What is CBD and What are the Benefits of Using It?
This article about CBD benefits was written by HATH
No matter where you look, those three letters seem to be everywhere!
Whether it be in a gas station, retail store, or specialized shop, products labeled with the letters CBD are popping up left and right.
But what does it mean? It may seem overwhelming to take it all in at first. However, learning from the ground up makes understanding CBD products much more manageable.
For starters, CBD is short for “cannabidiol.” According to the Harvard Medical School, it’s the second most common of the active ingredients in cannabis. However, it’s not the one that causes the “high” commonly associated with the plant.
What is the difference between hemp and cannabis?
People incorrectly lump the terms hemp, cannabis, and marijuana into one group to describe the same product. They may be related, but they are not the same.
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants known within a larger family of flowering plants known as Cannabaceae. There are three primary species within the genus of cannabis: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Terms such as hemp and marijuana are used interchangeably when in reality, they should not be.
Hemp is classified as any variety of cannabis that has a THC content of less than 0.3%. Even more specifically, according to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, ‘‘the term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant. This includes the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Marijuana is usually used to reference cannabis that has a THC content higher than the 0.3% threshold. Most cannabis organizations refuse to use this word as it has questionable origins.
How are CBD and hemp related?
CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, such as the hemp plant.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the Cannabaceae family of plants. Specifically, it is in the genus of flowering plants known as Cannabis. These plants have a rich history of medicinal use due to their therapeutic profile. Research regarding the benefits of cannabis has gained momentum within the last 10 years.
Cannabis plants produce unique compounds called phytocannabinoids. Our bodies have natural receptors that are activated by phytocannabinoids in what’s known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is involved in multiple physiological processes. Included are appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
The two most abundant and commonly researched cannabinoids include cannabidiol (CBD) and perhaps the most famous cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). One of these produces a high – the other does not.
What is the difference between THC and CBD?
THC and CBD are both phytocannabinoids, but only THC is responsible for psychoactive effects associated with cannabis.
CBD and THC are related as they are both phytocannabinoids. However, they act in different ways and impact different receptors of the brain.
THC is the phytocannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. They include:
- A possible sense of euphoria and relaxation
- Heightened sensory perception
- Altered perception of time
- An increase in appetite.
While THC may provide relaxation to the user, there is evidence to suggest that it is short-term relief. Higher doses of THC have an anxiogenic effect and may increase anxiety.
CBD also has potentially therapeutic effects. Since it acts on different receptors of the brain in a separate manner than THC, there is no “high” associated with CBD.
In fact, it has been shown that CBD can be used to counteract the psychoactivity of THC at certain doses.
With CBD, an individual can achieve the same potential health benefits of cannabis without the high!
Most people assume that CBD and THC share the same properties because they are derived from the same type of plant. However, this is incorrect.
Unfamiliar with CBD? That’s OK!
The use of CBD in the healthcare field is such a new change. So, you (like many others) likely have many questions about its uses. This is normal for new medical advancements, especially one as unique as CBD. Read on to find out more about the characteristics of CBD and its potential for patients like you.
1. Will CBD products get me high?
No, CBD is not psychoactive or associated with any sort of high. CBD does not share the same psychoactive qualities as THC.
It does not cause a “high” in users. For many, though, it’s associated with the same sense of relaxation and pain relief often provided by THC.
In a 2017 report on CBD, the WHO noted that THC can impair people’s cognitive performance and psychomotor abilities. However, “in general, clinical studies have reported that even high doses of oral CBD do not cause those [psychoactive] effects that are characteristic for THC and for cannabis rich in THC.”
2. Is CBD safe to use?
CBD is generally well-tolerated, according to the report. There is no potential for abuse or dependence. It does have the potential to interact with other medications, though.
Another benefit? For most, CBD is well tolerated and safe. Many issues that exist (like side effects) were likely the result of the CBD interacting with other necessary medications.
The WHO goes on to say that CBD does not often lead to abuse or dependence among users. No evidence exists of any CBD-related public health issues.
There is always a risk of side effects when putting a new supplement into your body. Although very mild, it is reported in some instances that CBD causes side effects like these:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
Always consult with a medical professional before beginning use of a new supplement like CBD.
3. Is CBD legal?
Hemp and hemp-derived products that contain CBD were made legal in the United States under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Another name for this Act is the 2018 Farm Bill.
This bill defines the legalization of hemp as, ‘‘the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
The rest of the bill states that CBD products sold in the United States’ market must be derived from hemp grown within the U.S. to be considered federally legal. Legal cannabis dispensaries are an exception to this rule. Since cannabis is not legal in all states, the distinction must be made.
Legalizing hemp in this manner created a legal avenue to produce and sell CBD products that are helping consumers in countless ways.
4. What are the possible benefits of CBD?
Although formal research is minimal currently, CBD has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat forms of childhood epilepsy. Animal studies support claims that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation. Additional anecdotal evidence points to a wider range of potential relief. However, this information and these results are not yet fully supported by science.
CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system. This network is responsible for regulating multiple functions such as:
- Motor control
- Pain perception
- Immune function
This gives CBD potential for wide-ranging effects in the human body. Studies show some of the most common conditions people turn to CBD oil to treat. These are pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep issues.
There is scientific evidence that CBD effectively reduces seizures caused by Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gaustaut syndrome. These are debilitating forms of childhood epilepsy. The evidence was so strong that the FDA approved Epidiolex; the first and only FDA-approved prescription that uses CBD as its main active ingredient. This is a step in the right direction for champions of CBD oil.
Can CBD Support Physical Therapy?
Until recently, CBD’s potential effects were rarely studied in humans. Most previous studies involving CBD used animal models, but the results are still promising. For example, a study published in the European Journal of Pain found evidence that CBD applied to the skin of rats could reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis without side effects.
Reducing pain and inflammation and increasing mobility are some of the goals of physical therapy. CBD may be able to take the “edge” off and reduce some of your pain. This allows you to participate in physical therapy with greater ease, improving the healing of your injury. Additionally, it improves your ability to participate in pain-free activities of daily living.
Those who use CBD purport an even wider range of potential benefits for numerous bodily ailments and issues. To elaborate, Project CBD provided the following list:
- Autoimmune diseases (inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, stroke, traumatic brain injury)
- Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)
- Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism)
- Gut disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)
- Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia)
- Skin disease (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)
* Please note that these are anecdotal claims unproven through clinical trials.
While it is amazing to see CBD legitimized with empirical research, understand that CBD is not a miracle cure. It affects each user in a different way. Integrating CBD into your routine might help those already utilizing physical therapy for one or more of these medical issues.
CBD and Medical Treatment
Researchers are investigating the potential role that CBD might have in symptom reduction of many maladies.
This includes studying its long-rumored effects on chronic musculoskeletal pain and other forms of inflammation. Researchers also hope to discover new benefits of CBD. There are even studies examining the use of CBD for post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and in reducing anxiety levels of breast cancer patients.
Often recommended after illnesses or injuries, CBD use may improve ability when combined with physical therapy. Again, it is important to discuss the use of these options with your doctor and physical therapist before beginning. Not only will they recommend the right products for your needs, but they’ll also be able to answer questions about CBD for you.
How much modern research is there? How can I find out more?
There are over 200 active clinical trials in the United States today. The focus is on studying CBD’s effect on numerous ailments. This includes studies pertaining to chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and many more.
CBD is still a budding research topic. Recent events like the legalization of hemp in some states have made it widely available for all forms of clinical research.
The preliminary findings have been optimistic. Evidence suggests CBD is helpful in relieving both physical and mental ailments. We have already learned so much through initial studies that future research is likely to be much more focused.
For example, early findings suggest CBD has the potential to reduce anxiety at both low and high doses. When used in conjunction with THC, CBD regulates cannabinoid stimulation in the brain. It also weakens the overall strength of the mind-altering substance. Put simply, it counteracts the “high” many people have when using products that contain THC.
Researchers have even found a potential link between CBD and sleep. They have also found evidence that CBD can decrease arthritic pain and increase activity in dogs. This decrease in pain in animals is promising – because it likely means the same is true for humans, too. Along with the rats mentioned earlier, this research is especially helpful for the human medical field.
Many patients experience pain and turn to options for pain relief. These include over the counter or prescription medications, exercise, or medical care. What if they could combine different options and help themselves even more? This is only one of the reasons that more research on CBD is occurring.
CBD and Physical Therapy: Learn More From the Pros
No matter what option you choose, competent and capable physical therapy professionals are waiting to answer your exercise-related questions and address your concerns. Many of them will also be able to answer CBD-related inquiries, putting your mind at ease about utilizing this new and exciting treatment option to enhance your physical therapy treatment.
To find a physical therapy clinic near you and schedule your first appointment, use the Better PT clinic location tool or download the app. Connecting with these therapists ensures that the next steps you take are safe and beneficial to your needs. Another option for care is using the BetterTelehealth platform. This puts you in contact with therapists virtually.
Want to learn more about CBD and find out if it’s right for you? Visit HATH Helps for the latest news and research on using CBD in sports and fitness and as a general wellness solution. HATH is a leader in easy-to-understand daily CBD solutions. They grow their products organically in the U.S. utilizing CBD-rich hemp.
CBD can’t eliminate the need for managing health through exercise. However, it can supplement it, helping patients like you make additional progress.