Just a few years ago, hardly anyone had heard of CBD, it was very difficult to purchase, and the health benefits of CBD were widely unknown. Yet CBD as an isolated compound has been around for decades (it was discovered in 1940 and its structure was fully understood in 1963), and people have been using its parent plant, cannabis, for centuries. And (spoiler alert!) I think it has some incredible health benefits that can enjoyed safely for most people. Let’s dive into all things CBD!
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring compound found in the flower of the plant cannabis. CBD is one of hundreds of cannabinoids that are found in cannabis (or marijuana), and each of the cannabinoids have unique properties and benefits. One of the other cannabinoids is THC, which is the component that makes you feel high when you smoke marijuana. It’s very important to distinguish these, and know that CBD cannot make you high! It’s worth noting that there are several other cannabinoids that show promising health benefits, and I believe that over the coming years, we’ll pay more attention to components aside from just CBD.
Is CBD legal?
The short answer is yes, or at least mostly. Buying CBD products is legal; however, oddly, selling CBD products can be illegal, depending on the origin of the CBD. This is mostly a technicality that you can read more about here, but CBD can be widely purchased in walk-in stores and online in all 50 states. I’ve been buying CBD online for years, have traveled across state lines and in airports with it, and have never experienced an issue (you can find more about legality in each state here. Still, make an informed decision for yourself, and please don’t take this post as legal advice.
What are the health benefits of CBD?
I could have (and considered!) written my Masters thesis on the health benefits of CBD, so this post will just skim the surface of the many health benefits of CBD. CBD can be used to help many conditions;
Here are a few of the top ones:
- Anxiety: By far, most people who are using CBD are using it to manage nonclinical anxiety. Studies are still emerging, but some like this and this show promising benefits in managing general anxiety, feelings of overwhelm, racing mind, and nervousness.
- ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative conditions: evidence is still emerging, but several studies like this and this show promising benefits.
- Diabetes: there is interesting emerging evidence showing that either isolated CBD or marijuana as a whole can help in keeping blood sugar stable and preventing onset of diabetes. Here is one such study.
- Inflammation: Our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors, which CBD acts upon, regulate inflammation, balance the immune system, and help us reduce oxidative stress, so CBD can potentially be helpful in reducing inflammation.
- Pain: CBD is being effectively used to treat chronic pain in several forms, as shown in this study.
- Seizures: Several studies including this one show benefits for children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
- Sleep quality: Many studies show that CBD can improve sleep quality, decrease latency, and reduce disturbances. Here is one review of several clinical trials.
- Other conditions: many claim that CBD is helping them with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, IBS and IBD, schizophrenia, breaking addictive behaviors, acne, psoriasis, and even cancer. I have not researched these claims, so I do not have an opinion, but find them very interesting!
What are the side effects of CBD?
For most people, none, although some people have reported nausea, fatigue, or irritability. If you are on coumadin, CBD is not recommended, and I would recommend checking interaction with any other medications you are on as well.
How I use CBD
I regularly use CBD to improve sleep quality. I’ll take 5-10mg of a chewable or capsule about 20 minutes before bed on nights when I feel my mind may be racing and preventing me from quality sleep. I notice significant benefits in my sleep quality (as tracked by my Oura Ring and Fitbit).
I also use CBD occasionally during busy or stressful work days, or days when I feel my anxiety creeping up. For me, it’s not a “magic pill” – I find just as much instant relief with the breathing exercises, gratitude practices, and simple mental tricks that I’ve been using for years (and teach my clients). I simply think of CBD as one tool in my toolkit to manage my own anxiety.
Finally, I use CBD salve or balm on aching muscles to manage inflammation and soreness. I think it was highly beneficial in managing my plantar fasciitis, and may help me recover quickly from tough workouts.
Brands I recommend
- Pure Spectrum CBD: excellent quality testing (so much so that they partner with professional sports organizations like the Kansas City Royals and the USA Olympic Triathlon Committee!). I like the mints and the tinctures. Use code WYW (for Wellness Your Way, my podcast!) for a discount.
- Joy Organics: High quality products with clean, organic ingredients, and detailed lab testing for each product and batch. I like the Premium CBD Softgels with curcumin (also anti-inflammatory!), and the topical salve for aches and pains.
- ChillFrog CBD: Also clean and organic ingredients that are great quality and easy to use. I like the Chill gummies and the under-the-tongue drops (Chill tincture) from them, and you can use code LYONS30 for 30% off any of their products!
Now it’s your turn … Have you tried CBD? What benefits do you experience?