With more and more CBD products entering the market every year, the CBD industry is growing at a rapid pace. The industry is projected to reach $16 billion by 2025 in the United States only. Though CBD has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, it has only recently got the attention of scientists for its health benefits. As companies are vigorously pursuing CBD in drug development, the curiosity about its pharmacological benefits seems to be increasing. The use of CBD for medicinal purposes has been a hot top for the past few years. From pain patches to breath sprays, the non-psychoactive cannabis-extracted compound is infused into a large variety of products these days.
What is CBD?
CBD (also known as cannabidiol) is one the 113 cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant and accounts for 40% of the plant’s extract. Unlike its psychoactive counterpart THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD gives a calming effect without inducing a ‘high’ state other mind-altering effects. Discovered in 1940, cannabidiol or CBD is a potent natural remedy used for a variety of ailments and health conditions e.g. chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and movement disorders among many others. CBD can be delivered into your body in multiple ways i.e. oral administration, inhalation, topical application, and intravenous administration.
Though the exact working mechanism of CBD has not been determined yet, there is ample scientific research that supports its medicinal properties. Here’s what CBD can help you with:
Pain and Inflammation
CBD provides relief from pain and inflammation by interfering with a cell-signaling system inside your body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system regulates various body functions i.e. sleep, pain, appetite, and immune response. Cannabidiol interacts with these neurotransmitters and impacts the endocannabinoid receptor activity, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.
CBD helps alleviate all types of acute and chronic pain i.e. nociceptive (caused by inflammation or tissue damage), neuropathic (caused by nerve damage), nociplastic (caused due to the disturbances in pain signal processing), and psychogenic (caused due to mental or emotional factors). People use CBD for headaches, backaches, and pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.
It reduces inflammation by inhibiting the release of compounds that cause inflammation i.e. inflammatory mediators such as histamine and bradykinin. It alleviates the symptoms of inflammation while letting your body carry out its normal inflammatory response.
Cannabidiol supports brain health by protecting both neuronal structure and function. It acts on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems to prevent neurological disorders e.g. Alzhiermer’s disease and epilepsy. Additionally, it helps treat different problems associated with epilepsy i.e. neuronal injury, neurodegeneration, and psychiatric diseases e.g. schizophrenia.
Due to its neuroprotective properties, CBD inhibits or decelerates disease progression and secondary damage by slowing the loss of neurons. There’s some scientific evidence that suggests that CBD can help alleviate oxidative stress and excitotoxicity (toxic activity by excitatory neurotransmitters), both of which may cause loss of neuronal function or nerve cell death. CBD is often used in acute management of neurotoxin consumption e.g. methamphetamine overdose, excessive alcohol intake, vitamin A and B7 overdoses, etc.
Cannabidiol aids in cancer management by alleviating the symptoms linked to the disease and suppressing the side effects that come with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
CBD adds to the potency of anticancer drugs by enhancing their uptake into the bloodstream. It works in synergy with anticancer drugs e.g. l-asparaginase to minimize tumor invasion, inhibit tumor growth, and instigate tumor cell death. Additionally, it alleviates the side effects that come with cancer treatments e.g. loss of appetite, nausea, anxiety, weight loss, etc. It also helps prevent cancer by boosting your immune response.
Cannabidiol supports your cardiovascular health by eliminating the risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases e.g. coronary artery disease, heart failure, peripheral artery disease, heart attack, etc. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD helps lower high blood pressure and heart rate under stress, thereby mitigating the risk of hypertensive heart disease. Additionally, it helps alleviate some of the symptoms of hypertension e.g. angina (chest pain), loss of appetite, body pain, leg or ankle swelling, and fatigue.
CBD helps reduce the incidence of diabetes by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. It also helps improve pancreatic health and insulin resistance, both of which play an important role in diabetes development. It supports pancreatic health by protecting the organ from autoimmune attacks by overactive immune cells, thereby preventing or delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes.
CBD also helps improve diabetic neuropathy, a type of painful nerve damage caused by high blood sugar. Diabetic neuropathy causes nerve injuries throughout your body, most often in your legs and feet.
Substance Abuse Treatment
CBD provides a potentially alternative way to target smoking or drug addiction. There’s a great deal of scientific evidence that shows CBD can modify neuron circuits in the brain that are related to drug dependence. During withdrawal, CBD helps suppress cravings and alleviate the psychological and physical features that follow the discontinuation of the drug i.e. anxiety, insomnia, nausea, muscle pain, etc. CBD can help you stop smoking by curbing your cravings and providing you with a calming effect that makes up for the high produced by nicotine.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, CBD helps treat a wide range of skin conditions. CBD directly acts on sebocytes (oil producing cells) to balance oil secretion on the skin, thereby preventing acne caused by excessive oil secretion on the skin. Additionally, it has antimicrobial properties that help prevent or eliminate acne caused by bacteria i.e. propionibacterium acnes. It may also be helpful in the treatment of acne scars due to its role in repairing oxidative damage sustained by the skin. Its antioxidant effect helps prevent the appearance of wrinkles and scars.
CBD may also help treat skin conditions like dryness and itching. It helps minimize the potential triggers of skin disorders like dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.