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Does CBD Really Work?

Skepticism has never been healthier than it is today. Don’t believe me? That’s my point. From flat-earthers to climate change deniers, more people are questioning the world around them than ever before. With the growing popularity of CBD, it’s no surprise that the world’s skepticism would extend to its therapeutic effects. The truth is, not much was known about CBD until recently. It’s understandable that one would wonder if all, some, or none of the claims made about CBD are true. Thankfully, with increased popularity comes increased amounts of research. Scientists and medical researchers have been studying CBD closely for more than a decade. A look at those studies will paint the picture of what we know about CBD and its benefits. You have doubts, we have answers.

Does CBD Work?

Let’s just knock this out real quick. YES! CBD does work, and in a variety of different ways. I can already feel the skepticism burning inside you. “He writes blog articles for a CBD company, of course he’s going to say it works.” – well, don’t just take my word for it then. According to Harvard Medical School, CBD does work and there are numerous published studies that show that it does. 

The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act made hemp illegal to cultivate and sell in the United States. Because of this, studying the effects of CBD was difficult and costly, not to mention there was little interest. Thankfully, congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp and hemp derived products. With this change came a renewed interest in CBD. That interest in CBD and its benefits has led to more and more research being done on what it does and how it does it. 

How Does CBD Work?

We’ve established that CBD works, now let’s get to the bottom of how. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound known as a cannabinoid. There are two major cannabinoids found in the hemp and cannabis plants, CBD and THC, as well as over one hundred minor cannabinoids. Cannabinoids impart their benefits by interacting with the bodies endocannabinoid system or ECS. 

When one of the body’s internal systems is out of balance, it is the responsibility of the ECS to restore that balance and return the body to its optimal state. The ECS does this by manufacturing chemical compounds known as endocannabinoids and sending them to the appropriate receptors in the body. When the endocannabinoids reach these receptors, they either activate or deactivate them to put the body back in balance. The ECS regulates a variety of processes, from sleep to cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, the ECS itself can sometimes fail to operate at full capacity. Stress, diet, illness, and injury can cause the ECS to come up short in its tasks. This is where CBD comes in.

When our ECS is unable to restore balance within the body, it can be helped by supplementing the body with additional cannabinoids. CBD and the other cannabinoids in hemp plants can support the ECS if it is unable to produce enough endocannabinoids or if those endocannabinoids are having trouble binding to the body’s receptors. By giving the ECS the boost it needs, CBD products can offer a wide range of therapeutic effects, many of which are backed by empirical scientific evidence.

What are the Known Effects of CBD?

Because of its growing popularity, many studies have been done on the effects of CBD on the body. Each new day brings new evidence, but we already have some very promising work already done. Let’s look at some of what we’ve found out.

Pain Relief

Businessman touches lower back feeling pain sudden ache while get up out of office chair, muscular spasm, strain caused by sedentary lifestyle, prolonged inactivity, sit in incorrect posture concept

One of the many functions of the ECS is to regulate pain in the body, and this is one area where the effects of CBD have seen many research studies performed. A study conducted in 2018 found that cannabinoids relieve pain in those with neuropathy and malignant diseases. A review of studies published in 2020 showed that several studies have findings that CBD can reduce average pain scores in those with chronic pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

In relation to pain, there are also many studies that have been conducted on CBD’s effects on inflammation in the body. Although inflammation is a natural part of the body’s healing process, there are serious ramifications for those who experience chronic inflammation. It is associated with such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. A study done in 2020 found that the molecular structure of CBD and its interaction with ECS receptors has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body.

Mental Health Benefits

One of the most widely touted benefits of CBD is its ability to alleviate the negative symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. A 2018 study showed that CBD reduced symptoms of anxiety over those given a placebo. Another 2018 study showed that CBD reduces symptoms like nightmares in both children and adults with PTSD. Though the research on CBD’s ability to alleviate depression is comparatively limited, many studies cite users of CBD self-reporting that it reduces negative symptoms. You can read more about CBD and anxiety here, and CBD and PTSD here.

Sleep Aid

Woman sleeping in bed hugging soft white pillow

Another benefit of CBD is its ability to aid those who want better sleep. The studies linking CBD to being a sleep aid typically focus on its anxiolytic effects, allowing people to tone down their anxiety at nighttime so that they can sleep easier. A 2019 study showed that of the subjects who took CBD before going to bed, 79.2% had decreased anxiety scores and 66.7% had improved sleep scores. Additionally, a 2012 study showed that the use of CBD helped prevent interruption of REM sleep. 

Neuroprotective Properties

Another area of CBD research that has been heavily focused upon is its potential to benefit those with neurological disorders, particularly MS and epilepsy. In fact, in 2014 researchers found that the use of cannabinoids reduced spasms in 75% of MS patients who suffered from muscle spasticity that was resistant to medication. In those with epilepsy, a 2015 study showed that the use of CBD oil reduced seizures by a median average of 36.5%. 

Heart Health

Shot of a doctor examining a man with a blood pressure gauge

Lastly, there is research linking CBD to benefits for the circulatory system. Those with chronic high blood pressure are at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, but there are studies that show CBD can help. Studies done in 2017 and 2020 have shown that using CBD can reduce blood pressure and limit spikes in blood pressure due to stress. Additionally, the 2020 study also showed that using CBD may reduce arterial stiffness and increase blood flow.

FAQs

Does CBD work?

Yes! CBD does work and we have plenty of scientific evidence to show that it works. Even the Harvard Medical School agrees.

How does CBD work?

CBD is a chemical compound that interacts with your body’s ECS. The ECS helps to keep the body’s various systems in balance. When the ECS is stressed, it may not perform at an optimal level. Supplementing with CBD helps it to get back to peak performance and restore your body to where it needs to be.

What are the benefits of CBD?

Research has shown that CBD has a variety of benefits. Those benefits include:
*Pain relief
*Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
*Mental health relief
*Sleep aid
*Neuroprotective properties
*Heart health

What do we still need to learn?

Because hemp was illegal for decades, there was little interest in CBD research. Much more research is necessary to learn the full range of benefits of CBD, how it impacts people differently, and how best to utilize it.

What Do We Still Need to Learn About CBD?

With all this research, we can say with certainty that CBD does in fact work. But the truth is, there is a lot of research that still needs to be done if we want to get the full picture on how CBD benefits us and who it benefits most. Because CBD benefits a person through a biochemical reaction with the ECS, each person is going to have a different experience when using CBD. Things like gender, genetic history, diet, and overall health can each impact that experience.

There are also numerous other potential and anecdotal benefits of CBD on the body. Preliminary investigations show promising results for such things like appetite control, short term memory, digestive health, and liver function. The fact of the matter is more research needs to be done. But with more time and more interest, we’ll know more about CBD with each passing day.

Still skeptical?

Let me guess. You’re still a little skeptical. You have questions. You want answers. Great, you’re in the right place! We’d love to hear from you in the comments below and answer any questions you may have about CBD and how it might work best for you. Or maybe you’re convinced about CBD but just want a little guidance on what kind of product is the perfect to start your journey with. The Green Dragon CBD would love to help, just drop us a line through our contact link here and one of our representatives will make sure you have all the information you need. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, SCOTT JONES

Scott Jones is a freelance writer, author, and digital marketer from Akron, Ohio. He loves to research and write about any and all topics that fascinate him, including CBD. He could afford to watch a few fewer movies and eat a few more vegetables. Connect with him on LinkedInInstagram, or read other posts by Scott.

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