If you’ve paid attention to the wellness world in the last few years, you’ve probably heard about CBD. A lot. It’s become a popular choice for managing a variety of conditions and symptoms from chronic pain to social anxiety and so much more. But if you’re not familiar with the compound, you may find yourself wondering, why use CBD products at all?
The answer is complex. People choose to use CBD for various reasons, and the results they experience have a wide range. Some people have great success right off the bat, whereas others have to figure out why their CBD is not working and opt for different doses or methods of consumption.
One thing is for sure, though. Many people have success using CBD for whatever reason. In fact, according to a recent survey, 33% of Americans said they have used CBD. Of those users, only about ⅓ of them believed CBD was not effective. Additionally, 64% of current CBD users use it to relieve pain and inflammation. 36% of users consume CBD along with a prescription drug.
There’s no question that CBD is popular and, at least anecdotally, beneficial for many. We’re here to answer the big question: Why use CBD products? But before we can answer that, we’ll cover some basics.
Before we dive in, it’s important to have an understanding of what CBD is. Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, comes from the cannabis plant. It is a cannabinoid, which is an organic compound present in the marijuana plant. There are many cannabinoids in cannabis, with THC and CBD being the most abundant.
Unlike THC, CBD is a compound that does not get users high. This is because it interacts with our cannabinoid receptors in different ways than THC does.
To understand how cannabinoids work with the body, you need to have an understanding of the endocannabinoid system. This is a system of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by our bodies) and receptors that work together to regulate various bodily processes. When the endocannabinoid system is out of balance, it can disrupt various bodily processes.
When you consume THC, it interacts with certain cannabinoid receptors in the system. Specifically, THC binds with Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) which causes the unique “high” feeling we have associated with cannabis. This is because CB1 receptors are typically found in the brain and spinal cord.
On the other hand, CBD does not interact with receptors in the same way. Instead, it tends to interact with them indirectly. CBD can influence bodily processes by suppressing the activation of various cannabinoid receptors. Thus, it cannot get users high.
CBD is legal in the United States, so long as it meets governmental regulations for THC content and growing methods, among other requirements. State laws vary on their rules for CBD use, so it is important to look at the individual laws if you are curious about the specifics of using CBD in your state. In general, since the passing of the U.S. Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is legal across the 50 states.
What is CBD used for?
Now that you understand the fundamentals of CBD, we can look at the reasons why people use it. The way it works with the body is complex and we still need more scientific research to give us a better understanding.
Currently, CBD is only approved by the FDA for one purpose: as a medication for two rare forms of childhood seizures. There is solid evidence to back up its efficacy at reducing seizures which is promising for many.
And while it is only FDA-approved for one purpose, that doesn’t mean others haven’t found success with CBD for other conditions. We are bound to learn more about its potential as more research is conducted on the compound. Currently, the federally-illegal status of cannabis has made it difficult to get more definitive studies about other possible uses for CBD.
However, we do have some promising evidence that CBD is beneficial for other conditions. Here are some examples:
- Anxiety: Preclinical evidence has found that CBD is effective at reducing anxiety. Evidence found it may be useful for social anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and more. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence to back up the use of CBD for anxiety.
- Chronic Pain: Studies have found that CBD may help with intractable pain. This is most likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Lots of anecdotal evidence can back up the potential for using CBD for pain. It has also been suggested to help with neuropathic pain, like people with multiple sclerosis experience.
- Sleep: Some people use CBD to improve their sleep. One study found that using CBD may help improve quality of sleep, though results fluctuated over time.
- Skin Conditions: Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD may be beneficial as a skin product. Many people use CBD for skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
There are many other reasons people use CBD, ranging from potential neuroprotective properties to potential benefits for heart health and many others in between. Again, we will need more studies to provide solid evidence, but what we know so far is promising.
Why use CBD products over other options?
Many people choose to use CBD after not seeing good results from other treatment options. Others want to use a more natural alternative to pharmaceuticals, or may even use CBD on top of a prescription.
For those with difficult-to-treat acne, for example, CBD may be a helpful option to try out because it works differently than other products. The same sentiment goes for anxiety, pain, and other conditions. Since CBD influences receptors in the endocannabinoid system, it has the potential to provide benefits straight from the source.
The endocannabinoid system regulates various processes. If something is off-balance in the system, CBD may help to restore balance and promote homeostasis. This may help prevent future issues from popping up.
Of course, CBD is not a cure-all and should not be touted as one. What works for one person may not work for another. Many factors come into play when looking at CBD efficacy, as well. It’s important to optimize bioavailability for tinctures and oils so you can get the most out of your product. Whether you eat CBD, smoke it, vape it, or take it another way will also impact the way it affects you.
There are many reasons why people use CBD, it cannot be summarized in a simple statement. We know that many people have success using it for acne, pain, anxiety, and many other reasons. It’s a versatile compound.
If you are considering using CBD, be sure to read the product label thoroughly. You want to make sure you select the right type of CBD for your specific needs. More importantly, you want to make sure that the product has been tested for purity and potency by an ISO-accredited laboratory. It’s one of the best ways to know that you are purchasing from a good CBD company.
Products that haven’t been tested for purity and potency may have pesticides and other contaminants that can be harmful. Look out for our Premium CBD database, which is launching soon. We compile all of the thoroughly tested products into one space so you don’t have to worry about it.
Learn more about CBD at the Premium CBD blog!