What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
CBD is closely related to another important medicinally active phytocannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that causes the high that cannabis is famous for. These are the two components of cannabis that have been most studied by scientists.
Both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic attributes. But unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “stoned” or intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.
The fact that CBD is therapeutically potent as well as non-intoxicating, and easy to take as a CBD oil, makes it an appealing treatment option for those who are cautious about trying cannabis for the first time.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is found only in cannabis plants. Hemp comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, and marijuana comes from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plants. Hemp is the term for cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana is the term for cannabis that contains 0.3% or more THC. THC is the chemical that makes a person feel “high.”
Hemp naturally has higher levels of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound known for helping human bodies maintain health and overall wellness, and has no psychoactive effect.
There has been an almost exponential growth in the number of different CBD oils and hemp extract products available in the marketplace, purely as a result of people seeing positive effects in their health and wellbeing after using this health supplement in their daily dietary routine.
How does it work?
CBD works by copying endocannabinoids, a chemical naturally produced by humans and found throughout the body. Endocannabinoids play a role in regulating mood, memory, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, etc.
The best quality CBD oil products are derived from whole hemp plant extract with a full spectrum cannabinoid content with other cannabinoids and beneficial plant compounds like terpenes and flavonoids. Using the whole plant maximizes benefits derived throughout the body and supplies additional wellness components.
Types of Cannabidiol
Cannabidiol is available in a number of different forms in a wide variety of products. The three main types of cannabidiol that are available are:
- Full-spectrum: This means the product contains other compounds that are found in the cannabis plant, including varying amounts of THC.
- Broad-spectrum: This type contains other compounds found in cannabis, but does not contain THC.
- Isolate: This type contains only cannabidiol and no other cannabis compounds.
Is CBD legal?
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the European Union, all 27 countries have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction.
According to US federal law, CBD can only be included in “cosmetic” products such as lotions. It cannot be legally included in foods or dietary supplements.
Many states, like Spain, have passed state laws making marijuana and CBD legal for recreational and medical purposes.
Is CBD oil the same thing as hemp oil?
No. CBD and hemp oil are made from opposite parts of the hemp plant, also known as the cannabis Sativa plant.
- Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant and contains no CBD, while CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, stocks, and leaves of the plant. These parts of the plant are rich in CBD.
- CBD is used for the treatment of anxiety; sleep disorders, pain, etc. while hemp oil, being rich in omega fatty acids, is used more as a nutritional supplement, and provides hydration for dry skin.
- Hemp oil can be purchased from many different retailers, but use caution if trying to buy CBD products. They may be advertised as CBD, but frequently only contain hemp – especially those listed with online retailers such as Amazon.
What do people use it for?
- Cancer treatment-related side effects such as nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep problems
Is CBD safe?
CBD seems to be well-tolerated in patients.
The most common side effects of CBD are sleepiness and diarrhea.
Patients in the Epidiolex trials also had more infections and rashes, as well as depressed appetite, sleep problems and elevated liver enzymes.
Many drugs are metabolized in the body using the Cytochrome P450 system. Cytochrome P450 is a group of enzymes in the liver that break down drugs and toxins in the body. CBD inhibits many of these enzymes, which means they can’t work to remove drugs and toxins from the body.
Many drugs are metabolized through the Cytochrome P450 system including:
- Anti-seizure medications
- PPIs such as omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen
- Losartan (Cozaar)
- Ondansetron (Zofran)
- Venalfaxine (Effexor)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Many more
Be aware that other drugs can increase or decrease CBD concentrations
Before you decide to try cannabidiol, it is important to consider what you are trying to achieve. If your goal is to relieve symptoms of a condition such as depression or anxiety, ingested or inhaled products are more likely to have therapeutic effects than topical applications. Inhaled cannabidiol begins working quite quickly, while edible or other ingested products may take longer.
If you are interested in a localized application, such as to relieve skin problems or muscle inflammation, a topical product such as a cream, ointment, lotion, or salve might be preferable.