The CBD market in the UK is flourishing, yet much confusion remains surrounding CBD’s link to psychoactive cannabis, its legality, and its efficacy on health and wellness. Despite being in its preliminary stages, the science is now robust enough to conclude that CBD can undoubtedly offer several potential wellbeing benefits. Let us delve into 8 proven advantages of using CBD in this article and clear up any common misconceptions regarding this naturally marvellous medicine, intoxication and lawfulness.
What is Cannabidiol Oil?
CBD continues to reach headlines of a controversial nature, despite science revealing its effectiveness on wellness and reassuring non-intoxicating effects. Thankfully, there is currently a slow but steady shift in attitudes as more and more users discover the benefits of cannabidiol oil.
But what is CBD? The cannabis family consists of a number of plants including the marijuana and hemp plant. These plants contain many natural compounds; one of which is cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (which is the psychoactive compound responsible for the high that comes from marijuana), and its flowers and buds are used for the extraction of CBD. The extracted compound can be mixed with a carrier oil to create CBD oil and is consumed by humans. Following consumption, CBD interacts with a complex biological system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), sending signals amongst cells which influence many crucial physiological process such as sleep, mood, immunity, appetite, etc.
Is CBD Legal?
Since CBD oil does not contain THC, the substance is non-intoxicating and therefore safe to use, as well as being entirely legal in the UK.
CBD Oil Benefits
As a result of its skyrocketing popularity, CBD is well-known for its calming effects on the human body. With growing research, however, it appears that this multifaceted phytocannabinoid offers humans much more than just relaxation. Let’s explore some of the medical conditions where science has proven that CBD may be advantageous.
Alleviate Arthritis Symptoms
CBD has been found to be an anti-inflammatory which can help ease the symptoms of conditions such as arthritis without any significant side effects. There are many different types of arthritis but symptoms commonly include stiffness, reduced motion and pain surrounding the joints. There have been several UK studies that have shown improvements in symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis sufferers when taking a CBD-based drug in comparison with a placebo. Furthermore, animal studies have supported the claim that CBD use can relieve arthritis-related inflammation and pain with very few side effects. However, research indicates that topical CBD may be more beneficial for arthritis relief than ingestible CBD oil which is absorbed less effectively. Further human studies are required for a firm conclusion.
Reduce Anxiety and Depression
The ability of CBD to promote relaxation and alleviate anxiety and stress is one of the compound’s most well-regarded benefits and a key factor behind its increasing popularity. Studies, such as this study carried out in 2017, have shown that when compared with a placebo, use of CBD has significantly reduced anxiety levels in individuals experiencing mild to moderate anxiety levels before participating in a public speaking simulation activity. Anecdotal reports have also noted similar effects on depression and CBD has been compared to some antidepressants, backed by studies which discovered that CBD positively impacts serotonin levels in the brain (serotonin is a key player in determining our mood). However, much of these trials have been carried out on animals and further human studies are necessary to determine whether CBD indubitably has antidepressant effects on humans.
Chronic Pain Management
CBD for pain management is a fairly well-regarded concept nowadays. Research has delved into CBD’s efficacy in terms of pain relief on a molecular level. We know that CBD molecules act as neurotransmitters in the human body and bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. These are linked to the nervous system; and this binding activity stimulates a reduction in chronic pain and inflammation.
However, as with much of the research surrounding CBD to date, most studies are animal-based and many of the human studies have used CBD combined with THC to determine how pain is impacted. We are confident that CBD is an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, but to what extent must be determined by further research into CBD pain relief treatment as a single agent.
Effective Epilepsy Treatment
In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved and recommended a CBD oral solution to treat some forms of epilepsy. Epidyolex is the name of the drug, and it is recommended for two forms of rare and severe epilepsy: Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. On the guidance of NICE, Epidyolex should be prescribed on the NHS if other types of epilepsy treatment have been unsuccessful.
There have been several studies carried out that provided the foundation of support for the decision to approve Epidyolex for epilepsy treatment, whereby the drug was shown to decrease episodes of seizures in affected participants, when compared with a placebo.
Protection from Neurological Diseases
Protection against pathological disorders may be possible with regular use of CBD, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective antioxidant properties. Some clinical studies have investigated the effects cannabidiol has on diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. These results were encouraging – although further trials are necessary – and showed that individuals’ quality of life and well-being may be greatly improved as a result of CBD use.
Many CBD users report improved sleep when using the compound. We have discussed cannabidiol’s ability to promote relaxation by decreasing anxiety and stress levels, which is likely a facilitator of greater sleep. One study showed 66.7% of people using CBD reported better sleep over the course of a month after first use.
CBD has been shown to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-sebum properties; all of which can contribute to healthier, clearer skin. Excessive sebum production, inflammation and bacteria are contributors to acne vulgaris, the most prevalent skin disorder across the glove. CBD prevents the production of excessive sebum from sebocyte skin cells and helps to reduce inflammation and fight microbes. Further trials are underway, but CBD as an effective acne treatment looks highly promising so far.
Recent research carried out in the USA showed that use of CBD oil could lower high blood pressure and stroke volume in individuals exposed to stress. Cannabidiol’s anxiety-reducing properties are likely to play a substantial role in supporting heart health by decreasing blood pressure. This is further promoted by CBD as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with the ability to help reduce the development of heart-related disease.
Much research remains to be carried out on the widespread effects of CBD, both on humans as well as animals. However, studies to date indicate a multitude of additional benefits such as its positive impact on individuals with multiple sclerosis and diabetes, and as a treatment for addiction and substance abuse. There is also research underway to investigate CBD’s effects on allergies, various respiratory illnesses and even cancer prevention.
Proven efficacy of cannabidiol oil results from mostly animal trials and further human studies are necessary, particularly to determine CBD’s interaction with additional medication. However, as research progresses, it is likely that CBD oil will become a more widely accepted as a therapeutic product in UK healthcare. New users of CBD should always consult their GP before trialling a product, especially if using alternative medication.