In the active, sometimes anxious population that makes up the majority of my clients, people are always searching for something to take away their pain after a hard workout or calm their over stressed bodies and minds down. Many of my clients want to avoid pharmaceutical interventions and ask about more natural remedies. Recently, a “new” substance has been popping up everywhere in the press and on the shelves of stores. Cannabidiol, CBD, is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil can be derived from marijuana and its cousin, hemp.
Until recently, the most well-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the psycho active (mind altering) ingredient in marijuana. CBD has no psychoactive impact on a person. It does, however, interact with serotonin and receptors in the brain, which affect the perception of pain and mood. In January, the World Anti Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances, opening the door for its use in recovery from over activity. Unfortunately, because marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug by the Federal Government, research on the benefits of this substance has been slow to accumulate. Anecdotally, however, people are using CBD for anxiety, stress, to manage pain and for a whole host of other reasons. So what has the research found the therapeutic benefits of CBD to be?
Studies have found CBD to be an effective treatment for the management of pain. It seems to work by inhibiting neuronal transmission in pain pathways.
CBD is high in anti oxidants and neuroprotectants, both important for battling the aging process from free radical damage.
CBD has been found to help combat social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety, panic disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.
Research shows that CBD can be effective in fighting breast cancer cells, might inhibit the invasion of lung and colon cancer and has been used to treat leukemia.
CBD has also been found to help lower fasting insulin levels, important for the treatment of diabetes.
There are many ways to make use of the benefits of CBD. You can mix them into different foods or drinks (hello CBD chocolate bars), take it in a capsule or massage them into the skin in a salve form. Products that are made into sprays to be administered under the tongue are also popular.
Although the research on the medicinal benefits of CBD is strong, it is important for you to consult your health professional before adding a new treatment to your health care routine. Also, be aware that the quality of CBD products varies widely. Because CBD is still an illegal drug according to the Federal Government, there is no third party oversight of the quality and dosing.
Photo from flickr.