What is CBD?
The cannabis sativa plant contains over 100 naturally occurring compounds called cannabinoids. One of those cannabinoids is cannabidiol (CBD). Another cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While THC is responsible for producing the “high” associated with marijuana, CBD does not have any psychoactive qualities. Potential health benefits associated with CBD, and its lack of intoxicating effect or addictive properties, has made CBD popular as a wellness product.
CBD has been the product of clinical trials, studies, and surveys examining its use for beneficial purposes. It has shown promise in a wide variety of therapeutic uses, including:
- Stress, mild anxiety, and depression
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
- Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues
- Stomach pain
- Seizure disorders
- ADHD and other focus disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
A survey by cannabis market research firm, Brightfield Group, found that more than 60 percent of CBD users in the study took CBD for anxiety, followed by chronic pain, insomnia and depression. Active studies are also researching CBD as a potential aid in recovery from drug addiction.
CBD for chronic pain
There have been more than 23,000 published studies on CBD, with the overwhelming consensus focused on the efficacy of CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent, pain reliever, and mood stabilizer.
Studies showing CBD as an effective agent for managing chronic pain are especially promising, because many correlate CBD usage to a sharp decrease in opioid use. Several of these studies have shown CBD can effectively control chronic pain and increase quality of life while decreasing reliance on highly addictive prescription pain medications.
There are two main avenues for CBD transmission to help reduce chronic pain:
- Applied directly to the skin to reduce spot or specific areas of inflammation and pain
- Taken orally to aid in generalized pain and inflammation
Results have also shown CBD to be successful in treating inflammatory disorders like arthritis and managing neuropathic pain, a type of chronic pain that occurs when the nerves that transfer information from the brain to the spinal cord are damaged.
Side effects of CBD
Existing data on CBD shows that it is well tolerated. As with any supplement or health-related product, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and consult with your doctor or practitioner before starting any new regimen.
The possible side effects associated with CBD use are typically mild and can include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Digestive issues including diarrhea and upset stomach
- Decreased appetite often resulting in weight loss
- Irritability or moodiness
More serious side effects can include liver failure. Serious side effects from CBD usage are often the result of interactions between CBD and other medications or alcohol. You will need to discuss any medicines you’re taking or any recreational drug or alcohol usage with your doctor. Once you have begun using CBD, it is important to pay attention to and report any concerning side effects to your doctor.