What is CBD?
CBD oil has grown immensely in popularity over the past few years and is now used by a wide variety of people from natural health lovers to edgy business people and for good reason.
Cannabidiol, most commonly referred to as CBD, is one of a wide number of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Although there are a large amount of cannabinoids within the cannabis plant, the two most talked about cannabinoids are Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has psychoactive properties and is the cannabinoid responsible for making the user ‘high’ whereas CBD has no psychoactive properties and will most certainly not make the user ‘high’ in any way. Although THC does have a few documented health benefits, CBD appears to be able to assist with a far greater number of ailments without the negative side effects which occur with the use of THC.
The cannabis plant is commonly divided into two species, Hemp and Marijuana. A Marijuana plant is a plant that contains more than 20% THC with only a small percentage of CBD whereas a Hemp plant contains less than 0.3% THC and more than 20% CBD. CBD oil is most frequently extracted from Hemp plants due to its greater availability, although it is important to note that CBD extracted from Hemp is no more or less beneficial than CBD extracted from Marijuana plants as it is the exact same cannabinoid with the same molecular structure.
How Does CBD Work?
All mammals have what is known as an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors which are spread out throughout the body and are responsible for regulating a number of biological functions including sleep, pain, mood, appetite etc. In addition to this, experts claim that the most important function of the ECS is in promoting a state of homeostasis within the body. A state of homeostasis can be thought of as a state of perfect balance and cohesion within the body where all bodily functions and organs are working as they should be, creating a state of total wellness. The endocannabinoid system contains two very important receptors known as the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. These receptors are spread out in varying concentrations throughout the body with the most CB1 receptors found in the brain, central & peripheral nervous system, organs, glands and connective tissues and the CB2 receptors most
concentrated in the immune system. When one ingests CBD it will interact with these two receptors within the ECS, aiding in the promotion of homeostasis within the body. The CBD will assist the CB1 and CB2 receptors to create balance where there is imbalance within the body, for example where there is pain, over activity of neural impulses etc. Due to the receptors being found in virtually all parts of the body, CBD is claimed to be able to assist with a wide variety of conditions by being able to target any area where there are cannabinoid receptors which is, essentially, all throughout the body.
CBD for Mental Health
CBD is claimed to be able to assist with a very wide variety of health complaints. This is understandable after considering the above mentioned endocannabinoid system and the distribution of receptors throughout the body. Mental health concerns are among the numerous health complaints that CBD may be able to assist with. Research has shown that CBD appears to be able to calm the brain and support the hippocampus, an area of the brain important to healthy emotion and memory. Additional research has shown that CBD may be effective in the reduction of anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, alzheimer’s disease, autism symptoms and even with the reduction of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
It is important to note that, although research has shown positive results for a number of studies, there have yet to be enough studies to be able to fully confirm the benefits of CBD. It is, however, a remedy which many therapists are recommending to clients with mental health symptoms far more regularly due to the increasing number of positive benefits being uncovered. In future articles, more detail will be provided on dosage guidelines, safety precautions as well as a more intricate look into the research which has been completed on the value of CBD oil for specific mental health ailments.
Written by: Emma Martin