Here’s What You Need to Know about CBD
If you’re interested in learning about CBD, or Cannabidiol, then this article is for you!
The cannabis plant contains over 60 known compounds. CBD is one of them.
Unlike the often demonized THC, it has no known mental side effects, but studies have shown that it may help patients with many disorders.
People use this substance both recreationally and medicinally, nationally and worldwide.
Some vape it. Others eat it. Some take it in a pill.
Let’s take a look at what it’s all about.
What is CBD?
CBD, a.k.a. cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid. It’s one of the two most common substances found in the Cannabis plant. That’s the same plant from which people harvest the buds that are called marijuana.
THC is the other major substance in the plant. THC is known for its psychoactive effects on the body. We refer to it as getting high or stoned. Temporarily slowed response time and cognitive-impairment are the most common side effects.
Some experience extreme paranoia, flashbacks, or other “deal-breaker” side effects.
Cannabidiol doesn’t have any of these negative mental effects. Because of that, people looking for the benefits of marijuana without the side effects turn to Cannabidiol as a possible solution.
After decades of ignoring this chemical, science is finally catching on and recognizing its benefits.
It can be isolated from the cannabis plant. Or the cannabis plant can be cultivated to contain high CBD with very low THC.
The Human Body Makes Cannabinoids Naturally
Cannabinoids aren’t a foreign substance to your body. Your own body makes them in a slightly different form.
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a part of the nervous system. It produces these cannabinoids to help regulate immune system response.
You can’t live well without an immune system. It is required to rush antibodies to areas that have been exposed to infection. You need it to start the healing process. You need it to protect you behind the scenes so that you stay healthy.
But the immune system can overreact to the environment sometimes. When it does physical responses can occur like:
- Joint damage
- Severe allergies
The effects can also be mental, such as:
Because cannabinoids help regulate the immune system, they can reduce the immune response in these cases. This may explain why studies show that CBD can have therapeutic effects on some people. But research is ongoing.
We undoubtedly have more to discover.
Why People Use Cannabidiol
People use it both recreationally and medicinally. Some feel it has a subtle calming effect or it helps them sleep. These individuals may be former smokers. Vaping may help them calm cravings so they can quit smoking for good.
Others take it because it significantly improves their quality of life. These individuals are using it for medicinal reasons. In some cases, this substance can be credited for saving their lives.
Those who want to experience positive effects of marijuana without the high, use the cannabinoid to achieve that. In places where marijuana is not legal, cannabidiol is, making it accessible to more people.
What Science Says About CBD
Studies have shown that CBD can have several therapeutic effects.
It can help in the following ways.
Inflammation is a byproduct of an over-active immune system. If left un-checked the swelling and increased antibodies will begin attacking healthy cells and causing irreparable damage.
Research has shown that cannabidiol can reduce inflammation in both animals and humans.
Increase Antioxidant Intake
Antioxidants are found naturally in many foods. These chemicals are believed to help reduce the risk of cancer in some forms by fighting against cell damage in your body.
There have even been studies in mice that showed that it can reduce the size of tumors.
Protect Your Nerves
It has been shown to diminish nerve damage caused by over-consumption of alcohol. We’re not calling this a license to binge drink, but if you do, this substance may reduce some of the long-term effects.
At this point, human studies are needed to confirm this.
We’ve seen similar promising studies in human patients with multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that attacks the nerves. In trials, patients who used CBD were able to significantly reduce the effects of the disease.
Reduce Anxiety Symptoms
Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce anxiety. It demonstrated an ability to treat social anxiety, performance anxiety, and chronic anxiety in humans.
Reduce Depression Symptoms
In studies on mice, this substance has demonstrated an ability to impact depression symptoms in a fast and sustained way. The former is important because most anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs take weeks to work.
More human trials are needed, but initial results are promising.
Mildly Reduce Pain
Studies have shown mild pain reduction with use of Cannabinol. People who have chronic pain that won’t go away are always looking for even a moment’s relief.
Often prescription drugs leave them unable to function. Any pain reduction is a good sign. More studies are needed to determine whether this impact can be amplified.
Unlike Opioids (RX painkillers like Oxy), Cannabidiol doesn’t cause dependence or other Opioid side effects like:
- Extreme fatigue
This makes it highly preferred for some patients.
Manages Chemo Symptoms
When people have cancer, it’s not the cancer that makes them feel terrible, at least in the early stages. It’s the chemo and radiation.
People who are on cancer treatments may:
- Feel constantly nauseated
- Not want to eat
- Vomit everything up
Because of this, many people on treatment waste away slowly.
Studies have shown that cannabidiol can reduce symptoms associated with cancer treatment.
Relax & Sleep
Are you in need of something more subtle?
Studies also show that it can help some people relax and sleep. Everyone could use those effects. The impact does depend on the individual. More studies are needed to understand why.
So Much More
CBD is being studied and used to treat seizures, muscle spasms, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and much more.
Studies are ongoing, but initial results are promising enough for many to join this growing trend.
Why Medical Professionals Prefer Cannabidiol
Medical and recreational marijuana is legal in some places. In places that they’re not, state governments may allow CBD.
While it may not have all of the benefits of THC or a THC-CBD combination, doctors ideally want patients to find relief with the fewest side effects. CBD does that.
How CBD is Used
To get the greatest effect from CBD, it should be consumed along with THC and other cannabinoids found in the plant where legal to do so.
Where not legal, CBD only products are available that contain below the legal limit of THC.
These come in several forms.
CBD oil is very commonly used as a medicine. It might be stored in a vial and drawn out with a syringe. CBD oil can be swallowed, most often by being placed under the tongue for quicker absorption. It can also be placed in a gel cap.
This is the best way to get a precise dose. Children using this substance would often take it in one of these ways.
Cannabidiol can be infused into creams and ointments. They are applied to sore joints and muscles and appreciated for their anti-inflammatory effects.
It can be cooked into foods, but don’t go tossing a stash into a brownie. It takes a certain technique to maximize the impact of the substances.
Unless you’re using oils, eLiquids, etc. that have already been heated, Cannabidiol must be heated to 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes to activate the CBD found naturally in the cannabis plant.
One of the most effective ways to consume it is through vaping. Using a vaping pen or other vaping devices a person inhales the vapor produced with the oil is heated.
This is the fastest and most effective way to use this substance. Your lungs absorb chemicals much more quickly than the digestive system.
Some people also swear by Cannabinoid water that they drink or bathe in. Now that this is more available, we may see all kinds of new ways to ingest this substance.
Strains Rich in Cannabidiol
Some strains of Cannabis are particularly high in Cannabidiol. These include:
A strain developed in Colorado. It’s named after Charlotte Figi, a little girl who was having many seizures a day due to Dravet’s disorder. This rare condition causes irreversible brain damage over time.
Her family lived in Texas but had to act fast to save their daughter after years of attempts by doctors to help her.
They moved to Colorado, one of the few places it was legal at the time. Charlotte went from having 300 seizures a week to having 3 or so a month.
It completely changed her life.
This strain produces buds that have almost 3 times the CBD as THC. It’s commonly used to relieve symptoms as described above.
This strain produces high levels of both CBD and THC. It’s, therefore, used by people who don’t mind the side effects of THC. ACDC and Catatonic are two other strains that are high in Cannabidiol.
Some strains are being developed now that have as much as 5X the cannabidiol. This means that people who dislike the THC effects will be able to get less of it. Of course, since this still has THC, it’s not legal in some states.
Laws Surrounding Cannabidiol
Federally, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. That means that the U.S. considers it to have no medicinal value and high probability of abuse.
This may change with further research, but that’s how things stand as of the writing of this article.
State law overrules federal law in some cases, meaning that marijuana is legal in some states for medicinal use, recreational, or both. If it’s not legal in your state, using cannabidiol in conjunction with THC may not be an option for you.
But cannabis that has less than .3% THC is considered to be hemp cannabis rather than marijuana. Because of this, it’s legal in all 50 states. This cannabis can still have a very high level of Cannabidiol.
You can, therefore, get all the benefits and stay legal even if medical marijuana isn’t legal in your state.
Cannabidiol for Pets
Animals can benefit from Cannabidiol as well. They have an endocannabinoid system similar to humans.
People give their pets this substance to:
- Help them relax on trips or during events
- Treat anxiety-prone pets
- Reduce pains, especially as they age
- Treat epilepsy
- Improve skin condition
Research is ongoing and doses for pets are very different from what a person can handle. You should always talk to your vet before you start a regimen.
60% of people in the US now believe that marijuana should be legal. Cannabidiol research is a major part of this overall trend.
But this trend is not isolated to the United States. Canada just passed a law that will make recreational marijuana legal beginning in 2018.
The South American country of Uruguay legalized it. They hope to undermine the black market drug trade that has ravaged South America for decades.
Jamaica sees legalizing medical marijuana as a way to position themselves as a wellness destination.
Israel has long been interested in the medicinal effects of marijuana. They’re a leader in research today.
Denmark and The Netherlands both have policies that allow some use in some circumstances.
As more countries develop greater awareness, we’ll undoubtedly see more promising human studies that result.
Research is ongoing and can take years to complete. We need to better understand who can best be helped and which strains and methods best help them. Just over the past 5 years, we’ve made great leaps in our understanding regarding the therapeutic benefits.
What will we know in another 5?
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