By now, we’ve all heard someone we know or respect in real life or online talk about how much CBD has helped them or someone they love, but it’s not until we have a reason to take it ourselves that we really start paying attention. What exactly can CBD help with, and why?
Let’s look at three of the major benefits CBD offers us – if you’re a complete beginner saying “wait, what is CBD?” head over to our CBD 101 article [link to the CBD 101 article] so you understand all the basics, then come back here to continue with the benefits.
While modern medicine has achieved amazing things for people facing long term illnesses, there are many of us who still suffer from conditions that continue to cause chronic pain. Whether its arthritis, a genetic disorder, or an old injury, it forces you to find a way to live around the pain, often taking painkillers to manage it.
While traditional painkillers (NSAIDs) are extremely effective, they also come with long-term use complications and side effects. While for some, this will be unavoidable, many sufferers can lessen their dependence on medical painkillers by using CBD when their condition flairs up, or as a daily preventative.
One of CBD’s most prominent benefits is its anti-inflammatory properties, which helps reduce inflammation in the affected areas and other areas of the body. This helps reduce pain immediately and reduce the more serious effects inflammation can cause in the body over the long term, if allowed to go on untreated.
CBD is also effective for managing chronic pain because it works to protect nerve endings by controlling the levels of amide hydroxylase, a fatty acid that can break down neurotransmitters responsible for neural generation, and the natural increase in those neurotransmitters bind to the CB1 receptor in the body that promotes pain management.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke believes [link: http://www.healthcommunities.com/sleep-disorders/overview-of-sleep-disorders.shtml] that approximately 40 million people in the US alone suffer from chronic sleep disorders, and a further 20 million struggle with occasional problems. These problems can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression and other mental disorders, prescribed medications, physical pain and existing conditions, and other external factors.
In a 2019 study [link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/] looking at whether or not CBD could improve sleep and/or reduce feelings of anxiety, over 66% of patients reported sleeping better, while 79% reported feeling less anxious. Another study also found it effective in reducing the instances of sleepwalking.
For many, the sleep-anxiety cycle is a vicious one; as they try to fall asleep to find they are unable to, and start to worry about the fact that they are not going to get a good night’s rest. CBD has proven an effective treatment for many in helping them unwind at the end of the day, prepare for bed, and relax once in it.
Approximately 12% of American adults have experienced at least one major depressive episode or period of anxiety in their lifetime, and many struggle with anxiety and depression on a cyclical basis, so while these episodes are not permanent they often return and are extremely difficult to manage, whether they are a minor or major episode.
One of the benefits CBD first became popular for was its ability to help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, lifting users’ moods, dimming the sudden feelings of panic anxiety can bring on, and helping users’ feel better able to cope and function.
Scientists now believe that in some cases, depression may be caused by inflammation on the brain, and thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can relieve this. CBD has also been shown to stimulate neuron growth and activate serotonin receptors in the brain, which helps improve mood and repairs damaged neurons.
So can CBD really help you? The reports of users and scientists believe so, and while further study is still to be done, CBD is proving to be an effective all-natural treatment for chronic pain, sleep disorders, and many mental health problems.