It seems like everywhere you look today CBD products are in the news or being promoted in advertising. This boom has taken over the health, beauty, and even the food industry in the last two years in the United States. However, this boom didn't happen in a vacuum; it has taken many years of patience, education, and tireless effort to help the FDA and the mainstream media understand the innumerable health benefits of CBD oils and CBD lotions for pain.
Until the results from more scientific studies are available for the FDA to review the proof of CBD's effectiveness in treating or managing a number of health conditions, the anecdotal and testimonial evidence online is overwhelming. People across the country are finding relief from pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and memory loss with CBD products.
How CBD works
One of the biggest hurdles for the medical industry with CBD (cannabidiol) products is that scientists have an understanding of how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system for pain and anxiety, but they don't yet understand why it tames conditions such as epilepsy.
The effectiveness in many patients, however, cannot be denied. The FDA approved the use of Epidiolex, a CBD drug for epilepsy patients in June 2018. This opened the door to many more studies on the health benefits of CBD, which are being conducted every day.
CBD works by activating the CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of our bodies. The ECS contains CB1 and CB2 receptors which have been found to regulate our immune systems and control functions such as sleep and appetite. CBD encourages the bonding properties of CB2 receptors, which lowers the oxidative stress chemicals that cause inflammation in muscle and joint tissues. Topical CBD cream and CBD oil for pain relief have seen some of the most promising results in pain management.
The ECS system increases cannabinoids after injury, illness, and even after exercise. Some scientists think that endorphins are not the cause of the "runner's high"; instead, they believe the increase of cannabinoids is the cause of this phenomenon.
The role of inflammation in pain and disease
As more scientific studies are being done on subjects such as autoimmune disease and chronic pain, there is increasing evidence that links inflammation as a root cause or primary contributor. People who suffer from ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, psoriasis, and even Alzheimer's disease display significant issues with inflammation.
While the links between autoimmune diseases and inflammation become clearer with each trial and study conducted by the scientific medical community, the reasons for the dysfunction of the inflammation response remain unclear. Some have hypothesized that the reason may be found in the components of the "Western Diet."
There haven't been any definitive links found to a westernized diet yet, but there are some interesting factors to consider, according to this study. For instance, there are more polyphenols and n3-PUFAs, which are immune-system boosting macronutrients in Mediterranean foods. A study conducted involving laboratory mice showed that extra virgin olive oil, which is rich with polyphenols, reduced the effects of ulcerative colitis in the mice. This suggests that polyphenols may play a role in reducing inflammation and thus reducing an autoimmune condition that affects millions of people. Harvard doctors have also suggested a diet with a variety of healthy foods to combat chronic pain.
Others have posited that inflammation is caused by exposure to environmental factors, processed sugars in food, and other dietary triggers. Doctors have already identified a link between stress and inflammation, and it is more likely to occur in people who are overweight or obese.
The impact of inflammation over time
Over time, inflammation can have a significant detrimental impact on the immune cells, even changing their genetic structure. This can lead to a rise in autoimmune diseases, terminal illnesses, depression, memory loss, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's disease, and many more.
The rise of these illnesses has led to plenty of scientific investigations, and the reasons why inflammation is on the rise is still being looked into. However, CBD has been remarkably effective at reducing many of the symptoms of these diseases. Because of its known role in reducing and eliminating the oxidative stress levels in muscles and tissues, it has taken center stage in the fight against inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
CBD use in autoimmune diseases and chronic pain
Anecdotal evidence throughout generations of people has suggested many health benefits related to the use of cannabis. Cannabis, the female flowering plant that contains the psychotropic THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. However, the hypnotic effects of THC were a major drawback, both for patients seeking relief from pain in order to function at work or home, and in the eyes of the government.
CBD, on the other hand, is derived from the male plant hemp, which contains no THC. The CBD extracted from hemp also has much larger quantities of CBD, making it more desirable than extracting CBD from cannabis. This has also eliminated many of the obstacles to its testing as a medicinal drug for those suffering from chronic pain, seizures, and autoimmune diseases. It is even showing significant promise as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease, brain damage, and memory loss.
The targeted use of hemp instead of cannabis has also made CBD more desirable to patients who want relief from their symptoms but also want to be able to drive, work, and be themselves around family and friends. In fact, it is one of the primary treatments for age-related health issues, including arthritis, and people in the boomer generation are some of the biggest proponents of the health benefits of CBD. They are finding relief through topical CBD lotions for pain, and they aren't afraid to tell their friends and family about it. CBD oil for arthritis pain is the most popular use of CBD by boomers.
CBD's rise in popularity
Besides the boomer population, CBD is finding an increasing market among people of all ages, from millennials to Gen Xers. People even see amazing results when they use CBD on their pets who may suffer from seizures or arthritis pain. Pet owners also see results when they employ CBD oils for their pets who are scared of thunder or fireworks, seeing an immediate calming result on their furry family members.
For men and women in the workforce, the daily grind, stress, and influx of electronic alerts have resulted in a high level of daily stress. This has been widely seen as a source of chronic anxiety and depression for many people struggling to get through their daily lives and stressors. CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety in almost 80% and improve sleep in over half of patients charted through studies. Anxiety and depression are closely linked with one another, and CBD has shown immense promise as a treatment for depression as well.
Part of CBD's draw is the fact that it is touted as "all-natural" and "plant-based" by most companies who cultivate and sell CBD products. This is a huge selling point for a public that is increasingly worried about genetically modified foods and non-organic products. CBD has also seen an upsurge of social media popularity. With social networking, many people have taken to their camera phones to document the effects using CBD has on them, their children, and their pets. From seizures to Parkinson's tremors to arthritis pain, these users show the improvements that the people and pets experience from CBD oil, and the relief usually sets in in under a minute.
Another benefit of CBD is that it does not have to be smoked or inhaled to be used. Many businesses are cashing in on the CBD trend, offering CBD-infused drinks, pizza, and candies. The edible properties of CBD are slower than topical usage, but many consumers report a CBD "glow" that makes them feel more open, relaxed, and creative.
Making hemp legal
While the popularity of CBD has been steadily on the rise throughout the last five years, especially with more anecdotal and scientific studies to support it, it really came into the public eye with the legalization of hemp through the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Previously, hemp had been classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. Hemp was lumped in with the other cannabis varieties, despite the fact that it does not create hypnotic effects because it contains less than 0.3% THC.
Previous versions of this agricultural bill had been attempted to pass through congress in 2013 and 2015, but they were met with failure when it came to hemp. Once passed in 2018, it opened the door not only for CBD products, but for other hemp-based products including paper, textiles, and rope. It's even stronger than steel, and there are prototypes of hemp cars already on the road. Henry Ford first approached this idea in the 1940s with a plant-derived plastic frame that included biological components such as hemp, corn, and cotton.
When hemp was officially legalized in 2018, hemp-derived CBD became legal in all 50 states and could be transported across state lines. To be considered hemp-derived CBD, the oil or lotion must:
- Contain less than 0.3% THC
- Be cultivated by a licensed grower
- Meet state and federal regulations
Some states have stricter regulations on CBD that is derived from cannabis and contains higher levels of THC. There are also mixes of hemp-derived CBD which incorporate THC, and this is not legal in all 50 states. Make sure you check the hemp oil for pain relief you buy for its ingredients before traveling to another state to ensure it is legal.
The alternative to pharmaceutical drugs
Another reason for CBD's rise in popularity is that it's often seen as an alternative to traditional pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmaceutical drugs, including anti-depressants, medications for schizophrenia, and other medications often have detrimental side effects.
CBD is also seen as an answer to the addictive qualities of pharmaceuticals, including anti-anxiety medications and pain-relieving opioids. According to the CDC, 46 people die each day from prescription opioid-related overdoses. The opioid epidemic has become an epidemic because of these prescriptions: the overprescribing and misuse, combined with the addictive qualities of such powerful drugs.
Most people know a friend, family member, or coworker who has been affected by prescription opioid abuse and overdose. It's no wonder that more people look to avoid opioids for their chronic pain and want to turn to something like CBD oil for pain management instead. A new study suggests that CBD may even help to combat opioid cravings and may be instrumental in opioid-addiction treatments.
CBD in beauty products
Not only has CBD set the stage for breakthroughs in medical treatments, but it has also opened a whole new world of beauty and skin care treatments. CBD is an antioxidant, more powerful than vitamins C or E. Because of these benefits, CBD is promoted as an anti-aging solution since it promotes and protects the production of collagen and prevents DNA damage to cells.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it also can eliminate the redness associated with rosacea and acne, and clear up breakouts from acne, eczema, and psoriasis. CBD has become so popular that beauty lines such as Ulta and Sephora are now carrying CBD products which claim to both calm skin and heal skin damage.
CBD for women
One of the most exciting effects of the CBD boom is the influx of women-run and women-inspired products on the market. Whoopi Goldberg came up with a line of CBD products called Whoopi & Maya, which claims to help ease menstrual pain and cramping. Gretchen Lidicker of Mindbodygreen.com attributes the rise of women-run CBD businesses to the fact that women are tired of being dehumanized and ignored by health care and beauty industries.
Female celebrities have also been the first and loudest to promote the use of CBD products for their health. Actresses on the red carpet have been vocal about using CBD oil to help with the pain from wearing high heels for long hours, and muscle aches after long days on the set. Jennifer Aniston uses CBD to help with anxiety and stress. Emma Roberts uses CBD-infused bath products for ultimate relaxation.
With more celebrities talking about CBD, CBD products have enjoyed a short rise to fame on TV, in magazines, and on social media outlets.
Many scientists and doctors will caution that we don't yet know all of the potential benefits or true longevity of benefits associated with CBD. However, through this new women-friendly, celebrity-embraced, pet-friendly, and seemingly eco-conscious CBD industry, it's safe to say that the boom will continue. Hopefully, the research to prove its multitude of benefits will also continue.