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CBD research and benefits

CBD skincare, Massage Oil & Balm, cbd studios

CBD research and benefits by Emma Hodges

 

My Dad and I were discussing CBD Studios and I explained how it is extracted from industrial hemp, the same as the hemp used for textiles and rope. 

“Well, why don’t you could just chew on some old rope then?” he said. 

Motion blurred woman exercise outdoors in winter

This comment has often made me smile, because obviously hemp has to go through a proper extraction process to be processed into CBD products such as oil or balm. And it is a typical Dad comment…

Another typical comment was from a tennis friend who said, “well, even if it is a fad or a placebo, it is working on my knees so that’s all that matters.”

There is no denying that CBD has become very popular, with some advocates even proclaiming it as a wonder-drug or miracle cure. It does indeed appear to have remarkable inflammatory relief properties, as well as helping with anxiety, addiction, acne… the list goes on. The trouble is that very little actual scientific research has been done, which means that there is very little that can be recognised or supported.

Does CBD make you high
Cannabidiol molecule

So, the facts… everyone has a network of receptors in their body called an endocannabinoid system. Two types of receptors – CB1 and CB2 – are found in the brain and other tissues throughout the body. They receive cannabinoids, which are released in response to environmental factors such as hunger, stress or inflammation. CB2 receptor acts as a protective system when the body needs relief or is distressed. For example, if your toddler is having a tantrum and you are trying to leave the house in a hurry, your body will respond by releasing cannabinoids to send a message to manage your stress. This is called homeostasis, which is a balance of physiological processes to keep us healthy. 

The information above is scientifically proven. However, CBD research, particularly on humans, has a long way to go. It seems that plant-derived cannabinoids, specifically CBD, can act positively upon the endocannabinoid system. Tests have been done extensively on mice and rats and findings show that when CBD is given to rats it can improve the symptoms of stress. However, the main issue is that not enough research has yet been done on humans in order to make actual scientific claims, yet certain reports and findings seem to be working on the certain body conditions. 

CBD Studios do not offer or claim to have any medical cures or treat any illness.

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Terpenes and the entourage effect

CBD skincare, Massage Oil & Balm, cbd studios

Other Compounds Found in Hemp & THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT

One of the appealing things about CBD is the variety of aromas and flavours that the different strains give off. These are the result of terpenes – molecules found in herbs, trees and fruit that give essential oils their distinctive aromas. There are thought to be over 200 various terpenes in the cannabis plant, different concentrations making each strain unique.

 

The flavour of the terpenes and the benefits of the other cannabinoids are maximised by whole-flower vaporisation. In addition to their aromas, terpenes have direct interactions with our bodies.

 

 

These are some of the terpenes found in CBD and the effects they produce:

  • Pinene (pine): Pinene is the most common terpene in the world and has anti-inflammatory properties. It produces the fresh cleansing scent found in orange peel, pine needles, basil, and parsley. It’s been known improve airflow to your lungs and promote alertness.
  • Myrcene (earthy, musky, fruity): Myrcene can be found in mangoes, hops, thyme, lemongrass, and basil, and is the most commonly found terpene in cannabis. It can compose up to 50 percent of a cannabis plant’s terpenes. Myrcene has been shown to be useful as an anti-inflammatory, a sedative, and a muscle relaxer. Many indica strains have high levels of myrcene, which contribute to the tired/stoned feeling (if higher than 0.5% myrcene in a strain, it creates the “couch-lock” feeling in users).
  • Limonene (citrus): Like its name suggests, limonene smells like lemons, oranges, mandarins, limes, and grapefruits. Its invigorating fragrance has been shown to elevate mood and relieve stress. It’s also, interestingly enough, probably found in your favourite cleaning products or perfumes not only because of its citrusy aroma, but also due to its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Limonene also improves absorption of other terpenes and chemicals through the skin, which makes it great in strains that you use for tinctures, ointments, and other topicals.
  • Humulene (hoppy, earthy): Humulene is found in hops, coriander, cloves, and basil. It’s best known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to suppress appetite (while many other strains only increase appetite).
  • Linalool (floral, spicy): Linalool is found in fragrant flowers and spices like lavender and coriander, and is widely known for its stress-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant effects. The linalool terpene balances out the jittery side effects of THC, making it an effective treatment for both anxiety and psychosis. Some studies also suggest that linalool can boost the immune system and significantly reduce lung inflammation.
  • Caryophyllene (peppery, spicy): Caryophyllene is found in Thai basil, cloves, cinnamon leaves and black pepper. Studies show that it can help treat anxiety, depression, and act as an anti-inflammatory, which sounds like a big job to handle for one small terpene.
  • Terpinolene (smoky, woodsy): Terpinolene can be found in sage and rosemary, and has slightly sedative, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. It’s also been found to depress your central nervous system, and therefore induce drowsiness and reduce excitement or anxiety.

Evidence suggests that whole-plant hemp is far more beneficial than isolated compounds from the plant. As it is with many beneficial plants, fruits, and vegetables, we consume many, many elements at one time. The combinations make up and provide the nutritional benefits we need. The entourage effect is somewhat similar to this concept of “whole plant medicine”, the idea being that you are working with several components at once.

So, when we speak about the CBD entourage effect, we’re talking about the interaction between many different compounds within the cannabis plant. Since the hemp plant has more than 500 different compounds, there’s a lot to choose from.

Especially interesting are flavonoids, a phytonutrient (natural chemical), that creates the colour in plants,

The Linus Pauling Institute has noted that flavonoids may exhibit anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting properties.

Flavonoids have powerful antioxidant properties preventing damage our skin cell, causing illness and ageing. they are present in many well-known “super foods” such as green tea, apples, and blueberries. Flavonoids also possess anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, and some reports have indicated that they can increase antibody production, thus helping strengthen the immune system.

Other Vitamin found in hemp plants include Vitamin A, C, E and B complex vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine) and beta-carotene are also found in full spectrum CBD oil.  Zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus are minerals found. 20 amino acids, Omega 3 and omega 6 are also found.

It is important to understand that the cannabinoids in CBD oil are still under a lot of scrutiny and a lot more research has to be done until there is proof that they actually cure illnesses. However evidence is accumulating that benefits of using CBD include, relaxation, improving sleep quality, and anti-inflammation providing relief from muscle discomfort. The concern over addiction to prescription painkillers brings people to feel that CBD oil is a much safer alternative.

CBD Studios do not offer or claim to have any medical cures or treat any illness.

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CBD and sport

CBD balm, CBD Studios, CBD Chamonix

CBD for Sport

Everywhere we look sources are proclaiming CBD to be a natural alternative to ibuprofen, an antidote to anxiety, a sleep aid, a post-workout recovery aid.

I am going to talk more specifically about the use of CBD for sport and for athletes.

Sports men and women put their bodies through a lot of pressure, resulting in both positive and negative effects, therefore many athletes are already using CBD for sport as an indispensable part of their regime.

Endorsed by a number of leading and influential sports people, I thought CBD definitely worth investigating and trialing myself (2019).

Could CBD not only improve my running performance but also reduce the effects of old injuries?

Could it help relieve sore muscles, and delayed onset muscle soreness? But first of all…

Is CBD use legal in professional sports?

Yes.

At the start of 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances – in or out of competition – and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) did the same.

There is an important caveat: ONLY CBD was removed from the prohibited list. The psychoactive component of marijuana, THC, is still prohibited in competition, as are synthetic cannabinoids.

The specific wording is: “the following cannabinoids are prohibited: natural cannabinoids, e.g. cannabis, hashish and marijuana.”

Some of the reviews and testimonials have been really interesting.

One of my training partners Caroline Ford, of Chamonix Mt Blanc, France, has seen significant results. A keen hiker and cross-country runner, Caroline has been using CBD oil and recovery CBD balm on her ACL after exhausting all other treatments. “After about a week of rubbing it on my knee, 4/5 time a day, I already saw a huge reduction in inflammatory pain.

I then reduced it to morning and night. When I am working out I rub the recovery CBD balm on before and wrap it in a sleeve to keep it warm to make sure it all soaks in.

What we know is that it is not curing or fixing the injury, but it is reducing the inflammation almost immediately, rapidly reducing or stopping the pain. Other than this, the great thing is that CBD is completely harmless. It is important to buy it from a good reputable company so you know that is from high-end production facilities.

Like many athletes I’ve spoken with, we appreciate that CBD is a natural product. We don’t like to take ibuprofen, opiates or prescription medications. The side effects are too negative and they are addictive.”

Andrew Talansky, a professional triathlete and elite cyclist from Napa, California, who rode in the Tour de France; “I don’t like to take stuff like ibuprofen or prescription medications. I took it (CBD) for a couple of weeks and there was a noticeable difference immediately. And it wasn’t just that my hip was feeling better, I was less anxious and I was sleeping better. I’m always looking for natural alternatives.”

When Talansky heard an increasing number of athletes talking about CBD for sport, he went from scepticism, to being interested to asking advice on how to use it, he quoted. Now he encourages other athletes to try CBD, to loose the stigma and the association with smoking weed!

CBD: How it Actually Works

Athletes can legally consume cannabidiol, but what is it and what does it actually do?

To begin with, cannabinoids already exist in your body. We have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that modulates the activity of neurons. The cannabinoids found in the body are the same as those found in the cannabis plant. Scientific research on how the ECS works and how CBD influences it is still evolving.

Researchers believe that CBD interacts with receptors in your brain and immune system. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond. This creates anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects that help with pain management. 

CB1 receptors are found throughout the brain, spinal cord, and other tissues. CB2 receptors are as well, but more of them are found in immune system tissues. CBD binding to CB1 receptors has a greater effect the central nervous system, and CBD binding to CB2 receptors has a greater effect on reducing inflammation.

So, it is becoming more apparent that taking CBD as a supplement increases the activity of your body’s existing endocannabinoid system.

This is actually what is called homeostasis, a term used to describe the process of maintaining internal balance in an ever-changing external environment. In humans, homeostasis refers to a multitude of processes that ultimately keep our bodies functioning properly.

As an athlete you apply greater stress to your body than your endocannabinoid is designed to manage. Adding exogenous CBD supplements seems to help this system and the activity of neurotransmitters for athletes to maintain homeostasis.

 

My first trial with CBD in 2019

After researching athletes and other sporty types I decided to trial CBD for sport myself whilst training for a 20km high altitude trail running race. Not a huge distance but I wanted to push myself and experiment with how CBD would affect my performance and recovery, so I started to use the recovery CBD balm on my shoulders and knees.

I immediately noticed that my sleep improved straight away; I slept soundly, woke up less during the night, and felt fresh in the mornings. This obviously made me far more eager to train and gave me more energy for my training sessions. then noticed that I was training with more vigour and pleasure.

The most apparent difference though was that the pain from my long-term shoulder injury was subsiding. The dull ache, pins and needles, or sometimes-agonising numbness had finally ceased. This pain is usually present all the time, even when just sitting at a desk, so to feel that it was really easing off was a significant effect.

On a more personal note, I’ve also noticed that since using CBD I feel much calmer. I have two small children so am no stranger to the pressures of juggling family, work, sport, and life in general.

For this busy athletic mum!…. CBD combined with stretching, massage and yoga has been a game-changer both physically and emotionally.