CBD and its health benefits


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About CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) has been recently growing in popularity and is used by many people around the world. CBD benefits person’s health in various ways, from regulating stress and mood, to managing pain, fighting inflammation, insomnia and more.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound abundantly found in cannabis plant, that has a long history in medicine going back thousands of years. CBD is one of more than a hundred phytocannabinoids, which are common in many plants, herbs and spices, with the highest known concentrations in cannabis and hemp. There are many different phytocannabinoids, but the most famous are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabinol (CBD). Both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic attributes, but unlike THC- the compound that causes high effect, CBD does not make a person feel intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body. CBD can actually lessen or neutralise the psychoactive effects of THC.

About 50 years ago Raphael Mechoulam, researching why cannabis affects the human body, discovered the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a communication system that interlinks our organs and other body systems in order to regulate homeostasis (balance) and cellular healing in the body. It consists of cell receptors and corresponding molecules produced in the body (endogenous cannabinoids), that interact on the surface of various cells. These receptors are also affected by exogenous (originating outside the body) cannabinoids — which is why cannabis has the effects that it does. These receptors are located throughout the body, and are involved in a variety of physiological processes.

CB1 receptors are essential for a healthy functioning brain and are one of the most common in the entire nervous system. Depending on what region of the brain they are located in, they can modulate memory, mood, motor function, or perception of pain. Although CB1 receptors are most common in the central nervous system, they are found in other parts of the human body at lower densities. CB1 receptors also have roles in pregnancy, hormone production, cardiovascular health and digestion.

CB2 receptors are most often found on the cells of immune system. They help moderate inflammation and immune response to pathogens. Targeting CB2 receptors is particularly beneficial in combating an overactive immune system (i.e. arthritis, asthma, allergies, autoimmune disorders).


'the growing popularity of CBD products as anti- anxiety supplements is backed with plenty of convincing research'


CBD and its effect on Nervous System

The Endocannabinoid System is very easy to throw out of balance. High stress levels, poor diet, exposure to toxins and lack of exercise all influence body’s ECS. Ageing is a major cause of unhealthy ECS and western lifestyle is taking a toll on this recently discovered system. Chronic stress, that is so present in todays society, particularly speeds up ageing process. Small release of stress hormones tell the body to wake up and to prepare for a “fight or flight” mode. However human bodies aren’t designed to be in chronic state of panic. Persistent, high levels of stress hormones, mainly cortisol, has negative consequences that include: depression, weight imbalance, weakened immune system, high blood sugar levels, heart disease, fatigue, problems with sleep, digestive problems, nutritional deficiencies and more.

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Therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world nearly every day. The growing popularity of CBD products as anti- anxiety supplements is backed with plenty of convincing research. CBD has broad medicinal uses across a range of mental disorders, originating from diverse central nervous system actions [1, 2]. In recent years, CBD has received an increasing interest as a potential anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) treatment [3, 4, 5], and it has become a widely favoured remedy for managing it. While some individuals take CBD to calm their everyday worries, others use it to treat more serious conditions like generalised anxiety disorder. There are over 30 preclinical studies that investigate the anti-anxiety properties of CBD.

These studies generally support the statement that CBD has an effect on reducing anxiety behaviour. In 2011 study [6], 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either CBD or a placebo an hour and a half before performing a simulated public speaking test. Additionally, 12 other people with social anxiety disorder performed the same test without receiving any CBD treatment. Results revealed that pre-treatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort while participants were delivering their speech.

Summary

Evidence from multiple studies have begun to describe the details of how CBD acts in the brain, and human studies are starting to demonstrate CBD’s efficacy as an anti-anxiety treatment. While more research is needed to examine the long-term effects and potential for CBD, its demonstrated effectiveness and highly favourable safety profile make it a viable alternative to what pharmaceutical business offers.

Nutrition Advisor
Sylwia Wyrebek

References:

1. Izzo AA, Borrelli F, Capasso R, Di Marzo V, Mechoulam R. Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009;30:515–527. doi: 10.1016/j.tips. 2009.07.006.

2. Campos AC, Moreira FA, Gomes FV, Del Bel EA, Guimaraes FS. Multiple mechanisms involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders. Philos Trans R Soc Lond Ser B Biol Sci. 2012;367:3364–3378. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0389.

3. Schier ARD, Ribeiro NP, Silva AC, et al. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2012;34:S104–S117. doi: 10.1016/S1516-4446(12)70057-0.

4. Schier ARD, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: A chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13:953–960. doi: 10.2174/1871527313666140612114838.

5. Micale V, Di Marzo V, Sulcova A, Wotjak CT, Drago F. Endocannabinoid system and mood disorders: priming a target for new therapies. Pharmacol Ther. 2013;138:18–37. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera. 2012.12.002.

6. Bergamaschi MM Queiroz RH Chagas MH de Oliveira DC DeMartinis BSKapczinski F Quevedo J Roesler R Schröder N Nardi AE Martín-Santos R Hallak JEZuardi AW Crippa JA (2011) Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naive social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology 36:1219–1226.