CBD oil is slowly becoming a household name in the complementary health scene. In fact, products infused with CBD are already on the market in Australia, Amsterdam, and North America. In Australia, you can legally purchase products with CBD oil, such as face serums, massage oils, sports water, pet snacks, gummies, capsules to ease muscle and joint pain, coffee, and vape kits, to name a few.
Despite its popularity, CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most intriguing additions to the complementary health scene. The mystery largely stems from the many terms associated with CBD: cannabis, hemp, THC, and marijuana.
Nick Terrone, owner of online hemp store Healthy with Hemp, clarifies it for us: "CBD is one of about 80 molecules present in hemp oil. This oil is extracted from the hemp plant, whose botanical name is cannabis," Terrone explains. "Marijuana refers to the specie of cannabis plant with higher levels of THC."
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the molecule in cannabis that gives a euphoric "high." Although hemp plants and marijuana plants belong to the same species, the main difference between the hemp plant and the marijuana plant is their THC content.
Hemp has practically none (which is why you can't get high on hemp CBD oil), while marijuana has high levels of THC (as much as 50 to 90 percent, resulting in the euphoric effects). In Australia, you can legally buy CBD oil products if they have less than 2 percent of THC.
The shift towards CBD use in Australia is great news for people wanting to try this amazing plant for a range of conditions. Today, CBD oil is largely associated with treatment for chronic pain, although that's not all it is known for. It can do so much more, as you will see below:
Did you know that one in five Australians aged 45 and over are living with persistent and ongoing pain? For those suffering from chronic pain symptoms, such as arthritis, cancer, endometriosis, migraines, and fibromyalgia, CBD oil may provide some relief.
How does it do it? Our body's endocannabinoid system regulates how we respond to pain stimuli. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that attach to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. CBD influences this receptor activity by reducing inflammation, consequently helping to ease chronic pain.
Reduce social anxiety
According to Beyond Blue, every year, more than two million Australians experience the ongoing symptoms of anxiety. CBD may reduce stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and modifying brain activity. The oil can calm key regions of the brain, such as the hippocampus, striatum, and prefrontal cortex.
For example, in a blind study, the calming effect of CBD was tested on people who have social anxiety disorder. In the experiment published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, individuals were asked to deliver a speech in front of a panel. Normally, this would result in debilitating nerves and high levels of anxiety. However, the group that took CBD oil had significantly reduced anxiety, compared to the placebo group.
Some studies potentially show that CBD can raise the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is known as the "feel good" hormone, and like endocannabinoids, serotonin is a neurotransmitter. It regulates emotions, stress, and moods. People with depression usually have low levels of serotonin.
Take the case study of a teen with depression. Over a period of eight weeks, the adolescent underwent CBD treatment. By the end of the study, the patient's anxiety and depression symptoms had lessened. Eventually, the teen no longer needed to continue taking antidepressant medication.
Studies are ongoing but CBD treatment does show great potential for the millions of Australians suffering from depression.
Lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for chronic conditions including stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. Some research studies indicate that products containing CBD may help with lowering blood pressure.
A preclinical study shows CBD has numerous cardiovascular benefits. This includes a reduced blood pressure response, while monitoring increasing levels of stress. This data shows that the administration of CBD reduces not only resting blood pressure, but the blood pressure of an increased heart rate.
Although more studies need to be done, this is a positive sign for a condition that affects 2.6 million Australians, according to the 2017-18 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey.
A study in 2014 found that CBD can keep sebaceous glands from producing too much sebum. This oily substance, in excess, can plug pores along with dead skin cells. Bacteria from dirt exacerbates the situation, creating acne.
Also, CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. This helps keep skin breakouts down to a minimum. Coupled with a good diet, exercise, and less stress, this special hemp extract may indeed help keep acne away.
Treat severe epilepsy
The benefits of CBD for epilepsy patients have been known for over 70 years. It took until 2018 for the US Food and Drug Administration to approve the oral use of Epidiolex to treat seizures caused by rare forms of epilepsy. Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved drug that uses purified CBD extract.
As governments continue their study of medical cannabis, more markets may begin offering CBD oil as a way to improve health and wellness. In the meantime, it looks like the complementary health scene in Australia is ready for it. As Nick Terrone puts it, "This is an amazing healing plant. Elected politicians need to listen to the people and make it 100 percent legal and accessible to everyone who wishes to use it."
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