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When you walk through department stores, shopping malls, and even the grocery stores in most states in recent weeks, you can readily find shelves and endcaps packed with small boxes and bottles, tubes and tubs labeled with the word “CBD.” There are CBD oils, capsules, and creams. There are CBD gummy candies and dried fruits, CBD dog treats and shampoos. It’s an industry growing at an astronomical rate, from nearly $1 billion in sales in the United States in 2018 to a predicted $5 billion in 2019, according to the market research firm Brightfield Group.
What is this craze for CBD? How do you know if CBD can do anything beneficial for you? For those who still feel like they are in the dark about what CBD is exactly and what it is supposed to do, here are some answers.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Phonetically spelled, it might look like this: ka-na-bi-die-ol, stressing the first syllable (ka) and fourth syllables (die). The longer word is a mouthful, so most people shorten it to simply CBD. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are two of at least 113 identified cannabinoids, the active ingredients naturally occurring in the cannabis plant “cousins” hemp and marijuana. THC is the compound known for the way it produces a feeling of euphoria or “high.” CBD, on the other hand, does not create any high feeling. While THC is readily derived from marijuana, CBD is commonly extracted from hemp, the cannabis plant primarily grown for industrial uses. Hemp can only legally be classified as such if it contains 0.3% THC or less.
While there are conflicting studies about whether marijuana users can develop a dependency or addiction to THC, according to a June 2018 report by the World Health Organization, there are no indicators that people can become addicted to or abuse CBD.
The reasons why people are so excited about CBD and why products are popping up everywhere is that CBD seems to offer people and pets a variety of health benefits. Scientific studies and medical research so far show that CBD interacts with the human body (and animal bodies too) in many promising, helpful ways. When CBD oil is metabolized and absorbed into the bloodstream, it helps activate natural receptors throughout our bodies called CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are in charge of keeping our bodies in a stable, healthy state. This is called homeostasis.
When anything goes wrong in your body and something is out of homeostasis, it is often referred to as inflammation. You can have inflammation in your joints, which causes pain. Inflammation in your skin can cause redness and itchy, flaky patches. Inflammation in your brain can cause conditions ranging from seizures to anxiety. Inflammation in your gut causes conditions like leaky gut syndrome. Because hemp-derived CBD seems to help tell your CB1 and CB2 receptors to put your body back into homeostasis, and because CB1 and CB2 receptors are all throughout your body and brain, it makes sense that CBD users have reported relief from many different ailments.
CBD may be one choice for managing chronic pain, as medical studies show applying CBD topically onto the skin can bring pain relief. One European Journal of Pain study used an animal model to show that arthritis pain and inflammation were reduced by applying CBD to the subjects’ skin. This offers hope if you suffer from arthritis. A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology showed CBD holds great promise in reducing nerve pain, one of the most difficult types of pain to treat.
CBD is also being used to treat some of the most severe childhood epilepsy syndromes, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These two forms of seizure disorder can cause children to suffer from hundreds of seizures a month. In more than one study, CBD reduced the number of seizures greatly. Compelling videos of the difference CBD made for some of these children are easy to find on the Internet. The first FDA-approved medicine derived from cannabis is Epidiolex, which contains CBD and is used to treat these forms of epilepsy.
Other conditions being treated by CBD include insomnia, as some scientific reports show CBD may help you fall asleep and stay asleep easier. One of the biggest uses of CBD is for relief from anxiety. Dr. Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic doctor and medical cannabis expert for cannabisMD, says that CBD tells your body it is safe, therefore calming the fight, flight or freeze response. “It mellows out the nervous system,” Chin told Health.com.
There are no reports of severe adverse side effects, but about 5% of first-time users do report feeling slightly altered. CBD may cause dry mouth or some nausea. It may also make you feel sleepy or fatigued. These may dissipate with ongoing use, or you may have these side effects because your dosage needs to be adjusted or your CBD oil contains impurities or too much THC.
CBD products are not regulated yet by the Food and Drug Administration, and many CBD products do not contain the amounts of CBD they claim to have, while some have more than the legal limit of 0.3% THC, and some have been found to contain contaminants. It is very important to source your CBD oil carefully, such as at a natural health food or grocery store or pharmacist or medical cannabis dispensary. The CBD product you consider should come with third-party testing that proves it contains the CBD the label says it has and also proves it does not have too much THC or any pollutants. The label should carry an FDA disclaimer and have a batch number so you know the product has been tracked and could be traced back to the source.
In the first chapters of Genesis when God created every living thing, He told Adam and Eve that all the plants He made were good and were for their use to nourish their bodies. Of course, any substance can be eaten or used to an unhealthy excess, but hemp-derived CBD is a God-given derivative of a plant He made for our benefit. It contains far fewer harmful chemicals and adverse side effects than many of the medications commonly prescribed by physicians today.
It does not get you high. Therefore, it meets the New Testament standard found in the verses like 1 Peter 5:8 that remind us to “Be sober.” CBD shows great promise in helping our bodies get back to the state they are supposed to be in, as a natural healing agent that can help us fulfill all the mission God created us to live out. Since CBD is not used for any recreational purpose to alter our minds, emotions, or personalities, we should not feel any spiritual judgment or condemnation if we add CBD oil to our health regimen.
Of course, you don’t know how your body will respond to any new supplement or medication, so taking anything new under supervision is a recommended safety precaution. As always, you should consult with your doctor and a medical cannabis professional before adding CBD to your health routine.
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