CBD oil is proving itself in Australia as the all-natural plant based alternative to many side effect prone pharmaceutical drugs. This special compound known as Cannabidiol is derived from oil contained in industrial hemp plants that contain 0.2% THC or less. As such this oil, although being extracted from cannabis, can’t get you ‘high’. It also means it’s safe for those with existing mental conditions as the risk of mind altering states is removed. Despite this it is still used extensively in Australia for everything from arthritis and joint pains, inflammation and stress, anxiety and depression, topical irritation or skin dryness and more .
Cannabis contains more than 100 bioactive nutrients and phyto-nutrients including cannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, minerals and other nutrients like vitamins. It’s this combination of nutrients and healthy antioxidants that sets it apart in terms of health benefits for us. It has therapeutic applications from common everyday ailments to treating serious illness. There are both high and low strength formulas on offer in Australia now after laws were changed in 2020 to legalize CBD and enable its purchase in pharmacies. So whether you’re looking at CBD oil for your anxiety and stress or just want less sore joints after working out, this write up will be exploring the top benefits it has to offer.
What is CBD oil and how is it made?
As we mentioned there are a large number of compounds and nutrients contained within hemp oil. For this reason hemp is exceedingly useful and is already being used to produce products ranging from soaps and balms to moisturizer and even food proteins like hemp protein. With full spectrum CBD oil, the oil is extracted from a ‘whole plant’ source – the entire hemp plant is used from leaves, buds to stems. Each plant part contains different nutrients and cannabinoids meaning in combination you obtain the ‘full spectrum’ of hemp’s beneficial natural chemicals. This is why you will see oils labeled ‘full spectrum’ in Australia while other types like isolates contain only CBD. Isolates strip away the useful phytonutrients contained in hemp oil – isolating just the cannabidiol compound.
How is CBD oil made? It is a concentrate extracted from the cannabis plant. During the extraction process, the harvested and dried hemp plants are decarboxylated. During this chemical process, carbon dioxide gas is used to break down the plant matter into its components and derive a concentrated plant resin. This resin is then further processed to separate physical material from liquid (hemp oil) which contains the highest levels of cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and CBD. In the case of full spectrum oil – all plant parts are used. For isolate oils – only the buds are typically used. It’s an important distinction – full spectrum oils contain compounds known as terpenes. These are scent chemicals naturally produced in many plants like lavender and hemp. They are thought to trigger the endocannabinoid system’s activation and produce the entourage effect, amplifying the effects and benefits of other cannabinoids in the body. How this specifically works is not fully understood – they may improve uptake of cannabinoids via the CB1 and CB2 receptors across the brain and body.
How does CBD work?
In order to understand how CBD benefits your health, you first must understand the human endocannabinoid system. This system is part of the nervous system and has effects on the immune system, metabolism and pain relief. By altering this system you are therefore able to directly influence pain, metabolic and immune system health – plus other functions like sleep. Research has shown that CBD and some other cannabinoids like CBG are able to cause the endocannabinoid system to activate – it’s otherwise largely dormant in the body. When these cannabinoids are consumed, the compounds bind to receptors in the brain and body known as CB1 and CB2 receptors (‘CB’ meaning cannabinoid). The CB1 receptors are largely located in the brain and central nervous system. These can influence coordination, sleep, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, and memory. THC also directly binds to these receptors. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are found more frequently in the immune system and throughout the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, organs, glands, digestive tract, skin and tissues. . They affect inflammation and pain. All cannabinoids, including CBD, can naturally bind to certain cannabinoid receptors in the body to produce their beneficial effects.
The human body can make its own cannabinoids. These endogenous substances are called endocannabinoids.The reason CBD is so beneficial is its responsibility in producing the endocannabinoid anandamide. ‘Endo’ here means the body produces it itself – the cannabinoid is simply a trigger. Anandamide provides analgesic and anxiolytic effects with no side effects. Some cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, including cannabidiol, are agonists. This means that they can occupy a receptor and activate signal transmission in a specific cell. Cannabidiol from the cannabis plant therefore acts effectively as a hormone and neurotransmitter in the body. The difference is that it imitates or replaces certain messenger substances in its effect.
Top Benefits of CBD
- Pain relief
There are a huge range of therapeutic applications of CBD oil. Both physical and mental illnesses can be mitigated or even resolved. Due to its pain-relieving and anticonvulsant effect, it is used for serious illnesses such as migraines, sclerosis, arthritis and even Parkinson’s in some cases. However, it is also used for minor everyday issues such as cramps, nausea and sleep disorders. Cannabis was already in-use from around 2900 BC to treat pain in China and India. Recently, scientists discovered that certain components of it, including CBD, are responsible for its analgesic or pain relieving effects. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce chronic pain by interacting with neurotransmitters responsible for pain and down-regulating their response. While most pharmaceutical pain relief and numbing drugs work in the central nervous system, hemp oil works in the peripheral nervous system. It is able to act rapidly on muscle cramps, spasms or tension. CBD oil’s analgesic effects can make chronic pain symptoms more bearable for patients.
Arthritis is when the joints are inflamed. This is characterized in particular by the formation of joint effusions, redness, swelling, etc. This can have two causes. For one thing, bacteria can enter via an open wound in the bloodstream, getting to the joint. This means that germs have entered the body during an operation and consequently cause inflammation in the joint. Hemp oil has a relaxing and pain-relieving effect, so that the disease appears more bearable for those affected. CBD can help reduce symptoms and side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and cancer-related pain. One study looked at the effects of full spectrum CBD oil in 177 people with cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from analgesics. Those treated with an extract containing both compounds had significant pain reduction compared to those treated with only THC extract.
- Anxiety and Depression
In Australia, depression and anxiety are some of the most common forms of chronic illness with significant mental and physical repercussions. Around 1 in 4 Australians is expected to experience these often debilitating ailments, and depression is expected to be the most common illness globally in 2022. Many are treating these issues with anti depressants such as SSRIs but these can have serious side effects and health consequences such as drowsiness, insomnia and irritability. Often these can also be addictive and extremely hard to wean off from, leading to long term health problems. Being anxiolytic, cannabidiol is able to reduce the symptoms and effects of anxiety and help users get back on their feet. Multiple clinical studies have shown it has the ability to reduce symptoms of multiple forms of anxiety, including social anxiety and general anxiety disorders. It’s non addictive and entirely natural which avoids the potential liver toxicity, addiction and sleep problems that pharmaceuticals like SSRIs can cause. CBD also can help to improve mood, focus and bring mental calm – all of which is important to get the best day to day life quality for those suffering from mental problems.
Acne is a common skin condition that affects more than 9% of the population. It is believed that this is due to a number of factors including genetics, bacteria, inflammation and the overproduction of sebum, an oily one secretion produced by sebum glands in the skin. Based on recent scientific studies, CBD can reduce anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to reduce sebum production, used to treat acne conditions. A test-tube study showed that full spectrum CBD oil prevented sebum glands from producing excessive sebum, anti-inflammatory exert effects and activation of “pro-acne” drugs that prevent inflammatory cytokines. Another study had similar results and came to the conclusion that CBD, thanks to its remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, is an effective and safe way to treat acne. Although these results are promising, studies are on people needed to see the effects of CBD on acne to investigate. CBD can be due to the anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to prevent overproduction of the Controlling sebum breakdown has a beneficial effect on acne.
- Sleep problems
Because CBD acts on the CB1 receptors in the brain, it is able to help to regulate the sleep response and improve both sleep length and quality. Cannabidiol is a natural relaxant. It aids the body and mind in calming down to prepare for a deep restful sleep with improved REM stage sleep. REM or rapid eye movement sleep is where the majority of the recovery benefits of sleep occur for the brain and body. Sleep is critical to wellbeing and has effects on our immune function, physical performance, metabolic health and regulation of mood, energy and more. Yet despite this more and more people are suffering from insomnia and sleep disorders due to stress, blue light from screens and other environmental factors. Using CBD can help many in getting their circadian rhythm back on track and improve sleep quality, length and overall recovery. In some cases it can also help to support with and mitigate insomnia, although this does not apply to all individuals and effects can vary.
What is in hemp oil?
Hemp oil contains many important ingredients that are essential for the body and that the body cannot produce itself. These include antioxidants like flavonoids, cannaflavins, chlorophyll and terpenes to name a few. Vitamins, plant fibre and unsaturated long chain fatty acids can also be found in it – all of which contribute to improved health, wellbeing and longevity. Thanks to chemical processing using decarboxylation, these nutrients are retained in full spectrum CBD oil. The most important compounds from cannabis are the hundreds of different cannabinoids. These have an array of different effects, depending on the cannabinoid. The five most important cannabinoids are:
- CBC: Cannabichromene has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It can have a positive effect on cell oxidative stress by protecting cells from damage and aging.
- CBD: cannabidiol is the second most common cannabinoid used for chronic pain relief. It is used for many different physical and mental ailments. For example it can assist in mitigating migraines, cramps, arthritis, inflammation or epilepsy and other pain. It’s also anxiolytic meaning it’s able to help with anxiety and depression.
- CBDA: The cannabinoid Cannabidiolic acid has an antiemetic effect and can therefore help against nausea. It’s helpful for people with chronic illnesses who need to feel better day to day.
- CBG: Cannabigerol is a cannabinoid with antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. As recently as 2022 it was identified to prevent and mitigate COVID infections.It’s also anti-inflammatory and analgesic.
- CBN: Cannabinol occurs only in very small quantities in the hemp plants. CBN helps reduce anxiety and can lower blood pressure.
Little is known about the minor cannabinoids outside of CBD and THC – further research is being done due to their potential to solve health problems in many. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry does not want to approve CBD oil as a remedy due to its potential to substitute their products. Despite numerous promising studies, there is still a long way to go before CBD is used as an approved medicine.
Other nutrients and compounds contained in full spectrum CBD oil include:
- Antioxidants – these occur naturally in plants and aid in longevity, metabolic health and reducing the damage the body receives from pollutants and environmental factors. Some of these include beta carollyphene, chlorophyll, lignans and cannaflavins – some of which are unique to the cannabis plant.
- Vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, K, plus many essential electrolytes like manganese, potassium – more on these below.
- Healthy fats such as gamma linoleic acid, alpha linoleic acid, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Hemp is also fairly unique in the plant world due to containing omega 3 and 6 – typically only found in certain seeds, flax and fish.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are very important for the body, provided they are in the right proportions. This is the case with hemp oil – it contains a ratio of 1: 3 omega 6 to omega 3 which is not found in any other plant, so it is almost perfect for the health of our bodies by providing both in the best combination possible. Both fatty acids have a great influence on the regeneration and renewal of cells, they can also benefit from the structure of the cell membrane. Both fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect, as they are in an optimal ratio to one another. As a result, they also have a positive effect on blood pressure.
The anti-inflammatory alpha and gamma-linolenic acid is also found in hemp oil. These fatty acids are especially important for people with eczema and psoriasis as it is ideal for assisting with dryness and inflammatory skin problems. As you can see there is more to hemp oil than just its therapeutic effects. It is able to provide strong nutritional content with vitamins and electrolytes plus added omegas and healthy fats.
Nutritional content of hemp oil
CBD oil contains various vitamins. It contains large amounts of vitamin E, which is an anti-aging vitamin and an important antioxidant. It protects the body’s cells and can help lower risk of strokes, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s and even certain types of cancer. In addition to vitamin E, it also contains vitamins B1 and B2. Vitamin B1 is also known as the “humor vitamin” because it influences serotonin levels. Vitamin B2 is a coenzyme that occurs in the body’s cells. CBD oil contains cannabinoids, fatty acids and vitamins as well as important minerals and trace elements that are essential for complete health:
- Iron: trace element that supports the transport of oxygen from the bloodstream to the cells.
- Potassium: mineral influencing water management and contributes to the transmission of impulses to the nerves.
- Calcium: Calcium is an important mineral for strengthening teeth, bones and cartilage. Since it can’t be produced by the body itself, it has to be ingested through food.
- Copper: trace element which strengthens the immune system and is important for the formation of red blood cells. Again can only be produced via food.
- Manganese: an important trace element for connective tissue. It plays a role in enzyme production in the body.
- Magnesium: mineral which is important for the immune system and also influences nervous system health. It plays a role in the functioning of the liver and the electrolyte balance making it highly important for muscles and nerves.
- Sodium: influences muscle contractions and it is important for nerve cell health.
- Phosphorus: supports calcium in strengthening teeth and bones; it is also necessary for the development of cells.
- Zinc: involved in many metabolic functions such as cell energy production. In addition, it helps more than 300 enzymes to do their job. Zinc is also important for skin regeneration.
- Chlorophyll: is the natural pigment occurring in plants which is what gives hemp oil its green color. Chlorophyll is very important for the body as it has positive effects on cellular respiration similar to haemoglobin. If cells can oxygenate effectively, they can also be cleansed and detoxified. Chlorophyll helps improve the supply of fresh oxygen to cells and therefore has a positive influence on the immune system.
- Carotenoids: compounds such as beta-carotene contained in hemp which protect against premature aging, strengthen the cell membrane and support the immune system. It is also known that beta-carotene has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system. It prevents arterial narrowing and has a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
Because of this extensive nutrient content and high quantities of vitamins and minerals, hemp oil is in a league of its own for the benefits it provides to physical health.
CBD products are easily misunderstood due to the prevalent misinformation campaigns that have been used against these products by pharmaceutical companies. As you can see here, it’s actually a highly effective, healthy and beneficial supplement that can be used daily to boost your wellbeing. We’ve run through what CBD oil is, what helpful compounds it contains and how it delivers these benefits to the mind and body via the endocannabinoid system. The usage of hemp oil is highly recommended for those who have inflammatory issues that need symptoms reduced or mitigated as well as individuals seeking higher nutritional quality and nutrients in their diet. As we discussed, the potent blend of Phyto cannabinoids, chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals also contained in CBD oil can help build the immune system and reduce free radical damage.