The Ancient System in Our Bodies That Connects Us to CBD: Why CBD Works for Stress, Sleep, Inflammation, Pain, and More!
Let’s Talk About Full Spectrum CBD Oil Benefits…
If you think CBD oil is just another fad, it’s time to look again.
I wanted to know more about CBD because the stories I kept hearing were so impressive.
Could this plant compound really be helpful for such a wide range of issues—from anxiety and depression to chronic pain, sleep issues, inflammation, pain, and more?
And could CBD be something our minds all need for surviving these stressful times with more ease and calm?
Turns out, our bodies are set up to accept and use this plant medicine—and that’s what makes it so impressively powerful.
I’ll explain what I mean, but first, let’s see exactly what CBD is.
I’ll also discuss the benefits of full-spectrum CBD oil. And yes, I’ll explain why “full spectrum” is important, and what else to look for when choosing a CBD product that is safe and effective (because it’s the “Wild Wild West” out there when you try to choose a product!).
Truly, the research behind CBD is so impressive, I am certain you will want to use CBD regularly when you realize the power it must support health in so many ways.
In this article:
- What Exactly is CBD?
- What is CBD Oil?
- Why Are CBD Products So Popular Lately?
- The Amazing Reason Why CBD Works So Well for a Wide Variety of Health Concerns
- Why Full Spectrum CBD is Your Best Choice
- CBD - the Most Powerful Antioxidant on Earth?
- 17 Full Spectrum CBD Oil Benefits - The Possibilities, Are They Endless?
- CBD Health Benefit #1 - Stress and Anxiety
- CBD Health Benefit #2 - Depression
- CBD Health Benefit #3 - Bliss and Happiness
- CBD Health Benefit #4 - Immune System
- CBD Health Benefit #5 - Inflammation and Pain: From Autoimmune Disease to Some Types of Cancer, Migraines, and More
- CBD May Also Help Headaches and Migraines
- CBD Health Benefit #6 - Sleep and Insomnia
- CBD Health Benefit #7 - Brain Health
- CBD Health Benefit #8 - Healthier Detoxification
- CBD Health Benefit #9 - Weight Loss
- CBD Health Benefit #10 - Cancer
- CBD Health Benefit #11 - Dental Support
- CBD Health Benefit #12 - Skin Health
- CBD Health Benefit #13 - Heart Health
- CBD Health Benefit #14 - Addiction Recovery
- CBD Health Benefit #15 - Seizures
- CBD Health Benefit #16 - Bone Health
- CBD Health Benefit #17 - Nausea
- What's the Best Way to Take CBD? Regularly
- How To Choose a Safe and Effective CBD Product
- CBD - A Promising Natural Option for Balancing the Body, for Better Brain and Body Health
What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of the 100+ phytocannabinoid (plant compounds) in the cannabis plant.
Specifically, most of the CBD you can find today comes from the hemp plant—a cousin of the marijuana plant. (Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants, but they each have different chemical makeups.)
Hemp only contains a very small amount of THC (about 3%), which is non-intoxicating and isn’t enough to get you “high.”
People have used hemp for medicinal and other purposes for thousands of years.
Even U.S. physicians prescribed the cannabis plant for a multitude of illnesses until restrictions were put in place in the 1930s. And then, they stopped using it in 1970, when it was listed as a Schedule 1 substance (illegal with no medicinal value).
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil contains CBD that’s been extracted from the hemp plant (its flowers and leaves), along with a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil.
CBD is a lipophilic compound, meaning it’s more easily absorbed into the bloodstream when mixed with fat.
CBD oils are best absorbed into the body when taken under the tongue (sublingually). They can also be mixed with beverages and even green smoothies.
CBD oil should not be confused with hemp oil, which comes from the seeds and doesn’t have active cannabinoids.
Why Are CBD Products So Popular Lately?
In the United States, the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to sell CBD products in all 50 states. Before that, they weren’t legal. So, that’s part of why we’ve seen an explosion of CBD products.
The Amazing Reason Why CBD Works So Well for A Wide Variety of Health Concerns
CBD has a profound influence on the human body. This one health tool seems to be able to affect almost every aspect of our bodies and minds — how is that possible?
I told you that CBD is short for cannabidiol and that it’s a phytocannabinoid. Let’s look more closely at this.
Phytocannabinoids are plant compounds. They’re just one type of cannabinoid.
The other type is endocannabinoids, which are produced by mammals — including humans. So, both plants and animals produce cannabinoids.
The purpose of cannabinoids is to help regulate and balance biological functions. Every function of the body requires a specific balance of factors in order to perform at maximum capacity. When this balance is achieved, it’s called homeostasis.
This is where it gets interesting.
Because our bodies already use cannabinoids, as part of the endocannabinoid system, to regulate many functions, we have targets throughout our bodies that the compounds in the cannabis plant can influence.
So basically, our bodies are set up to receive and use CBD. Amazing, right?
This plant can be our tool, our medicine, from the earth.
Even more, some doctors are saying that a healthy endocannabinoid system is necessary for health, making taking CBD oil regularly a very smart choice if you want to feel your best.
Why Full Spectrum CBD Is Your Best Choice
Full-spectrum CBD — as opposed to CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD — contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, phytonutrients, and other beneficial compounds from the hemp plant, as nature intended.
All these cannabinoids and other compounds have what science calls an “entourage effect,” meaning they work better together, for maximum results.
Study participants who took full-spectrum CBD reported higher levels of relief, compared to those who used CBD isolate, which undergoes further processing, according to a 2015 study.
So, by choosing a FULL SPECTRUM CBD product, you’re choosing the whole plant — and as a fan of whole foods, I recommend this option. You’re also gaining the most benefit for your money.
CBD — the Most Powerful Antioxidant on Earth?
Antioxidants protect you from free radicals. Free radicals harm your cells, leading to damage throughout the body.
So, you want more antioxidants, especially because we encounter so many things that cause free radicals, like EMF radiation, air pollution, and unhealthy foods. And your body needs more antioxidants as you age.
How can CBD help? It just might be one of the most powerful antioxidants that exist.
CBD contains a free oxygen atom. This atom can be donated to free radicals, neutralizing them and preventing them from causing damage.
Multiple studies demonstrate the antioxidant power of CBD.
A 1998 study showed that CBD is 30 to 50% stronger than vitamins C and E — which are both known to be strong antioxidants.
CBD was also shown to reduce toxicity in rats exposed to high levels of glutamate, a particularly harmful kind of toxicity that negatively impacts the brain.
In 2011, a study called CBD a “powerful antioxidant,” capable of, “protecting the whole body from the effects of toxins in the environment.”
Even more, the U.S. government has a patent specifically for the neuroprotective and antioxidant properties of cannabinoids, for preventing and treating disease.
So, if no other reason existed, taking CBD regularly for its antioxidant properties would be an excellent, and smart, reason to take it.
17 Full Spectrum CBD Oil Benefits — the Possibilities, Are They Endless?
Now that we see that full spectrum is the best choice for health, let’s look at what science is showing about full spectrum CBD oil benefits. And as you’ll see, there are many!
“I am naturally wary of any medicine that purports to cure-all,” says Dr. Dustin Sulak, an integrative medicine physician with a focus on medical cannabis.
“Panaceas, snake-oil remedies, and expensive fads often come and go, with big claims but little scientific or clinical evidence to support their efficacy. As I explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis, however, I find no lack of evidence.
In fact, I find an explosion of scientific research on the therapeutic potential of cannabis, more evidence than one can find on some of the most widely used therapies of conventional medicine.”
Reminder, that CBD comes from hemp, a cannabis plant.
Related: Podcast: CBD Oil: Does It Live Up to The Hype? with Hyla Cass
CBD Health Benefit #1 — Stress and Anxiety
Feeling stressed and anxious is so common these days, that it can seem normal. But it’s not.
I was born anxious. But I’ve discovered ways to feel better and overcome my thoughts. And CBD has been huge in helping me get through all the stress we’ve experienced since March 2020.
Doctors can see the changes in the brain when people use CBD. The angst literally disappears on scans, according to a review in Frontiers in Immunology.
How does it work?
Here’s one way. The brain fires off tiny electric impulses from one neuron to another. Sometimes, though, or often, depending on how stressed we are, our brains become overactive. The neurons may freeze, causing problems. CBD may help calm and balance your neurotransmitters, leaving you feeling more relaxed.
At high doses, CBD also directly activates the serotonin transporter, which may further the anti-anxiety effect. Serotonin is the feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain best known for helping control mood, which contributes to your happiness and well-being.
“Clinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder,” and PTSD, according to a 2015 study in the Neurotherapeutics Journal.
Traditional antianxiety medications may help lessen symptoms, but they may have potential negative side effects.
On the other hand, CBD may help you respond better to stress by getting to the root of imbalance — and that is why it is so powerful. Not just for potentially helping you feel better, but also for addressing the problem where it starts, safely.
CBD Health Benefit #2 — Depression
Almost 20 million Americans have experienced at least one episode of depression.
And with what’s happened since March 2020, “lockdown depression” has become a thing that even more people are experiencing. The depression rate in the U.S. has tripled!
Like with anxiety and stress, CBD has the potential to help in multiple ways:
- A lack of serotonin can be involved in some depression. SSRIs are a class of antidepressants that work by altering serotonin levels in the brain. As I mentioned above, CBD potentially has the ability to alter serotonin levels.
- Low levels of BDNF, a protein, have been linked to depression. Research suggests that CBD could cause an increase in BDNF.
Researchers are looking into CBD and depression.
- Adolescents with multiple substance abuse disorders, depression, and anxiety found that CBD over 8 weeks resulted in a decrease in anxiety and depression symptoms, in a 2019 case study.
- Users of cannabis (with high CBD and low THC) reported a 50% reduction in symptoms of depression, in a 2018 study.
Even better, CBD may have promise as a fast-acting solution. CBD showed rapid and sustained effects for reducing depression, while traditional antidepressants typically take time to begin working.
CBD Health Benefit #3 — Bliss and Happiness
Not only can CBD possibly help you feel less anxious and depressed, but CBD just might also unlock your body for more bliss.
How wonderful does that sound?
Anandamide is known as “the bliss molecule.”
It’s a neurotransmitter produced in the brain. When it enters a cell, FAAH, an enzyme, starts to break it down. But here’s the good news: CBD interferes with FAAH’s ability to break down anandamide, so your bliss lasts longer!
Preventing the breakdown of anandamide in the body was shown to improve mood and reverse stress-induced anxiety in rodents, according to a study published in Translational Psychiatry.
CBD Health Benefit #4 — Immune Health
Staying strong and well continues to be of utmost importance. And CBD has incredible potential in this area.
Amazingly, as part of the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid receptors exist all over the lymph nodes, spleen, and other parts of the immune system — so CBD may have an effect on the immune system response all over the body!
In fact, the endocannabinoid system is considered to be the primary driver of immune system balance and homeostasis.
A balanced immune system is better able to serve your body overall, so you stay strong and protected the best you can be.
CBD Health Benefit #5 — Inflammation and Pain: From Autoimmune Disease to Some Types of Cancer, Migraines, and More
Inflammation. It’s something we all must deal with at some point, whether we realize it or not.
This process in the body can be good — it’s what happens when we’re injured, or our bodies encounter a foreign substance. But too much inflammation or inflammation that lasts too long can be massively damaging.
CBD calms down the immune system for better balance.
The researchers in a review of research found that CBD demonstrated “experimental success” in autoimmune disorders, such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and hepatitis. CBD was also found to be potentially beneficial in certain types of cancer that are triggered by chronic (lasting) inflammation.
A higher dose is better than a moderate dose for inflammation, according to some research.
Overall, CBD shows promise as a plant-based anti-inflammatory without the negative side effects of medication.
Additionally, studies have shown CBD to be very promising for pain associated with a number of conditions: joint pain in osteoarthritis, migraines, muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, and more.
One fantastic thing about CBD — which isn’t true of other painkillers that work — the body doesn’t become dependent on CBD. So, you won’t have withdrawals if you skip a dose or stop taking it.
CBD May Also Help Headaches and Migraines
Headaches and migraine can seriously hold you back. But CBD may help.
A large dose of CBD reduced pain by 55% in a group of migraine sufferers, according to a 2017 Israeli study.
CBD Health Benefit #6 — With the Right Dose, CBD May Help Improve Sleep and Eliminate Insomnia
Achieving good, truly restful, detoxifying, healing sleep is how you feel better at every level. But getting there is a challenge most people deal with, if not ongoing, at least some point in their lives.
Sleep is essential, and yet so elusive. Can CBD help?
The potential is great. CBD may help you fall asleep faster, wake up less often, and get a better night’s rest, according to a review in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
How exactly? A few ways.
CBD oil reduced participants’ cortisol levels, which are linked to anxiety and stress. So, less stress makes it easier to quiet your mind and fall asleep.
Another study found that CBD blocked anxiety-inducing REM sleep suppression, resulting in an improved quality of sleep.
How much CBD to take for sleep?
Dosing experiments have shown that small doses of CBD have an “active” effect — helping you stay focused and active — while large doses have the opposite effect: sedation, according to the Ministry of Hemp.
CBD Health Benefit #7 — Brain Health
CBD may affect the brain in a variety of ways, some of which I’ve discussed in this article, like influencing dopamine and serotonin — two neurotransmitters in the brain.
Here are some other ways: As we age, the brain loses cells and neurons. German researchers reported that CBD stimulates neurogenesis — the growth of new brain cells. CBD has also shown the potential to inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s.
Overall, CBD helps your brain remain younger.
CBD Health Benefit #8 — Healthier Detoxification
As you may know, I value detoxification immensely. I’ve led 20,000 people through our GreenSmoothieGirl Detox program, and I love hearing the incredible stories about how people’s health and lives changed dramatically for the better. Detoxification is also a huge part of how I saved my health in my 20s.
So, is detoxification necessary? In the toxic world we live in today, it absolutely is.
And CBD looks like it can help. I’m a fan of “doing the work” of detoxification, and that’s how I got well, and why I run our 26-Day Detox year-round. But supplements can be powerful–supplementally!
Here’s how CBD works in detoxification. It supports a healthy endocannabinoid system (ECS), as I’ve discussed earlier. And the ECS interacts with and influences the organs and systems that help the body to eliminate toxins and maintain our health. So, a healthier ECS means healthier detoxification pathways in the body.
When the body is exposed to various stressors, it can be harder for it to create enough cannabinoids, leaving the endocannabinoid system overwhelmed and not working properly.
As a powerful antioxidant, George W. Booz says that CBD is capable of “protecting the whole body from the effects of toxins in the environment.”
Proper lymphatic drainage is a key aspect of proper detoxification because the lymph moves toxins and waste throughout the body. When lymphatic movement becomes sluggish, it becomes more difficult to eliminate toxins from the body. CBD may help. It can support the lymph system and aid proper movement.
CBD may also help keep your hormones balanced. A buildup of hormones in the body may cause a range of symptoms: mood swings, night sweats, headaches, soreness, and weight gain. CBD helps the liver process waste, like excess hormones, so your body will be more balanced.
CBD Health Benefit #9 — Weight Loss
I know that issues around weight are a struggle for many. Detoxification can help. Without going too much into it, fat cells hold onto toxins; and when you detoxify your body, the fat cells don’t have a job to do anymore, so it’s easier to let them go.
CBD may also play a positive role in metabolism, and regulating body weight.
In a study in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry CBD was found to:
- Stimulate genes and proteins that enhance the breakdown of fat
- Increase the number and activity of mitochondria, which increases the body’s ability to burn calories
- Help induce fat browning, which you need to lose weight
So, if weight is a struggle for you, CBD may help.
CBD Health Benefit #10 — Cancer
In several studies, CBD has shown anti-cancer effects, helping to prevent the spread and lessen symptoms.
California scientists found that CBD made THC even more potent as an anti-cancer substance. And high doses were used to stop the growth of cancer cells. CBD may also help reduce chemotherapy-induced side effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
CBD Health Benefit #11 — Dental Support
More people are afraid of the dentist than are afraid of heights! So, if you feel anxiety about going to the dentist, CBD oil may be able to help, if you take a dose before your next visit.
Plus, mouth pain is often caused by inflammation, and CBD may be able to help with that.
CBD Health Benefit #12 — Skin Health
More endocannabinoids exist in the skin than in the brain. CBD may help conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne, as well as age spots.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may benefit the skin in a variety of ways, such as:
- Reducing pain, swelling, and redness from breakouts or skin irritations.
- Reducing the overproduction of sebum, which may be a contributing factor in acne.
- Reducing signs of aging, like wrinkles and dullness
CBD is also rich in skin-hydrating vitamin E, as well as essential fatty acids.
CBD Health Benefit #13 — Heart Health
High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of multiple health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome.
CBD may have the ability to help lower blood pressure. The researchers also found that CBD helped reduce arterial stiffness and improve blood flow.
Additionally, the strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD help reduce cell damage, which can be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
CBD Health Benefit #14 — Addiction Recovery
Interestingly, a compound that was considered a Schedule 1 drug may have the ability to help stop the addiction to other narcotics.
A number of preclinical studies suggest that CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioids and other addictions. One of the most promising is using CBD to help curb cigarette smoking, helping reduce the total number of cigarettes smoked by 14%.
CBD has also been shown to help regulate the reward system, which can lead to fewer cravings.
CBD Health Benefit #15 — Seizures
About 20 years of research shows that CBD has anti-seizure activity. It’s been successfully used to treat some epileptic children with no side effects.
A benefit is that CBD oil can be rubbed into gums and under the tongue, so it won’t be choked on.
CBD Health Benefit #16 — Bone Health
Scientists have found cannabinoid receptors in bone tissue, so CBD may have the ability to support a healthy skeleton, and help combat osteoporosis, which causes bones to weaken, thin, and become more brittle.
CBD Health Benefit #17 — Nausea
Many health conditions cause people to experience nausea. Research suggests CBD may help suppress this uncomfortable experience.
What’s the Best Way to Take CBD? Regularly
If you want to gain the most benefits from CBD, taking it regularly, ideally daily, is best for achieving and maintaining balance throughout the entire body and for the mind.
Regular doses of CBD can signal the body to make more cannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors. That’s why many first-time CBD users don’t feel an effect, but then, they start to by their second or third use.
Dr. Dustin Sulak believes that small, regular doses of CBD might act as a tonic for our central healing system.
How To Choose a Safe and Effective CBD Product
CBD is everywhere, and it’s a “Wild Wild West” out there with few products really matching their claims.
Of 84 online CBD products, 26% contained less CBD than their labels stated, and 43% contained significantly more, according to a 2017 analysis.
Not only that, but many CBD products also have toxins (from low-quality extraction), parabens, synthetic chemicals, and artificial fragrances.
The thing is, no regulatory oversight exists for most CBD products. So, companies can generally get away with whatever they want. You want to support a small business that cares a lot about its supply chains.
Additionally, CBD acts as a “hyperaccumulator.” This means hemp plants easily absorb any toxins or heavy metals in the soil where they’re grown.
That’s why you must seek out quality brands that use high-quality hemp and the cleanest extraction methods, and make it easy to verify their purity through third-party lab testing.
Full-spectrum CBD products are also the best way to effectively support your endocannabinoid system for better balance.
So, to summarize, your best choice is a CBD product that is organic, full-spectrum, and tested by third parties to be safe.
CBD — A Promising Natural Option for Balancing the Body, for Better Brain and Body Health
There’s no denying we live in a challenging world. From daily stressors to lack of sleep to toxins in our air and water, and so much more.
CBD helps bring our bodies and mind back to balance, back to homeostasis, where they work best.
Some researchers are saying that a healthy endocannabinoid system is essential for good health; not just desired, but essential. And with minimal to no negative side effects, it just may make sense to begin taking CBD regularly. Your entire body and mind will thank you!
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.
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