All health and wellness geeks know that behavioural, social, physical and mental wellbeing are essential parts of our health condition. In case you are suffering from any of these aspects, you probably won’t be able to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. Like any medical condition, mental illness can change your daily life and make it challenging for you. Some mental disorders, such as anxiety, stress and depression, are quite frightening and can negatively affect your quality of day-to-day life, making it essential to find an effective solution. One of these potent and natural remedies can be CBD oil.
Every year, scientists are discovering more use from CBD and cannabis. Though CBD shows promising results, more research needs to be done to fully understand the extent of effects, efficacy and potential that it has on the human body. Cannabis sativa and even CBD is severely misunderstood by some people who have the misconception that CBD products have side effects or are intoxicating. However, past studies and ongoing research have indicated that CBD is a generally safe compound intended to help in treating various health issues, including mental disorders. So, what exactly is CBD and how it can help to ease mental health conditions?
A Quick Science Lesson: Cannabinoids
All humans have a complex endocannabinoid system (ECS), which comprises a network of receptors, not unlike nerves, that exist within our central nervous system and immune system. It also contains natural cannabinoids, which are created in the body and processed by these receptors. The ECS is involved in the transmission of signals throughout the central nervous system and the immune system.
Endocannabinoids are natural cannabinoids produced by the human body. There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. CBD1 and CBD2. CBD1 receptors can be found within the central nervous system, particularly in the brain, where they are highly concentrated. CB2 receptors have a large role to play in our immune system and also exist in our organs. Given this information, it becomes clear why products that may improve the function of these essential systems of the human body may have an overall effect on our wellness.
Many plants, including cannabis, contain phytocannabinoids. The main phytocannabinoids found in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As luck would have it, the endocannabinoid system can process phytocannabinoids CBD and THC in the same way that the human body processes the endocannabinoids we produce ourselves. This process allows the cannabis plant to affect us.
As we now know, THC creates an intoxicating effect on the human body, but thankfully CBD is able to interact with special receptors of our ECS independently of THC. Therefore, because the THC content is removed from cannabis during the extraction of CBD, we can feel safe knowing that we can use CBD in isolation with no undesired intoxicating side effects.
Can CBD Relieve Mental Health Conditions?
For generalised anxiety
Although research in this area is still surprisingly limited, it’s quite promising. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rats.
Study subjects exhibited lower behavioural signs of anxiety and the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, also improved.
For other forms of anxiety
Using CBD might also benefit people with other forms of anxiety. For example, a study on the effects of CBD on people with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) showed that those who received an oral dose of 400 milligrams (mg) of CBD experienced overall decreased levels of anxiety.
Numerous recent studies have also shown that CBD – used as a standalone or as a supplement to traditional treatments – can help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, such as having nightmares and replaying negative memories.
The potential of CBD in alleviating depression is currently actively studied, with new research and reviews being published year after year.
In 2014, an animal study showed that CBD produced both the antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects on relevant brain receptors.
In 2018, a review of existing studies concluded that CBD has anti-stress effects, which may reduce depression related to stress.
Whilst this seems promising, it’s important to remember that CBD isn’t currently recommended as a replacement for antidepressant medications. Abruptly stopping can cause serious side effects, so please discuss your options with your healthcare provider first.
How To Use CBD To Help Improve Your Mental Health?
Aside from a variety of potential health benefits, CBD oil is also versatile in the way it is produced and can be consumed. It comes in CBD capsules and edibles like chocolate and tea, CBD oils, topicals like CBD cream, lotion and ointment and has a multitude of intake and application methods.
Namely, they include: ingestible (ingesting CBD infused edibles or capsules), sublingual (requires putting CBD oil or CBD tincture under your tongue for better absorption), topical (applying CBD creams and balms directly on the skin) and also through inhalation (such as inhaling vapour using a vape pen or other vaping device pre-filled with CBD vape juice).
The differing effects of the different forms of CBD mean that some products are more suited to some ailments than others. For instance, if you are subjected to insomnia or have other sleep issues and want to consume CBD to help you sleep, then you would likely be recommended CBD oil or vapes as they allow the active compounds to enter your bloodstream more rapidly and, therefore, provide positive impact more quickly. In case you suffer from anxiety, then you might consider capsules or infused edibles with their steady, long-lasting effects.
It’s a great idea to do some research, read articles and reviews on different products and then test a few to see what best meets your particular needs. Also, it is highly advised to talk to your doctor or physician prior to consuming any CBD products.
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