In the UK alone, around 250,000 people are waking up to the benefits of CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis sativa plant, with the extracted oil being used in various CBD-based products including spirits like ours, edibles, beauty products and tinctures. Unlike THC, a psychoactive component of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) will not get you ‘high’. Rather than that, studies have shown that receptors in the brain associated with things like pain and anxiety are triggered.
As such, more and more benefits and uses of CBD are being discovered and applied to products spanning the lifestyle and wellbeing industries. Below we list some of the more surprising applications.
1. Anti-ageing benefits
As we get older and enter our thirties, our skin naturally produces less natural oils. This explains the onset of wrinkles, which become more and more exaggerated as we age. The industry that helps us all look younger is worth over £40 billion. More and more people are turning to moisturisers and serums that contain CBD oil, and the products seems to be working. The CBD skincare market is now worth over half a billion pounds, and market signals point to significant growth over the next couple of decades.
Why does it work? Skincare professionals think it’s because of a link between a human’s endocannabinoid system and the oil secretion process within our skin’s glands. CBD has been shown to stimulate CB2 receptors within our central nervous systems, which produces more lipids, which in turn encourages our skin cells to secrete more natural oils, therefore reducing the effects of ageing. As well as that, CBD is known to be a powerful antioxidant. This means that by having CBD on your skin, harmful chemicals and free radicals in the air can be fought off more effectively.
2. Improved Cognition
One of the most well documented effects of THC is its inhibitive effect on brain cognition. On the other hand, CBD could be having the opposite effect, and might have the potential to improve cognition.
Some research has suggested that CBD encourages the growth and expansion of neurons, which are responsible for the transmission of signals and information in the human body. By opening up more of these nervous superhighways, brain deterioration can be reduced and memory and other cognitive functions improved.
As such, CBD is now more commonly being used in the treatment of diseases and conditions related to dementia, such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. This is because CBD has been found to slow brain cell decline, reduce the impact of inflammation and oxygen buildup in the brain.
3. Addiction assistance
We’ve already mentioned the human’s endocannabinoid system. When a human ingests nicotine through smoking a cigarette or vaping, it is the endocannabinoid system that reacts dramatically. Using CBD has been shown to reduce cravings for nicotine on a chemical level. One particular piece of research into this phenomenon showed that nicotine addicts who took CBD reduced the amount they smoked by 40%. For the other group in the study who were given placebo CBD, no reduction in cravings were noted.
CBD is also showing positive signs of helping those with heroin addiction too. A piece of research conducted by the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that some addicts experienced a two-to-three-times reduction in their cravings. The study also showed that the group in the research showed signs of reduced pain and anxiety. It was suggested that this in itself could reduce the likelihood of users becoming addicted in the first place.
4. Post-exercise recovery
We’ve all experienced the sensation of soreness and stiffness after a heavy bout of exercise. Whilst for some this is a satisfying sensation worn as a badge of an effective workout, for others it can make going about their normal business a struggle, and might even act as a deterrent to ever working out that hard again!
Tests with CBD have been shown to reduce muscle inflammation after a workout, and can reduce the amount of time that users suffer soreness. Again, this is to do with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. People have reported benefits after rubbing CBD-infused creams and gels into the affected areas. So don’t worry, you can be back in the gym in no time!
5. Happier pets
It’s not just humans who are reaping the benefits of CBD. Some animals exhibit signs of fear and anxiety just like humans do. Separation anxiety in dogs is probably one of the best-documented behavioural traits related to anxiety, and owners will do anything to calm their nervous pets.
Whilst other medications and professional animal behaviourists are still popular solutions, many pet owners have turned to CBD as an alternative. While the evidence uncovered by research into the effects that CBD has on animals is purely anecdotal, a 2018 study showed positive signs in it increasing comfort levels for dogs with osteoarthritis, and a 2019 study showed that epileptic dogs who’d taken CBD had less seizures. The substance was declared safe for animals in 2017 in a World Health Organisation report.
The reported anxiety-related benefits that pet owners have reported in their pets after having given them controlled CBD doses lead some to suggest that by 2023, 7% of all CBD sales will be for pet-related, rather than human-related, products. Due to a current lack of regulation in the industry, pet owners are encouraged to carefully check the label of any products they buy with the intention of giving to their pets.
By Nick Pullen & Saf Ali