The presence of cannabidiol (CBD) in the nutraceutical and “healthy living” sector has gained momentum in recent years. Preliminary clinical studies and a large body of encouraging scientific research are corroborating various anecdotal evidence. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid has a series of virtues to improve the health of mind and body.
THE POWER OF CBD
If you consider yourself fit and healthy, is there room in your medicine cabinet for CBD? It will be when you start to see the potential benefits of regularly consuming CBD, such as the benefits for your heart, skin, and mental well-being.
No other substance has the same number of benefits, so is CBD the key to a healthy and happy life? To understand how anyone can use CBD to a positive effect, we’ll start with an explanation of this cannabinoid and our endocannabinoid system.
HOW CBD WORKS
The cannabinoid CBD is a compound that can trigger responses in our endocannabinoid system through CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body. Although hemp is a complex organism made up of hundreds of different compounds, the fact that it provides cannabinoids and health-enhancing properties has drawn the attention of scientists, healthy living groups, and most importantly, the general public.
Present in all mammals, the endocannabinoid system regulates and controls hundreds of processes throughout the body. Cannabinoids bind to or influence these receptors, causing a wide variety of responses.
Interestingly, CBD has a low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, meaning it does not bind to them in the same way that THC binds to CB1, which are like a lock and key. However, CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system, causing the release of 2-AG, a natural endocannabinoid produced by the body. CBD stops the activity of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which in turn slows down the deterioration of another essential endocannabinoid, anandamide.
CBD AND HEALTH
CBD’s influence on the endocannabinoid system is widespread, ultimately affecting all kinds of systems in the body.
The World Health Organization estimates that in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults over the age of 18 were overweight. About 650 million would be classified as obese. These statistics are alarming, and while diet and regular exercise play a key role in weight management, everyone is different and so is their metabolism.
Metabolism is breaking down molecules to get energy. Those with high metabolisms can break down food molecules at a faster rate than those with slow metabolisms. In other words, any product that helps metabolism could be used as a weight loss tool. A study conducted by Korean scientists found that CBD stimulated the proteins and genes responsible for the breakdown of fat. CBD also showed the ability to aid in the “darkening” of fat cells. White fat cells have links to several potentially serious diseases, while brown fat cells promote weight loss by burning energy.
The importance of the heart needs no introduction, and one of our main concerns should be to keep this organ in excellent shape. Fortunately, CBD can also help us keep our hearts healthy. Our cardiovascular system, a collection of veins and arteries leading to the heart, needs clean pathways for oxygenated blood to be pumped throughout the body.
An investigation into the uses of CBD as a therapeutic remedy for the cardiovascular system by the School of Graduate Entry Medicine & Health found that CBD acted directly on the insulated walls of the arteries, reducing the tension in the blood vessels. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities also helped protect against reperfusion injury, which is damaged tissue caused by a lack of oxygen.
Our skin is a protective barrier against infection, harmful chemicals, and physical damage. On its own, the skin does an excellent job of flexible, multi-layered armor. However, if we add CBD, the defensive capacity of the skin can be improved. Chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne are made worse by inflammation.
CBD is gaining ground as an anti-inflammatory, as well as reducing discomfort in damaged areas or irritated skin. While other studies are underway to identify the role of CBD in decreasing bacterial buildup (a key factor in conditions such as acne), it is clear that with a greater understanding of the antioxidant properties of CBD, the excellent work that our skin already performs could be further improved.
HAPPINESS WITH CBD
All of the above points have something in common: they physically benefit our body. But mental well-being is also important. Stress and anxiety can negatively affect conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, among many others. Any reduction in our stress level will help us make decisions in a clearer, more rational and healthy way.
When a group of fifteen healthy patients from England took part in a randomized double-blind study, the results were very convincing. Using CBD and a placebo, patients given CBD experienced a trend toward decreased anxiety. CBD helped to suppress the stimulation of various chemical responses when the subjects were intensively processing fearful facial expressions. The study authors concluded that the action of CBD at the molecular level is unclear, but they theorized several ways in which the inclusion of cannabidiol might reduce feelings of anxiety.
On the other hand, by contributing to a slower breakdown of anandamide, there is reason to believe that CBD could also be effective as a mood maintenance option. Regardless of whether you want to take CBD for a therapeutic approach for a specific disease or as a means of achieving greater wellness, it is clear that preliminary studies show extremely encouraging results.
Undoubtedly, as the depth of research increases, we will see a greater number of benefits. CBD should not be directed only towards the treatment of a disease, taking it daily in its various forms can help reinforce the health of mind and body.