It seems like every week, another new “superfruit” is hitting the headlines. But what even is a “super” fruit? Marvel’s new food-based spin off series? But all joking aside there does seem to be a problem with new trends and phases in nutrition. Most of the time these trends don’t have much actual science backing them up and tend to just be marketing schemes. However, one current phase, which might remind some of the phase of experimentation they had in college, might just be the real deal. A cannabis derived supplement called CBD, or cannabinol, has some actual science pointing towards a range of health benefits.
I’d like to welcome to the blog my brother, Dave Hein, who is currently a senior at the University of Texas Austin, majoring in chemistry. While he is not a medical professional, he spent quite a bit of time researching CBD so I could share it with you, my readers. So let’s begin!
Is CBD oil legal?
The first thing to note about CBD is that even though it is derived from cannabis, it is perfectly legal in all 50 states. Also, it won’t get you high, so don’t worry about trying it and accidentally eating a whole roll of cookie dough. So what’s it even good for then? Well actually, a whole lot.
Benefits of CBD Oil
One of the most promising uses of CBD is in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Researchers at NYU have found that CBD possesses potent anxiety reducing properties.1 They suggested that CBD be further investigated for use in generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, social anxiety disorder, and PTSD. This conclusion should be taken with a grain of salt though because it is not completely conclusive. The study says that the compound has great potential, however more research, particularly long-term research, is required to 100% say that CBD can treat those disorders.
Another study found that CBD can lessen pain and inflammation in arthritis patients.2 This is a wonderful discovery because CBD does not have the addictive properties of opioid painkillers. With its strong anti-inflammatory effects, it’s not surprising that CBD may be a treatment in another inflammatory disease, acne. A study that used a 3% cannabis seed extract applied to the face found that skin sebum content decreased significantly after 12 weeks.3 Sebum overproduction is heavily intertwined with acne thus the study suggests more research is needed for the role of CBD in acne.
Does CBD oil have any side effects?
So why are people taking this supplement even though its effects are not fully known? One major reason is that its side effects are quite mild. In a study on CBD side effects in epilepsy patients, researchers found that CBD had a better side effect profile than other commonly used drugs, with the most common being tiredness and changes in appetite.4 CBD appears to be a supplement that is well tolerated and safe to use for most people. However, the interactions of CBD with other prescription drugs, as well as safety while pregnant/breastfeeding, is not fully known, so you should always consult your doctor before trying it.
If you do decide to try CBD make sure you do your research first. Be aware of what companies are reputable vendors and definitely don’t buy CBD from the local head shop in town. Often cheap CBD oils can be completely bunk and could contain just about anything.5 Search around and find a good company that has published 3rd party analysis of its products. Another thing to keep in mind is that “full spectrum” extracts work better than pure CBD. There are other chemicals in cannabis called terpenoids that have many additional health benefits. When CBD is combined with terpenoids its effectiveness is increased, through what is called the “entourage effect”.6 All the chemicals in the cannabis oil work together to provide its wide range of benefits. CBD is usually sold as an oil that can be taken orally, under the tongue, or applied to the skin. Make sure you look at the recommended dosing instructions on whatever product you decide to buy.
Personally, I’ve had a great experience with CBD. As a senior chemistry major at UT Austin my workload can get pretty stressful. Ive been using CBD for about 6 months and it definitely helps me relax at the end of a long day. So to conclude, yes CBD has the potential to be a wonderful supplement for a wide range of ailments, however, make sure you don’t get caught up in the hype. A great website for more information about CBD, as well as a good list of quality vendors, is https://www.projectcbd.org/.
CBD Oil Resources
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!