On December 20, 2018, the United States passed an agriculture Farm Bill 2018 that legalized the production of hemp. Hemp, the plant cousin of marijuana, and hemp-derived products are legal as long as the THC amount in them is under 0.3%.
THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that produces a feeling of being high. Hemp, and the CBD oil extracted from it, contains little or no THC, so it is legal to grow and produce.
The Farm Bill declassified hemp from being a controlled substance. With this change, a whole new market opened up for CBD products. CBD users believe that it helps with a wide variety of physical and mental health issues, and scientific studies show that CBD has documented health benefits. Now that CBD is easier to get and often costs less than prescription medications, CBD has taken America by storm.
How Does CBD Work?
The human body requires a balance, or homeostasis, of chemical compounds to function correctly. One central body system in the regulation process is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Scientific research into this system suggests it is responsible for the regulation of physiological as well as cognitive processes that affect well-being. Research shows that CBD contains chemicals that match the ECS messenger chemicals and bind to the same receptor sites, helping the brain and body to maintain homeostasis.
CBD helps improve the ability of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain to increase and balance serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for emotional well-being. CBD also limits the activation of cytokines, which produce inflammation throughout the body. According to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD can slow inflammatory responses. It also has significant antioxidant action, anti-bacterial properties, and may protect nerve pathways in the brain and body.
Potential Health Benefits
CBD users report symptom improvement and relief for:
- pain and inflammation
- anxiety and depression
- addiction management
- neurodegenerative conditions
- sensitive skin
In multiple animal and model studies, CBD was to affect receptors that affect memory, emotion, pain, and movement. One study showed a decrease in anxiety symptoms in patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Case studies have found examples of CBD limiting cancer tumor growth. Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first prescription medication containing CBD. Epidiolex helps control seizures in patients with rare forms of epilepsy, Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.
There are few side effects with CBD use, and most are mild. Reported side effects include:
- Dry Mouth
- Changes in Appetite and Weight
Compared to many prescription medications, CBD causes much fewer side effects. And unlike the THC in marijuana, there is not a risk for addiction with CBD use. Many mental health medications have a high risk of abuse and addiction. The safety of CBD is one reason many people are drawn to using it.
Studies have shown that CBD may have what’s known as the “grapefruit effect.” The chemical makeup of grapefruit sometimes causes it to interfere with some prescription medications, like certain blood pressure drugs. You should tell your doctor if you use CBD so they can check your medications and monitor your liver function.
In a recent survey of over 2,400 patients, 60% said that CBD was more effective than some of their prescription medications. Over 75% said CBD was more effective than many over the counter medications. The lack of major side effects, while still helping to relieve symptoms, makes CBD a useful tool for multiple health problems.
Although prices differ across the country and with different medical insurance plans, CBD costs less than many prescription drugs. One comparison found more than 50% savings with CBD compared to a popular anti-inflammatory drug, Celebrex. Researchers don’t believe that CBD can replace all prescription medications, but cost savings may make CBD a better choice for some patients.
The potential health benefits, mild side effects, low cost, and easy availability of CBD makes it a popular choice for many people. CBD is taking America by storm because of its safety, price, and usefulness.