The world is talking CBD oil and you may be curious too. Is it really the ‘miracle cure’ marketers claim it is? Can it really help with a bunch of health ailments? Perhaps you’ve considered taking CBD oil for anxiety and stress, sleep or pain relief?
There is not a single answer for everybody and there certainly is no one ‘miracle cure’ for every ailment, as much as we’d love to believe that. CBD products and supplements are fairly new on the market and although we still don’t know everything there is to know about CBD, we have plenty of solid research and evidence to confirm it’s effective with a number of health concerns.
What is CBD?
If some common misconceptions about what CBD really is gets in the way of your trying it out, it’s a good idea to start with mythbusting.
No, it is not just a huge marketing hype and it is not only for “crusties”. And no, you certainly won’t get high from taking it and here’s why.
CBD oil is a compound found in plants from Cannabis family, which include both hemp and marijuana. CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid compound- one out of 60. The psychoactive qualities of marijuana plant come from the other cannabinoid THC that is associated with the “high” that the plant creates.
CBD is an isolated compound and it does not contain any psychoactive qualities. This means that current products on the market contain little to none THC and healing properties of CBD are accessible to a wide range of people.
CBD oil works on our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which has only been discovered after the CBD oil. This system is packed with receptors and enzymes and its function is to maintain the ultimate balance.
How can CBD oil help?
Although “maintaining balance” sounds a little vague, ECS receptors are found in our skin, organs, immune cells, brain, GI tract and so on. In the extensive research for the past 20+ years it is often described as “the master regulatory system” (1).
Science is continuing to prove it’s countless benefits and effects on the human body and you may hear new uses to try CBD for. However, it seems to mostly support issues relating with chronic health conditions, that conventional health systems feel so powerless against.
CBD seems to work significantly on chronic inflammation, a root cause for many diseases we face today, such as diabetes, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, digestive issues, cancers and hormonal problems.
Additionally, that can lead to or be tightly linked to day-to-day concerns that make your life quality suffer, such as stress and anxiety, as well as insomnia and poor sleep. Keeping your ECS in balance seems to have huge effects on stress response and resilience, as it lowers activity in your ‘brain stress centre’ the amygdala and promotes activity of calming GABA neurotransmitter (2, 3). So it’s a great idea to nip it in the bud and reduce these symptoms before your body is screaming for change.
How to choose a good CBD oil?
If you have already tried to look into options for CBD oils, you may feel overwhelmed with the choice without a clear guidance to follow. As a new industry in the UK (and globally), regulations may still be unclear. Here is what you can do now to choose a good quality oil for you:
Look for oils that are extracted using CO2 gas, rather than butane gas.
Search for reputable suppliers. Legitimate companies will either display a 3rd party lab test on their website or will be able to provide them on demand.
Ideally the produce was organically grown, so it doesn’t contain pesticides and other chemicals.
Figure out if you need ‘indica’, ‘sativa’ strains or a hybrid. Indica can have a slightly drowsy effect, depending on the person and the dose, however, is very effective for stress, anxiety and sleep.
Use and safety
First things first, make sure that CBD oil is actually legal in your country of residence. Many countries now allow CBD oil, even though marijuana is not yet legal.
Quantity of use varies from person to person and do use the manufacturer's instructions for dosage.
However, I find that most people need to start with small doses and build them up in small increments every week. Be smart and discuss the dose and use with a medical professional (who is familiar with CBD) or with the manufacturer, especially if taking any medication.
Saying that, CBD seems to be an extremely safe alternative with barely any side effects and
interactions. Even so that it is safe to use for kids and pets (4).
What’s with the price tag?
Since CBD is a fairly young market, the production and extraction methods are quite pricey. And although it may put many people off from trying it, in many cases you do not need a huge amount of oil to start seeing improvements. Price tag often is an indication that you are getting a quality product when it comes to CBD oils, so if you come across a product that is rather cheap, it might be a good idea to challenge its production methods and quality before purchasing.
The bigger picture
As a Naturopathic Nutrition practitioner I am always pleased to witness new natural alternatives popping up in the market, especially those that are well researched. However, before you get carried away with the amazing benefits that CBD can offer, remember that supplements and herbs are only there to support our health. The root causes of ailments and concerns still need to be addressed first.
So if you look at screens right up to your bedtime and then don’t sleep, CBD will only be masking the symptoms.