In 2015, people said CBD was having a moment, a fad that would go away with time. In 2018, CBD sales exploded after the Farm Bill passed making industrial hemp and CBD products more easily accessible. During this time, hundreds of new CBD started flooding the market to keep up with the demand. Now, it looks as if CBD is here to stay.
What is it about this hemp product that has consumers spending billions on it each year? There are many claims about what CBD can do, but so far, most are not definitively proven. But with all the anecdotal research showing that CBD is helping people, it’s hard not to believe in CBD as some sort of miracle substance.
It may not be a miracle substance, but it is helping people. There’s also quite a bit of research supporting many of the claims that CBD users make on a regular basis, dispelling myths that nothing has been proven about CBD.
It’s important to know what CBD is and the research behind it before trying the product for yourself. Let’s look at the background of CBD and some of the major scientific discoveries worth noting.
How CBD Is Extracted from THC
One important feature of CBD is the differentiation between CBD and THC. There are common misconceptions that lump the two cannabis-derived substances together. While they do offer some similar benefits, they do so in completely different ways.
Most notably, as explained by Penguin CBD for newcomers, THC is responsible for making you high while CBD has no such psychoactive properties. CBD is taken from industrial hemp, a plant in the cannabis family that’s very high in CBD and very low in THC.
CBD is taken from hemp using a method called CO2 extraction. Using high temperatures and pressure, the CBD can be completely removed from the rest of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and THC in the hemp plant. Some of those elements may be put back into the supercritical liquid that results, but no more than 0.3 percent THC is involved.
THC can only legally be combined with CBD in amounts no higher than 0.3 percent. However, about two-thirds of CBD oil made contains no THC at all. This is an important scientific distinction because it’s what separates CBD from other schedule 1 drugs in the cannabis family.
How CBD Works in the Body
Research continues on the happenings of CBD in the body, but it’s believed that CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a part of your central nervous system that helps with regulating hormones and immune responses.
Your body already makes cannabinoids, but an imbalance of cannabinoids in your body might contribute to an imbalance in hormones and negative immune responses. It could help to cause responses in the body like anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, sebum production, cell death, and more.
The best CBD oil is believed to counteract the effects of imbalanced cannabinoids in the body. It could activate the endocannabinoid system and restore balance to the structure. When taken regularly, it might help consumers feel better overall because of the impacts on hormonal and immune responses.
Research Supporting CBD
Ongoing studies are working on proving the exact impacts of CBD on the endocannabinoid system, and there have been many other findings on the way to show how CBD can positively affect a person. Here are some notable studies that are helping to prove CBD’s benefits.
CBD and Pain and Inflammation Relief
Many studies have proven that vaporized cannabis has analgesic effects to improve pain and inflammation, spurring research on how CBD extract might do the same thing. The results have been very promising.
A study showed that CBD might help manage chronic pain in patients who received a kidney transplant. Patients were given high doses of CBD for three weeks. About 28 percent of patients showed total pain improvement, more than 57 percent of patients saw improved pain, and only 14 percent showed no improvement at all.
Another study looked at how CBD could improve pain and inflammation in patients suffering from neurogenic conditions like multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, limb amputation due to neurofibromatosis, and brachial plexus damage. CBD showed significant pain improvement among this group.
CBD and Anxiety
One of the most common uses of CBD is to treat anxiety. Those who use it for the condition, either chronic or situational, say that it helps them relax and put things in a healthy perspective.
Many, many studies have offered promising results for improving anxiety among participants. A study on public speakers, for example, showed that those using CBD to calm nerves experienced significantly fewer symptoms of anxiety than those without.
It may even help with anxiety in children. A 2016 study published in The Permanente Journal showed that CBD was effective at treating pediatric anxiety and insomnia for children suffering from PTSD.
CBD and Epilepsy
We probably have the most definitive proof when it comes to the way CBD treats epilepsy. Several studies on those with severe cases of epilepsy show a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of seizures for those using CBD.
The research in this area has led to the development of the first-ever FDA-approved drug, Epidiolex. This is a life-saving drug that has helped thousands feel a sense of normalcy in their lives despite their seizures.
CBD and Addiction Recovery
A common misconception about CBD is that it’s an addictive gateway drug, like marijuana. CBD is proven to be non-addictive, but recent research also indicates that it could actually help in addiction recovery settings.
Research shows that CBD might have an inhibitory effect on cravings for substances. A short-term study found that those taking CBD for a week had fewer cravings as a result. Researchers believe it could help those in addiction recovery by replacing their drug of choice without causing further addiction.
The research on CBD will continue, especially now that the FDA is starting to get more involved in the research. There are currently three, $1-million research projects going on funded by the government to explore more of CBD’s scientific benefits.