by Dr. Will Cole
CBD oil has exploded in the wellness world and can be found in everything from chocolate, to supplements, to beauty products. While it does have something to do with marijuana, you don’t need to worry about getting high. Let me explain.
The Basics of CBD Oil: Hemp vs. Marijuana
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid compound in hemp and marijuana. Both are part of the Cannabis plant family with the difference between the two being the level of another cannabinoid compound, THC. This is the most famous cannabinoid out of the 60 different types – it’s basically the Beyonce of cannabinoids. The reason it is so popular is because it is what gives you the psychoactive high associated with weed.
Without going into too much detail, marijuana contains higher levels of THC than hemp. Depending on the specific plant the oil was extracted from and the product, the ratio of CBD to THC in hemp oil can vary. CBD oil, is a concentrated form of the cannabidiol compound and is usually derived from hemp but in some cases can be extracted from marijuana also. You’ll find varying levels of THC and CBD in CBD oil products. Some contain small amounts of THC but most don’t have any.
The Health Benefits of CBD Oil
While CBD oil won’t give you a high and a bad case of the munchies, people are still raving about this oil for improving their health. If THC is the Beyonce of cannabinoids, then CBD is the Adele: Both you and your grandma will love it. CBD is just as talented as THC but safe for the whole family and an increasing amount of research is showing just how powerful it can be for helping your health.
The main reason CBD has become so popular is due to its ability to naturally drive-down inflammation. Since chronic inflammation is the fuel behind so many modern day health problems it is no wonder why the benefits of CBD can be far-reaching. Even though inflammation is not bad, and actually necessary to help fight off infections and heal wounds, it can quickly get out of hand if it never subsides after the threat is gone. This is where CBD oil comes in to calm the fire that is ongoing inflammation.
CBD oil, Inflammation + Anxiety
It is estimated that 30 percent of adults in America – 66 million people – suffer from anxiety disorders, making it one of the most common mental health problems in the United States. That is not even including the close to 25 percent of preteens and teenagers struggling with anxiety. As a functional medicine practitioner, anxiety is something I see all too often. But just because something is common doesn’t mean it is normal. Thankfully, science is starting to discover more about how anxiety begins which will help develop more effective treatment options.
It is easy to separate mental health from physical health. However, research is finding that inflammation is the common contributing factor between brain health problems such as anxiety, brain fog, depression, autism, ADD, and ADHD. In fact, an entire area of research known as the cytokine model of cognitive function is dedicated to looking at how inflammation affects the brain and can contribute to anxiety disorders. It was found that increased levels of the inflammatory bad guy, NF kappa B (NFkB), is associated with anxiety while on the other hand, lower levels of NFkB are associated with lower rates of anxiety.
Enter CBD oil. I have seen not only in my patients’ life, but my own life as well, the powerful impact CBD oil can have on anxiety. Multiple studies have found CBD oil to be an effective treatment for social anxiety and is a natural anxiolytic (anxiety calmer). CBD oil has all the benefits of anti-anxiety medications without the side effects.
CBD oil can also reduce anxiety by increasing prefrontal cortex activation and lowering activity in the amygdala – two areas of the brain involved in anxiety. Evidence also suggests that CBD can activate hippocampus neurogenesis to regenerate new neurons! This works to activate CB1 receptors that balance GABA and glutamate levels to reduce anxiety.
CBD Oil: How Much Should You Take?
Research surrounding CBD oil suggest a wide dosage range from anywhere between a few milligrams to hundreds of milligrams. I suggest starting off small, around 10 milligrams, and gradually increase over a few weeks or a few months to see how your body responds and what works best for you. Another option is to split the dose during the day instead of taking it all at one time. With anything, it is important to discuss this with your doctor especially if you are currently taking any medications. In general CBD oil is safe for most people but it can possibly interact with and decrease or increase certain drugs’ effectiveness.
There are many great quality CBD oils available but it is essential to make sure you are buying a product from organically grown hemp that has been third-party tested for potency and quality.
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