The cannabis plant has found usage in medicinal avenues for thousands of years. It contains 80 different compounds known as cannabinoids of which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most abundant one followed by cannabidiol (CBD). Most experts hold high hopes for CBD alleviating a variety of mental health conditions. CBD is available in a variety of forms and products. Cannabidiol can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp plants differing in terms of how much THC and CBD can be extracted. While CBD produced from marijuana plants contain varying amounts of THC infamous for triggering psychoactive effects, only small amounts of THC present in CBD sourced from hemp plants aren’t sufficient to cause subjective psychoactive effects.
Three main types of CBD are available:
- Isolate containing only CBD
- Full-spectrum containing other compounds that are found in the cannabis plant including THC.
- Broad-spectrum containing other compounds from the cannabis plant other than THC.
A full-spectrum product is chosen by people as the combination of THC and CBD helps magnify the therapeutic impact. Research has also revealed that CBD can counter the negative effects induced by THC.
CBD can be used in the following ways:
- Oral CBD including oils (made by infusing cannabidiol with a carrier oil), sprays, capsules, and oil tinctures (made by combining CBD with water or alcohol).
- Topical CBD including lotions or salves applied to the skin. The topical solutions produce localized effects but to benefit from mental health effects, you need to take them by mouth.
- Edible CBD including gummies, candies, and beverages.
- Inhaled CBD oils are specially made for being used as vaping oil.
Though a wide variety of CBD products are available in the market, no over-the-counter CBD product has received the FDA’s approval. Many products vary in terms of their effectiveness, potency, and their content. While hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC have been legalized by federal law, they are still legal in some states. It’s advisable to check your state laws before you buy a CBD product. Though there is scope for further research, CBD helps treat different conditions like the ones mentioned below:
- Epilepsy – CBD is beneficial in curing different neurological disorders alongside decreasing the severity and frequency of seizures. Often anti-seizure medications don’t yield adequate results in treating conditions like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. CBD treatments have proven effective in alleviating seizures. Research studies have also shown their support for the effectiveness of these treatments. A large-scale study was conducted on the use of CBD in treating pediatric epilepsy. This showed that CBD reduced the frequency of seizures in 43% of the patients suffering from Dravet syndrome by more than 50%. Recently a cannabis-derived medication called Epidiolex was approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat various childhood seizure disorders.
- Depression – This is one of the most common mental disorders as per the National Institute of Mental Health that affects around 17.3 million adults in the U.S. each year. Though effective treatments including medication and psychotherapy are available, a growing interest can be seen in alternative treatments in recent years. CBD carries various antidepressant effects which act on serotonin receptors in our brains. A study conducted in 2018 revealed that the antidepressant-like effects produced by CBD depend on the serotonin levels in our brains. Though cannabidiol doesn’t increase our serotonin levels, it affects the way our brain responds to serotonin already present in our body.
- Anxiety – This is a common problem plaguing a lion’s share of the global population. Different studies have suggested that CBD can have a big role to play in alleviating different symptoms of anxiety including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
- Sleep Troubles – CBD induces a calming effect which can help treat sleep difficulties. We all require sound sleep for staying healthy and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of U.S. adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. This problem can be linked to health conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. A study was conducted on adults who couldn’t sleep properly and out of them, 65% showed improvements in sleep quality after taking 25mg of CBD daily. Further research is required to determine how CBD can positively impact our sleep.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Approximately 6.1% of U.S. adults are affected by PTSD which is characterized by symptoms like intrusive thoughts, traumatic events, and avoidance of things that might trigger traumatic memories and nightmares. One study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine revealed that CBD can help in alleviating the symptoms of PTSD especially when an oral dose of CBD is added to routine psychiatric treatment.
- Alzheimer’s treatment – Though research is ongoing on the role of CBD as a treatment or preventive for Alzheimer’s, it holds the promise of being beneficial in curing degenerative brain disorder. It is believed that oxidative stress can have a big role to play in developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and atherosclerosis. The CB2 receptors of our body help in naturally coping with oxidative damage. CBD can provide impressive antioxidative, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties in the long run.
- Promotes growth of healthy brain cells – Cognitive decline is a part of our natural aging process. Both genetics and our lifestyle choices can lead to cognitive declines as our brain fails to create new cells as fast as it did a few years before. The process gets more impaired when a person suffers a stroke or other type of brain injury. However, CBD can help preserve your mental health by increasing both neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
What’s the best way to take CBD for mental clarity and focus?
It’s best to take CBD oil sublingually by placing a few drops under your tongue and holding it before swallowing it in. Doing this helps CBD in getting absorbed directly into the bloodstream without being broken down by the digestive process.
How much CBD should I take?
CBD doesn’t have any harmful doses. But it’s always best to start with a small amount so that you can gauge your body’s response and determine the right dose for yourself.
While most people are familiar with the psychoactive effects of THC, you will be free from all cognitive impairment when using a CBD product. Research studies have shown that CBD supports both mental and functional clarity of our brain health. Our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) constitutes highly sensitive receptors acting as neurotransmitters. It serves a variety of purposes like regulating the cognitive processes governing immune response, appetite, pain perception, memory, and stress. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in our central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. Tones of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant can bind to the ECS receptors for delivering a whole-body experience. A study was published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology that looked at the role of CBD in treating Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Researchers performed brain scans on the sample population and noticed substantial changes to the blood flow in portions of the brain commonly related to anxiety.