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Does CBD Live Up to the Hype? The Health Benefits and Risks of CBD

CBD has taken the health industry by storm. There are CBD gummies, CBD vaporizers, CBD tinctures and even squeezable CBD electrolytes. But do they really live up to all the hype? The truth is, there are a lot of potential health benefits of CBD. There’s also a lot of shoddy products out there. This article explains the health benefits of CBD and the dangers of using low-quality stuff. Let’s dive in!.

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Does CBD Live Up to the Hype? The Health Benefits and Risks of CBD

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants. Think of it like a close cousin to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but without one important fact...

Will CBD Get You High?

Unlike THC, CBD cannot get you high. It’s entirely non-psychoactive and non-habit-forming. However, CBD can still be an effective treatment for issues like pain, inflammation and seizures. This quality makes it ideal for people who want relief without the mind-altering effects of marijuana and pharmaceutical drugs.

How Is CBD Oil Made?

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from hemp or cannabis plants. It is then typically diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil or hemp seed oil.

Side Effects of CBD Oil

Although there are plenty of health benefits of CBD, what about the downsides? Fortunately, the side effects of CBD are few and far between. With that said, some users report a few minor side effects like:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness

The Top 5 Health Benefits of CBD

When it comes to CBD’s health benefits, symptoms like anxiety, skin irritation and headaches go hand-in-hand. CBD offers relief that other compounds can’t by acting on the body’s endocannabinoid system (1). This network of receptors influences all other body systems, including the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Let’s take a closer look at why CBD is an atomic bomb of health benefits:

1. Pain Relief

One of CBD’s most widely-researched benefits is its ability to treat chronic pain and inflammation. For example, a recent study found that CBD can reduce neuropathic pain and inflammation in rats (2). Research shows that CBD works best for pain relief when it’s combined with THC. One study found that Sativex, a pharmaceutical with a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, can reduce pain and promote sleep in people with arthritis (3).

2. Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health

Another major health benefit of CBD is that it may relieve anxiety, depression and possibly even insomnia. Researchers think that CBD supports mental health by boosting serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. At the same time, CBD stimulates endocannabinoid receptors to reduce stress hormone production. The key here is balance---it isn’t just about boosting serotonin and lowering stress hormones---it’s about having the right amounts of both, and CBD can help.

In one study, participants were given either 300mg of oral CBD spray or a placebo before taking a public speaking test (4). Researchers found that CBD can significantly reduce anxiety. Several animal studies have also found that CBD has antidepressant effects (5). To top it all off, it’s been used to treat insomnia in kids with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (6).

3. Cancer-related Symptoms

Can CBD cure cancer? No, but it might be able to reduce some of the side effects of chemotherapy like pain, nausea and vomiting. Once again, it seems to work best with THC. One study tested the effects of CBD and THC on a large group of chemotherapy patients who weren’t getting relief from standard pain meds (7). Patients who received CBD and THC experienced greater pain reduction than those who received THC extract alone. A separate study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that CBD may help with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (8).

Remember how I said that CBD can’t exactly cure cancer? Well, that might not be entirely true… Early animal studies show that CBD can reduce the spread of breast cancer cells (9). However, more clinical studies are needed before we know for sure.

4. Skin Conditions

CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that can help with skin irritation like dryness, inflammation and free-radical damage. Plus, CBD can also help with acne. A 2016 study found that, “cannabidiol (CBD) exerted complex anti-acne effects” by reducing inflammation and lowering the production of sebum in the skin (10). According to researchers, the data also suggests that it may help with dry skin syndrome as well.

A separate study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation concluded that, “due to the combined lipostatic, antiproliferative, and antiinflammatory effects, CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris.” (11) Early research shows that it may help treat eczema and psoriasis too, but more human studies are needed.

5. Epilepsy and Other Neurological Diseases

One of CBD’s strongest superpowers is its effect on neurological disorders, such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

CBD and Epilepsy: CBD can be especially effective at treating epilepsy. In 2018, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first ever CBD-based drug, called Epidiolex (12). Epidiolex treats two rare forms of childhood epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The drug’s approval came after many successful clinical trials. In one study, 120 children and young adults with Dravet’s syndrome received either an oral CBD solution or a placebo, in addition to a standard epilepsy medication for 14 weeks (13). The CBD group experienced a greater reduction in seizure activity. A separate 214-person study arrived at similar results (14).

Parkinson’s and CBD: CBD may help people with Parkinson’s sleep better and improve their quality of life (15). One study concluded that, “Our findings point to a possible effect of CBD in improving quality of life measures in PD (Parkinson’s) patients” (16).

Multiple Sclerosis and CBD: The oral CBD/THC spray Sativex is proven to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). In one study, 47 MS patients received Sativex treatments for one month. They experienced improvements in muscle spasms, walking and pain (17). Another study looked at the effects of Sativex on 276 people who were resistant to other medications. Ultimately, Sativex reduced spasms in 75 percent of participants (18).

Alzheimer’s and CBD: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “An estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's dementia in 2020” (19). Fortunately, early studies show that CBD may help prevent neurodegeneration, inflammation and cognitive decline associated with the disease (20).

Can Healthy People Benefit from CBD Too?

What if you don’t have a debilitating disease? Is it still worth taking CBD? Absolutely! One of CBD’s main underlying effects is that it reduces inflammation throughout the body. In other words, it calms the body down when it’s stressed out from working too hard. This can give you more energy to kick ass and take names in the gym and at work. Whatever revs your engine, CBD can help you put the pedal to the metal.

How can you Take CBD?

There are four different ways to take CBD:

  • Ingestion
  • Sublinguals
  • Topicals
  • Inhalation

1. Edible CBD

If you want long-lasting effects, edible CBD products are your best option. This method distributes the active compounds gradually over the course of several hours. The downside is that it can take 30 minutes to an hour to kick in depending on when you last ate and how fast your metabolism is. There are a ton of CBD edibles to choose from, including:

The options really are endless! With that said, there’s a lot of low-quality CBD edibles that you’ll want to stay away from. Many of them contain little-to-no active CBD and high amounts of sugar and other additives that can inhibit absorption, but more on that later...

2. Sublingual CBD

Sublingual tinctures are the fastest way to start feeling the effects of CBD. Use the dropper to squeeze them under your tongue, hold for 30 to 60 seconds, and swallow. The active ingredients absorb directly into the bloodstream through the blood vessels in your mouth. CBD tinctures take effect within 5 to 20 minutes.

3. Topical CBD

For muscle and joint pain relief, topical CBD is just what the naturopath ordered. Research shows it’s ideal for targeting pain and inflammation in specific areas of the body. (21) Types of topical CBD products include:

  • Lotions
  • Salves
  • Balms
  • Massage oils

Use them to treat chronic pain from arthritis or inflammation and soreness from working out. Some patients report relief within minutes, and many products are formulated with ingredients like menthol and lavender oil for immediate relaxation.

4. Smokable CBD

Although it’s not the healthiest choice, smokable CBD products are a fourth option. But even vaporizers irritate the lungs, so it’s best to avoid smoking altogether if you can. Like sublingual CBD products, smokable CBD is fast-acting, but the trade-off is that it wears off more quickly.

Risks of Taking CBD

CBD is generally safe to use, with minimal side effects and plenty of benefits. Bust despite all the buzz, there is still one massive potential downside: The CBD industry doesn’t have strict manufacturing standards, making it the perfect environment for scam artists and snake oil salesmen to thrive. Companies that don’t mind selling inferior products can cut corners and make a killing. These companies often use sketchy extraction methods and toxic solvents sourced from hemp plants grown in polluted soil.

Follow these 3 steps to make sure your CBD is toxin-free:

  • Investigate where the company sources their hemp
  • Research their production methods
  • Look for independent, third-party lab tests

That fact is, high-quality CBD is expensive to make.

Start Squeezing with Buoy + CBD!

Of the Americans that take CBD, the most common reasons for doing so are for pain relief (64%), managing anxiety (49%), and managing insomnia (42%). Dehydration is widely known to inhibit pain relief, spike anxiety, and disrupt sleep cycles… is this a coincidence? We think not. That’s why we made Buoy + CBD.

Buoy’s squeezable hydration + CBD supplement boasts:

  • Organic broad-spectrum CBD
  • Trace mineral-dense electrolytes
  • Vitamins B1, B5, B6
  • Antioxidants
  • 0 Sugar/Stevia
  • 0 Calories
  • 0% THC
  • No artificial ingredients or harmful fillers/emulsifiers

We tested 42 different options before settling on our broad-spectrum, nano-emulsified, hemp-based home run. Hydration, relaxation, and recovery are just a half-second squeeze away. Whichever CBD brand you choose, make sure to research their manufacturing and extraction processes thoroughly. A wellness supplement is only as effective as the quality inside. Learn more about the benefits of hydration and CBD, and about the CBD Buoy uses in their hydration supplement.

Always seek medical advice if you have any pre-existing conditions before trying CBD.

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References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5922297/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17157290/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16282192
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30328956/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2823358/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19896326
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16983116/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21566064
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27094344/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25061872/
  12. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6514832/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26724101
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24845114/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25237116/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25699191
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24525548
  19. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures#:~:text=More%20than%205%20million%20Americans%20of%20all%20ages%20have%20Alzheimer's,10%25)%20has%20Alzheimer's%20dementia
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25024347
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
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