The Paleo diet has stood the test of time because it makes sense, is easy to stick to and has huge health, wellness and body composition benefits
Along with Paleo lifestyle principles, there are questions regarding whether supplementation is necessary and which health supplements work well with the Paleo diet. CBD is one supplement that gained significant popularity over the past few years for reducing inflammation, increasing energy, balancing the body’s systems and more.
What is CBD?
CBD is more prevalent in some strains of marijuana than THC, and while they many commonalities, there is enough to differentiate CBD from THC making their legal statuses are completely different.
THC is known for the psychoactive high it produces, while CBD does not produce a ‘high’ at alll (it actually counteracts the intoxicating effects of THC).
While THC is also extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD typically comes from the least processed form of the plant, also known as hemp.
Marijuana is typically grown and cultivated for strains that have selectively been bred for high THC levels. Alternatively, CBD is extracted from industrial hemp via CO2 extraction. This is the most efficient and safest way to extract CBD, and when effective, results in little or no THC, solvents, or chemicals.
Once ingested, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a health system that runs throughout the body and affects many organs and systems.
How Does CBD Work in Your Body?
The ECS was only discovered in 1992 but research suggests it plays a pivotal role in regulating health. Like other cannabinoids, CBD attaches itself to specific receptors in the human body and this explains CBD’s multiple uses and benefits.
The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids and their receptors, which are found throughout the body (including in the glands, brain, and immune cells). The ECS works differently in various areas of the body in order to preserve homeostasis and ‘internal balance’.
CB1 and CB2 are the names of the two known cannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain, with some “scattered” around the body. The receptors in the brain handle movement and coordination, mood and emotions, memories, and appetite.
- CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system, and mostly impact pain and inflammation. Originally, it was believed that CBD acted on CB2 receptors, but recent research shows that it only acts indirectly and rather encourages the body to use a greater number of its own cannabinoids.
Though all cannabinoids are able to affect these receptors, it is CBD that is the most beneficial for your health due to the way in which it interacts with the receptors.
Instead of attaching itself to the receptors and over-stimulating them like THC, CBD stimulates them slowly and gradually, allowing for a gentle treatment as opposed to the huge burst created by THC.
Through CBD’s interaction with the ECS, it is able to cause changes throughout the body. This means CBD has uses both as a health supplement and as a treatment for specific conditions. It is CBD oil’s ability to impact with the CB2 receptor and its rate of cellular regeneration that is most interesting for those following Paleo diets.
Health Benefits of CBD
Cannabinoids have been proven to have an anti-inflammatory effect in numerous studies. CBD engages with the endocannabinoid system in many organs throughout the body, helping to reduce inflammation systemically. The therapeutic potential is impressively wide-ranging, as inflammation is involved in a broad spectrum of diseases.
It is suggested that patients work with a health care practitioner experienced in recommending CBD oil or medicinal cannabis so that dosage and delivery methods can be developed and fine-tuned on an individual basis. At the same time, educated and aware patients can be their own highly informed health consultants.
The list of possible health benefits associated with CBD are numerous. Although many of these benefits are anectodical, there in increasing scientific evidence on the efficacy of CBD in treating and preventing many conditions:
Diabetes and Obesity
Several studies have shown that regular cannabis users have a lower body mass index, smaller waist circumferences, and reduced risk of diabetes and obesity. CBD on its own lowers the incidence of diabetes in in animal models, and has been used successfully to manage diabetic symptoms, insulin resistance and blood glucose levels in humans. Research has demonstrated that CBD benefits weight loss by helping the body convert unhealthy white fat into healthy brown fat, supporting optimal sugar metabolism and lowering fasting insulin levels.
These results would be further enhanced by the blood sugar lowering impact of the Paleo diet!
Cholesterol Profiles and Cardiovascular Disease
Atherosclerosis is common in developed Western nations and can lead to heart disease or stroke. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder, linked to diet and lifestyle that involves the progressive depositing of atherosclerotic plaques (immune cells carrying oxidized LDL or low-density lipoproteins). A growing body of evidence suggests that endocannabinoid signalling plays a critical role in the pathology of atherogenesis. CB1 and CB2 receptors are also linked to cardiovascular illness and health.
The researchers also noted that the compound tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote their destruction.
They pointed out that CBD has low levels of toxicity. Further research into the potential of CBD as an accompaniment to standard cancer treatments is necessary.
Cannabinoids are neuroprotective and support maintenance and regulation of brain health. The effects appear to be related to several actions they have on the brain, including the removal of damaged cells and the improved efficiency of mitochondria. CBD has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.
As the brain ages, the creation of new neurons slows down significantly. In order to maintain brain health and prevent degenerative diseases, new cells need to be continuously created. A 2008 study showed that low doses of CBD- and THC-like cannabinoids encouraged the creation of new nerve cells in animal models, even in aging brains.
CBD also benefits the brain by helping to prevent other nerve-related diseases like neuropathy and Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers are studying the effects of CBD on various neuropsychiatric disorders. Authors of a recent review noted the anti-seizure properties and low risk of side effects of CBD for people with epilepsy.
Findings suggested that CBD may also treat many complications linked to epilepsy, such as neurodegeneration, neuronal injury, and psychiatric diseases.
CBD has been shown to block an enzyme that destroys bone-building compounds in the body, reducing the risk of age-related bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. CBD helps spur the process of new bone-cell formation, which is why it has been found to speed the healing of broken bones and, due to a stronger fracture callus, decrease the likelihood of re-fracturing the bone.
Cannabinoid receptors can be found in the skin and seem to be connected to the regulation of oil production in the sebaceous glands .The skin has the highest amount and concentration of CB2 receptors in the body. When applied topically as an infused lotion, serum, oil, or salve, CBD oil can repair damage from free radicals like UV rays and environmental pollutants. Cannabis-based topical products are being developed to treat related issues from acne to psoriasis and can promote faster healing of damaged skin.
Anxiety and Stress
While THC can increase anxiety in some patients, it lowers it in others. However, CBD effects have been shown to consistently reduce anxiety when present in higher concentrations in the cannabis plant. The stress-reducing effect appears to be related to activity in both the limbic and paralimbic brain areas.
Researchers concluded that CBD is particularly effective in treating social anxiety, and called for more clinical trials.
Of all the reasons that people use CBD today, pain is the most common. A number of studies have demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system is both centrally and peripherally involved in the processing of pain signals. Most discussions of using CBD for pain treatment suggest that finding the right dosage is critical.
Cannabinoids can be used along with opioid medications, and they can reduce the amount of opioids needed, lessen the buildup of tolerance, and reduce the severity of withdrawal.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Research suggests that CBD could help individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
When the body produces its THC-like compounds, it increases the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria to get in. CBD oil blocks these cannabinoids and helps to prevent the permeability, ensuring that there is a tightened bond in the intestinal cells.
Is CBD Oil Paleo?
Not all CBD products on the market are Paleo. CBD oils with added sugars or CBD gumdrops do not comply with Paleo dietary principles. To know if a CBD product is Paleo-friendly, check the ingredients. As with our trusted brand, look for MCT oil as the carrier oil.
As with other supplements, CBD oil is compatible with a Paleo diet and lifestyle habits. The question to ask is whether it’s right for you and whether you have a clear reason to be taking it. A Paleo lifestyle encourages getting the majority of nutrients food sources, but there is definitely a role for a few carefully-chosen supplements to complement a base diet of nutrient-dense whole foods.
A bigger problem for a lot of interested consumers is that the CBD market is barely regulated, so it can be really hard to find products that actually contain the advertised amounts of CBD. This is where working with a medical practitioner or choosing one of the few 3rd party tested brands is imperative.
One major worry might be whether CBD will trigger sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings and derail your Paleo efforts. Fortunately, studies found that low doses of CBD didn’t cause sweet cravings or increase liking of sweet foods.
An increasing body of research shows that CBD could help ease the symptoms associated with dozens of medical conditions. CBD is non-intoxicating, and children can safely use it for epilepsy. CBD can also be safely consumed as part of your Paleo lifestyle if sourced reputably and procured with high quality fats.
If you are considering CBD as a method of alleviating the symptoms of a medical condition, speak to your healthcare provider to learn more about reputable sellers, local laws, and the right dosage. If in doubt, start with a small dose to determine any positive impact. Increase as necessary until you get to the stage where effects become obvious. At that point, maintain dosage as you have discovered your ‘minimum effective medical dose’.
Michal Ofer is a wellness and digestion expert and nutrition coach. She is focused on assisting clients to take control of their health and happiness through the sustainable food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Through strengthening the body from the inside out, her clients are able to reach new heights of health, happiness and wellness. Michal obtained her Professional Training and Certificate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She has a further studied through the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Stanford University and is a Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach. Michal has also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences and a Master Life Coach Certification. For further information and to connect with Michal visit her website at www.michalofer.com