But CBD has recently become a major player in the world of athletics for two reasons. First, it has proven anti-inflammatory properties. This has been pretty firmly established through a number of studies. For example, in a 2009 lab study, researchers found that CBD significantly suppressed chronic inflammatory pain by activating glycine receptors at the spinal level. CBD is also a known analgesic, meaning it has pain-relieving properties. Many athletes use CBD after intense workouts to help manage pain from aching muscles and joints. And recently, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances, opening the door for professional athletes to make use of the extract for pain relief.
And we have a long way to go before we fully understand the relationship between CBD and pain regulation. But strong anecdotal evidence, combined with multiple lab tests and even some clinical trials, have established that CBD holds a lot of promise for pain relief. Or in science-speak, CBD “represents a novel class of therapeutic agents for the treatment of chronic pain.”
However, when compared to skin-care pillar ingredients like retinols and vitamin C, the research behind CBD's efficacy in skin care (especially beyond the realms of being a temporary topical pain reliever) is still relatively in its infancy. "There is limited data to suggest that CBD may decrease oil production when applied topically," says Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital, who explains that unlike marijuana, which contains psychoactive THC, hemp seed oil is a common source of naturally anti-inflammatory cannabinoids — which is what ends up in all of those lotions and potions. "Hemp seed oil also acts as an emollient to smooth rough cells on the skin's surface and offers moisturizing benefits," he adds.
Hemp oil does have a number of uses and is often marketed as a cooking oil or a product that is good for moisturizing the skin. It is also used in the production of certain soaps, shampoos, and foods. It is also a basic ingredient for bio-fuel and even a more sustainable form of plastic. Hemp has been cultivated and used for roughly 10,000 years, and it definitely has useful purposes. However, a lack of cannabinoids, namely CBD, means that it has little therapeutic value.
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Among the cannabinoids in cannabis, the main psychoactive compound, THC, often outshines the one that provides a natural anti-anxiety, anti-epileptic and antipsychotic effect. Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, lacks the colorful high commonly associated with your traditional marijuana high and doesn’t have much of a noticeable effect when isolated. When combined with THC, the relaxing effect combats any feelings of paranoia or panic that can sometimes be felt under the influence. While lauded for its effect on epilepsy, recent cannabis research has identified CBD as the component responsible for a great deal of marijuana’s medical benefits.
Another field in which CBD is creating a buzz is in the area of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Both conditions have been treated with a variety of medications, courtesy of Big Pharma, that have had varying levels of success. Again, the long list of side effects can be off-putting to someone who just wants to get through the day without the sweaty tension of anxiety or the gray haze of depression.
Out of all the CBD products I’ve tested and used in the past few weeks, this thick green lemon-vanilla scented salve is my favorite. I massage it onto my sore red knuckles after boxing practice, and if it weren’t so expensive, I would encase my entire body in it. The cannabis sativa seed oil in this salve has antioxidant properties so that your skin can repair itself from the inside out, while the thick balm-like formula protects your skin from environmental aggressors. I would not recommend rubbing this onto your face because it’s so thick, but do whatever you want on the rest of your body—and if your feet are in need of some serious TLC in time for summer sandals weather, consider rubbing this onto your cracked heels and putting on a pair of soft socks before bed. The next morning, you’ll have baby’s feet again.