The times they are a-changin, as Bob Dylan said. Indeed, the world has seen dramatic shifts in the past century, and that’s not stopping any time soon. President Nixon’s war on drugs certainly influenced America’s view, and the world’s, on substance use and any associated products. Yet, as science and technology have progressed, and society alongside them, perceptions have again begun to shift. Over the last decade, cannabis has become largely legal across North America, and this has led to much discussion, interest and use of its most prevalent active ingredients, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive component that offers other benefits. What exactly those benefits are we continue to learn, and the list is only getting longer (seriously – there are literally thousands of research papers examining medical marijuana). Commonly used in oil form, CBD is notable for its effectiveness in treating physical and mental health conditions. Here are a few of the many ways CBD is helping people:
Mental Health Support
One of the most significant changes of the twenty-first century is the enhanced understanding of mental illness, and the resulting responses in therapies, medications, social supports, and even language. As a society, we also understand the prevalence of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Though in contemporary medicine, pharmaceutical medications are viewed as a part of the treatment plan and not an exclusive response, for many people natural supplements are a more comfortable approach. For its significant contributions to mental health, CBD oil has gained notoriety as an effective natural antidepressant. Whether ingested or used topically, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a regulatory network that exists in all organs and systems in the body. The ECS creates balance amongst the essential physiological and mental processes. This includes things like your mood, memory, pain perception, appetite, sleep cycles, emotional processing, and immune function. CBD tells your ECS to produce more endocannabinoids, and also assists in slowing their breakdown, which all helps to create a sense of calm and balance, improves your stress response, and literally lifts your mood!
CBD oil has proven to be an effective agent for minimizing and managing various pains and ailments of the body. Though CBD is but one ingredient in cannabis, its abilities, functions, and makeup are actually quite complex. As a result, research on cannabidiol has accelerated, and hundreds of studies are pointing to its myriad of pain management capabilities. However, like any medication, it’s important to do your research, and the Centre for the Advancement of Health, or CFAH for short, advises you to learn about your options, and speak with your doctor before use begins. Thankfully, much of the research has been made available in layman’s terms so that you can easily ducat yourself on the many ways CBD may help you and/or your loved ones. So far, research has indicated that CBD oil can be effective for chronic pain by inhibiting and relieving inflammation and tension, offering antioxidant support, and interacting with pain receptors. As the research continues, evidence is demonstrating its benefits for chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, plantar fasciitis, endometriosis, sciatica, and many others including sports injuries. So, if you’ve got chronic back pain or suffer from migraines, consider giving CBD oil a shot.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease. Dementia is a decline in mental ability and is not a disease but a symptom of one such as Alzheimer’s. Dementia is an emotionally painful experience for loved ones to witness, but equally difficult, traumatic, and confusing for the individual themselves. While much more research needs to be done in this specific area, there is some evidence that CBD oil could help with behavioral symptoms of dementia, such as agitation and aggression. It is also thought that the inflammation of the brain due to Alzheimer’s could be managed, even possibly diminished through the use of CBD and that it can encourage connections between brain cells. While much of the theory, claims, and research in this area are the subject of controversy, it is a wonderful thought that such a devastating disease could one day so easily be managed, perhaps even cease to exist.
Just like with mental health conditions, CBD oil can improve your sleep by interacting with your ECS, creating feelings of calm, and shutting down the stress response, which is associated with insomnia. This sleep disorder is associated with many illnesses either as a direct or concurrent symptom. It has been shown to have an effect on children and adults with PTSD and has been shown to decrease nightmares. While some studies have seen CBD oil used in conjunction with pharmacological aid, the hope is that one day CBD could be used for PTSD treatment without the need for other medicinal interventions. This is in line with the move toward more holistic care, which involves therapeutic intervention as well.
Another study showed that patients with Parkinson’s disease experienced an improved REM cycle. Finally, a study on healthy individuals vs. people with insomnia indicated that while those healthy people did not demonstrate any marked changes, those with insomnia experienced improved quality of sleep. So if you’re finding yourself counting sheep at night, or waking up feeling unrested, CBD oil could make a difference for you.
The use of natural oils for treating illnesses is not a new concept; it has been a part of holistic wellbeing in many cultures for ages. However, as the world shifts and trends inform the direction of science and research, it seems hopeful to think of the many ways CBD will very likely continue to prove itself as helpful and healing. As well, continued research will give users comfort in knowing that their treatment practice is evidence-based and that their pain, whether physiological, mental, or both, can be managed easily, effectively and free of the concerns related to pharmaceutical drugs, the stigmas around cannabis use, and concerns around efficacy often felt with the use of natural medicines. CBD is clearly a powerful and effective way to treat illness, and potential? Well, it’s just getting started!