CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of 100+ compounds from the cannabinoid family that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. CBD is quickly gaining wide exposure around the world with recent studies into its broad spectrum of medical benefits.
The most common and well known form is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), mainly due to the psychoactive properties or high users experience with its use. Where most confusion lies is exactly how CBD differs from THC and how it is derived. The image below helps illustrate the key differences and why a CBD product which is derived from hemp will not get you high:
How Does CBD Work?
CBD (and THC) work by interacting with our body's endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system made up of naturally occurring cannabis-like molecules. These endocannabinoids, as they're called, work like neurotransmitters, shuttling messages through the body to help maintain homeostasis. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system at two known receptors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are mainly present in the brain -- where they're involved with cognition, memory, motor skills and pain -- but also in the peripheral nervous system, liver, thyroid, uterus and more. THC attaches itself to these receptors, inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters and possibly increasing the release of others, altering normal functioning.
Although the exact way CBD affects our bodies is still unknown, scientists think CBD encourages the body to produce more of its own endocannabinoids, which may help reduce anxiety, pain and inflammation.
Is CBD legal?
The legality of CBD is governed by each individual country and state dependent on which country you reside in. But generally CBD which is derived from the hemp species of cannabis and only contains trace amounts of THC is legal.
If a CBD product is derived from the marijuana species of cannabis, it is still illegal due to its THC content unless the THC has been extracted. It is important to source products which specify they have been subject to third party testing to confirm concentrations of cannabinoids.
If you are subject to drug testing for your profession it is advised you stick with a product which is THC free such as a CBD isolate product. Due to some noted side effects of CBD such as drowsiness you should not consume CBD if you are required to use motor skills for driving or operating heavy machinery on a daily basis.
IMPORTANT: As with any form of medicine or drug user tolerance must be assessed. It is recommended to start with lower concentration products at lower doses. It has been shown that smaller doses tend to have more beneficial effects compared to larger doses and given side effects.
What are the health benefits of CBD?
CBD’s benefits are becoming vast as more research and investigation into its use becomes known. Some of the most notable benefits with the most evidence based research behind them include:
Most of these studies have been performed on animals and test tube studies mainly due to the ongoing legality of the medicine. But as more real life research and evidence comes to light these benefits are becoming justified.
How is CBD used?
CBD is consumed via various methods to suit user preference but firstly it is important to know the difference between the two forms of CBD on the market:
• CBD Isolate: CBD only with all other cannabinoids extracted in its purest form.
• CBD Full spectrum: CBD together with other cannabinoids, vitamins, minerals and amino acid profiles. Trace amounts of THC can be found in this form of CBD oil.
Common CBD delivery methods are listed below and dependent on which method you use can affect how quickly its absorbed and the effects on the body:
• Edibles: Most commonly gummy bear products but CBD is now been added to biscuits, chocolates and even coffee. Edibles are slow acting but once there results take effect they tend to be more long lasting.
• Oils and tinctures: These are either isolate or full spectrum products which are placed under the tongue using a bottle dropper and absorbed into the bloodstream.
• Pills and capsules: These are consumed as you would your usual vitamin and mineral supplements and are ingested orally. They are usually supplied in a gelatine capsule and contain CBD isolate or CBD full spectrum oil.
• Topicals: These are products which contain CBD infused in oil, cream and lotion used for its anti-inflammatory and pain management properties. CBD in this form is now finding its way into skincare, haircare and massage oil products.
• Vaping: As with e-cigarettes vaping CBD involves inhaling a vaporized liquid that contains CBD oil. You require a vape device or mod to heat the liquid so you can inhale the vapour. This method gives you the quickest onset of effects from CBD but does not last as long as the above mentioned.
What are the risks of taking CBD?
As with any form of medicine or supplement there are noted side effects. The world health organisation did find that CBD, in its purest state is safe, well-tolerated by humans and animals and not likely to cause physical dependence or abuse. No records of overdosing on CBD products have been recorded.
Some of the most common risks of use are noted below:
• Side effects: These are normally dose dependant and depend on user tolerance but include: dry mouth, blood pressure drops, lightheadedness, drowsiness, increased appetite and diarrhea.
• Limited studies: Due to CBD been a fairly new product on the market to treat various conditions research is still limited into its long term use. Although all current studies are very positive with ongoing research into further benefits been found.
• Regulation: With the CBD market currently unregulated product quality can be an issue. Therefore it is important to find reputable sources which sell or perform third party tests on products for resale. This ensures you are receiving the adequate doses as labelled on the product and with product quality confirmed.
• Drug interactions: Some evidence as pointed to the fact that CBD when consumed with other medicines can increase their effects. This may lead to unwanted side effects or more positive side effects dependant on the med. Herbs and supplements used for their restful properties are known to interact with CBD which can increase the effects of sleepiness or drowsiness. Therefore you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist to ensure anything you may currently take could interact with CBD.
• Use during and before pregnancy: Certain medicines and drugs should be avoided while trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy. Therefore CBD use should be treated the same with any pre or post-natal use.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website and the products for sale are for educational, research and informational purposes only. This is not intended as health or medical advice or an alternative for any other medicine. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objective.