How CBD Can Help Your Path to Happiness

Posted by Gaby Wallace on June 14th, 2019

Cannabis is an ancient part of traditional natural medicine; but taken whole, it can have its drawbacks.

People can react unpredictably to its psychoactive effects—most feel mellowed out, but some get more anxious, even paranoid. And even if you like the way it makes you feel, it can impair your ability to do certain tasks.

That’s why the cannabis extract known as cannabidiol, or CBD, is becoming increasingly popular. It provides many of the natural benefits of cannabis but does not include the psychoactive ingredient, THC.

CBD oil has recently become much more widely available around the world, giving us more opportunity to learn what it can do.

Maintaining the body’s natural cycles

Cannabis works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which sends certain molecules, called neurotransmitters, between cells.

The ECS helps to maintain the body’s homeostasis, keeping the right balance of sleeping and waking, remembering and forgetting, eating and metabolizing, and generating new cells to replace the old.

The ECS also regulates the immune system’s response to injury and illness, giving it some control over inflammation and pain. This likely explains why cannabis’ earliest use in natural medicine was for diarrhea, which results from inflamed intestines. More recently, it’s been a popular option for migraines.

Anxiety and relaxation also are subject to ECS regulation. THC, as noted, can both diminish stress and increase it, but CBD seems to lower anxiety without having the opposite effect. Also, without the presence of THC, it seems to enable people to relax without overly sedating them.

CBD helps you stay in the present

Emotional memories can weigh people down if they haven’t properly processed them. Traumatic memories can leave lingering fears and negative thoughts even after the danger is long past. Even happy memories can be a problem if you keep returning addictively to what created them.

Scientists are still working out CBD’s exact role in memory processing, but it does seem to weaken the grip of both kinds of memories.

One study found that cannabis users who smoked high-CBD strains were less sensitive to drug and food stimuli than those smoking high-THC strains. Normally these stimuli trigger cravings based on past associations.

CBD has also shown promise as an application for post-traumatic stress disorder, due both to its role in memory processing and soothing anxiety. Phobias often work in a similarly memory-based way, so sufferers may also benefit.

CBD and sleep

One recurring issue that comes up with mood-altering substances is what they do to your sleep pattern. Something that perks you up, like caffeine, can prevent sleep. Something that calms you down, like alcohol or sleeping pills, can put you to sleep at first but disturb the natural cycles of lighter and deeper sleep throughout the night.

CBD doesn’t appear to do either, but many people find it still helps them sleep. The anti-anxiety effect no doubt helps, but the ECS also plays a role in circadian rhythms—the daily cycle of sleeping and waking. One study found that even a high dose of CBD did not disturb a normal sleep-wake cycle, so its role appears to be benign.

CBD and cell protection

If you’ve known enough stoners that you’re worried that taking a cannabis product might damage your brain, rest assured that CBD, if anything, has the opposite effect.

Research indicates that CBD can be considered a neuroprotective, meaning that it can help prevent damage to nerve cells—including brain cells—brought about by stress or illness. It may even help protect against harm from injury, given that one animal experiment found that CBD seemed to reduce the effect of spinal trauma.

Another concern that you might have heard about cannabis is that it gives you the munchies. Again, THC seems to be mostly responsible for that; studies show either that CBD reduces appetite or has no effect on it at all.

Is CBD right for you?

Inflammation, pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, injury—pretty much everyone experiences something at some point that CBD oil might help to alleviate.

Without the side effects of THC, there isn’t much risk in trying it. It’s certainly not going to take the place of good life practices like diet, meditation, yoga, exercise, etc., but it might help get through some rough spots.

As in everything, the key is finding the right balance.

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Gaby Wallace

About the Author

Gaby Wallace
Joined: May 7th, 2018
Articles Posted: 14

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