CBD has gained in popularity exponentially over the last several years, in part due to increased research, and in part due to increased awareness; and it has proven that good research increases awareness, which in turn increases motivation for more research.
The largest piece of CBD research to date, per sample size, was conducted by HelloMD. In collaboration with the Brightfield Group, a comprehensive survey-based study of more than 2,400 HelloMD community members was carried out to gain insight into the efficacy of CBD for pain management, anxiety, joint pain, and depression.
42% of respondents have completely ceased use of traditional pharmaceuticals to treat their conditions in favor of cannabis-based medicines.
4 in 5 respondents found CBD to be “extremely effective”.
Women and CBD
Moreover, this is the third CBD study conducted by HelloMD since January 2016, and the three studies together demonstrate a fascinating and pertinent trend among women: just two years ago, in January 2016, only 36% of CBD-only users were women.
In early 2017, that number had jumped modestly to 44%.
By late 2017, when this study was carried out, women surpassed men comprising 58% of CBD-only users. Women are traditionally more conservative when it comes to adopting new trends. But perhaps the dangers of pharmaceuticals paired with a simple desire to be pain-free or anxiety-free has been all the push women need to accept the benefits of CBD.
These benefits are far-reaching and profound because CBD doesn’t actually affect any condition in the way that pharmaceuticals do. Pharmaceuticals are engineered to treat a specific dysfunction within our body. However, our bodies are intricately wired and utilize just a few of the same fundamental parts, organized into thousands of different tissues and organs.
That’s why pharmaceuticals have side effects: they affect a type of tissue or receptor that is present throughout our entire system, not just in the part of our system that happens to require the drug.
CBD works by recalibrating and invigorating our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which exists to keep us healthy and maintain homeostasis for hundreds of different systems and processes within our bodies. The ECS is present in almost all of our cells and makes up the majority of cellular communication in mammals.
By “repairing” a dysfunctional ECS, CBD allows our bodies to resolve their own issues rather than relying on an outside chemical to come in and plug one hole but open ten new ones.
A few of the benefits of CBD for pain management:
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Inflammation is our body’s natural response to injury, infection, or the threat of either. It’s the physical presence of increased white blood cells and other immune system material flooding an area to remove the infection and repair any injury. But inflammation often becomes pathological, meaning it does more harm than good.
Common anti-inflammatory drugs include steroids, and NSAIDs like ibuprofen, but these have harsh side-effects and can cause stomach ulcers and liver disease.
CBD works directly on the endocannabinoid system, which is present in immune cells to modulate inflammatory responses but often fails to do so. By activating our innate anti-inflammatory processes, CBD indirectly reduces inflammation without harming our system.
Arthritis, meaning swelling of the joints, is a common form of inflammation caused by the constant beating our joints take over the course of our lives. CBD reduces this inflammation in the same way it tackles any other form.
- Antidepressant properties: Pain and depression are inextricably linked, and chronic pain often leads to clinical depression. Painkillers and antidepressants completely alter the chemistry of our brains and can be extremely addicting, especially when used in tandem.
CBD is a natural alternative to both of these classes of drugs. By promoting normal function of the endocannabinoid system, it raises the pain threshold of our nerves and also reduces the emotional element of our response to pain, which is heavily implicated in depression caused by chronic pain.
While it appears that CBD can effectively replace opioids and antidepressants for a large portion of the population, it also relieves the symptoms of withdrawal that typically accompany cessation of a drug with psychoactive effects. By decreasing our propensity for the nausea, anxiety, fatigue, and weakness that are often part of withdrawal, CBD can make the crucial transition from opioids significantly easier on the user.