CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is derived from hemp. Many people confuse hemp with marijuana, but hemp is a very different plant. Marijuana and hemp may share the same scientific name, Cannabis sativa, but they are not the same.
Marijuana is cultivated primarily for its psychoactive cannabinoid, a chemical compound called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, for recreational and medicinal use. Marijuana contains both THC and CBD.
Hemp contains only a trace of THC, less than 0.3% compared to marijuana's hefty 5-35%. The main cannabinoid in hemp is CBD, but there are over 100 other cannabinoids in hemp, as well as compounds that produce tastes and scents called terpenes (e.g. citrusy smell of oranges, unique aroma of pine trees, or sweet flower smell of lavender).
For thousands of years, hemp has been cultivated for food, clothing, fiber, and fuel. It is one of the world's oldest domesticated crops. In the early days, hemp was a vital crop in the U.S. During the 1700s, colonial farmers grew hemp mainly for its strong fiber.
Evidence For CBD Health Benefits
The Cannabis plant contains over 100 cannabinoids. These compounds closely resemble the human endocannaboids. The main cannabinoid in hemp is CBD, and in marijuana, THC.
Unlike THC, CBD does not bind directly into our cannabinoid receptors. Nevertheless, it does stimulate the activity of both CB1 and CB2 receptors without directly tapping into them. A study by the National Institute of Health found that CBD causes the body to release more endocannabinoids, especially 2-AG. Moreover, CBD inhibits the degradation of anandamide.
Scientists are now beginning to discover many of CBD vape oil health benefits:
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health interests, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating two rare drug-resistant childhood epilepsy conditions, namely Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS). The FDA has recently approved the first ever CBD-derived drug Epidiolex for these conditions. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain: fibromyalgia, gout, HIV, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic, and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies found that applying CBD oil directly on the problem area helps to lower pain and inflammation. CBD works by impacting cannabinoid receptor activity in the body, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters.
Researchers also found that subjects did not build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD, so there was no need to increase dosage continually. Unlike some pain medications, CBD is not addictive and does not have any intoxicating effects, offering much relief for people who have chronic pain.
An oral spray called Sativex, which is a combination of CBD and THC, has been approved in a number of countries in Europe and Canada (but not in the U.S.) to treat pain and muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis.
Another controlled study found that Sativex significantly improved pain during movement, pain at rest, and sleep quality in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Anxiety and Depression
Clinical trials have revealed that both marijuana and CBD may be effective in reducing different forms of anxiety including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Not only did participants in the studies felt better, they also reported reduced cognitive impairment and anxiousness. Scientists suggest that in addition to impacting the endocannabinoid system, CBD may influence receptors involved in the modulation of serotonin, a chemical messenger that plays a role in anxiety regulation.
In addition, some studies showed that CBD eases depression and helps with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. (Please note that marijuana does not help with either and may actually worsen psychosis.)
Researchers found that cancer patients treated with CBD and THC, the psychoactive compound from marijuana, experienced significant reduction in pain. In addition, a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered via mouth spray reduced side effects associated with cancer treatments like nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
At present, more research needs to be done on whether CBD alone can produce the same beneficial outcomes.
A number of cell culture studies found that cannabinoids can help slow tumor growth, reduce tumor invasion, and induce tumor cell death in various types of cancer, including brain, blood, breast, colon, pancreatic, and prostate.
Scientists believe that CBD probably works by starving cancer cells of energy, making them more sensitive to the body's immune response, and by blocking a newly discovered cannabinoid-related cancer pathway. However, human trials are needed before further conclusions can be drawn.
Other Potential CBD Benefits
CBD Side Effects And Safety
CBD is generally well tolerated and rarely produces side effects. However, some people should take additional precautions, including:
Most people who use CBD do not report any side effects, but some may include a slight decrease in blood pressure, dry mouth, light headedness, drowsiness, gastrointestinal upset, decrease in appetite, and mood changes.