If you search ‘CBD’ online today, you’ll be confronted by pages and pages of content claiming that it has seemingly magical properties; capable of curing or alleviating symptoms of everything from arthritis to cancer.
It sounds far-fetched, especially when some of the issues it supposedly treats are so different from each other.
How can one substance help reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, digestive issues, and chronic back pain at the same time?
The science behind Inflammation
It all comes down to inflammation. Inflammation is actually a completely natural defence mechanism that our bodies deploy when things get hairy.
When the body detects an area that’s become especially prone to bacteria or parasites, white blood cells saturate the area with toxic chemicals, thereby destroying any intruders.
In moderation, this is great. Inflammation protects a vulnerable area of the body from becoming infected and allows injuries to heal properly without risk of further damage.
When inflammation occurs periodically and in a concentrated area, however, it can cause huge problems and contribute to ongoing health issues.
Inflammation in the joints manifests as arthritis, while in the cardiovascular system it can be a determiner in the development of heart disease. In the brain, inflammation can even lead to neurodegenerative diseases, which can be fatal.
Many people experience constant inflammation, stimulated by a variety of factors that we can only really attribute to modern life. Stress causes inflammation. So does eating too much sugar.
And what do most of us do when we’re stressed? We binge on unhealthy foods chock-full of glucose and processed carbs, thereby exacerbating the underlying problem.
Because we rarely look at inflammation as the cause of our many health issues, we are unlikely to change our lifestyles to reflect this. Most of the time, people turn to anti-inflammatory drugs.
Most of us have taken an anti-inflammatory before, whether they be OTC (over the counter) or a prescribed NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).
NSAIDs are the most used drugs in the developed world; with a repertoire including OTC meds like Ibuprofen and Naproxen, as well as popular prescription-only tablets such as Celebrex (celecoxib) and Orudis (ketoprofen).
These anti-inflammatory drugs work by blocking COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which are responsible for producing a group of compounds known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins do different jobs depending on which enzyme they’re made by.
COX-1 enzymes create prostaglandins that cause blood clotting by activating platelets. This protects the lining of your stomach and intestines. Conversely, prostaglandins produced by COX-2 enzymes occur in response to injury or infection and are integral in regulating inflammation.
Side effects of NSAIDs
NSAIDs work by inhibiting both of these enzymes, which reduces inflammation caused by COX-2 prostaglandins.
However, this can cause even greater problems as the drugs don’t selectively inhibit inflammation. They impact both COX-1 and COX-2 receptors, meaning your body’s ability to build up protective platelets is inhibited.
Long-term, this can lead to a massively increased risk of life-threatening complications, including gastrointestinal bleeding, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and even strokes.
So why is it that so many people continue taking NSAIDs daily, even though the potential health risks are well documented and commonly understood?
Well, they’ve never been offered an alternative.
CBD as an anti-inflammatory
Studies have shown that cannabis itself is over 20x stronger than aspirin as an anti-inflammatory treatment. This is due to its two primary cannabinoids; THC and CBD.
We’re interested in CBD, as it offers numerous health benefits without any psychoactive effects.
However, it should be noted that THC offers pain relief in a different way to CBD, and has been suggested to be a more effective management drug for neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular inflammation, chronic pain, and swelling.
CBD works on the symptoms of those problems in a similar way, but is somewhat better suited to helping alleviate inflammation related to digestive issues and muscle recovery.
Because of this, many people are turning to CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent and pain reliever. It doesn’t carry with it the acute health risks that come hand-in-hand with NSAIDs, and will not get you high like THC.
Side effects of CBD
CBD is generally regarded as a harmless substance that’s safe for human consumption, but it’s important to remember that research into the long-term impact of self-medicating with CBD is limited; if non-existent.
Still, people have been using strains of high-CBD cannabis as a pain reliever for centuries, and as yet no complications have been recorded.
However, if you do decide to start taking CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent, you may experience a few common side effects reported by both those who have just started dosing, as well as regular users.
These could be any of the following:
- difficulty sleeping
- mood swings
- dry mouth
- feeling drowsy or tired
Many users report that; although side effects were observed; their impact was far outweighed by the relief that CBD afforded them.
If you’re interested in buying CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent, look no further than SmartCBD’s range of oils, balms, tinctures, and pastes. Our products are made with raw-pressed CBD extract, harvested from the highest quality hemp plants in our state-of-the-art European facility.
Remember that you should never stop taking prescribed medication in favour of CBD. Before making changes to your medication schedule, speak to a medical professional and ensure they authorise your decision. CBD is not a medicine and must not be used in place of potentially life-saving drugs.