CBD or cannabidiol has made its name quite big in a very limited span of time of late & that is because of the ennumerous benefits it carries. The ability to cure it all covering various types of ailments has made it an all-round champion in terms of usability & because it can be used for treating both humans & animals, the icing on the cake is inarguably an unignorable plus. It is however a matter of surprise for many when they hear about CBD at the first instance & even those who have heard of it as they remain in constant try to look for some different facts other than the positive words for it. Believing on the wide array of benefits, availability in various forms, legalization after some real tussle & finally the relaxation provided towards the end simply make it a fairy-tale & hence believing on things becomes tough. One important concern where the question compass always points is – are there any side-effects of using CBD?
It is a natural question as we are not just talking about a range of medical benefits but also because there is a lot more than one could ask. Hence the expectation always remains to see some sort of sting in tail given the smooth course of story of CBD. Let us go deep within the question and see if we have actually seen it all or is it just the tip of the iceberg.
HISTORY & LEGALITY
CBD or cannabidiol has been floating on the surface of mankind since time immemorial. It has been of extreme importance in the ancient Indian & Chinese history which are believed to be the two main sources which presented the rest of the world with the medicinal benefits of cannabis & marijuana.
It is believed that cannabis had its foot grounded deep in mankind as it made its involvement with medicinal aura of itself more than 4000 years ago. Emperor Shen Neng of China, also referred to as the Father of Chinese Medicine, in his text Pen Ts’au or ‘The Herbal’ has written about the medicinal values of cannabis plant. It is believed that the people then in China used to cultivate hemp for textile purposes & the medicinal values of it as well. Shen Neng himself used to drink tea of the cannabis leaves regularly & believed that cannabis could cure gout, malaria & poor memory.
Coming to India, cannabis or marijuana holds importance from religional, spiritual & medicinal perspectives. While its medicinal roles have been mentioned in the Atharva Veda, Bhaang – a traditional Indian preparation used in food & drinks was consumed by many. It was believed that seeing spiritual visuals whilst asleep after having bhaang was considered positive. In the Atharva Veda, Cannabis has been mentioned as one of the five most important herbs in the ‘Kingdom of Five Herbs’ where it was accounted for its joy-giving & happiness enhancing herb. This was in the period between 2000 to 1400 BC.
From its abode in the Asian region, the benefits spread around to the middle-East, Africa, Britain, Greece etc. Pedanius Dioscorides, one of the physicians in the Greek contingent of Alexander, had penned down a book Materia Medica which covers around 600 herbs with their medical benefits from all regions of the world which they passed through during the conquest to win the world. This book also found a mention of cannabis plant & this gives us an idea of the association of cannabis with human civilization.
It was compulsory in Britain for farmers to grow hemp on their land as hemp was used to make ropes, papers, etc. during the 16th Century & in the 17th Century, this rule was made mandatory for the American colonies under the British as well.
Since then, the involvement of cannabis started fading away & it went on a sabbatical for a while. It was in the mid-twentieth century that Dr. Roger Adams discovered Cannabidiol or CBD accidentally but failed to figure out what it was until Dr. Raphael Mechoulam solved the atomic structure of CBD & also found it out. The medical benefits then began to reappear before the world but since by that time, cannabis had become a villain in the society, CBD was also eyed as a partner in crime. After a lot of legal troubles & setbacks, CBD got legalised towards the end of 2018 firstly in Britain & then in America. In the latter country, it was the Farm Bill which turned the times for CBD & gave it a second life. Though experts argue on the complications of the law, many welcome it with open arms since something is better than nothing.
We spoke about the goodness of CBD & its comeback battle based on the various benefits & now it’s turn to lay down the benefits of cannabidiol or CBD:
- Anxiety & Depression
By playing on the levels of serotonin – the ‘happy hormone’ in our body, CBD alleviates the mood of those who are affected by anxiety & depression. In humans, it is beneficial especially in case of SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) & PTSD (Post Traumatic Anxiety Disorder) while in animals, it helps them calm down when under stress as well as during Separation Anxiety.
A study done between two groups of SAD patients showed that the group dosed with CBD showed better delivery of speech & confident behaviour as compared to the placebo group.
- Neural Regeneration & Epilepsy
CBD promotes the growth of nerves of the brain in the hippocampal region & also protects it from damage. Further, it has been studied that CBD slows down the ageing of the nerves of the brain which show us the importance of CBD for neural regeneration & neural health. In addition to this, CBD has also been tested positive in some studies against Parkinson’s. However, there were negative results too & hence the study on CBD’s medical benefits in Parkinson’s disease is still under way.
Also, CBD is used in treatment of Dravet & Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome with Epidiolex which is the only approved CBD prescription drug in the USA & hence the only CBD product to feature in the list of Schedule 5 Drug.
- Anti-inflammatory & Pain Relieving
The most famous properties of CBD are pain relief & anti-inflammatory properties. As a result of this, they act with the Endocannabinoid System within our bodies & cause relief from pain & inflammation. They can relieve pain from arthritis, muscle strains, etc & have shown improved mobility & lessened swelling post application/consumption.
CBD can emerge as a game changer in the field of cancer studies & may well stand as a cure for cancer. Also, it reduces nausea & vomiting after chemotherapy sessions when mixed with THC as observed in a study on 177 people experiencing cancer related pain.
Apart from this, in-vitro studies have shown inhibiting & death of human breast cancer cells when CBD was introduced. This gives us positive hopes on CBD’s anti-cancer properties.
- Acne Reduction & Skin Benefits
The anti-inflammation properties get to show their magic on the skin as well as CBD helps fight acnes & reduce their growth. It also improved skin tone & counters ruddiness. Besides, it helps repair the damage caused to the skin by UV-rays & environmental pollutants. It is also used in the treatment of Eczema,Psoriasis, etc. Of late, CBD cream facials have also become a thing in the market.
- Heart Related Benefits
Cannabinoids have a direct effect upon the vascular system. CBD is capable of inducing vasorelaxation, i.e. reduction in the tension of blood vessel walls. CBD has the ability to not just reduce resting blood pressure but also control it when faced with stress is around. A 2017 research paper published within the journal JCL Insight investigated & concluded the blood pressure-lowering effects of CBD on humans. The results indicated that CBD brought down resting systolic blood pressure (the maximum arterial blood pressure during heart contraction) & reduced stroke volume (volume of blood pumped per beat). These results are important especially given the fact that high blood pressure is a contributing factor to ischaemic heart disease.
Having known well enough about the benefits of CBD. How it feels have been laid down as below::
- Users have not reported any sort of ‘high’ effect opposite to the usual fear. Rather, it has been considered to ease heartbeats of users & calm their senses. The best thing is its influence of making way to mental relaxation starting from physical relaxation.
- CBD oil eases the feeling of anxiousness. It will make people less anxious & hence more open to imbibe in other feelings around them which already existed, thus placing them in a more happy & comfortable zone. This in turn allows them to regain focus on things which was lost to anxiety.
- CBD oil helps people to stay energetic too. This can be credited to its ability to interact with the neurotransmitters & receptors in the brain besides making the brain more attentive. This is simply because it balances other problems like anxiety, stress in such ways that the brain can execute other activities thus making things better with energy level.
- CBD oil eases the brain’s thinking ability as well as better sleep.Hence, as per accounted experiences, the overthinking & toss-&-turn phase of unsettled minds comes down which helps people sleep longer, better & peaceful.
- It has also been reported by users that usage of CBD oil added a feeling of “better mood” in them. For this, we can simply credit it for setting things up with serotonin hormone levels & hence improving the mood of the user.
The ECS is the playground for CBD. Without that things are not going to work by any means. However, since every individual’s ECS is different, the effect of CBD & the requirement varies considerable. While an individual might get relieved by 5-10 mg of CBD per day, the other might require 100-200 mg of it. Further, FDA hasn’t listed any RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) level of CBD since it is still under Schedule 1 Drug & thus people often get highly confused due to CBD dosage.
To find the correct dosage, we should consider the following:
- Concentration Level Of The CBD Product
Different CBD products have different CBD concentration. Thus, it is essential to buy the product based on its CBD content. Dosage should be started from low & gradually increased over a period of time to know the best dosage.
- The Weight Of An Individual
Dosage of CBD is directly proportional to weight. If the weight increases, the CBD dosage increases, if the weight goes down, the dosage also falls.
- The Biphasic Effect
CBD is a biphasic thing. This means that certain dosage level will have certain effect while increased level of it would show considerable differences in the effect.
- Doctor’s Word
Doctor’s advice is compulsory. If you are on medication & want a dosage of CBD then it becomes all the more important as CBD interferes with the working of most pharmaceutical drugs.
- Age & Metabolism
Based on our age, CBD dosage matters. An 8 year old will have a lower dosage of CBD compared to an 38 year old. Since our bodies have different metabolism, the dosage varies based on that as somebody’s body might metabolise it quickly while it might act slower due to slower metabolism in another individual. The dosage between people of similar age would also vary because their lifestyle decides the metabolism which would differ greatly.
- The Simple Maths Of Dosage
Based on different products, the dosage varies.
- Capsules: Each capsule comes with certain fixed mg of CBD in it. Based on the suggested dosage, the capsule can be taken.
- Oil & Tinctures: This thing isn’t as tricky as it seems Divide the CBD content in the tincture or oil by the total quantity of tincture or oil in the bottle & you’ll get CBD content per drop of serving. The number of drops to be taken can be hence decided.
- Topicals: The dosage is simply based on the relief provided for topicals. Here, what works is the principle – start low & get things higher based on the effect.
- Vapes: Just like CBD oil tincture, noting the volume of the the refill would give us an idea of the total CBD the vape cartridge carries (CBD concentration will be known in refill cartridge). Based on rough estimates by constantly viewing the level of CBD, it can be determined how much CBD you should consume, i.e how long should each refill be continued.
- Edibles – The edibles would surely have a listed content of CBD per serving. This way, the number of servings we take will give us an idea of the amount of CBD being administered in our body.
The various side-effects are as below:
- Tiredness, Diarrhea & Changes in Weight & Appetite
According to a review published in the journal Cannabis & Cannabinoid Research documents in 2017, side-effects were observed & recorded on patients out of which, most were related to epilepsy & psychotic disorders. Most common side effects of CBD usage were tiredness, diarrhea & changes in both weight & appetite.
- Liver Drug Metabolism
CBD interacts well with drug-metabolising enzymes like cytochrome P450 family. 60% content of all pharmaceutical drugs is metabolised by this enzyme. Coincidentally, this enzyme is responsible for the metabolism of CBD as well. High dose of CBD can temporarily neutralize the liver enzymes, thus interfering in the drug metabolism process.
Certain pharmaceutical drugs inhibit this enzyme, which may slow CBD’s breakdown. They can also boost CBD breakdown more than needed. Hence, consulting a physician is important.
In a study, it was found that short-term exposure to CBD increased the permeability of the placental barrier, thus placing the foetus at risk from certain substances. This was reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who cautioned pregnant women & nursing mothers to avoid CBD use due to possible adverse developmental effects to their foetus.
- Dry Mouth
The salivary glands house cannabinoid receptors of the ECS. CBD interacts with these receptors & hence causes inhibition of saliva secretion which dries out the mouth. A glass of water or juice helps the trouble.
- Movement Disorders
In a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience documents, CBD was given to patients with dystonic movement disorders. For 6 straight weeks, oral doses of the cannabinoid between 100–600 mg per day were given to prospects alongside standard medications.
Though improvements in movement disorders were seen on entire sample space, side-effects such as hypotension (low blood pressure), psychomotor slowing, lightheadedness & sedation were seen. With doses over 300 mg per day, hypokinesia & resting tremor rose up. Researchers concluded that CBD has Parkinsonism-aggravating effects in humans.
From the points above, we can conclude that CBD doesn’t have serious side-effects as compared to other medical remedies. There hasn’t been any reported death or serious implications due to CBD overdose even at levels as high as 1500 mg of CBD intake/day. But, in some cases where it is unsafe, it shouldn’t be administered any way. It is hence essential to always consult an expert before venturing out for CBD products. Though the side-effects are limited, it doesn’t mean that we should take it lightly as slightest margins make big differences