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 Understanding The Health Benefits of CBD

 Like many good-for-you things in life – think yoga, standing desks, and drinking those 2.7-3.7 litres – the people who find themselves exploring the world of CBD tend to have a hard time not talking about all the positives. And, when you think about it, why shouldn’t they? 

Fortunately, unlike downward facing dog or running to the W/C every twenty minutes, incorporating CBD into your daily routine is, in our opinion, one of the easiest ways to feel better and to get your #dailydose of the good stuff. 

But, if you’re still among the uninitiated, how do you sort the facts from the anecdotes? Start off with our complete guide to CBD, and its unique set of potential benefits…

First, the ‘TBC’ of CBD

Something we need to stress before we get into the specifics of CBD is that, while CBD itself isn’t ‘new’ (it is, after all, a natural product that’s been around for longer than any of us), CBD’s promising role in the worlds of health and wellbeing is still relatively new.  

It typically takes decades worth of controlled studies and long-term experiments to definitively ‘prove’ whether or not a theory holds water. Until enough background work has been done, it would just be wrong to state anything definitely. 

The same is true for CBD. While it’s seen a massive amount of interest from medical and scientific communities in recent years, many of these different potential health benefits need to be explored in much more detail before a conclusion can be reached. That’s why any reputable site or resource will temper most claims, and remember to remind newcomers that many of these claims are rooted in anecdotal or limited evidence. 

Plenty of research is ongoing – and, in the meantime, CBD’s popularity continues to grow as more and more people take it upon themselves to explore the possibilities. 

Next, CBD and the Body

One of the reasons CBD is getting so much attention is because it is thought to have a very unique way of interacting with the body. 

Our bodies – and the bodies of many different species – feature something known as the ‘endocannabinoid system’ (ECS). This system was only discovered in the late 80s, and the sheer scope of what it does for us is still being explored – but, essentially, its main purpose seems to be regulating homeostasis. Sleep, appetite, and mood are just a few of the essential functions influenced by the endocannabinoid system, which produces molecules known as endocannabinoids depending on the body’s needs.

As you can imagine, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but this guide to the  endocannabinoid system is pretty useful for anyone who’s new to the subject. 

Why is this relevant to CBD? Because cannabidiol is thought to undergo a unique reaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, with one prominent theory suggesting that it makes those internally produced endocannabinoids more effective. Essentially, if this theory is true, cannabidiol helps the body to do what it does naturally, better. 

Like the individual health benefits themselves, the impact CBD has within the body is still largely theoretical, but we’re closer than ever to concrete answers. 

The endocannabinoid system is a massive network found in many different parts of the body, including the brain – a fact which begins to explain why CBD’s potential health benefits include not just the physical, but the emotional too. 

The Bottom Line:

  • The exact ways in which CBD interacts with the body remain unclear, but researchers are working to uncover that unique pathway.
  • We do know, however, that CBD impacts the endocannabinoid system – or, potentially, the endocannabinoids it produces every day to keep many of our internal processes in check. 
  • Leading theories currently suggest that CBD supports the usual function of the endocannabinoid system, rather than disrupting it or ‘taking over’.
  • This relationship with the ECS would explain why CBD is often reported to have an effect on users’ physical and mental health. 


CBD and the Mind

By now, there’s a good chance you already know that CBD does not get you ‘high’ like weed will, despite the fact that it’s extracted from the same plant and can be smoked or vaped as well as ingested.

CBD is not THC, and THC is the cannabinoid that causes those psychoactive effects, so when we talk about CBD ‘in the mind’ we’re not alluding to any major, perception-altering effects. Many people who use CBD report feeling calmer and less anxiety and stress, but it’s not an intoxicating feeling. The CBD flower is naturally low in THC – so low that it’s perfectly legal to be bought and sold within the UK. 

When it comes to taking CBD as a supplement to potentially support mental health and wellbeing, remember that it is largely being explored as a complement to a more comprehensive treatment plan, and that, as always, you should check for potential contraindications. For instance, it’s generally not recommended for users to take CBD alongside St John’s Wort, another herbal supplement used for mood disorders. 

Reduced Stress and Anxiety, Better Mood

If you feel like you spend a lot of time getting worked up at your desk or feeling overwhelmed instead of relieved at the end of the day, then supplementing your diet with CBD may prove to be beneficial. A number of studies looking into the relationship between regular use of CBD and stress/anxiety exist and, generally, the results look good. 

There is also a growing body of research into CBD’s ability to help with depression and low mood. This is, of course, a delicate area, and anyone suffering from depression should reach out to their GP in the first instance. But, with GPs growing more aware of the potential benefits CBD offers – and its relatively low risk of side effects or contraindications – there is potential for it to one day be used as an aid for those suffering with low mood and depression. 

The Research: 

  • This systematic review acknowledges the lack of clinical evidence available to use at the moment, but also the strong potential for anti-depressant effects in CBD.

Improved Sleep Quality

We need good sleep as much as we need clean air or fresh water, but plenty of research shows that, across the UK, we’re not sleeping as much as we should. In 2017, AVIVA found that more than two thirds of UK adults were suffering from disrupted sleep, and that, worryingly, there were just as many people turning to alcohol for help sleeping as there were people turning to sleeping tablets. 

Since 2017, we have all encountered a long list of new worries – things that tend to push the brain into overdrive when we turn off the light and try to wind down – so finding sustainable and effective ways to make bedtime, bedtime. 

CBD has shown promise, and many people report finding it easier to go off to sleep – and stay asleep – after supplementing their diet with CBD, particularly in the evening.

The Research: 

  • This literature review – which summarises the findings of a wider body of research – found that higher doses CBD may have potential as a therapeutic treatment for insomniacs. Interestingly, CBD seems to better on its own than with THC, which is thought to damage sleep long-term quality.

A Potential Therapeutic Treatment for PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an incredibly complex and debilitating mental health condition and, despite its prevalence – and its ability to impact every area of a sufferer’s life – there is still a lot that remains unknown about PTSD. Still, researchers have uncovered plenty of different courses of treatment – and potential courses of treatment – over the years, and among those potentials is CBD. 

The Research:


CBD and the Body

Whether it’s smoked or vaped, eaten in CBD edibles, or dropped directly onto the tongue as an oil, CBD ends being carried around the body via the bloodstream. The only exception is when the CBD is applied to the skin; it still reaches the endocannabinoid receptors, but through the pores instead of the bloodstream. 

This is why CBD that is ingested or inhaled is capable of offering a widespread effect, rather than targeted relief (if it is used for pain relief) where the topical treatment is applied. 

Reduced inflammation and pain relief

CBD has exhibited powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it has gained more and more traction in the world of skincare as well as wellness. Its ability to combat inflammation inside and outside the body hints at some strong potential for a very long list of inflammatory conditions, from arthritis and recurrent migraines to inflammatory bowel disease, long-term injuries, and chronic pain conditions.

Plenty of anecdotal evidence from users supports the idea that CBD could be a valuable pain reliever. From headaches to joint pain, many people have reported improvement as a result of CBD. 

One of the most promising things CBD offers to medical practitioners and their patients is the fact that it could be used as a safer, non-addictive alternative to opioids. Since CBD is not psychoactive, it has not displayed any potential to lead to addiction. Also, the risk of a dangerous overdose is very low.  

The research:

  • This article explores the promising results of a small study into using CBD to offer relief to sufferers of Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory condition affecting the GI tract. 
  • A new worldwide trial, funded by the Migraine Research Council, is currently looking into the efficacy of CBD (with and without THC) for migraines at UC San Diego Health. This is an exciting prospect for sufferers around the world and we can’t wait to see the results.

Treating Epilepsy 

While the use of CBD is perfectly legal within the UK (and has been since 2018), the NHS currently only offers CBD as a treatment in a small number of scenarios – a direct result of the limited body of research out there at the moment. 

One of those scenarios is in the treatment of certain rare types of epilepsy. So, while its use within the NHS is still very limited, it’s promising to see quite how quickly it has been integrated into British medicine since its introduction. 

It’s important to remember that, in this instance, CBD is prescribed under specific conditions – and, generally, as part of more comprehensive treatment. Sufferers of epilepsy shouldn’t be self-prescribing treatment.

The Research:

  • A study conducted in 2015 observed a significant reduction in the median monthly frequency of seizures over a 12-week treatment period of CBD, during which time the dosage was gradually increased. You can read more about the results here

Relief from Nausea

A fair amount of anecdotal evidence supports the idea that CBD can help to alleviate nausea – at times, as a result of its potential for fighting anxiety and the many physical and emotional symptoms it can create throughout the body. 

Beyond that, however, CBD has received significant attention as a potential aid to those suffering the debilitating effects of chemotherapy – and other intensive treatments – for which nausea and vomiting are common symptoms. 

Once again, CBD’s low number of contraindications means that it offers a promising palliative treatment – offering the chance of an improved quality of life, without interfering with other medications and treatments. 

The Research:

  • This study found a strong relationship between THC:CBD use and reduced nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients – and that 83% preferred it to the placebo. More insight is needed into CBD as a standalone compound but, if it delivers similar results, it will offer the benefit of no psychoactive symptoms. 


A Positive Beginning

CBD is a fascinating subject, not least of all because of the unique reaction that occurs when it enters our body – or even just sinks in through our skin. There’s no getting around the fact that we have a way to go before we know everything there is to know about CBD, but the good news is that the future looks incredibly promising. 

Besides the conditions mentioned in this list, there are many more being studied alongside CBD for a potentially positive relationship. In the realm of CBD research, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), addiction, diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease are just a few of the conditions that we hope to find out more about in the coming years. 

Plus, as more and more people find the right CBD product and integrate it into their lifestyle – whether through gummies, oils, vaping or smoking – the rich offering of anecdotal evidence from users continues to grow, and to inspire more research in more areas that will, one day, benefit others. 

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