Does Hemp Have the Power to Heal?
By Taylor Smith
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis sativa plant, but it contains no THC (the psychoactive constituent) and is not evident in a drug test. Also known as hemp oil, many wellness practitioners have begun to tout the many benefits of CBD oil for the treatment of everything from anxiety and/or depression to pain relief, PTSD, insomnia, skincare, digestion, and seizures.
While CBD won’t get you high, both marijuana and CBD oil work by acting on the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system works to maintain a balanced state of health or homeostasis within the body. Receptors for cannabinoids are found in the nervous, digestive, reproductive, and immune systems. Some health practitioners and CBD users claim the oil is a cure-all since cannabinoids influence almost every system within the body. While there is no universal government claim that CBD has the power to correct these specific imbalances, recent studies suggest that the oil may regulate neurotransmitter function, inflammation, metabolism, and mitochondrial function.
The World Health Organization states that CBD is safe for everyone from the elderly to young children and pets. However, before incorporating any new supplement into your daily regime it is important to consult with a physician, as well as conduct research on the best brands of CBD available for purchase. Purity and sourcing are important factors to consider when researching CBD oil brands.
In terms of managing mood disorders, CBD works directly on the serotonin and GABA brain receptors. Low levels of serotonin and GABA have been strongly linked to mood swings, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorders (I and II), addiction, insomnia, and mild to manic depression. Furthermore, the connection between gut and brain health has been highly publicized and supported in recent years from everyone from neurologists to nutritionists, general physicians, medical researchers, and psychiatrists. It is suggested that CBD many improve brain repair and functioning by healing the leaky tight junctions in the intestine that contribute to intestinal permeability. Leaky gut (or intestinal permeability) means that your immune system (and bloodstream) is exposed to foods, bacteria, and chemicals it was never meant to see. This harmful daily exposure occurs every time your digestive system processes waste. Leaky gut syndrome can lead to symptoms such as hormonal imbalances, brain fog, insomnia, irregular or unhealthy bowel movements, body pain, eczema, and even autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Sleep is one of nature’s greatest doctors; without it, our bodies will never function at an optimal rate. Deep, restorative sleep boosts immunity, the ability to handle life’s daily stressors, brain function and processing, along with balancing glucose levels and weight management.
Many CBD users claim that the oil is a safer, non-addictive alternative to prescription pain killers and sleep aids. A 2016 study by Consumer Reports reveled that Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on prescription sleep aids. It has been estimated that nearly nine million Americans take some form of sleep aid in order to get shut-eye every night. Anti-anxiety drugs fall into the same category of being highly effective, but also extremely habit-forming (particularly benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax). There are also very serious and negative consequences of mixing any form of habit-forming prescription drug with alcohol. Because these types of prescriptions are so widely known and accepted within modern culture and media, people often don’t realize when they cross the line of not being able to sleep for any period of time without using a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs. Extracting oneself from this cycle of dependency can often be tricky and requires expert medical support and supervision.
Because of CBD’s ability to calm, provide a gentle mood lift, boost serotonin levels, and reduce overall inflammation in the body, some well-known celebrities like Jennifer Aniston have spoken of their support and belief in the use of CBD for the treatment of social anxiety. Olivia Wilde claims she used CBD as an alternative to pain medication when she worked on a physically grueling Broadway production. Michael J. Fox uses CBD oil to combat the effects of his Parkinson’s disease and claims it allows him to maintain a hectic schedule of running the Michael J. Fox Foundation, public appearances, and family life.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may have a positive effect on the treatment of skin dryness, redness and irritation, as well as muscle soreness. While all of this is promising, CBD in consumer skincare is still largely unregulated simply because there is no federally approved study that confirms potency, purity, and dosage requirements. Similar to the questionable labeling of some non-organic foods as “organic,” there is also widespread mislabeling of CBD products sold in-store and online. Topical lotions with CBD that are frequently recognized by some dermatologists as being potentially effective and reliable include Canuka’s CBD Calming Eye Balm, CBD for Life Pure CBD Face Cream, and CBD for Life CBD Rub. These companies willingly release current lab results on their own skincare products demonstrating that CBD is contained in a highly pure, undiluted form.
The best way to find out the quality of any CBD product that you are considering is to discuss it directly with the company. Look for parties that do extensive third-party testing to ensure the highest standards. One such company is Hemp Garden, with three store locations in New York City, along with Wilmington, N.C., and Ireland. Hemp Garden products are available through their website at hempgarden.org.
CBD oil has recently become much safer to use in California. As of July 1, 2018, all marijuana-related products sold in California must undergo extensive testing and safety regulations. Keep in mind that CBD oil is still not legal for recreational use in all states. Even though the legal argument for the availability of CBD for recreational use seems to be gradually shifting towards a more accepted form of use and treatment, it is important to familiarize yourself with your state’s own particular CBD laws.