CBD 101: What is CBD and What are the Health Benefits?
You might wonder what is CBD? There is a lot of medical and media hype surrounding the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) found in the hemp and marijuana plant. CBD is one of 104 chemical compounds that occur naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant. The chemical compounds are all known as cannabinoids. They have a medicinal-like effect on the central nervous system and the immune system of all mammals. The most widely recognized cannabinoid found in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is widely known for its psychoactive effects (high), but the next most abundant cannabinoid is CBD. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive.
The Hemp Plant
Throughout the United States, there has been a shift towards the benefits of medical marijuana in recent years. Many states have legalized marijuana for not only medicinal use but also recreational. Marijuana remains illegal on a federal level. However, CBD products derived from the hemp plant, which is a form of Cannabis sativa, contain little or no THC. The lack of THC makes CBD-derived products readily available for purchase online or at stores across the nation.
Hemp Vs. Marijuana
Yes, hemp and marijuana are all forms of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp and marijuana also look remarkably similar. However, marijuana has overly broad leaves with dense buds. Hemp has skinny leaves and grows far taller than marijuana. Marijuana contains concentrations of THC of 15 percent or higher. However, hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC but is rich in CBD. CBD derived from hemp plants is every bit as potent and beneficial as CBD derived from marijuana strains. However, a user can reap the health benefits of CBD products without worrying about experiencing any adverse psychoactive reactions, and CBD products are widely available for purchase no matter what state you call home.
What are Cannabinoids?
The Cannabis sativa plant naturally secretes cannabinoids in its flowers. For centuries, they have been used to bring relief to a wide variety of health conditions such as pain, inflammation, nausea, and anxiety. Interestingly, the cannabinoids found in the plant have the unique ability to bind with crucial receptors (CB1 and CB2 receptors) that make up the body’s endocannabinoid system. The CB1 and CB2 receptors of the human body maintain health and stability. When CBD or THC are ingested the plant’s, cannabinoids bind with the receptors that are located throughout the body and brain. Different cannabinoids have very distinct effects on the receptors where they link. THC is known to bind with the CB1 receptors in the brain which is why it renders a psychoactive high. However, CBD binds mostly with the body’s CB2 receptors.
Known Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis
There are 84 known cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. However, only THC is known to produce a psychoactive response in users. Many researchers have performed clinical studies that suggest that cannabinoids all work together to enhance mutually and provide the best health results through a whole-plant process. The cannabinoid CBN (cannabinol) has started to gain the interest of the medical community. It has a natural sedative effect on the user and is believed to complement CBD in providing analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-convulsive properties.
Other cannabinoids include the following in far fewer degrees than THC or CBD.
- Cannabigerols (CBG)
- Cannabichromenes (CBC)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabinodiol (CBL)
Facts About CBD Hemp Oil
CBD derived from the hemp plant is available in innumerable forms such as capsules, oils, tinctures, gummies, and vape products.
Here are a few facts about CBD hemp oil:
- Both medicinal marijuana and agricultural hemp come from the same Cannabis Sativa L. plant. However, unlike medical marijuana, hemp derived CBD oil contains less than 0.03 percent THC so has no psychoactive effects on a user.
- Agricultural hemp does not look exactly like marijuana. The hemp grows in large fields as a crop and industrial plant.
- Many employers regularly run drug tests for the THC in marijuana, but CBD products are safe to use and will not cause you to fail testing.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) producing cannabis grows to a height of about five feet, but agricultural hemp will attain a height of 10 to 15 feet.
- Hemp does not produce discernable levels of THC.
- A hemp plant remains genetically pure because the crops are pollinated by members of the same crop, so the field continues to produce plants abundant in CBD with little or no THC.
Epilepsy Research Paves the Way for CBD
CBD recently sprang to the public’s attention when medical researchers discovered the cannabinoids ability to treat and control even the most severe childhood epilepsy syndromes such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome which typically do not respond to traditional anti-seizure pharmaceuticals. CBD significantly reduced the number and severity of seizures in epilepsy sufferers. In many users, the use of CBD completely stopped the seizures. The undeniable benefits of CBD spurred the careful cultivation of numerous CBD-dominate strains of marijuana, such as Charlotte’s Web, which was honed for use by medicinal marijuana users. The success of CBD to treat epilepsy also encouraged further medical research and pushed the hemp industry to derive CBD hemp oil products. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first Epidiolex (cannabidiol CBD) oral solution to treat severe forms of epilepsy.
The Many Health Benefits of CBD
You might be wondering why you should take CBD. Well, in a nutshell, CBD offers a diverse range of health benefits. For centuries, naturopathic medical practitioners have turned to CBD to treat numerous chronic health conditions. In 2727 B.C. China recorded using cannabis as a viable medication. The marijuana plant was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia up until 1942.
Here are just a few health benefits of CBD:
- Pain Reduction: The cannabinoid CBD has strong analgesic properties. In a full-scale medical review process, researchers looked at numerous studies from the 1980s through 2007 that focused on CBD to treat and control pain. They concluded that CBD does have a powerful impact on chronic pain. CBD might be a viable alternative to addictive and dangerous opioids that have traditionally been used to manage pain.
- Mood Disorders: Cannabidiol works with brain receptors 5HT1A (serotonin) and GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) to improve mood and reduce anxiety which is especially beneficial in sufferers of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Inflammation: CBD suppresses cytokine in the body and spurs the body’s t-regulator cells to protect the body instead of attacking itself (which is a common cause of autoimmune conditions). The process makes CBD highly beneficial for arthritis and autoimmune sufferers such as individuals dealing with lupus or Crohn’s disease.
- Anti-spasmatic: Many chronic medical conditions cause painful and uncomfortable muscle spasms. People with paraplegia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Phantom Limb Disorder, and certain gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) all cause muscle cramping. CBD relieves and easies the frequency of the spasms.
- Insomnia: CBD undoubtedly reduces anxiety and pain which helps eliminate sleep difficulties and improve the quality of your slumber. Interestingly, in small doses, cannabidiol stimulates alertness to effectively reduce daytime sleepiness and promote a healthier sleep-wake cycle so a person can more easily fall asleep at night. Also, CBD reduces REM behavior disorder, so sufferers can attain more restful sleep.
Possible Side Effects of CBD
Healthy individuals tolerate CBD well. On rare occasions the following side effects can occur:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
As with any supplement, people with chronic health conditions should consult with their physician before using a CBD supplement. Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should abstain from using CBD without first discussing it with your medical provider.
What to Look for When Choosing CBD Products
If you have decided to purchase CBD products, then here are a few things to consider:
- CBD Rich Products: When shopping for CBD, only choose products that contain a prominent level of pure CBD derived from naturally grown hemp plants.
- Clear Labels: A CBD product derived from hemp should clearly state that the oil was obtained from the hemp plant. The label will list the quantity and ratio of CBD in the product. It will also say if there is any THC in the oil. Remember, hemp-derived CBD must contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be legally sold in all states. Ideally, the label should also feature a manufacturing date and batch number to ensure that the product has passed quality control.
- Lab Testing: All cannabidiol products should have passed some form of lab testing for consistency before sale. Only buy CBD products that state clearly on the label that the item is completely free of pesticides, mold, bacteria, solvent residues, and other contaminants.
- Quality Ingredients: Whatever CBD product you decide to purchase should contain quality ingredients and be free of things such as corn syrup additives, artificial ingredients, or trans-fats. Look for GMO-free products
- Cannabis or Industrial Hemp: Nowadays, with medicinal and recreational marijuana being available in many states there is a distinct difference between marijuana-based CBD oils which are obtained through a CBD dominate strain of marijuana, and CBD hemp oil that comes only from the hemp plant. CBD acquired through the hemp plant contains less than 0.03 percent THC and can be purchased throughout the United States. However, marijuana-based CBD oils may provide varying levels of THC and are only available in states where cannabis has undergone legalization for medicinal or recreational use.
The Various Types of CBD
Forbes Magazine reportedthat CBD hemp oil sales will top a billion dollars within the next three years. Most users (64.5 percent) will purchase CBD online. Undoubtedly, there is a CBD hemp oil product to fit the needs of everyone.
- Oils and Tinctures: Oils and tinctures are liquid forms of CBD that are usually taken using a dropper. You place a couple of drops under your tongue for rapid absorption. Oils and tinctures are a wonderful choice for individuals who do not like to take pills or capsules. Also, when administered sublingually, the CBD is rapidly absorbed into your system.
- Creams and Lotions: CBD-infused topicals come in the form of creams and lotions. They are used to relieve joint and muscle pain caused by arthritis or some other muscle strain. The lotions can also be used to help improve skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
- Capsules and Pills: CBD is available in the form of easy to swallow capsules and pills. Many people opt to use this form of the cannabinoid as a daily supplement.
- Edibles: Edibles, such as gummies, are an affordable and fun way to take CBD.
- Vaping: The inhalation of vaporized CBD oil is the fastest way to reap the physical benefits of the cannabinoid. When inhaled, your lungs rapidly absorb the CBD into the bloodstream.
Nowadays, CBD is widely embraced by the medical community for its innumerable health benefits. Many people extensively use the cannabinoid as a daily supplement right alongside their multivitamin. Undoubtedly, the potential for incredible health benefits exists with this all-natural product.