CBD is one of, if not the most, well-researched plant compounds with dozens of documented potential health benefits in animals (both human and non-human).
Here, we’ll cover the waterfront of CBD’s transformative potential health benefits. Bear in mind that this is not an exhaustive listing of CBD’s many physiological effects, but rather a summary of its most popular benefits.
What is CBD and how does it interact with the human body?
The human body contains CBD receptors (called CB1 and CB2) located throughout the body in virtually every organ and gland. Cannabinoids such as CBD enter the bloodstream – either endogenously produced or supplemented exogenously – and interact with these receptors to exert crucial health-promoting properties.
Altogether, these components make up the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Harvard Health Publishing explains the critical role of the ECS in dozens of physiological functions:
“The ECS regulates and controls many of our most critical bodily functions such as learning and memory, emotional processing, sleep, temperature control, pain control, inflammatory and immune responses, and eating.”
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What are the potential health benefits of CBD?
CBD has numerous research-backed health benefits. We’ll try to cover the most important here, but with the caveat that the documented health benefits of CBD could fill volumes.
Let’s survey to the potential of:
- CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent
- CBD for chronic pain relief
- CBD for treating depression and anxiety
- CBD as an antioxidant
- CBD for improved sleep
- CBD for migraine treatment
- CBD for autoimmune conditions
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CBD as a potential anti-inflammatory agent
Modern researchers have now reached an undeniable conclusion: systemic, chronic inflammation is definitively linked to almost every major disease in humans:
“The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health. The prevalence of diseases associated with chronic inflammation is anticipated to increase persistently for the next 30 years in the United States… in 2014 nearly 60% of Americans had at least one chronic condition, 42% had more than one and 12% of adults had 5 or more chronic conditions. Worldwide, 3 of 5 people die due to chronic inflammatory diseases.”
Examples of chronic illnesses tied to unchecked inflammation include:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cardiovascular diseases
CBD for potential chronic pain relief
As of 2016, researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that over 20% of Americans (1 in 5) suffered from chronic pain.
Chronic pain isn’t just uncomfortable; it can severely negatively impact the quality of life (QOL) in patients who suffer from it.
CBD potentially alleviates chronic pain via powerful interactions with the ECS:
“The endocannabinoid system is involved in a host of homeostatic and physiologic functions, including modulation of pain and inflammation… Exogenous plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) and chemically related compounds, like the terpenes, commonly found in many foods, have been found to exert significant analgesic effects in various chronic pain conditions.”
CBD for potentially treating anxiety and depression
American rates of depression and anxiety, which were already a major public health concern, exploded after the pandemic hit in 2020, leaving patients and providers scrambling for effective solutions.
There are many potential treatments for anxiety and depression, but they often come with unwanted side effects and risk of dependency (for example, the risk of addiction to anxiolytic benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan commonly prescribed to patients with diagnosed anxiety disorders).
CBD has been shown in clinical trials to effectively reduce depression and anxiety without any risk of addiction:
“Evidence from human studies strongly supports the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders: at oral doses ranging from 300 to 600 mg, CBD reduces experimentally induced anxiety in healthy controls, without affecting baseline anxiety levels, and reduces anxiety in patients with SAD.”
CBD as a potential antioxidant
Research suggests that “a diet high in antioxidants may reduce the risk of many diseases (including heart disease and certain cancers).”
Supplementation, including with CBD, may augment the antioxidant intake through diet and tamp down oxidative stress, which is implicated in numerous illnesses alongside inflammation:
“Cannabidiol may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders now known to involve activation of the immune system and associated oxidative stress, as a contributor to their etiology and progression.”
CBD for potentially improved sleep
Sleep deprivation is associated with various negative health consequences such as greater depression and anxiety, obesity, high blood pressure, poor mood, and impaired memory, among others.
One of the most popular utilities of CBD supplementation among users is improved sleep quality. Studies confirm that CBD users report reduced insomnia and improved sleep quality:
“Medicinal cannabis users perceive a significant improvement in insomnia with cannabinoid use, and this study suggests a possible advantage with the use of predominant indica strains compared with predominant sativa strains and exclusively CBD in this population.”
CBD as a potential migraine treatment
According to The Migraine Institute, migraines impact over 30 million Americans. Often much more than just a nuisance, migraines can wreak havoc on quality of life.
One medical literature review of dozens of studies found significant benefits for migraine suffers who take CBD supplements:
“Medical cannabis use decreases migraine duration and frequency and headaches of unknown origin. Patients suffering from migraines and related conditions may benefit from medical cannabis therapy due to its convenience and efficacy.”
CBD for potentially treating autoimmune conditions
Through its interactions with the ECS, CBD modifies the immune response. Accordingly, physicians have used it to effectively treat autoimmune conditions in patients in which improper immune function drives disease, often in cases where other treatments have failed:
“The data overwhelmingly support the notion that CBD is immune suppressive and that the mechanisms involve direct suppression of activation of various immune cell types, induction of apoptosis, and promotion of regulatory cells, which, in turn, control other immune cell targets.”
Contact Sympleaf to learn more about CBD’s potential health benefits
If you’ve got questions about the powerful potential health benefits of this miraculous cannabinoid, we’ve got answers. Keeping tabs on the latest research is part of our job.
Contact us to learn more about CBD and how it might help you and your family live a fuller, healthier, happier life.