What is Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil?
Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is more commonly known, is one of more than 113 natural compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike THC, cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and as such, regardless of how much is taken, it will not produce a euphoric ‘high’ feeling.
CBD is a dominant part of the plant that has been used medicinally for thousands of years in cultures around the world. In the early part of the 20th-century scientists managed to isolate CBD but it was not until quite recently that they revealed to the world just how impressive it can be.
Click here for a more detailed dive into what CBD is and how it works.
CBD’s Long History
In June 2015, National Geographic ran a story about how Siberian burial mounds as far back as 3000 B.C. were found to contain charred cannabis seeds. Cannabis has also been used in Chinese medicine for thousands and thousands of years.
The article went on to explain how American use of cannabis goes back to our country’s founding fathers as well. In fact, George Washington himself grew hemp at his plantation estate and the location of his burial, Mount Vernon.
Because of its somewhat tumultuous history marijuana has had with the law (regarding whether it is illegal or not), research on the positive properties of hemp plants’ derivatives such as cannabidiol oil has been extremely limited.
This has caused many people to question its use for modern-day ailments, primarily because they don’t know a lot about how it works.
How Cannabis Oil Works
According to Medical News Today, the body’s endocannabinoid system has two cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.
A majority of CB1 receptors are located in the brain and are associated with cognitive actions related to coordination, mood, thinking, memory, and appetite. The CB2 receptors, on the other hand, can be found in the immune system. This makes them more responsible for the body’s response to pain and inflammation.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, attaches to the CB1 receptors, which explains why smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana affects users on a cognitive level.
However, CBD impacts the CB2 receptors. And it does so indirectly, not by attaching to the CB2 receptor, but by enticing the body to make more of its own cannabinoids. This creates a positive effect on the body’s pain and inflammation responses.
CBD oil and arthritis pain relief
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in Nigeria and other parts of the world, affecting over 50 million Americans. The two most common types of arthritis are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): An autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks their joints, causing inflammation. RA commonly affects the hands and feet and leads to painful, swollen, and stiff joints.
- Osteoarthritis (OA): A degenerative disease that affects joint cartilage and bones, causing pain and stiffness. It often affects the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
Some studies on animals suggest that CBD could help to treat arthritis and relieve the associated inflammatory pain:
- A 2011 study found that CBD helped to reduce inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way that pain receptors respond to stimuli.
- A 2014 review of the existing body of research on animals concluded that CBD may be an effective treatment for OA.
- A 2016 study found that the topical application of CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
- A 2017 study found that CBD might be a safe and useful treatment for OA joint pain.
How can CBD oil relieve arthritis pain?
CBD is as complex as the plant it is derived from, but thanks to a substantial amount of scientific research, we now have a firm understanding of how exactly CBD can help relieve pain and inflammation in general and specifically play a role in relieving arthritis pain.
When injury or inflammation occurs (two prominent aspects of arthritis) the body produces an endogenous cannabinoid known as anandamide which reduces the perception of pain.
Unfortunately, this endocannabinoid is rapidly degraded by the enzyme FAAH, but CBD has been shown to inhibit FAAH and slow down anandamide decomposition, thereby prolonging its pain-relieving effects.
Hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain) is synonymous with rheumatoid arthritis and occurs when heat is detected by the body’s vanilloid receptor. It has been demonstrated that CBD can abolish hyperalgesia to thermal stimuli.
CBD also regulates the perception of pain by affecting serotonin receptors which are known to influence pain through spinal processing of nociceptive information.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
The second most common question people have when it comes to CBD oil for pain management or its anti-inflammatory properties is whether or not it is safe to use for arthritis symptoms.
Patients are always concerned with additional potential and side effects (as they should be). According to some top health experts and agencies, the answer is yes. It is safe to use.
For instance, Medscape shares that while cannabinoid medicine is still in its early stages, “unlike marijuana and THC, the risks associated with CBD are extremely low, with not a single case report of CBD overdose in the literature. The National Institute on Drug Abuse agrees and states that “CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effects.”
In the future, it is likely that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also begin to regulate CBD products, providing an additional safety net, as this agency indicates that “increasing public interest” in this substance increases the importance of establishing regulatory procedures.
Things to consider when buying CBD Oil
CBD is currently in an unregulated market given its classification as a food supplement (although it is considered medicine when sold as the pharmaceutical product epidiolex or Sativex) so it is very important to only purchase from reputable suppliers.
To guarantee you are purchasing quality, untainted, premium CBD oil you need to ask:
- Is it lab tested?
- Is it full-spectrum?
- Is it sourced responsibly?
Is it lab tested? – Legitimate manufacturers can provide independent, 3rd party lab test analysis reports. These will show the quantity of CBD and other minor cannabinoids so you can be sure that you’re getting what you paid for.
Is it full-spectrum? – CBD does not work alone but together with the other cannabinoids and terpenes (provides the smell) and together they give a synergistic effect known by scientists as the entourage effect. Full-spectrum CBD oil will contain all the ‘ingredients’ required for full effect.
Is it sourced responsibly? – It is of great importance that you only choose CBD oil that was extracted from organically grown cannabis.
Cheap CBD oil often comes from cannabis plants sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilisers which are dangerous to your health. Look for proof of organic origins.
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