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If you're anything like I am, you've been thinking, What is this CBD oil everyone is talking about, and what does it do? Well, in case you don't have the time to research CBD oil benefits, we're doing it for you. So here we go: CBD is actually cannabidiol, which is one of the 100-plus chemical compounds that's found in the cannabis (aka marijuana) plant. However, when CBD is alone—it's usually diluted with a carrier oil—and not mixed with tetrahydrocannabinol, you'll get the pain-relieving aspects without the high.
Although you may have seen a surge in the popularity of CBD oil lately, it's only legal in states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal. That said, things may change soon. "The medical world is realizing that its list of medical benefits continues to grow," says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS. So far, it's been getting props for helping to treat chronic pain and anxiety, but its health uses extend way beyond that. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of CBD and how this so-called cure-all might just work for you.
Managing Chronic Pain
One of the main benefits that researchers believe CBD oil is good for is pain relief—although it's worth noting that the FDA has not approved CBD oil for this use. Experts believe that the oil influences receptors located in your brain and immune system to create a "pain-killing effect." Studies have shown decreased pain for those with multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and even some types of cancer. A 2016 study delved deeper into the treatment of arthritis, only to find that rats with the condition who were given a CBD-oil gel experienced less inflammation and overall joint pain.
In these days of uncertainty, feelings of anxiety are all too common. Now, CBD oil may be a way to do calm this. A 2011 study found that cannabidiol helped to decrease anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder (aka SAD). The researchers were able to see via brain scans that blood flow changed in areas that were related to anxiety. Not only did the participants in the study feel less stressed, but the chemical also altered how their brain reacted to stressors. An analysis conducted in 2015 based on previous studies suggested that CBD oil may be effective at treating various anxiety-related conditions other than SAD—including OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.
We’ve already discussed a variety of foods that can help you tame feelings of nausea, but CBD oil may also be a great way to get rid of an uneasy stomach (considering when you feel nauseous, you don't feel hungry). Animal studies have proven that both CBD and THC help when it comes to reducing feelings of nausea and vomiting. A 2012 study conducted on rats showed that small amounts of CBD oil can reduce feelings of anxiety and vomiting, but larger amounts can actually cause nausea.
Treating Skin Conditions
"Applying cannabis oil to the skin stimulates the shredding of dead skin cells and promotes a fresh and glowing appearance," says Axe. What's more, since CBD oil helps produce lipids, it can actually work to treat acne and dry skin. On top of this, it's packed with antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals that can cause wrinkles and fine lines (hello, younger-looking skin). Also, since CBD oil can be used to reduce feelings of stress, acne, rosacea, and dry skin, breakouts could occur less often.
Preventing Heart Disease
Yes, you can prevent heart disease, and CBD oil may just be another way to do this. Studies have found that using the product may be able to ward off everything from coronary heart disease to stroke and heart attacks. Furthermore, in 2014, researchers at the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham conducted a study that points to CBD oil causing blood vessels to relax and open. (When your blood vessels relax, it results in lower blood pressure and better circulation to keep your heart healthy.)
Additional research must be done to provide concrete evidence that CBD oil treats all of these conditions in humans. But in the meantime, it may be worth considering giving it a try. Just check in with your doctor first if you have any pre-existing health conditions or general reservations.
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