What is Cannabidiol?
Cannabinoids are compounds that influence the endocannabinoid system in the body, affecting both psychological health parameters, such as sleep, pain, mood, and appetite.
The two best understood and studied cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. CBD is used for its therapeutic effects, such as its ability to promote relaxation, and does not provide a “high.” In contrast, although THC is also used for medicinal purposes, it causes the “high” often associated with recreational cannabis.
CBD is most often harvested from industrial hemp, although it can be manufactured synthetically. Extracting CBD from hemp involves using solvents to separate CBD oils from the stalks and seeds of the hemp plant.
The processor then evaluates the oil for its cannabidiol content and treats it with heat in a process called decarboxylation. Also called decarbing, this process allows CBD to react with the body by converting the inactive compounds in CBD into active compounds.
Cannabidiol (CBD): Usage and Definition
- “I really just want something to help with my arthritis and I definitely don’t want to feel high, so can you recommend something with CBD?”
- “Do you have any nice hybrid strains with high CBD content?”
- “What’s the difference between CBD and other cannabinoids like CBN and CBG, in terms of effects, do you know?”
Types of CBD
There are two basic kinds of CBD products available: full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.
Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD contains CBD along with any other cannabinoids that occur naturally in the hemp plant. This may include small amounts of THC, but by law THC must be 0.3 percent or less. Other cannabinoids in full spectrum CBD products might include cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
Some research indicates that CBD is more effective in full spectrum or whole plant form because of the synergistic entourage effect from all of the cannabinoids working together. This form of CBD extract is very popular, particularly among those looking for relief from anxiety disorders or severe chronic pain. However, these types of products can potentially compromise a drug test since they contain trace amounts of THC.
Scientific research supports the existence of the entourage effect. Researchers have observed that particular brain neurotransmitters can how much interaction between CBD and the cannabinoid receptors takes place. In other words, other compounds are helping CBD do what it does in the body.
Full spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD extracts are not the same thing. Broad-spectrum CBD preserves all of the components within the plant except for THC using an extraction process that. In contrast, the full-spectrum CBD extraction process retains the THC.
Both full spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum forms of CBD are different from hemp oil, which is produced from hemp seeds and their nutrients and fatty acids. While hemp seeds offer high nutritional value from a broad range of vitamins and minerals, they do not contain cannabinoids, and therefore neither does hemp oil.
Hemp oil products cannot affect the endocannabinoid system the same way or offer the same health benefits that CBD oil does. Hemp seed oil is also used for paints, lubricants, fuel, plastics, and other household products.
CBD isolate, the purest form of CBD available, has no THC or any other cannabinoids, terpenes, or phytonutrients. Only high-quality CBD from the hemp plant remains. A lab setting is required to extract and form a CBD isolate.
CBD isolate is typically used by people who need to pass a drug test, and others who want to avoid any traces of THC. These products can be purchased in “raw” BAD crystal or powder form or as an oil infused with isolate.
How To Use CBD
As more people become interested in CBD, the industry grows, and produces an increasing number of CBD products—full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. CBD can be used via oral ingestion, topical application, inhalation, and sublingual administration. Each CBD delivery method provides unique benefits.
Oral ingestion for CBD is most popular with CBD oil. Other options include CBD edibles such as baked goods, gummies, and drinks. CBD capsules, CBD softgels, and highly-concentrated CBD tinctures consumed with food, drink or directly with a dropper also exist.
CBD topicals include CBD ointments, CBD lotions, CBD balms, CBD creams, CBD salves, CBD patches, CBD soaps, and other CBD bath and body care products. These topical CBD applications are primarily used to ease stiffness, for pain relief, or reduce inflammation.
Inhaling CBD vape oils or flower is an almost immediate way to deliver CBD to your body. This method is often used for those requiring quick, effective pain relief or those experiencing panic attacks. Effects from vaping CBD typically last a shorter time, between one and two hours.
Hold CBD tinctures under the tongue to take them sublingually and reduce how long it takes to feel effects. Sublingual CBD is best for migraines, pain management, or serious stress management. Effects from this method can last for six to eight hours.
How Does CBD Work in the Body?
CBD has a range of effects on the body as it activates the body’s cannabinoid receptors. These receptors form part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is involved in cognition, pain, comprehension, appetite, sleep, memory, immune function, and other processes in the body. Two of the cannabinoid receptors most important to the regulation of these areas are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly related to emotional responses and mood, while CB2 receptors are related more to lymphatic, immune, and peripheral nervous system functions.
The Benefits of CBD
CBD offers several benefits for human health, mental and physical:
- Cancer: CBD and other cannabinoids can cause cancer cell death and halt the spread of cancer. CBD also helps treat nausea for chemotherapy patients.
- Heart disease: CBD is an anti-inflammatory and therefore can help strengthen the cardiovascular system and prevent and treat heart disease.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): CBD can relieve symptoms of IBS by reducing intestinal inflammation.
- Glaucoma: CBD can potentially treat glaucoma, including a type of cell death, and pain from ocular pressure.
- Seizures and epilepsy: CBD and other cannabinoids are anticonvulsants, making them effective treatments for seizures and epilepsy.
- Acne: CBD is an anti-inflammatory, and can treat acne.
- Chronic pain: By reducing inflammation and pain, CBD can treat many conditions, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
- Anxiety: CBD effectively treats panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Depression: CBD has anti-depressive effects.
Is CBD Legal?
Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states in the US, and recreational cannabis is legal in 10 states. CBD is now legal in all 50 states as long as it does not contain more than 0.3% of THC thanks to the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the amended farm bill.
CBD that contains minimal THC is legal in most countries outside the United States, but it is important to research local laws and regulations, which change frequently.
CBD sold in the United States is not currently well regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that CBD products can vary significantly in terms of labeling, quality, reliability, and purity.
It is worth ensuring that your CBD products are reliable, in terms of quality and concentration. Always look for third-party lab-tested products.