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How CBD Products Work

This article is kindly contributed by Amelia Noble.

Amelia Noble is a researcher with the CBD Awareness Project. When she’s not working, you can find her playing board games.

CBD products have grown in popularity in recent years. They’ve been touted for their therapeutic potential for a variety of conditions, and many people see benefits from CBD use. But it can be tough to wade through the hype and figure out exactly how CBD works (and what it can do to help you).

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It comes from the cannabis plant, which can also produce THC. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects. But it can offer some of the health benefits without the high of marijuana. Typically,  CBD oil and other CBD products come from hemp, which has only trace amounts of THC. Though sometimes, CBD products are sourced from marijuana and may have a higher concentration of THC.

The use of CBD is generally considered safe. According to the World Health Organization, side effects are rare and typically mild when they occur. And it shows a little risk of dependency or addiction.

Generally, CBD is attractive to users who want to take advantage of some of the therapeutic effects of marijuana, but don’t want to experience the high. It can be a good alternative for people who are considering treatment with side effects, too. For example, people who struggle with insomnia and are considering sleep medications, which unlike CBD can come with a risk of dependency and side effects.

How CBD Helps

CBD can offer therapeutic relief for a variety of conditions, as it can be anti-inflammatory, relieve anxiety, and more. Research suggests CBD may be helpful for conditions including:

  • Mental health conditions, including anxiety, PTSD and depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea or low appetite
  • Migraines
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

CBD works by affecting your body’s endocannabinoid system. This system regulates mood, motor control, pain, inflammation, sleep, digestion, and more. CBD binds to your cannabinoid receptors, many of which are in the brain. When CBD binds to these receptors, it can help your endocannabinoid system work better with your nervous system, digestive system, and immune system.

Using CBD For Therapy

You can take CBD in a variety of forms. CBD oil is a popular way to take CBD, but other options include:

  • Vaping or smoking
  • Edibles, gummies, or capsules
  • Tinctures
  • Oil, lotion or extract on your skin

Each option can have its benefits and drawbacks, typically revolving around delivery speed and effectiveness. It can take longer for oral ingestion to take effect, but the effects can last longer. Vaping can offer faster relief, but a shorter effect. For example, if you need help getting to sleep quickly, vaping might be a good choice. But if you need help staying asleep, you might prefer oral ingestion, which could help you sleep better through the night.

CBD isn’t for everyone, but it does show promise for therapeutic relief both in research and use. If you’re considering CBD, it’s a low-risk option to try if you’re struggling with a condition CBD can help with. Talk to your doctor about how you can make CBD part of your therapeutic regimen.

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