Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Can CBD prevent disease?
Much talk around CBD use is about treating an illness or helping to reduce symptoms of certain health conditions that people suffer with. But the new chat on the block is about the preventative health benefits it may hold. And prevention is better than cure, right?
The recipe to staying healthy is regular exercise, healthy diet and adequate sleep. And it’s well known that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can protect us from a whole host of long-term diseases. But did you know that specific antioxidants found in CBD are more powerful than some vitamins in terms of physiological function within our body?
More and more research is showing how CBD can protect against disease and improve our health, similar to how vitamin-rich foods do.
Type 2 diabetes prevention
The best way to lower your chances of developing diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet and keep active throughout life. But could CBD play a role in further reducing your risk? A study in lab rats showed that CBD lowered the incidence of diabetes in the animals. Some scientists claim that CBD can help promote normal insulin production and sugar metabolism.
For context, insulin resistance is when cells in your body don’t respond properly to the hormone insulin. Insulin is made by your pancreas and helps glucose in your blood enter cells in your muscle, fat and liver, where it’s used for energy. Insulin resistance is the driving factor that leads to type 2 diabetes. A study found that cannabis users had lower fasting insulin levels, higher levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and 17 percent lower levels of insulin resistance.
Furthermore, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that the rate of obesity is about 33 percent less common in cannabis users then non-cannabis users, even if the cannabis users had a greater calorie intake. Could this have something to do with cannabinoids in the cannabis plant? Some think so.
Protecting heart health
It’s claimed that CBD could also help protect your heart. An animal trial showed that cannabinoids slowed the progression of atherosclerosis, a condition where your arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaques. And there is a growing number of studies showing that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in reducing atherogenesis (a disorder of the arterial wall that leads to atherosclerosis).
Another animal study demonstrated that CBD has a cardioprotective effect during heart attacks, and scientists are exploring the involvement of CB1 and CB2 receptors (cannabinoid receptors in our body) in cardiovascular illness and health.
Because of these discoveries, some health professionals are advocating the daily use of CBD to protect cardiovascular health and the long-term prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Cannabinoids are thought to be neuroprotective, which basically means they help maintain and regulate brain health. And studies are supporting this theory. Trials in mice have shown how CBD can promote the creation of new nerve cells. Another study showed that low doses of CBD encouraged the creation of new nerve cells in animal models, even in ageing brains. In order to maintain brain health and prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, new cells need to be continuously created. This discovery places CBD on the map as a potential compound to protect against neurodegenerative diseases and general brain health.
A common effect of ageing is bone disease and breakdown, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens your bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. Women are more at risk of osteoporosis than men, and lose bone rapidly in the first few years after the menopause.
It’s thought that CBD could play in role in helping to maintain bone health. Studies have shown that cannabinoids can increase bone metabolism and block a specific class of enzymes that are known to inhibit marrow-producing tissues.
As discussed in a previous blog, CBD can work wonders on skin ailments, such as eczema and psoriasis. But CBD may not only be good at treating skin conditions, it could prevent them in the first place and help maintain healthy skin. CBD oil has been shown to inhibit the production of sebum – a main cause of acne. And it’s also thought to be a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E – a vitamin often touted for skin health and in skincare products.
CBD as a daily medicine
So, are we moving into a place where CBD could be used as a simple, daily, preventative supplement, rather than as a ‘medicine’ to treat symptoms? Research is saying yes, and study after study is emerging showcasing the potential preventative effects CBD could have on our health. In a world where populations are rising and health services are bursting at the seams, preventing health problems in the first place and promoting self-care is a priority for the Government, health authorities and communities alike.