Scientific research has shown CBD may be therapeutic for many serious health conditions, but can it promote better everyday health? In this article, we’ll look at whether CBD can help with the three areas of concerning most Americans—sleep, stress, and inflammation.
CBD is one of 120 compounds called ‘cannabinoids’ found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids work through our endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system which was discovered in the ’90s after a project at the St. Louis University School of Medicine found that not only do mammalian brain receptors have sites that respond to cannabinoids, but they were actually the brain’s most abundant neurotransmitter type.
While there’s still a lot we don’t know about CBD and how the ECS works, what we do know is this: scientific research has shown that in nearly all health conditions, the ECS is dysregulated.
Leading scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that, “[M]odulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans, including obesity/metabolic syndrome, diabetes and diabetic complications, neurodegenerative, inflammatory, cardiovascular, liver, gastrointestinal, skin diseases, pain, psychiatric disorders, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting among many others.”
The goal of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis inside the body in response to fluctuations in the outside environment. Supporting this system through consuming CBD could be vital in promoting everyday health. Below we take a look at the three main areas affecting generally healthy people in mainstream America today and whether CBD can help.
1. Sleep & Alertness
We all suffer from sleep problems now and then. Whether it’s struggling to fall asleep after a hard day’s work or stay asleep through the night, not getting enough (quality) sleep can seriously impact our health and happiness.
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia. One study done on rats found that “the acute systemic administration of CBD appears to increase total sleep time, in addition to increasing sleep latency.” In another study, CBD worked differently for different people—increasing alertness and energy in some people during the day, and inducing calm and relaxation at night.
This is called a bidirectional effect, and the authors of the study suggested it was a result of the balancing of the endocannabinoid system in the participants.
If you’re one of the 40 million people in the US who suffer from chronic sleep disorders or 20 million who suffer from occasional sleep problems, the good news is, research has shown CBD might help.
2. Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are severe problems in modern civilization. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the US, affecting 40 million adults, or approximately 18% of the population. The American Psychological Association conducted a survey called “Stressed in America” in 2010, and the results were confronting: Chronic stress, being stress that interferes with our ability to function normally over an extended period, is becoming a public health crisis.
CBD has shown promise as a treatment for both stress and anxiety. In one study, researchers found that a 300-mg dose of CBD was the most effective at significantly reducing anxiety in men who underwent a simulated public speaking test.
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3. Pain and Inflammation
Of all the reasons people use CBD today, pain is the most common. All of the major ancient civilizations used Cannabis for pain relief. In the United States, over seventy million people suffer from chronic pain, and many of us experience pain on ad hoc or regular basis, in menstrual cycles, sports injuries, etc.
The endocannabinoid system is centrally involved in the processing of pain signals. Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters. A rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.
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