WRITTEN BY AMBER GIBSON

Benefits of CBD Oil

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A little over two years ago, my relationship with cannabis was entirely transformed after I was introduced to CBD oil.

I’ve always been a bit of a health nut! Having completed an undergraduate degree in nutrition, fallen down the wormhole of detox diets and explored a plethora of vitamins, you could say I’m open to trying new things. Cannabis for wellness was not at the top of my list.

Due to the legalisation of cannabis in multiple countries, clinical studies are now supporting anecdotal stories and CBD is being adopted by health practitioners. Slowly but surely, CBD is making its way into the limelight.

CBD oil is currently being used to treat symptoms related to anxiety, depression, skin disorders, pain and cancer.

This article will explain the benefits of CBD and discuss the ways people are consuming CBD oil to assist with such conditions.

What exactly is CBD?

When I first landed in Vancouver, Canada in 2017, I had never heard of CBD and didn’t know what it was or that it was part of the cannabis plant. So, when I saw that CBD products were widely available on the market it seemed strange that people were using it to improve their health. I had never explored ‘weed’ during my teenage years because I’d often become paranoid after consuming it.

At that time, numerous shops – that looked like pharmacies – stocked medicinal cannabis products. As someone who was exploring a new country, it was hard to ignore all the cannabis paraphernalia floating around the streets.

What I’ve learned is that there are two main cannabis strains, Indica and Sativa. CBD is actually called Cannabidiol and is derived from the Sativa plant (1).

CBD is enticing consumers because it does not cause a ‘paranoid’ feeling after consumption but still offers medicinal benefits (2). A different part of the cannabis plant which can give you that ‘high’ effect’ is called THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is often described as being psychoactive and has made a name for itself as the component in cannabis that affects your mind.

Emerging research surrounding CBD and THC recognise the health-enhancing benefits of both plant components, however, CBD is being preferred by people who are not comfortable with the effects of THC.

If you’re interested in exploring a combination of CBD and THC it’s important to do research and seek medical consultation. A doctor can prescribe a balanced dosage of THC and CBD which can produce medicinal benefits without the hallucinogen effect.

 

How is CBD consumed?

There are many different methods people are choosing to try CBD oil; ingesting edibles, dropping a tincture under their tongue, inhaling it with a vape (looks kind of like a classy pipe) or even applying it as a topical cream. It’s important to note that buying CBD oil has different rules and regulations depending on where you live in Australia.

Personally, I think it’s important to explore what works for you.

CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant to produce a concentrated liquid. This liquid is then used for consumption in its pure form or added to a carrier oil like coconut oil.

When I first started trying CBD, I discovered that edibles and tinctures were a great way for me to monitor and control my dosage. This allowed me to try small amounts and be mindful of how different amounts of oil affected my body.

We’ve prepared a comprehensive CBD Oil dosage article here.

 

CBD oil benefits

So what are some of the benefits of CBD oil that are being explored by scientists, health professionals, and the public?

 

CBD oil for anxiety

CBD is being used to treat symptoms of anxiety. It is being labelled as an anxiolytic agent which means that it may have the ability to inhibit anxiety-related behaviour because of the calming effect it has on the body.

As someone who experiences regular feelings of overwhelm and worry, in Vancouver, I began taking a small capsule of CBD oil (about 10mgs) before going to work. And then on some days, after work, before I went to bed.

A little while after I consumed the oil, I could feel my body relax, my mind became clearer and because I felt calm, my ability to focus improved. I describe it to people as ‘taking the edge off’ because that is how it felt for me. Kind of like a glass of wine but without the altered state of mind. If I’m anxious, I find it hard to focus, but what I noticed was that CBD helped settle my flight mode, allowing me to calmly get on with things.

CBD is being used to help with a variety of anxiety-related disorders such as generalised anxiety, panic, social anxiety, obsessive anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (3).

Just like my own experience, studies document how CBD may help reduce episodes of fear, or panic in social situations (3,4), and also help specific conditions such as public speaking phobias (5). The University of Sydney is currently conducting studies to further assess CBD’s effect on adolescent anxiety (6).

You might be asking yourself why people are searching for alternative medication when there are many anti-anxiety medications available. But many anxiolytic drugs come with both long and short term side effects. CBD, on the other hand, is recognised as safe to consume, all-natural, causing minimal side effects and for being a non-addictive alternative (3).

 

CBD oil and depression

Studies have shown that CBD has been used to elevate mood and in some cases showing similar effects to antidepressant medications on the market (7,8). It has also been documented to reduce stress response and positively impact neural pathways which are areas related to risk factors for depression (8,9,10).

Although CBD is being tested to minimise symptoms of depression, the research presents mixed results and it’s important to understand that CBD should not be regarded as a miracle cure. It is also not a one size fits all remedy.

There are many clinical, long-term trials still underway and some studies also suggest that heavy cannabis use may be associated with an increased risk of developing depressive disorders (11). As this area of research is still developing, it’s important to consult your doctor before making any decisions.

 

CBD oil and pain

CBD for pain is definitely a topic I hear and read about a lot. CBD oil is being revered for its ability to target inflammation which acts to alleviate pain.

Although my own experience trying CBD aimed to address symptoms of anxiety, for minor pain I have tried a topical balm. This balm combined THC and CBD which I used on my neck and back after a long day on the computer gave me quite noticeable relief.

A study conducted this year assessing knowledge, beliefs, and personal experiences around CBD found that participants reported reduced symptoms of pain after consumption. Participants reported improvements in relation to back pain, nerve pain, neck pain, migraines, limb pain and fibromyalgia (12). These participants also reported reduced consumption of opioid pain medications (12).

Many studies, like the one above, highlight two interesting points about CBD and pain. Firstly that its anti-inflammatory effects are being used to reduce pain throughout areas of the body. And secondly, that it’s being considered an alternative medicine used to reduce the need for opioids. Using CBD as a preferred and natural medicine is especially prominent among people with arthritis who suffer from chronic pain.

Some other interesting ways people are exploring CBD for pain is in relation to sports injury or recovery. Some athletes are now jumping on board (or in the bath) and using CBD topicals, edibles or even bath bombs to relieve pain after a long workout.

While CBD by itself (without the THC component) can assist with pain relief, studies suggest that the combination of CBD and THC offer more effective results (12).

 

CBD oil and cancer

Much like CBD’s role in assisting people with depression, the use of CBD to improve outcomes of cancer is still developing. What we do know is that there are multiple studies currently underway in Australia assessing CBD’s anti-cancerous properties (14). These mostly focus on CBD’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

For therapeutic purposes, CBD oil is currently being used to help manage chronic pain, increase appetite during the chemotherapy treatment, reduce nausea and in some cases prevent cancer (13).

 

CBD oil and skincare

Well, if it’s showing great signs for the inside of your body, it must be beneficial to the outside too, right?

CBD for your skin is well and truly becoming a trend thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidant properties. Whether you’re seeking a moisturiser or hoping to target eczema, scarring or acne, many studies have recorded topical CBD ointments as safe and effective for improving skin disorders (15).

In some cases, for people suffering inflammatory skin disorders and cutaneous scars, CBD enriched products provided a therapeutic effect (15). A study assessing self-initiated use of topical oil reported the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect of cannabinoids (CBD and THC) assisted wound healing, blisters, and skin itching (16).

I pay tribute to the positive effects a combination CBD and THC balm had on my eczema during the winter months in Canada. Usually, I’m flat out trying multiple natural therapies to stop my skin from itching and flaking off (it’s bad). The topical balm that I was using (THC topicals do not get you high) not only relieved the itching but healed my skin, and reduced my eczema outbreak. I noticed an added hydration effect too.

Research supporting CBD for acne is still ongoing but so far CBD oil has been identified to help inflammation and lower the production of sebum, that can lead to acne (17). Because there are varying types of acne, severity levels and different break out areas all over the body, individual results vary.

To give you an idea of what’s out there, some CBD infused topicals on the market in Canada include face creams, bath bombs, soothing serums and more recently a THC infused oil targeting skin cancers.

 

CBD Oil side effects

Alongside the long list of positive reviews CBD is receiving from the medical world, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Australia do note that medicinal cannabis can cause unwanted side effects. These symptoms may include drowsiness, dizziness, and problems with thinking or concentrating.

Having said this, CBD is a remarkably non-toxic medicine. We spoke with Dr Ben from CDA health about this recently.

 

 

Exercise caution and do your own research

CBD is showing promising signs that it can help treat a growing number of conditions and/or symptoms of those conditions.

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Mitochondrial disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Any chronic or debilitating disease or treatment for such diseases, which produce persistent muscle spasm, seizures, nausea, pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Arthritis

While we are very slow to adopt Cannabis as a widespread medicinal treatment option in Australia, other countries are leaps and bounds ahead.

To give you an idea of the validity and scope of recognition Cannabis is receiving in the United States, this article lists the conditions medical Cannabis is authorised to treat, by state.

If you’re interested in exploring CBD oil, we’d strongly recommend doing your own research and consulting a medical professional. While it is virtually impossible to overdo CBD, everyone is different and the market overseas can be very unregulated so it’s important you are gaining access to the best quality products.

Here you can find how to make CBD oil at home.

 

Is CBD oil legal in Australia?

In Australia, although cannabis is considered illegal for recreational use, CBD can be accessed if medically approved by specific health professionals. The Australian government allows medical practitioners under the Therapeutic Goods Administration Special Access Scheme to supply individuals on a case by case basis.

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For me, my relationship with CBD is part of a bigger story. I consider cannabis a plant and compare it to other plants known for their essential oils that are used for self-care. Like all natural medicines, they should be used with mindfulness, respect and monitored by the individual consuming them. It’s not a silver bullet that fixes all health problems, and like any label on a vitamin supplement, CBD should be consumed in addition to but not replace a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle. While the scientists are working away figuring out the entire spectrum of benefits this plant has to offer, it’s important we take it slow, continue to reduce stigmas around cannabis and get excited about what is being discovered.

 

Reference

Get Cannabis Clarity https://cannabis.gov.bc.ca/

World Health Organization. ‘CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report Agenda Item 5.2’. WHO. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf

Cannabidiol As a Potential Treatment For Anxiety Disorders

Esther Blessing-Maria Steenkamp-Jorge Manzanares-Charles Marmar – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13311-015-0387-1

Effectiveness Of Cannabidiol Oil For Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia As Part Of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report Scott Shannon-Janet Opila-Lehman – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/

Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced By Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-naïve Social Phobia Patients Mateus Bergamaschi-Regina Queiroz-Marcos Chagas-Danielle de Oliveira-Bruno De Martinis-Flávio Kapczinski-João Quevedo-Rafael Roesler-Nadja Schröder-Antonio Nardi-Rocio Martín-Santos-Jaime Hallak-Antonio Zuardi-José Crippa – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21307846

The University of Sydney. ‘Anxiety’. Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics. https://sydney.edu.au/lambert/our-research/anxiety.html

Antidepressant-like Effects Of Cannabidiol in Mice: Possible Involvement Of 5-ht1a Receptors

T Zanelati-C Biojone-F Moreira-F Guimarães-Sâmia Joca – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2823358/

Cannabinoids, Neurogenesis and Antidepressant Drugs: Is There a Link? Manoela Fogaca-Ismael Galve-Roperh-Francisco Guimaraes-Alline Campos – http://www.eurekaselect.com/109295/article

Figure 2f From: Irimia R, Gottschling M (2016) Taxonomic Revision Of Rochefortia Sw. (ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: E7720. Https://doi.org/10.3897/bdj.4.e7720

The Association Between Cannabis Use and Depression: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Of Longitudinal Studies. S. Lev-Ran-M. Roerecke-B. Foll-T. George-K. Mckenzie-J. Rehm – Psychological Medicine – 2013

Figure 2f From: Irimia R, Gottschling M (2016) Taxonomic Revision Of Rochefortia Sw. (ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: E7720. Https://doi.org/10.3897/bdj.4.e7720

Cannabinoids For Nausea and Vomiting in Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

Lesley Smith-Clare Jess – Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews – 2011

The University of Sydney. ‘Cancer’ Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics. https://sydney.edu.au/lambert/our-research/cancer.html

PALMIERI, B.; LAURINO, C.; VADALÀ, M.. A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. La Clinica Terapeutica, [S.l.], v. 170, n. 2, p. e93 – e99. http://www.clinicaterapeutica.it/ojs/index.php/ClinicaTerapeutica/article/view/377

Self‐initiated Use Of Topical Cannabidiol Oil For Epidermolysis Bullosa – Chelliah – 2018 – Pediatric Dermatology – Wiley Online Library Malcolm Chelliah-Zachary Zinn-Phoung Khuu-Joyce Teng – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/pde.13545

Cannabidiol Exerts Sebostatic and Antiinflammatory Effects on Human Sebocytes Attila Oláh-Balázs Tóth-István Borbíró-Koji Sugawara-Attila Szöllõsi-Gabriella Czifra-Balázs Pál-Lídia Ambrus-Jennifer Kloepper-Emanuela Camera-Matteo Ludovici-Mauro Picardo-Thomas

Voets-Christos Zouboulis-Ralf Paus-Tamás Bíró – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4151231/

 

Amber's writing draws from a versatile background covering health, culture and social impact. Working within the journalistic field, her writing is not only entertaining, but factually sound. Amber's firsthand experience with Cannabis (living abroad in Canada) bring relevance and resonance to her work.

Amber Gibson

Writer, Hinterland co.

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