Is CBD Efficacious?

The consumption of cannabidiol (CBD) products is at an all-time high. Because of the legal status of CBD and its lack of mind-altering effects, the general public has more access to this cannabinoid than ever before. CBD-infused topicals, beverages, candy—even savory food items—have become all the rage, and it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

Because of this popularity, people who have never used cannabis or CBD are taking notice and wondering what all the hoopla is about. Certainly, more than one doubting Thomas has questioned the efficacy of the products hitting the market. Is CBD really all that it’s cracked up to be as far as a means to enhance health and well-being?

While research is ongoing, there is a mountain of anecdotal evidence and a growing amount of clinical indications that CBD does, indeed, have healing and soothing health benefits. Thousands of devoted users swear by its beneficial properties. This move to healthier living through CBD use isn’t just a trend in America. Worldwide, cannabis use and legalization are increasing at an unprecedented rate. America serves as an appropriate microcosm of what’s happening beyond its borders.

A Range of Uses
CBD is promoted as being effective for treating a variety of mental and physical conditions, including anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation. There even is evidence that CBD helps prevent the proliferation of cancer cells. When you consider the plethora of potential uses, it’s easy to see why so many products containing CBD are becoming increasingly popular for healing both mind and body. Growing numbers of healthcare professionals are supporting its use. Polls conducted with healthcare professionals reveal that the numbers continue to rise among those who condone the use of not only CBD, but all cannabis, with some 80 percent now believing it should be legal.

“Not all forms of CBD are the same, and a growing percentage of CBD consumers prefer whole-plant CBD and the concentrates derived from it.”

With the majority of healthcare professionals in its corner, let’s examine how CBD works to improve just one physical condition, the inflammation and skin irritation associated with acne. The human endocannabinoid system includes cannabis receptors that regulate multiple physiological processes, including cutaneous (skin) cell growth and differentiation between human cells. A 2014 paper indicates the endocannabinoid system helps control inflammation resulting from skin irritation, namely acne. Sebaceous glands are miniscule glands in human skin cells that secrete an oily substance called sebum into hair follicles that lubricate both hair and skin. Sebum secretion is a vital part of keeping any skin healthy and vibrant—provided it’s not secreted excessively, and, as most people know, acne or pimples result from oily skin.

Interestingly, CBD, when applied to skin, is thought to alter sebaceous gland function and inhibit excessive sebum production, a common condition of humans during puberty when their bodies are developing at a rapid rate. Inhibiting the production of oily secretions is paramount to preventing and treating acne. What gives CBD topicals great potential for clearing up acne is that they specifically address the cause of acne, as well as the symptom (pimples). Some acne treatments merely cleanse the skin surface, which helps treat acne but not prevent it. Additional research will no doubt lead to increased understanding of how CBD interacts with the human body and organs, including the largest organ of all: skin.

Whole-Plant Medicine and the Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is a key benefit of whole-plant cannabis medicine and is a phenomenon specific to the cumulative effect and interactions of whole-plant compounds, primarily terpenes and cannabinoids. The synergistic and complex relationships between these compounds, particularly CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and terpenes, result in an effect that is seemingly greater than, or different from, the sum of its parts. For instance CBD is known to ease anxiety and so does the terpene linalool, so they work much more effectively together than singly. CBD also is known to counteract the psychological effects of THC. Ongoing research will no doubt continue to improve our understanding of complex compound interactions at play with the entourage effect and whole-plant medicine.

Not all forms of CBD are the same, and a growing percentage of CBD consumers prefer whole-plant CBD and the concentrates derived from it. This full-spectrum of compounds captures the power of the entourage effect, while CBD concentrates created from isolate extraction processes do not. Isolate CBD oil concentrates often are made from inferior forms of cannabis, namely industrial hemp waste, while high-quality, full-spectrum oil is usually extracted from carefully cultivated artisan hemp, which under its legal definition can contain prodigious amounts of CBD, but only 0.3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana. Any cannabis product containing 0.3 percent or less THC will have no mind-altering effect and will not serve as an intoxicant. High levels of CBD also are found in marijuana strains that contain well over 0.3 percent THC, which provides consumers with choices when it comes to CBD products.

The cannabis industry is now divided into separate-but-similar hemp and marijuana markets. High-quality flower from both markets are now industry mainstays, with new hemp strains even carrying names that mimic marijuana strain names. Elektra and Sour Space Candy hemp strains can now be found alongside colorful marijuana strains like Space Queen and Sour Diesel. Both categories of cannabis provide options for consumers who want to receive their reputed health benefits.