The first Monday of a new year is similar to the first day of school. Everyone wants to make a ‘good start’, and for about 80% of people that includes some kind of wellness goal. (Seems extra important in 2022) So, the question arises: Can CBD actually support my health and wellness goals of 2022? The answer is likely yes, and over the next month we’re going to give you a series of educational articles to understand why and how.
Whether your new to using CBD, still just exploring, or been using CBD for a long time, there’s still much to learn about how it works. So, let’s start at the beginning with the basics.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD stands for the word Cannabidiol (pronounced can·na·bi·di·ol). Merriam Webster defines it as: a crystalline, nonintoxicating cannabinoid C21H30O2 found in cannabis and hemp that is sometimes used medicinally. There are over 100 of these compounds, known as cannabinoids, that have been found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most famous ingredient in cannabis (the marijuana plant). But CBD is obtained from the hemp plant, a form of the Cannabis sativa plant that naturally only contains a small amount of THC.
There are a few things that can make our description of CBD extra confusing. For example, sometimes we use CBD as a way to describe both a product and a chemical. Because cannabinoids were so new just a couple years ago to a vast majority of the public, the acronym CBD became a ‘popular’ way to describe products containing CBD. Most of the time, when we’re talking about using CBD – people are describing the use of some kind of an oil or lotion – a product. The acronym became a more simplified way of describing a broader, more complex product. Not just the singular cannabinoid of CBD.
As our collective understanding about cannabinoids grows, so does our recognition of other increasingly common cannabinoids in the hemp plant, that can be used or found in CBD products. Remember, there are over 100 known cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. There is CBD, CBG, CBA, CBV, etc. We describe them as either major or minor cannabinoids, depending on how much of that single chemical is naturally found in the hemp plant.
WHAT CAN CBD HELP WITH?
CBD has been known for helping with a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, stop them altogether. Epidiolex, which contains CBD, is the first cannabis-derived medicine approved by the FDA for these conditions.
Animal studies, and self-reports or research in humans, suggest CBD may also help with:
Anxiety Studies and clinical trials are exploring the common report that CBD can reduce anxiety.
Insomnia. Studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
Chronic pain. Further human studies are needed to substantiate claims that CBD helps control pain. One animal study from the European Journal of Pain suggests CBD could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis when applied to skin. Other research identifies how CBD may inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which are difficult treat.
HOW DOES CBD WORK?
CBD, like any other cannabinoids, doesn’t work on its own within the human body. When CBD molecules enter the bloodstream, they continue to travel and pass through the blood-brain barrier to reach the endocannabinoid system. This system is in the DNA of every human and animal. The endocannabinoid system, (known as the ECS for short) is the reason CBD products can help support our everyday wellness goals. Cannabinoids interact with the ECS to support it’s proper function.
Next week, a full description of the ECS. Stay tuned!