It seems like CBD and various derivatives with this unique component are everywhere these days. But CBD products are more than just hype. It is largely neurological conditions that are affected positively by CBD usage, alongside mental health illnesses as well. How CBD does this exactly is still being figured out. Trials are ongoing; however, what is clear is that CBD is being used more and more in conditions such as chronic pain and anxiety disorders. Studies also have proven that CBD has very positive effects on mental health and wellbeing. So, can CBD improve your mental health and general wellness?
Firstly…What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD oil, is described by Clinicians guide to CBD oil as “…low tetrahydrocannabinol products obtained from Cannabis sativa that have become very popular over the past few years.” CBD oil itself is the purified form of oil extracted from the cannabis plant.
To obtain CBD oil, there are a multitude of steps required before one can extract the safest form of the oil. After the primary harvesting process, the plants are then dried or cured to expel any potential surplus biomass they may have. They may then also be prepped for the extraction process. Following on from these steps, any unwanted sugar leaves remaining on the cannabis plants are generally trimmed. The trimming down of the sugar leaves is the last point of the manufacturing process for products intended for either combustion or vapourisation.
The CBD oil itself is extracted from a variety of species belonging to the Genus of the Cannabis plant. These species include Indica, Sativa and Ruderalis. For CBD oil to be extracted, it has to undergo various solvent extraction processes. The biomass of the plant is ground down into a fine powder which is then eventually extracted in a solvent such as a hydrocarbon and lipid solvents or supercritical carbon dioxide. In addition to these processes, further purification is undergone that expels any further impurities from the plant to ensure the safest and most effective oil is then sold to the general public. These processes include winterisation, distillation filtration and crystallisation. Eventually, and after these initial steps, there are three final forms of CBD oil that can be extracted for usage, these include full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate products. Each category consists of their own unique components.
CBD Benefits/What Does CBD Do?
The final forms of the CBD are said to have a multitude of health benefits that are described by many patients as providing “…relief for a variety of conditions, especially pain, without the intoxicating effects of medical marijuana…”
The differences between CBD oil and its counterpart marijuana include several essential factors: CBD sold throughout Europe contains less than 0.2% of the psychoactive compound THC, whereas marijuana contains over 20% of the substance. Although it is common for the misconception to be made that CBD is not psychoactive, this is actually inaccurate.
The reason so many positive effects can be experienced from CBD is due to the fact it has the power to influence and interact with the endocannabinoid system within our bodies. One thing to remember when considering CBD is that it is not, in fact, hallucinogenic or intoxicating like THC: this is a common misconception. CBD alone is psychoactive but is typically similar to substances such as wine, coffee and tea. Although full-spectrum CBD does contain low levels of THC, it is not as intoxicating as marijuana.
What Is The ECS & How Does It Help Us?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a lipid-signalling system, consisting of the endogenous cannabis-like ligands (endocannabinoids) anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which come from arachidonic acid. These bind to a group of G-protein-coupled receptors called CB1 and CB2. The endocannabinoid system is thought to regulate sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction and fertility. Endocannabinoids are also referred to as neurotransmitters that attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors found within our nervous systems. Studies have shown that CBD might help to decrease chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, diminishing extreme inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.
Mental Health And CBD
According to a series of surveys in 2014 conducted by NHS Digital on mental health and wellbeing in England, one adult in six had a common mental disorder with reported rates of self-harming increased in men and women across age groups since 2007.
During a survey conducted with over 300 patients examining cannabinoid prescription in clinical practice, it was reported that patients with mental-health symptoms achieved improvements in patient-reported pain, depression and anxiety symptoms. There were no major adverse effects. Positive side effects included improved sleep and appetite.
As stated by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, CBD has enabled calming and therapeutic effects on a variety of animals, relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety. CBD also decreased physiological and behavioural disorders, for example, heart rate. It was reported that within trials conducted upon humans, taking CBD oil for anxiety lowered worry within certain patients with social anxiety. The patients took part in a stress-inducing public speaking exercise which could usually increase their feelings of social anxiety.
During a laboratory protocol designed to represent post-traumatic stress disorders, patients were reported to actually forget their traumatic memories. The National Institute of Drug Abuse informed that the anxiety-reducing effects of CBD appeared to be mediated by changes in serotonin receptor 1a signalling.
When suffering from anxiety or depression, an individual may typically experience low levels of serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical that carries messages between nerve cells. Serotonin has also been referred to as the ‘happy chemical’, as low levels of serotonin in the body can affect our self-esteem, irritability, insomnia, appetite, aggression and impulsiveness. According to Healthline, the conventional treatment for low serotonin is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac). It is said that some people may be able to manage their conditions with CBD as an alternative to Zoloft or Prozac.