The compounds found within cannabis (known as cannabinoids) are very similar to the ones produced naturally by our bodies. These cannabinoids have been observed to relieve the symptoms of various conditions by attaching themselves to particular receptors in the brain, thereby blocking or boosting certain signals. This can help bring calm to an otherwise stressful situation.
Harper was diagnosed as an infant with CDKL5, a rare genetic condition doctors only discovered in 2004 and that afflicts roughly 600 people worldwide. The disorder shares its name with the minute particle of DNA it affects, a gene responsible for the production of a protein crucial for neurological development. Symptoms of CDKL5 include intellectual disability, developmental delays, breathing and vision problems, limited or absent speech, poor muscle tone, and, perhaps worst of all, frequent seizures.
The cannabis plant is filled with hundreds of different compounds, several of which have been studied for decades for their therapeutic benefits. The cannabis compounds that have captured the most scientific interest are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are now used in treatment for a broad—and growing—range of conditions and symptoms, from sleep and pain, to anxiety and inflammation, to Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
Oxidative stress is responsible for many ailments today. Oxidative stress is when the body has too many free radicals and can’t keep up with neutralizing them (with antioxidants). This is more of a problem now than in the past because our environment is so much more toxic than it once was. A 2010 study shows that CBD oil acts as an antioxidant and another study found CBD has neuroprotective qualities. So CBD can reduce neurological damage caused by free radicals.
Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, recently told Health that CBD oil is a rich source of fatty acids and other skin-healthy nutrients, and that it may improve hydration and minimize moisture loss. A few studies have also suggested that CBD oil may inhibit the growth of acne, although this hypothesis has only been tested in laboratory cell cultures—not in actual humans.
A 2013 study that measured data from 4,652 participants on the effect of cannabis on metabolic systems compared non-users to current and former users. It found that current users had higher blood levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) or “good cholesterol.” The same year, an analysis of over seven hundred members of Canada’s Inuit community found that, on average, regular cannabis users had increased levels of HDL-C and slightly lower levels of LDL-C (“bad cholesterol”).
In fact, numerous studies have looked at the relationship between CBD and pain, and the results are promising. Researchers have looked at various kinds of pain – from joint pain to cancer pain. One finding is that CBD increases levels of glutamate and serotonin – both neurotransmitters that play a role in pain regulation. And CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties help by tackling the root cause of much chronic pain.
The reason for the low THC content in hemp is that most THC is formed in resin glands on the buds and flowers of the female cannabis plant. Industrial hemp is not cultivated to produce buds, and therefore lacks the primary component that forms the marijuana high. Furthermore, industrial hemp has higher concentrations of a chemical called Cannabidiol (CBD) that has a negative effect on THC and lessens its psychoactive effects when smoked in conjunction.
Many users of CBD oil have reported a number of benefits to adding the supplement to their daily lives. From experiencing feelings of calm and relaxation to assisting in the relief of some symptoms associated with chronic illness, anxiety, and inflammation, CBD oil is certainly earning its fast-growing reputation as a powerful support for wellness.
This may be a good place to point out that not all CBD products are created equal. The industry is still largely unregulated, and the quality and quantity of CBD in a given product will vary wildly. Third party testing definitely helps to monitor companies’ claims, but it’s still up to you as the consumer to do your homework on the best CBD products.
It is a strict violation of the Food and Drug Administration DSHEA guidelines to make medical claims about the efficacy of CBD products in the treatment of any medical condition or symptom. Although preliminary research has shown tremendous promise of CBD oil helping people in pretty remarkable ways, legitimate CBD companies will refrain from making any direct medical claims. Be very wary of companies that defy this guideline, because if they disregard this particular rule, what other rules are they willing to ignore?
CBD may help reduces REM behavior disorder in people with Parkinson’s disease. REM behavior disorder is a condition that causes people to act out physically during dreaming and REM sleep. Typically, during REM, the body is largely paralyzed, a state known as REM atonia. This immobilization keeps sleepers from reacting physically to their dreams. In REM behavior disorder, this paralysis doesn’t occur, leaving people free to move—which can lead to disruptive sleep and to injuring themselves or their sleeping partners. Cannabis may also work to reduce pain and improve sleep quality in people with Parkinson’s disease.
CBD is showing real promise as a compound that can contribute to protecting the brain, thanks to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. Scientists are investigating its role in neurogenesis and its ability to help the brain heal from injury, and as a treatment for neurodegenerative disease. Research suggests that CBD may help to reduce brain damage from stroke or other neurological injury. And CBD is increasingly looked to as a possible therapy for several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.
Some individuals have been found to have mutations on the CNR1 gene, which is responsible for coding the CB1 receptor (a type of receptor in cells throughout your body that interacts with cannabinoids). Issues with the CNR1 gene can ultimately result in a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system, which is an important variable when figuring out how to use CBD oil.
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