CBD is the compound most associated with medical cannabis. As it produces no psychotropic effects, CBD is not restricted in the same way that the rest of the cannabis plant is. However, there are several ways in which CBD can improve health, by carefully tweaking the mechanisms in the endocannabinoid system.
Some of CBD’s effects, such as its anti-nausea and anti-epileptic properties, have been covered extensively in the news media. But here are 10 qualities of the compound that you may not have heard about.
1) CBD is part of a group chemicals called cannabinoids
CBD is not just a compound, but a cannabinoid. This classification of chemicals is very obscure and mostly reserved to the cannabis plant, however their effects can be powerful and, in the right circumstances, therapeutic. Cannabinoids are remarkably similar to a set of lipid-based neurotransmitters now known as endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors, to send various signals to the brain, immune system response and more.
However, when there is a deficiency of endocannabinoids or an issue that endocannabinoids cannot solve on their known (e.g. excessive inflammation), plant-based cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, pick up the slack.
2) CBD can enhance your mood
Cannabis is well-known for causing euphoria, due to the strong reactions that THC causes via the CB1 receptor. However, CBD also makes adjustments to mood – these changes just happen to be subtle and controlled. While THC binds directly to CB1, CBD promotes the natural endocannabinoid system bond between anandamide (AEA) and CB1. AEA is an antidepressant but is rarely found in significant concentrations because the FAAH enzyme breaks it down rapidly. CBD corrects an anandamide imbalance by inhibiting FAAH, and redirecting anandamide to the brain.
3) CBD can improve your concentration
In large doses, CBD has sedative properties and can make a user sleepy. But the cannabinoid is known for being biphasic, and in smaller doses, the effects can be quite the opposite. While there is no clinical research on the concentration-boosting qualities of CBD, some find that the anxiety relief the compound offers helps to remove negative thoughts and improve focus on the matters at hand.
Therefore, CBD could be thought of as a tool to increase productivity – combine that with the mood-enhancing effects, and you have a non-intoxicating way of getting through a long day at work with ease.
4) CBD limits the psychoactive effects of THC
The psychoactive effects of THC can actually be modulated by the presence of CBD – hence why recreational users look for the most dominant THC to CBD ratios possible. But why does CBD have the power to influence the effects of a completely different compound?
Despite not binding to CB1 receptors, CBD can still interact with them – and other receptors – by dampening or amplifying their receptiveness. By suppressing the CB1 receptor as a negative allosteric modulator, CBD reduces some of THC’s psychoactivity. Researchers are investigating whether this mechanism could be harnessed, and CBD used as a treatment for psychosis and schizophrenia, mental health disorders associated with hallucinations.
5) Hemp-based CBD does not require a prescription
There’s no need to check whether your condition is covered by the medical cannabis rules in your state because hemp-derived CBD products are legal to purchase, sell and possess according to federal government legislation.
The 2014 Farm Bill effectively created a market for non-psychoactive CBD e-liquid and vape oil, edibles, creams and more by allowing hemp-based products, and setting the THC cap at 0.3 percent. Hemp CBD products are not recognized as medicine, nor are they regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), but the potential benefits are remarked upon all over the internet, and many users are having great results self-medicating with CBD.
6) CBD is beneficial for the skin
With CBD e-liquid and CBD edibles getting most of the attention, many don’t realize that the cannabinoid can also help improve the condition of the skin, by treating skin complaints that are rooted in inflammation. There are promising signs that CBD can negate the symptoms of autoimmune disease psoriasis, and the inflammatory disease acne. There are many types of topicals available, including CBD salves, CBD massage gels and CBD pain creams.
7) CBD may promote good oral health
Ancient wisdom suggested that good oral health translated to good overall health, and modern science has indeed confirmed that maintaining the mouth can help to stave off other problems, primarily by limiting bacteria build-up and the potential for infection. Studies have found CBD to have anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties – cannabigerol (CBG) is also thought to be a potent anti-microbial compound. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you see CBD toothpaste or CBD mouthwash become more popular soon.
8) CBD affects the serotonin system
The serotonin system is separate from the endocannabinoid system, but there are indications that CBD can interact with a little-known receptor called 5-HT1A. Quite what CBD does to it is unknown, but research has shown that the 5-HT1A receptor can be activated to reduce anxiety, depression and possibly even drug-seeking behavior, which may explain why CBD has been theorized to have anti-addiction effects.
9) CBD is an antioxidant
CBD is an antioxidant, and that means it can help to protect the skin, keep it looking youthful and reduce the rate of extrinsic aging. Accounting for up to 90 percent of total aging, extrinsic aging is surprisingly easy to tackle – the main job is to combat free radicals, uncharged molecules that try to leech electrons from the skin. When free radicals succeed in taking these electrons, the DNA of the skin becomes damaged. Antioxidants like CBD stop this by counteracting free radicals.
10) CBD has neuroprotective properties
CBD could be an important chemical going forward in treating the likes of Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. In addition to helping formulate better sleep patterns, CBD and cannabichromene (CBC) have been found to regenerate hippocampus brain tissue in rats. If repeated in humans, these cannabinoids could help with the part of the brain that stores memories.