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All the Science-Backed Benefits of CBD for Pain Relief, Anxiety, and Insomnia


CBD might be the trendiest product in the world of wellness today. Experts are claiming that this miracle compound can help with anything from pain relief to reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. And while we’re all dealing with the stress of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you might want to add it to your shopping list.

It may seem like all of these products popped up overnight, but for good reason. We spoke to a few CBD experts to get the low down on CBD, it’s uses, and the best way to take it so you’re getting all the good stuff. Check out what they had to say below.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. According to Brooke Alpert, founder of Daily Habit CBD, “The cannabis plant is basically broken down into two types of plants, what many call marijuana and hemp. CBD is found in both of the strains of plants, but the CBD most people are using comes from the hemp plant.” 

Does CBD get you high?

No. The chemical in cannabis that is responsible for a “high” feeling is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and THC is not generally present in CBD products. Brooke says, “They are both compounds found in the cannabis plant, but in hemp, THC is only available in very minute amounts. THC has those psychoactive affects which is what gets people high or stoned, while CBD has many of the same benefits of THC but without the ‘buzz.’”

What are the benefits of CBD?

“It’s an incredibly versatile compound that has benefits for anxiety, insomnia, pain, and so much more,” says Brooke. When it comes to research around CBD, the science is still very young. Since the federal government has only recently eased regulations around CBD, we are bound to see more studies conducted in the coming years. However, the first FDA approved medication containing CBD, Epidiolex, was given the green light after studies showed that CBD was effective in treating the debilitating symptoms of childhood epilepsy. 

CBD is commonly used to treat conditions like anxiety and insomnia. In one 2015 review of studies, it was determined that CBD has “considerable potential” as a treatment option for a variety of anxiety disorders like post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. One of the reviewed studies even showed that patients’ brains actually responded differently to anxiety when CBD was taken, in addition to helping them feel better.

Research also suggests that CBD could improve sleep quality and promote better energy levels. One 2019 study was aimed to determine whether or not CBD helped with both anxiety and insomnia. Within one month, subjects reported better quality sleep as well as lower anxiety levels. What’s more, results from a 2014 review of studies found that CBD promoted wakefulness after sleep, while a 2017 review of studies showed that it could treat excessive daytime sleepiness. Kiss that second cup of joe goodbye!

When it comes to pain, we spoke to Annie Rodriguez, a mindful movement expert and fitness instructor who makes her own CBD Muscle Melt balm for pain relief. “I’ve seen it be so effective for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and aches and pains associated with aging. It helps with the inflammation of the joints when they are arthritic, and because it’s topical, it’s an effective option when compared to painkillers because it doesn’t affect the rest of your day,” Annie says. 

And research backs her up. Several studies have shown that CBD is effective in treating conditions like chronic pain, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. According to Annie, “Most pain in the body is related to inflammation of some kind, and CBD is so anti-inflammatory.” In fact, one study that found CBD effective in the treatment of chronic pain and inflammation also found that subjects would not likely build up a tolerance, supporting that CBD could be a long-term treatment option.

What’s the best way to take CBD?

Well, it depends. If you’re suffering with physical pain, CBD rubs and balms can be particularly helpful when applied directly to the area. We love this one from CBD for Life.

And if you want to try it for any of the other conditions mentioned or for extra pain relief, you can try taking CBD internally. You can purchase ingestible CBD in the form of capsules and tinctures, however tinctures are more recommended because your body can absorb the CBD better when the oil is placed underneath the tongue than when it is ingested and digested in the stomach.

When it comes to selecting a quality CBD product, Brooke has three criteria which she advises her clients to follow: 

  1. Make sure you CBD comes from organically grown hemp. 
  2. Always use full-spectrum over an isolate CBD product. With full spectrum you get all the other awesome compounds and phytochemicals found in the plant, and the research shows that the CBD is actually more effective because of it. It’s called the entourage effect. 
  3. Last, because this is still an unregulated industry, it’s important to find a company that’s transparent and willing to show their lab results or their analysis. 

If you’re interested in trying a tincture, we suggest this one from Sunsoil. Here’s to hoping we’re all happy and pain free!

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