The US is leading the way in improving the people’s understanding of cannabis.
However despite changes in legality and public perception, many people are not aware of cannabidiol. It is one of the active ingredients within the plant, and most importantly is not psychoactive.
CBD isn’t just medicinal. It is also an incredibly powerful dietary supplement with a range of health benefits. An increasing amount of scientific studies are currently being undertaken to uncover the mechanism with which this substance acts and its effects on humans.
Here we’re going to look into how and why it can have such a profound impact.
The Human Endocannabinoid System
A basic understanding of the human body would have given us some understanding of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA). This part of the neuroendocrine system regulates the maintenance of balance within the body known as homeostasis. This axis is responsible for handling important human functions like mood, sleep, behaviour, pain perception, appetite and a lot more. It is regulated by the endocannabinoid system.
The human endocannabinoid system is made up of a complex network of receptors found on the surface of nerve cells within the central and peripheral nervous system. It has also been found in other systems. These receptors serve as attachment points through which the body’s endocannabinoids exert their effects. Externally sourced cannabinoids like CBD can interact with this receptor in similar ways to the internally occurring ones.
CBD as Health Supplement
There might be a future not so far away from where a daily dose of CBD capsule or oil replaces all your regular dietary supplements. It may sound absurd at this moment due to the controversial place of cannabis-derived products. However, you may have seen that some manufacturers have begun to label CBD products as health supplements… So it is likely that they also envision such a future.
CBD causes no psychoactive effects and shares a lot of similar functions with popular dietary supplements. CBD is known to contain potent antioxidants, some even more powerful than those within Vitamin C and E. Generally, people take supplements to improve their health.
Daily intake of vitamins and minerals make people feel that they can make up for their bad consumption habits (dietary or otherwise) without having to go to the effort required to end them. Some of the more popular health supplements include:
- Probiotics: These are living microbes which people ingest for various reasons which include digestion and improved immunity. Endocannabinoids are highly present in the gut. Though CBD does not work the same way as probiotics, it is thought that taking CBD oil along with them markedly improves absorption.
- Omega 3 fatty acids: these are heart-healthy oils found naturally in things like fish and flaxseed. They are excellent for skin, hair and nail health while also neuroprotective. CBD performs functions similar to these fatty acids through its ability to reduce inflammation, help in brain and heart health.
- Vitamins: Some vitamins like C and E are highly effective antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent the damage of cells by substances produced during metabolism known as free radicals. Vitamin C also helps in healing and tissue regeneration. CBD is known to perform some of these functions, however, studies do not hint at it replacing them.
CBD as Medicine
There is convincing evidence gathered from randomised clinical trials that pure cannabidiol is effective in some medical conditions. Some of them are outlined below.
CBD has been found effective in the treatment of two specific types of intractable seizure conditions. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome led to the approval of Epidolex as a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical by the FDA. European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently reviewing it.
The effects of cannabinoids on essential cell activities and pathways that are involved in tumour growth and development. CBD has been found to help improve the quality of patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy. It has anti-emetic effects and also helps in the management of the chronic pain associated with cancer.
- Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating illness that affects the central nervous system. Some EU nations have approved Sativex which contains THC in addition to CBD for the treatment of MS. Though currently there is no medicine that can halt or cure the disease.
CBD has so much potential to improve health based on its functions, and the government and science community are getting actively involved in these developments. With more knowledge, we could fully apply this natural substance into improving the human experience.