CBD, also known as cannabidiol, has increasingly risen in popularity over the years as manufacturers continue to find its usefulness in various products, especially in the health and wellness industry.
Cannabidiol is a chemical obtained from cannabis or marijuana, also known as the Cannabis sativa plant. It, however, does not contain the psychoactive substance that produces the intoxicating or "high" effect brought about by the psychoactive ingredient present in Marijuana known as THC. Instead, CBD is considered safe and used for many beneficial products.
CBD products include oils, chewable gummies, pills, lotions, capsules, salves, pet products, soft gels, rubs, massage oils, tinctures, CBD vapes, and lots more. Cannabidiol and its derivatives have been touted to have several benefits, including;
Treating anxiety disorders and depression, treating some specific epilepsy syndrome, alleviating intense pain, managing diabetes complications, and treating opioid addiction is also used to protect against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. It is also suggested to play a role in managing cancer and acne.
Side effects of CBD
Despite their many benefits, CBD also has some less desirable side effects, but even these are usually well tolerated by the body.
Some side effects include: having a dry mouth, feeling lightheadedness, drowsiness, experiencing diarrhea, decreased appetite, low blood pressure, and fatigue.
It is generally advised that CBD products should be avoided by pregnant women and breastfeeding women just to stay safe as it is not established how they may affect the fetus or infant.
How does CBD work?
Researchers have been looking at how CBD works and also studying the pathways that other alternative natural compounds that have similar effects on the body follow.
The mechanism for CBD in the body is that it modulates the endocannabinoid system or ECS, which is known to regulate several functions in the body, including; appetite, memory, fertility, reproduction, mood, sleep, stress, metabolism, and more.
The experts are still figuring out how exactly CBD engages with the Endocannabinoid system. Some believe that it binds to a receptor other than that which the THC binds to; others believe it works by stopping endocannabinoids from being broken down.
Alternatives to CBD
Other than cannabis sativa, other plants produce similar products to CBD that can imitate the functions of cannabinoids, and they are sometimes referred to as non-cannabis cannabinoids. Some of these interesting alternatives to CBD include:
Besides its extensive use for culinary purposes, ginger root has a long history of wide medical applications. It has excellent antioxidant properties and, like cannabis, also contains cannabinoids.
Ginger root is known to help promote digestion, alleviate nausea and vomiting, lower blood pressure, and have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. It also reduces blood sugar levels, regulates cholesterol levels, and reduces menstrual pains.
Ginger roots contain substances that bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system and can serve as a natural alternative to CBD. It can be used fresh or prepared in other ways such as Ground ginger, Ginger Tea, Ginger oil, Ginger chews etc.
The black pepper, also known as Piper nigrum, is a desirable spice used in meals as it adds flavor and heat. It also acts as a preservative.
Black Pepper contains a substance known as piperine, an alkaloid that confers many health benefits, including; boosting the immune system, better digestion, wound healing, and lowering the chances of heart diseases, neurological conditions, and other chronic illnesses.
It can bind to receptors (CB2) in the Endocannabinoid system responsible for regulating pain and inflammation.
Clove oils are derived from cloves and dried flower buds used as a popular spice.
They can also serve as an alternative to CBD as they contain phytocannabinoids, which bind to ECS receptors.
Clove oils can be used to alleviate itching when applied to the skin and also to facilitate healing.
They are also touted to have use in preventing dental cavities and reducing toothaches. They also have antimicrobial properties and are said to demonstrate anticancer action.
The bark and buds of the Magnolia plant have many medicinal uses. It can be used to relieve constipation, anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, inflammation, common cold etc.
Magnolia's main bioactive compounds are known to activate receptors in the ECS that modulate wakefulness and anxiety.
PEA, an abbreviation for Palmitoylethanolamide, is a compound that is mainly obtained from egg yolk and soybeans. It can also be isolated from peanuts.
Researchers have discovered that PEA acts via similar pathways to cannabidiol (CBD) and produces the same effects. It is also recognised as a possibly safer alternative.