Aside from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant (and well-known) compound found in cannabis plants. As more research confirms its benefits, its popularity continues to rise.
Even considering CBD products’ relatively high price point, their forecasted double-digit growth every year is expected to put the CBD market at a valuation of just under $60 billion by 2030. This article tells you everything about CBD, including its benefits, uses, and options.
CBD dates further back than you might think; it was first discovered in 1940 and studied in the 1960s for potential therapeutic benefits. The real turning point came in the early 2000s when the story of a young girl who suffered a severe form of epilepsy (called Dravet Syndrome) made headlines for treating her symptoms with CBD. That story and others have contributed to the growing awareness of CBD’s potential as an alternative therapy for many disorders and ailments.
Since then, the products have become increasingly accessible in stores and online. You can find everything from gummies to tea infused with various levels of CBD oil to bath bombs, which is why you’ll see it as a “wellness product” in many places.
CBD works by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates bodily functions, including sleep, mood, and appetite. When it enters your body, it makes its way to the ECS via your bloodstream and binds to its receptors. It can influence various bodily functions, so it’s become famous for treating chronic pain and anxiety.
There are numerous proclaimed benefits of CBD, some of which are more research-backed than others. It is most commonly used for:
- Pain relief
- Anxiety and depression
- Appetite stimulation
Pain relief is often the most talked about of CBD’s health benefits. However, it’s important to note that it isn’t a “miracle cure”; instead, it should be combined with other treatments.
One 2022 study points to a viable alternative for opioids in chronic pain relief, and several more highlight its ability to manage muscle, joint, and nerve pain familiar with conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. Plenty of people also use CBD to reduce pain after a strenuous workout; there are even specific topical creams explicitly designed for this purpose.
It has become hugely popular for anxiety and depression thanks to its ability to moderate serotonin levels in the brain. While its ability to help with symptoms of these common mental health issues requires additional research, there is an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence that CBD can support it.
Although it doesn’t make you hungry, it can stimulate your appetite by regulating your hormones, stress levels, and bodily processes, which might encourage you to eat more. It’s popular among chemo patients because it can help increase appetite and energy levels while reducing nausea, one of chemotherapy’s most common side effects.
It is effective for pain relief and regulates stress and anxiety; it can benefit those with sleep issues like insomnia. CBD is known to help relax the body and reduce inflammation, which can encourage a better night’s rest. One recent study showed it was more effective at treating insomnia than THC, the compound known for making people sleepy.
CBD’s ability to reduce epileptic seizures in certain patients, particularly those with Dravet Syndrome, isn’t its most well-known health benefit. However, it is the one that earned the compound its recognition, which in turn has helped to open up opportunities for research into other potential applications. The first FDA-approved medication, Epidiolex, was developed to treat seizures in patients two years and older after several clinical trials showed its effectiveness.
A comprehensive review of more than two dozen clinical studies on humans and animals shows CBD to have a “favorable safety profile.” That doesn’t mean you can choose anything off the shelf, though. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, there’s no guarantee your product is free of contaminants (or even contains the amount of CBD it claims to). To ensure your safety, only buy it from a reputable manufacturer.
CBD products come in all shapes and sizes, some of which are comically inventive (like this $125 CBD-infused sports bra). However, it’s important to remember that whatever you choose should be based on your needs and preferences. Here are some of the most popular CBD products available:
CBD flower from reputable companies like Secret Nature CBD is the hemp plant’s raw, dried bud containing high CBD and low THC levels (below 0.3%). Smoking or vaping CBD flower allows fast absorption into the bloodstream through the lungs, providing almost immediate effects. This method is ideal for those seeking rapid relief from pain, anxiety, or insomnia, but it isn’t the most suitable for anyone with breathing issues.
One of the most versatile and popular products in the market, it can be taken orally, used topically, or added to food and drinks. The oil typically comes in a tincture form, meaning it’s made up of carrier oil (like coconut or hemp seed) plus the active ingredient (CBD extract).
It is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more long-term solution to your symptoms. Read the label carefully and start with the lowest recommended dose until you know how your body responds.
Edibles are food or drink products infused; think gummies, chocolates, candies, and even coffee. This method is perfect for those who don’t like the taste of CBD oil, as it allows you to get your dose without noticing any strange flavors. Edibles are also among the most discreet ways to use them, but they can take a while to kick in (anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours) since they have to be digested first.
CBD topicals, such as creams, balms, and salves, are applied directly to the skin for targeted relief from pain, inflammation, or skin conditions like eczema and acne. Topicals do not enter the bloodstream but interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin and nearby areas, providing localized benefits. They’re ideal for anyone seeking relief from specific problems without experiencing psychoactive effects.
CBD is a powerful plant-based compound with a growing list of potential health benefits, and there are countless ways to use it. As is valid with any health supplement, you must do your due diligence before trying it for the first time. Consult with a doctor and pick quality products from reputable companies. That way, you can rest assured that your chosen products are safe, effective, and suitable.