CBD Oil Benefits (What Is CBD Oil Actually Good for?)
With all the recent hype around CBD oil, some people seem to claim it’s a magic cure-all.
CBD oil does have a range of health benefits, but it’s not a treatment for every condition. Plus there’s still a lot more research needed before the exact effects of CBD oil can be understood in full.
So what is CBD and what are the benefits?
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid naturally occurring in cannabis and hemp plants.
CBD is known as one of the major cannabinoids and has gained a reputation for its health benefits. It first shot to prominence in 2013 when a CNN documentary showed a young American girl called Charlotte Figi using CBD to treat her severe epilepsy.
It is important to know that CBD cannot induce a psychotropic effect. Instead it is THC, another major cannabinoid, that is responsible for cannabis’s psychotropic effects. This is why THC is associated with the ‘high’ caused by cannabis, but CBD is not.
You can take CBD in a variety of formats, but CBD oils (sometimes called tinctures) are the most popular and versatile. CBD oil can be used as a supplement, in cooking, with a vaporizer or applied to skin as a topical product.
Here are some of the benefits of CBD oil:
1. May Reduce Inflammation
Research shows that one of the more significant CBD oil benefits is its anti-inflammatory effect.
Inflammation is an important immune response that helps the body fight off infection and injury. However, when inflammation goes unchecked or occurs in the wrong area, it can result in painful, debilitating conditions.
Studies show that CBD oil could improve the symptoms of inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, acne, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.
CBD works to reduce inflammation by activating receptors that help suppress inflammatory responses - that is, they enable the body to fight over-inflammation.
2. Could Improve Mental Health
Another impressive benefit of CBD is its potential to boost one’s mood, reducing symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
While it may sound like quite a feat, there are numerous studies that point to CBD’s abilities in this area.
A recent study investigated the effects of CBD oil on teenagers with social anxiety disorder. Patients were given either CBD oil or a placebo every day for four weeks. The results of the study showed that patients who received CBD experienced significant decreases in their anxiety symptoms after the four-week treatment.
So how exactly does CBD improve mental health? It is thought that one of the main ways CBD affects mood is through its ability to influence hormone levels. For example, it works to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also elevate serotonin levels, the hormone that results in feelings of happiness.
3. Decreases Pain
CBD is also used by some people as an analgesic, and early evidence indicates that pain relief is also one of CBD oil’s benefits.
A mass review of several cannabinoid pain studies found that cannabinoids, including CBD, led to a 30% reduction in chronic pain for patients. While this study involved multiple cannabinoids, and more research is needed into CBD alone as a treatment for pain, it suggests CBD might play a role as an analgesic.
As already mentioned, CBD can increase serotonin levels, which is likely linked to how it works for pain, as serotonin receptors have been found to play a role in our perception of pain. But serotonin isn’t the only way that CBD might act as a pain reliever. A 2019 study looked at how CBD worked on rats that were experiencing pain. The study found that CBD helped treat the pain again, but this time it occured by interacting with a special receptor protein that is involved in the regulation of heat and pain sensation. So from this it seems CBD’s pain-relieving effects may occur through a range of different pathways.
4. May Improve Sleep
Whether you suffer from sleep disorders or simply find it hard to fall asleep at night, most people would love a naturally occurring sleep aid with minimal side effects.
Improving sleep time and quality is another possible therapeutic quality to add to the list of CBD oil benefits.
Early stage research into CBD as a sleep aid is exciting. A 2017 review of sleep studies involving cannabinoids found that CBD showed promise as a treatment for REM sleep behaviour disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Another study a couple of years later found that two-thirds of participants who received CBD treatment experienced improved sleep scores (measured by sleep quality and duration) within the first month of treatment, although sleep scores did fluctuate over time.
More research is needed to understand exactly how CBD affects the sleep cycle, but what is known indicates that it has the potential to make a major, positive difference in getting a good night’s rest.
The Bottom Line
Many claims have been made about the benefits of CBD, and so it’s understandable if you’re a bit sceptical whether CBD can really help with all these conditions. While there are countless “health supplements” that have bold claims behind them, the difference with CBD is that there has been a plethora of research on CBD all around the world. That’s not to say we know everything about CBD oil and how it works but we’re starting to get a good idea.
Current research shows that CBD oil holds significant therapeutic potential in a range of areas, particularly as an anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety treatment pain reliever, and sleep aid.
So, if you’re wondering what is CBD oil good for, the answer is possibly a lot.