Unless you’ve been living in a cave, there is a very strong likelihood you will have already heard of a slightly controversial substance called CBD. The compound made the news all over the world recently as governments slowly began to relax restrictions on its use.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. As you might gather from its name, it is a direct derivative of cannabis (aka marijuana). Indeed, it is the second most prevalent substance in the plant. However, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) CBD does not provoke a psychoactive effect i.e. the ‘high’ normally associated with cannabis use.
CBD is also considered non-addictive and on-going research is uncovering a multitude of potentially beneficial medical and health uses for the substance. To date, scientists have discovered CBD can be used as an anti-inflammatory (particularly for sufferers of arthritis) and may also possess sedative, anti-anxiety, anti-epileptic and neuroprotective qualities.
CBD’s potential as a preventative medicine
While there is still a lot to learn about exactly how CBD works, on-going research points to its fascinating potential use in preventative medicinal care. As well as its calming effects, tests in animal labs suggest that CBD might even offer protection against:
- Specific types of cancer
- The effects of strokes, including brain and nerve damage
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Huntington’s disease
It is also thought that pre-treatment with CBD can increase the effectiveness of other complementary drugs – as was discovered in tests on mice.
While scientists may be slightly unsure exactly how CBD works or the full range of conditions it can be used to treat, there is a growing body of compelling evidence that suggests the compound provides significantly more benefits than first imagined.
The worth of the CBD market
Since being legalized in territories around the world, the CBD market has exploded with a huge range of products now available over-the-counter, without a prescription. Indeed, analysts suggest the CBD market may be worth $20 billion by 2024 as more and more products become available.
The recent Coronavirus pandemic decimated the high street, forcing many traditional retailers to close. Cities around the world experienced the same problem as more people shifted their shopping habits online.
However, CBD-related stores continue to flourish – despite the economic downturn. Vape and CBD coffee shops are now commonplace in most cities and even specialist health stores have made moves to stock the product.
With cannabis extraction equipment now available online, a growing band of entrepreneurs have taken to manufacturing and packaging the substance in increasingly inventive products. With business booming, the number of CBD-shops are increasing both on- and off-line.
How CBD is administered
CBD can be taken in a number of different ways and there is now a massive range of products available – everything from vape liquids to drops and drinks. There are four main ways people administer CBD are:
Ingestion: Typically, via food or drink.
Sublingually: Via drops, sprays or pastes under the tongue.
Inhaling: Normally through vaping products.
Topically: Applied through the skin via creams, balms or patches.
With medical practitioners globally now slowly coming to accept the potential therapeutic and healing qualities of CBD – plus an already-enthusiastic market ready to buy more products – it seems likely CBD is very much here to stay.