What is CBD and Why Should You Use It?
By Guest Author, Amy Reeves
If you’re trying to live a clean, balanced lifestyle, it makes sense to avoid recreational drugs, legal or otherwise. But don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an extract of the cannabis plant, but it won’t get you high. In fact, the World Health Organization recently urged to take CBD off the list of addictive drugs because of its safety and lack of recreational use.
At the same time, CBD can also be an all-natural way to promote health and wellness because of how it impacts your bodily systems. CBD and the other active ingredients in cannabis collectively, called cannabinoids, modify your endocannabinoid system.
This network of nerve signals helps to regulate many aspects of your body and mind: mood, pain, the immune system, cell production and protection, and memory, among others.
Different cannabinoids can affect the system positively or negatively, but CBD’s effects are largely benign and beneficial. While research is constantly finding new potential uses for it, there are three big ways it can supplement your lifestyle.
Chronic Stress & Anxiety
Chronic stress and anxiety cause damage to your health in many ways. It wears down your immune system, it speeds up aging, and it creates physical tension that can lead to chronic pain. So clearly, it can undermine whatever other healthy habits you have.
At the same time, CBD usually doesn’t have the zone-out effect that many anxiety treatments do, whether they’re pharmaceutical or herbal. Smoking pot can be relaxing, but the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in it produces psychoactive effects that can hamper routine activities.
CBD, however, is distinct from THC and even acts on the brain in opposite ways to some extent. Even a high dose of it doesn’t disturb people’s sleep/wake cycles as so many common insomnia medicines do.
Inflammation is a determinant in virtually every chronic illness: heart disease, allergies, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, and even acne. That’s because inflammation is the general response of your immune system to a perceived threat.
If there is a real threat, the inflammation is a temporarily painful but benign response that helps you heal. However, sometimes the immune system gets carried away and ends up doing you more damage than whatever it’s trying to fight.
CBD appears to have a slightly dampening effect on the immune system, and so experiments have suggested that it can fight pain, including arthritis, neuropathic pain, and injury. Its relaxing effects may also help inflammation that comes from stress, and in lowering blood pressure to promote overall heart health.
The irony of ironies – could an extract of cannabis actually fight drug addiction? There’s a reason to believe that it can.
As noted earlier, CBD actually seems to counteract the effects of THC in some ways, including sensitivity to the triggers for food and for more cannabis that THC tends to induce. It’s also a promising aid to those looking to stop smoking.
One reason for this may be the endocannabinoid system’s role in memory processing. When you’ve had a happy experience with something before, it tends to make you crave more. This is especially true if you see, hear, or smell something that reminds you of the previous occurrence.
CBD doesn’t make you forget all that, but it does seem to reduce the hold that these past experiences have on people. In fact, that may be part of the reason it helps anxiety too.
Past traumas tend to guide what we fear in the present, especially in the form of phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Anxiety disorders and addictions often go together, so CBD may help you address both at once. CBD may also help offset the psychotic symptoms that can come with drug abuse or withdrawal.
No Substitute for Healthy Living
All this might make CBD sound like a quick fix for practically everything, but isn’t necessarily true; because research and development around CBD, in general, is so new, authorities are wary of providing any substantial claims.
That being said, there’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and right mindfulness.
But CBD can be a helpful addition, especially if you are trying to change your ways. Try it out as a tincture, capsule, vape, patch, or whatever method best suits your needs. You might find that it can help you regain your balance and promote a better sense of wellbeing.