From Alaska to California and far beyond, many people have found CBD to be helpful for a range of mental-health conditions, including anxiety, stress, PTSD, and improved sleep. Yet, CBD has also shown great potential to be an effective treatment for certain physical conditions, and its efficacy has been advocated by doctors, studied by the medical establishment, and blessed by our federal government. In fact, a CBD-derived prescription drug was approved by the FDA for people as young as 1 year old to treat debilitating childhood conditions, such as epilepsy, that don’t respond to other seizure medications. Here, we’ll take a look at how and why people may use CBD for pain relief, heart disease, acne, and possibly more. But first, what is it?
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Alaska CBD: Hemp vs. Marijuana
“CBD” is an abbreviation of “cannabidiol,” which is a compound found in cannabis sativa, a flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. Cannabis contains more than 100 compounds, and the term “hemp” is simply the name for cannabis plants that contain 0.3% or less of THC, which is the compound that makes a person “high.” Cannabis plants that contain higher levels of THC, including Delta-9 THC, are commonly called “marijuana.” We could think of hemp as the plant world’s version of non-alcoholic beer: It’s still beer, just without the alcohol.
In the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. government legalized the growing of hemp, which means CBD alone will likely not violate drug policies of most employers. Even though CBD has no inebriating effects, it may have very beneficial medical effects.
Humans have used marijuana as a medical treatment, including pain relief, since ancient times as far back as 2,900 B.C. But today, we have the advanced science to utilize medical benefits of the cannabis plant without its intoxicating effects through CBD.
Red Raven CBD is an Alaska company that makes CBD products from hemp, not marijuana. We source our hemp from family-run farms in the United States. Our CBD products are legal under both federal and state laws and are rigorously lab-tested for safety and consistency.
Why Does CBD Work?
You likely know your brain and body communicate with a complex system of signals via nerves, such as the fight-or-flight response. The human body also has a network of chemical signals and cellular receptors called our endocannabinoid system that is critical for regulating every aspect of our moment-by-moment functions, such as learning, memory, emotional processing, sleep, temperature control, inflammation/immune responses, and eating.
In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, the cannabinoid receptors in the brain outnumber many of the other receptor types. “They act like traffic cops to control the levels and activity of most of the other neurotransmitters. To stimulate these receptors, our bodies produce molecules called ‘endocannabinoids,’ which have a structural similarity to molecules in the cannabis plant.”
Studies have shown that CBD impacts our body’s endocannabinoid system in positive ways to alleviate conditions such as pain, including a study from National Institutes of Health that stated the trials “demonstrated a significant analgesic effect of cannabinoids as compared to placebo.” So, is CBD right for you?
CBD does not provide rapid pain relief in the same way Tylenol does. Rather, people use it to decrease inflammation and/or ease chronic pain, often associated with malignant disease, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or arthritis. Respondents in the NIH study mentioned above reported a reduction of greater than 30% in pain intensity.
This is considered clinically important and could be a noticeable improvement, especially when taken as part of a comprehensive treatment plan with other pain-relieving medication. Researchers have verified the role our body’s endocannabinoid system plays in pain relief for several types of pain (somatic, visceral, neuropathy), and we know common analgesic pain relievers, such as aspirin and acetaminophen and COX inhibitors, work by stimulating our body’s endocannabinoid system, as does CBD.
Studies resulted in large amounts of preclinical data in animal models showing that CBD can produce positive analgesic (relieving) effects on pain without serious side effects.
Growing evidence shows that CBD causes vasorelaxation in arteries. This means CBD may protect against vascular damage caused by high-glucose (excess sugar) conditions, inflammation or the induction of type 2 diabetes (in animal models) and reduce excess leakage of fluids and proteins from blood vessels associated with such environments. What does that mean? CBD may have an anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidant effect on your cardiovascular system.
Inflammation is the cause of many heart diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. There is ongoing research, but some studies have shown that CBD may have a protective effect on the heart. Because many studies are conducted on animals – not human beings – we cannot say conclusively that it works. But many doctors who have studied CBD believe it has great potential to reduce arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), blood pressure (which leads to increased risk of heart attack), and cardiovascular inflammation.
In fact, the Imperial College London is hopeful that medical cannabis may be an effective alternative to opioids as painkillers and noted that CBD contains significant anti-inflammatory properties, even higher than commonly taken antioxidants Omega-3 and vitamin C. When mice were given 5 mg of CBD, their inflammation was diminished by 50 percent.
Considering the discussion above about CBD’s effects on our insides, it may also have surprisingly positive effects our outsides. The human body’s endocannabinoid system also regulates multiple physiological aspects, including our skin. Because CBD impacts our endocannabinoid system, it may be able to improve our body’s ability to combat excess dirt, oil, and dead skin cells that clog healthy skin cells and cause acne.
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers called CBD a “promising therapeutic agent” because it inhibited oil production and also had an anti-inflammatory effect on the glands that produce oil. What about body acne and old acne scars?
Facial and body acne occur via the same physiological mechanism, so CDB should positively affect both types of acne the same way – through an anti-inflammatory effect on the endocannabinoid system. CBD may even help improve older acne scarring. A smaller study in Italy (i.e. not with enough participants or over a long enough time period to be endorsed by the overall medical community) showed that CBD topicals applied to acne scars significantly improved the skin’s appearance, such as improved skin elasticity and hydration.
Even the U.S. National Institutes of Health has concluded that, even though research has been limited, it is certain that our body’s skin is “modulated by the human endocannabinoid system” and “preclinical evidence suggests topical application of CBD may be efficacious for some skin disorders, such as eczema, psoriasis, pruritis, and inflammatory conditions” – even though it has yet to be proven indisputably by large studies.
Discover the Potential of CBD Products
CBD is proving to be highly effective for many people to treat virtually any condition controlled by the endocannabinoid system, from pain and heart heath to seizures and acne. Yet, because the endocannabinoid system controls so much of the human body, this just barely scratches CBD’s potential.
If you believe CBD is right for you, Red Raven CBD products give you the confidence of knowing you’re getting pure CBD sourced from legal, American hemp. You can shop our collection of CBD oil, including both full spectrum and THC-free options (including Delta-9 THC), gummies, and topicals.
Want to learn more about what CBD can do? Contact us with any questions.