Cannabis has had a wide range of applications throughout the last 12,000 years – such as making textiles and treating pain. In recent years, global interest in the plant and its possible uses has increased, partly due to the potential health benefits of one of its primary cannabinoids: cannabidiol (CBD).
Some companies and individuals claim that CBD is a “miracle cure” for a range of diseases and conditions – unfortunately, it’s not. However, although research into the cannabinoid is still in its relative infancy, studies have shown positive results in various treatments, with only very mild side-effects. Even so, it can be hard to differentiate the facts from the unsupported claims.
In this article, we explain what CBD is currently used for around the world and outline the supporting evidence.
The ECS – Bridge Between the Body and the Mind
To understand how CBD works and why it’s used to treat certain conditions, it’s critical to understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex biological system found in the human body tasked with maintaining physical and emotional homeostasis (balance). It does this by sending endocannabinoids between cannabinoid (CB) receptors located throughout the body to regulate various biological and cognitive processes.
The ECS is also responsive to plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD, which acts as an antagonist to the body’s CB receptors that are found throughout the entire body. It makes it harder for them to be over- or under-stimulated, which helps the body to achieve homeostasis quickly and efficiently.
CBD Can Improve General Well-being
Not everyone turns to CBD to help alleviate a specific disease or condition – some people use it to enhance their general well-being. We know it increases endocannabinoid production, which helps the ECS to perform optimally and maintain homeostasis (balance) consistently throughout the entire body. Plus, activating CB receptors in the immune system improves general immunity and promotes overall health.
CBD also increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is effectively a neurotransmitter responsible for relaxation. When we are overstimulated mentally, GABA activity increases to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, and vice versa. It also plays a vital role in sleep hygiene by preparing the mind to fall asleep at night. Consistently low GABA levels can result in insomnia, anxiety, and depression, as well as compromised immunity and digestive problems if it persists for a long period of time.
Using CBD for Anxiety and Stress