Anti-aging products always attract lots of attention – just about everyone wants to maintain their youthful looks for as long as possible. So, it’s no shock that the anti-aging industry is worth more than $140 billion around the world. Cannabis is a new entry to the market, but the herb and its compounds are courting plenty of interest, with the non-psychoactive CBD particularly popular.
The growth in the CBD market is an indication that people aren’t averse to cannabis entirely, but just that many are uncertain about having a psychoactive experience when using it. With CBD giving users a non-intoxicating way to experiment with cannabis treatment, the rise in demand was inevitable.
Research over the past 25 years has shown us that there’s an entire system that regulates our physical and mental health, which we didn’t even know about: the endocannabinoid system. Conveniently, phytocannabinoids from cannabis like CBD can interact with this network and influence the endocannabinoids which are created by the body. These endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind with cannabinoid receptors to stimulate various reactions. For example, the endocannabinoid system has a regulatory effect on immune system response.
Despite the federal government keeping cannabis prohibited in the United States, CBD products are legal so long as they have been extracted from the hemp plant. The cannabinoid profile of hemp is high-CBD, low-THC – therefore, the government makes an exception even though it’s a cannabis sativa strain.
There are several countries that allow high-CBD, low-THC products, including the United Kingdom and Switzerland. In the US, the THC threshold is set at 0.3 percent, but the Swiss are slightly more lenient, limiting the mind-altering cannabinoid at 1 percent. However, THC does not produce notable psychoactive effects in such quantities, and the antipsychotic properties of CBD would inhibit the high anyway.
Intrinsic and extrinsic aging
There are two forms of aging: intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging. While there’s nothing we can do to slow or prevent the former, there’s plenty that can be done to stop the latter. And considering that an estimated 90 percent of overall aging is extrinsic, there’s theoretically a lot that can help us to stay looking younger as we grow older.
With every passing year, the skin produces less collagen and elastin. As collagen production drops off by about 1 percent annually, the skin is unable to stay tight. Instead, it starts to sag, leading to fine lines and wrinkles that aesthetically age us.
Extrinsic aging comes from external factors. Ultraviolet rays, pollutants, and smoke all contain free radicals – these uncharged molecules have a detrimental effect on our skin.
How CBD protects the brain and slows extrinsic aging
CBD helps with the aging process in a few ways, but nothing is more important than the cannabinoid’s antioxidant effects. In fact, several cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties. Therefore, CBD can help to reduce the level of oxidative stress put on the body, which has a positive effect in multiple areas.
CBD also has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect against neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. These conditions invariably end up causing the patient to lose their independence, memory, and sense of health – this is a less obvious form of aging, but one that can be warned off by regularly supplementing the body with CBD.
The best way to look after the skin with CBD is by using topicals, where the cannabinoids have direct access to cannabinoid receptors in the skin. This is more effective for skin than an orally-ingested or inhaled CBD product, which would have a more general therapeutic impact throughout the body. CBD creams can be used to reduce inflammation that is responsible for skin disorders, and also to make the body less sensitive to physical pain. How CBD reduces pain is not as apparent as some of the interventions the cannabinoid makes, although researchers now think it could have something to do with the binding of anandamide to the vanilloid receptor (TRPV-1).
Believe it or not, stress can have a pretty serious aging effect. Therefore, to slow down aging, it’s key to stay relaxed whenever possible. CBD’s relaxing effects are shown physically and mentally. By stopping the build-up of free radicals that leads to oxidative stress, the skin can stay fresh and free from wrinkling. And CBD helps to eliminate stress in the first place with its reductive effect on cortisol, the stress hormone, and anxiety. A healthy mind is the first step to a healthy body.
Free radicals can cause oxidative damage to our DNA, in addition to aging the skin. However, CBD can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging DNA and skin cells. In fact, CBD can encourage optimum functioning in the skin cycle, so that skin cells are generated and shed at the appropriate rate.
Studies have shown that most age-related conditions are caused by some form of inflammation. Since CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory – effects it delivers through connecting with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system – it may help to slow the onset or even stop the progression of such diseases altogether. CBD regulates the endocannabinoid system, which has an all-encompassing regulatory effect on the body, bringing about homeostasis, or a state of equilibrium.
Some of the anti-aging properties of cannabidiol are obvious, while others are much subtler. However, to keep the body in a healthy state for longer, it’s vital that we aren’t having to fight against preventable issues.
In terms of physical health, this can be inflammation, chronic pain or skin damage caused by excess exposure to free radicals. For mental health, anxiety, depression, and loneliness are just three issues that can be a hindrance, especially among the elderly. The mood-boosting and anxiety-easing properties of CBD can have a noticeable positive impact over time.
The barriers to cannabis research mean that CBD science is still scant in some parts, however, the consistent flow of uplifting anecdotal stories is indicative of how life-changing the compound is proving to be.