Using CBD as an alternative therapy has become more and more popular in recent years, with people proclaiming about multiple ways it has helped them. But what exactly are the benefits of CBD and are any of them medically backed?
We take a look into the ways that people claim CBD has benefitted them and take a look at what research backs this up.
What is CBD?
CBD is a compound that is found in a hemp plant. CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is legal in the UK.
The hemp plant which is grown for use of CBD products will always be high in CBD and low in THC, another compound that gets you high. As THC is only present in very minuscule amounts, CBD products can be used and enjoyed without the intoxicating effects of THC.
What is CBD used for?
CBD is marketed as a tool to help with a variety of medical conditions, but without having the effects you’d get from THC. There have been some small-scale studies carried out in recent years looking into the uses and effects of the compound, but there is stil so much work to do, especially with long-term studies.
It’s important to note that in the UK CBD is sold as a food supplement when ingested and not for medical use. Topically applied CBD products are labelled as cosmetic and will therefore have to meet the stringent rules set out by the cosmetics industry.
Is CBD a scam?
Some people have suggested that CBD effectiveness relates more to a placebo effect rather than actually having a direct impact on your health and wellbeing.
However, Yasmin Hurd, who is the director of Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai and led a double blind study, insists it is not a scam. The study of 42 recovering heroin addicts found that CBD helped to reduce cravings for the drug, as well as anxiety related to not taking it.
6 incredible benefits of CBD
Improving the quality of sleep
Good, quality sleep benefits our health in so many ways, but lots of people struggle to get a decent amount each night. The positive effects that CBD has on sleep could be linked to CBD regulating cortisol, a stress hormone which can impact the types of sleep cycles you go through.
A study in 2019 that investigated using CBD to treat anxiety found that 70% of the users reported that their sleep was improved in the first month, this study also found that for 80% of the users their anxiety had improved too.
The calming effect of CBD is one of the main reasons why it’s gained so much popularity over recent years. A study from 2017 in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry tested 57 men, some were given a placebo, whilst others were dosed different amounts and a public speaking event was simulated. Those who were dosed with 300mg of CBD before the test recorded reduced anxious feelings compared to those who got the placebo.
Minimising chronic pain
CBD has been shown to reduce chronic pain and inflammation in the body and it’s thought to be down to how CBD interacts with endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signalling system in the body. CBD helps endocannabinoids to react in the right way when it comes to pain and inflammation, allowing it to regulate certain processes in the body.
Reduce drug addiction cravings
Rearch carried out on humans has found that CBD can help to lower cravings for heroin and tobacco. Further research carried out on animals also suggests that it can help with cravings for alcohol and other drugs, but research is yet to be done on humans for this.
Alleviate cancer-related symptoms
A study of 177 people who didn’t get pain relief from medication for their cancer-related pain where given doses of CBD and THC to see the effect it would have. Those who were given doses with both compounds were found to have a less pain that those who were only given doses of THC.
However, other studies have had mixed results. It’s important to note that anyone with cancer looking to take CBD alongside their treatments, must speak to their doctor as it may interfere with medication you’re taking.
Protect heart health
There has been numerous research studies to find out the effects that CBD has on heart health, including whether or not it’s beneficial in lowering high blood pressure.
A small study of just nine men found that those given a 600mg dose of CBD oil had a reduced resting blood pressure compared with those who were given the placebo.