In contemporary medicine, new trends and drugs seem to come up quite often. This doesn’t really strike us as a big surprise, but why exactly aren’t we surprised? Why is this phenomenon so self-understandable?
First, it goes without saying, the technological advancements which we bore witness to in contemporary times certainly take most of the credit. We’ve seen immense breakthroughs in various medical fields and we continue to do so. Machines, instruments, tools, robots, etc. which allow precise measurements, procedures, operations and much more are being developed by the day which allow us to take numerous new ideas for granted.
Second, the era of progress in which we live in motivate scientists, experts, chemists, and doctors to push further and further in finding the right solutions. Thus, we oftentimes forgot how we have already accomplished.
Third, the pharmaceutical industry is finding new ways of implementing their marketing strategy and often times what we think of when a “new” drug is introduced is simply a derivative or a slightly changed version of the drug already known to us.
Forth, and the final reason for this occasion, is the placebo effect. We don’t really know whether the drug itself helped us with our disease or we thought of the drug’s positive effects and thus we “cured ourselves” so to say, or in other words, our body did its work. Self-induced our better health.
A plethora of other reasons exist, but these are just to name a few. However, no matter how much science managed to improve our health and well-being, people generally trust nature and products made from content which we find in nature to be the most reliable source of medicine. Tradition and history of successful curing is the reason why. This article sheds some light on one of the ways through which people approached and still do fight countless diseases with one magical plant found in nature – hemp.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol or CBD for short is an active ingredient coming from the fiber of the Cannabis sativa plant. Often times the first association that comes to the minds of people who hear anything about this plant is the “high” effect which one of the substances in it induces. That effect comes because of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main cannabinol found in the cannabis plant. However, CBD oil has no THC in its content and thus there is no such effect. Cannabidiol oil is used for medicinal purposes only and it does not have any psychoactive properties.
CBD oil is mostly created from industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is used to produce ropes, drugs, food, CBD oil, CBD crème, paper, and several other products. A distinction should be made between cannabis oil and CBD oil for the sake of precision. The latter has a high concentration of cannabidiol, whilst the former has both CBD and THC.
Cannabis plant comes originally from Asia, but today it’s found all over our planet. It has been used for improving health for over a thousand years.
What is the Endocannabinoid system?
“How is it possible that cannabis can actually heal our body?” is the question we ask ourselves after having read or heard something on the topic of medicine and cannabis plant. Cannabis can not only heal our body but also protect it from potential diseases as well. How can a plant have so many positive properties and almost none side-effects whatsoever?
These questions and other similar made scientists conduct thorough research of the human body, especially on the micro-scale. What they found is a system that is responsible for maintaining bodily balance on the cellular level. The system was called endocannabinoid because the scientists found out about the system while experimenting with cannabis. This system is an integral part of every human being, helping it maintain its health even before birth up until our very end. The endocannabinoid system can help with the proper functioning of the central nervous system or internal organs (i.e. liver or big intestine). It can also help the skeletal-muscle system when facing inflammation as well as the entire immune system.
Our body knows when to create cannabinoids in order to remain healthy. However, this system does not always function properly so sometimes outside cannabinoids can come in handy. In this case, CBD oil can be used to supplement the lack of naturally created cannabinoids. What the doctors found out when using even small dosages of the oil shocked them. It swept away disease symptoms with ease. Patients using CBD oil became immune to diseases, some of them felt better and had more balanced health.
What this system really represents is a network of receptors found all over the human body. Some of them are in the central nervous system and those are named CB1, while others like CB2 are more likely to be found in the immune system, gastrointestinal system and in the peripheral nervous system. These receptors are responsible for regulating sleep cycles, appetite, digestion, hunger, mood, fertility, the feeling of pleasure and pain, memory and so forth.
Disorder of the endocannabinoid system can lead to a wide spectrum of health problems including fibromyalgia, headache, digesting problems and depression just to name a few. When the body isn’t creating enough endocannabinoids or struggles with its regulation the body could use CBD from outside sources, alas CBD oil. When consumed, the body slowly reverts to its state of balance and fights the diseases it once fought.
An important role in increasing the number of CBD molecules in our body is played by fatty acids, especially omega-3. The latest research has shown a correlation between a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids and mood changes as a result of poor CBD regulation. Luckily, hemp seed is rich in both omega-3 and omega-6.
With that being said let us move forward and see in detail how CBD oil works and how it can be beneficiary to our health.
Cannabis has been used to relieve pain for hundreds of years. CBD oil is often recommended to patients with neuropathic pain, post-operational pain, chronic pain of different sorts, rheumatoid arthritis, pain caused by multiple sclerosis and other types of pain (1).
CBD oil works by blocking the neurotransmitter pathways for pain. It shows results as a natural analgesic for heavy chronic pain and that is the reason why cancer patients often times try CBD oil and other industrial hemp medicine when trying to relieve unwanted chemotherapy side-effects and pain caused by cancer. There are even several human studies conducted by the National Institute for Health which go in favor of cannabis oil helping with pain relief. Patients with arthritis and multiple sclerosis felt less pain after taking regular doses of CBD oil (Sativex) over a period of 11 months.
Helps with Epilepsy
There are several examples showing CBD oil to be efficient in fighting epilepsy seizures (2). The seizures are not only becoming less and less prominent, but they are also decreased in their intensity. Cannabinoids help in regulating seizures by bonding with the system of receptors in the endocannabinoid network and as a result, they regulate excitement and stress which can cause the epileptic to experience a seizure.
Slows Down Alzheimer’s Development
Alzheimer’s disease is often connected with neuropsychiatric symptoms such as excitement, aggression, irritation, and others. The currently available pharmaceutical therapy has a very limited effect on aggression and unsettling feeling experienced by Alzheimer’s patients so alternative solutions are being sought after.
Lately, there has been a big interest for substances which have an effect on the before mentioned endocannabinoid system. Impacting this system can prevent neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s are less likely to manifest as a result. Cannabinoids help with the all-around mental health and its maintenance. They have a neuroprotective prowess (3).
Stress and Anxiety Reducer
Chronic stress can completely plummet the quality of our life. It’s also a disease a lot of people refuse to talk about or even acknowledge, but the fact that stress might be among the strongest causes as to why someone is sick cannot be denied.
Cannabinoids make contact with fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme which is responsible for maintaining levels of a certain molecule called anandamide. Anandamide or “bliss molecule” makes us feel good, but it also regulates our hunger, pain release, digestion, etc. CBD stops the bliss molecule from disappearing and is thus a natural mood enhancer without any psychoactive effects whatsoever. It is known for CBD to affect the serotonin receptors and to work as a neuroprotector. Because of that, it helps cure depression and chronic anxiety.
Opting for pharmaceutical solutions such as benzodiazepines can possibly lead to substance abuse and addiction. Also, there is a number of side-effects that occur with pharmaceuticals such as agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, headache…That is the reason why it is not a bad idea of trying CBD oil first. Often times cannabinoid oil completely gets rid of both stress and anxiety and it surely cannot make the situation worse since CBD oil side-effects are almost non-existent.
Enhancement of Sleep Quality
Often times people who struggle with sleep deprivation, insomnia, anxiety or interrupted sleep patterns might refer to CBD oil as a remedy. It can be a perfect natural solution for you. CBD oil gives results for the majority of the people who try it, does not induce addiction, is not psychedelic and balances out the natural functioning of our bodies. As a result, proper sleep cycles can be achieved (4).
There was a case study conducted in 2015. by the American Journal of Health which was eye-opening. Soldiers with PTSD who tried CBD oil felt more pleasure because of the effect it has on neurotransmitters. Also, the way in which their memory formation is processed changed slightly for the better. Soldiers on CBD said they’ve felt less anxious and sleep-deprived.
CBD oil has potential in curing obesity. As a stimulant for the digestive system CBD oil optimizes the efficacy of its work via the endocannabinoid system. There is proof in favor of CBD oil helping reduce nausea, vomiting and having a positive effect on the gastrointestinal microbiota. Because cannabinoids regulate the EC system, the effect changes from person to person due to people having different bodily properties.
To be completely precise, CBD oil does not miraculously heal our body from cancer cells. Something like that still isn’t a possibility. However, what CBD oil can do is help the body in the natural fighting process.
Namely, cannabinoids bring the body in a homeostatic state – state of balance, health condition before a sickness was experienced. There are several positive effects for people who fight cancer and take CBD oil. It can help with stopping nausea, stimulating appetite, pain relief. It’s proven that cannabinoids have anti-tumor effects since they slow the process of cancer cell growth, angiogenesis (cancer cell reproduction) and metastasis (spreading of the cancer cells to other parts of the body (5).
Most of the studies which were started in order to find out more information and correlations between cancer and CBD were test-tube and animal studies. From there, we cannot directly correlate the effects which CBD had in the test results to those which humans might want to achieve. Just because CBD oil worked and helped mice does not necessarily mean it will help people too. In order to deduce cancer-fighting properties in CBD oil further research is needed. Before we reach a thorough understanding and factual knowledge it would be a naively bold move to make any conclusions.
Possible Side-effects and Precautions
Understanding that CBD oil is a medicine like any other which can be found out there is crucial in order to avoid any possible misusage or potential danger. Raising consciousness about how to safely take any medicine should be a number one priority for any individual. Not only to follow the instructions and recommended dosages but more. No cure in heavy dosages is a cure anymore, it becomes poison.
The human body is a self-sustaining organism. As such, it already knows what steps need to be taken in order for it to heal itself. Sometimes, a little push is all that is needed in order to fasten the healing process. Overdoing it will not help us by a long shot, furthermore, it can only make matters worse.
Some of the side effects which have been linked to CBD oil are diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss/gain. It is not possible for the medication to work for literally everybody and especially not in the same manner. Unfortunately, it cannot be yet predicted how a person’s body will react to certain medications.
It is extremely important to be careful when taking CBD oil with other medications. Make sure to contact your doctor or at least to read the prescription beforehand in order to avoid any possible unwanted outcome.
Hi, I’m Pankaj Sinha, Co-founder of Healthconditio.org which discusses everything related to health and fitness.
I am from NE, India. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and these days I am pursuing my Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics. I am also pursuing my personal trainer certification.