“Superfoods are dead; long live CBD as the new cure-all king!” Everywhere you turn, it feels like article headlines are feverishly extolling the benefits of CBD. It seems like a million years ago since anyone mentioned foods such as blueberries and kale as the anti-oxidant of choice. CBD now rests upon the throne as the super-supplement of 2020; the Stormzy of health and wellness nutrition. But as the self-styled ‘Wicked Skengman’ is finding, heavy is the head that wears the crown. CBD finds itself in a similar situation; its explosion in popularity and rapid global adoption has come off the back of its use for a variety of ailments. But is there an element of hype being infused into our CBD coffees? We look at how useful it is across a number of claims around its benefits.
Before we jump in, a little background on what CBD is. CBD (short for Cannabidiol) oil is a naturally occurring chemical compound extracted primarily from the hemp plant. There is still some confusion around hemp and CBD oil’s legality. Hemp and marijuana derive from the Cannabis sativa plant. However, Marijuana has high levels of THC, (Tetrahydrocannabinol), a naturally occurring chemical compound and produces the psychoactive “high” experienced when consumed. On the other hand, hemp has an extremely low THC content, meaning that CBD has no ability to intoxicate you.
Claim 1: CBD is Effective Pain Relief
One of the most popular reasons for using CBD is that it has the capability to stifle pain connected to inflammation, such as arthritis. Interestingly, the human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which regulates many bodily functions, including the production of our own endocannabinoids, which regulate sleep, immune system responses and pain. When your body’s ECS is balanced it creates its own endocannabinoids. When stress or inflammation increases, the body shuts down its production of endocannabinoids. This is where CBD steps in. CBD oil stimulates the body’s ECS receptors, helping to restore its natural balance. It also inhibits the body’s ability to absorb anandamide, a compound associated with managing pain we feel. Higher levels of anandamide present in the bloodstream means that we feel less pain.
Our View: Your body has evolved over millions of years to utilise CBD and it’s the star player when bringing your ECS back online – what are you waiting for?
Claim 2: CBD Reduces Anxiety and Depression
CBD oil is thought to increase serotonin levels and improve mental health. As such, CBD is known to promote a sense of calm, reduces irritability and elevate mood. A 2010 study found that CBD was useful reducing anxiety for people with Social Anxiety Disorder. Analysis of previous studies in 2015 found that CBD oil shows potential as a treatment for several forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As well as tackling anxiety and depression, CBD oil can also help to reduce hallucinations associated with schizophrenia.
Our View: Although CBD should not be consumed as an alternative to prescribed medication, studies have shown that CBD can benefit low level social anxiety.
Claim 3: CBD Promotes Good Sleep and Reduces Insomnia
CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety has overflowing benefits for improved sleep. According to research, CBD may increase overall sleep amounts, and improve insomnia. CBD has also been found to reduce insomnia in people who suffer from chronic pain. Interestingly, in smaller doses, CBD stimulates alertness and reduces daytime sleepiness, which is important for daytime performance and for the strength and consistency of the sleep-wake cycle.
Our View: CBD is a must-try if you are suffering from insomnia or poor-quality sleep. It has varying effects and is not a magic bullet (as it should be supported by the right bedtime routine); but has been shown to make the difference for millions of people who need more rest.
Claim 3: CBD Is A Great Beauty Treatment
CBD is the latest participant in the long parade of beauty treatments. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties sit at the claim that it is useful to deal with rashes, swelling and flare ups such as Eczema and Psoriasis. Research suggests CBD triggers an increase in the production of Anandamide, which enhances the body’s ability to fight inflammation. CBD also has a soothing quality which helps to alleviate the painfulness which comes from the scratching and skin-breaking which often comes with Eczema.
The 1998 National Institute of Mental Health Study found that CBD has anti-oxidant properties which were more powerful than those found in Vitamins A, C and E. These anti-oxidants promote faster self-healing and repair along with the prevention of collagen loss. Research also suggests that CBD may also aid in balancing and controlling sebum production in the skin, which serves to reduce oil and grease. CBD is also packed with high levels of fatty acids, Omegas 3, 6 and 9, which enable the retention of water in the skin.
Our View: If you suffer from acne or eczema and nothing else has worked, CBD may be the surprise treatment that alleviates discomfort. In the case of Eczema, applying CBD lotions on a regular basis can have a preventative effect.
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