, CBD may disturb sleep in a small number of people when taken directly before bed, therefore, Dr. Sulak recommends first trying CBD during the morning and middle of the day for 3-5 days before trying it right before bedtime, as regular, restorative sleep is essential in healing and maintaining good health.
Based on patient and customer feedback, CBDA may be even more helpful for promoting restorative sleep than CBD.
LEARN MORE: GUIDE TO USING CBD & CBDA FOR SLEEP
CBD for Pain
CBD is an analgesic, so it can reduce pain, via several mechanisms. As mentioned above, CBD stimulates the “capsaicin receptor” (TRPV1 channel), a target known for its impact on pain and inflammation. Unlike capsaicin, which is commonly used in topical preparations for arthritic pain, CBD does not cause a burning sensation, making the use much more pleasant.
LEARN MORE: GUIDE TO USING CBD & CBDA FOR PAIN
CBD for Seizures
Cannabinoids are inherently neuroprotective substances – in fact, our brain produces cannabinoids when injured for the purpose of reducing damage and promoting healing. Compared to most antiepileptic drugs, many of which have been shown to impair brain function and development, cannabinoids have a far superior safety profile. If the use of cannabinoids can reduce the frequency, duration, or intensity of seizures, it is clearly going to allow and promote brain development, not impair it.
Amidst growing scientific investigation into the non-THC and non-impairing cannabinoids, the public’s focus on CBD exploded in 2013 after the airing of CNN’s first cannabis documentary, “Weed.” The show followed the story of a four-year-old girl whose treatment-resistant seizures were relieved by a non-impairing, CBD-dominant variety of cannabis. The chemovar was later named “Charlotte’s Web” after her.
Patients with forms of epilepsy or seizure disorders who take pharmaceutical medications should discuss CBD with their medical provider prior to taking. CBD may interact with other medications, including the seizure medications valproic acid and clobazam, and other drugs metabolized by the liver enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2C19.
CBD and Cancer
Cannabinoids have been shown to target and affect cancer cells differently than normal, healthy cells. In various types of cancer, cannabinoids have been shown to prevent tumor growth, trigger cell death, prevent the formation of blood vessels that feed the tumor, and inhibit the metastasis of cancer from one part of the body to another. While we are still very early in our understanding of how to best use cannabis to fight different types of cancer, it is well-established that cannabis can help with the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment, and can likely be used to enhance the anticancer effects of conventional treatments.
A large body of evidence from animal studies and cell experiments demonstrates the numerous direct anti-cancer effects of cannabinoids, including CBD as Dr. Sulak commented for a Leafly article. Specifically, CBD rarely causes adverse effects, can provide substantial relief on its own, and is especially useful as an adjunct to THC.
Researchers have now started digging deeper into how CBD might work synergistically with common chemotherapy drugs, and how this potent cannabinoid can be transitioned out of the laboratory and into the clinic.
CBD and Arthritis
Because CBD stimulates the “capsaicin receptor” (TRPV1 channel) known for its impact on pain and inflammation, and other activities that dampen pain signaling, CBD can be helpful to those suffering from arthritis pain. Unlike capsaicin, which is commonly used in conventional topical preparations, CBD does not cause a burning sensation in the mouth or on the skin. CBD can also promote bone healing and prevent scarring, additional benefits for those suffering from arthritis.