What is CBD?
CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, in the cannabis plant. Researchers have been looking at the possible therapeutic uses of CBD.
CBD oils are oils that contain concentrations of CBD. The concentrations and the uses of these oils vary.
Is CBD marijuana?
Until recently, the best-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the most active ingredient in marijuana. Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, and these compounds have different effects. THC creates a mind-altering “high” when a person smokes it or uses it in cooking. This is because THC breaks down when we apply heat and introduce it into the body.
CBD is different. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it. However, CBD does appear to produce significant changes in the body, and some research suggests that it has medical benefits.
How does CBD work?
All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors. The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It also has two receptors for cannabinoids, called the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but many are in the brain.
The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, memories, and other functions. THC attaches to these receptors. CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.
Researchers once believed that CBD attached to these CB2 receptors, but it now appears that CBD does not attach directly to either receptor. Instead, it seems to direct the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.
What are the benefits of CBD?
Doctors often advise people with chronic anxiety to avoid cannabis, as THC can trigger or amplify feelings of anxiousness and paranoia. However, authors of a review from Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may help to reduce anxiety in people with certain related disorders.
According to the review, CBD may reduce anxiety-related behaviors in people with conditions such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
The authors noted that current treatments for these disorders can lead to additional symptoms and side effects, which can cause some people to stop taking them. No further definitive evidence currently links CBD to adverse effects, and the authors called for further studies of the compound as a treatment for anxiety.
Natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties
People tend to use prescription or over-the-counter drugs to relieve stiffness and pain, including chronic pain. Some people believe that CBD offers a more natural alternative.
Authors of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats. The researchers suggested that the non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana, such as CBD, could provide a new treatment for chronic pain.
Type 1 diabetes results from inflammation that occurs when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas.
Research published in 2016 by Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation found that CBD may ease this inflammation in the pancreas. This may be the first step in finding a CBD-based treatment for type 1 diabetes.
A paper presented in the same year in Lisbon, Portugal, suggested that CBD may reduce inflammation and protect against or delay the development of type 1 diabetes.