In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
Many people are tempted to believe that products that contain CBD only are the best, thinking that using just CBD alone is a more effective treatment. While products that contain single-molecule CBD, meaning that you won’t find any other compounds, are already provided as medicines, they are not exactly more efficient than whole plant extract CBD oil, when it comes to therapeutic effects.
That leaves those touting CBD’s effectiveness pointing primarily to research in mice and petri dishes. There, CBD (sometimes combined with small amounts of THC) has shown promise for helping pain, neurological conditions like anxiety and PTSD, and the immune system—and therefore potentially arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.
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Multiple sclerosis (MS). A prescription-only nasal spray product (Sativex, GW Pharmaceuticals) containing both 9-delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol has been shown to be effective for improving pain, muscle-tightness, and urination frequency in people with MS. This product is used in over 25 countries outside of the United States. But there is inconsistent evidence on the effectiveness of cannabidiol for symptoms of multiple sclerosis when it is used alone. Some early research suggests that using a cannabidiol spray under the tongue might improve pain and muscle tightness, but not muscle spasms, tiredness, bladder control, mobility, or well-being and quality of life in patients with MS.
Of course, though, they offer less potent oils than that, with a product lineup that ranges from 300 mg CBD per bottle to 4,000 mg. Naturally the 4,000 mg option is the most expensive (this is the one that provides the “bomb” 60 mg dose), as it currently sells for $299. For long-term pain and anxiety relief, though, it may be well worth it if it is effective for you and helps replace your regular meds.