What is CBD and how does it work? What is CBD used for; what is CBD made from? This had me interested, so I did a little research and wrote this article around those questions to better understand the subject behind the noise.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a phytochemical (plant chemical) extracted from industrial hemp or cannabis. Scientific research has shown us that it is one of over 100 certified cannabinoids [Ref] in Cannabis sativa L. (better known as marijuana).
The Merriam Dictionary defines CBD as “a crystalline, nonintoxicating cannabinoid C21H30O2 found in cannabis and hemp that is sometimes used medicinally”. It notes that “After THC, cannabidiol is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis.”
THC is technically Δ9-THC and stands for Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the principle phytocannabinoid in the marijuana plant, the one that provides that ‘high’ effect and causes many to close their minds on CBD, it seems.
The stigma around the use of THC should not be applied to CBD. Here’s why…science has shown there is a distinct difference between the two in terms of human effects. Medical researchers from the University of Toronto explain …
The effect of CBD on brain systems as well as on phenomenological measures (e.g. cognitive function) are distinct and in many cases opposite to that of Δ9-THC.
Cannabidiol is without euphoriant properties, and exerts antipsychotic, anxiolytic, anti-seizure, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.Pharmacol Res. 2017
CBD resembles Δ9-THC structurally but the 2 molecules differ significantly in pharmacology and function.Neurotherapeutics, 2015
Why Is CBD Doing the Rounds?
People view CBD as a natural way to feel better and improve their health and wellbeing. The science supports this case. It indicates CBD “exerts antipsychotic, anxiolytic, anti-seizure, as well as anti-inflammatory properties” (see above).
Cannabidiol (CBD)-based oil preparations are becoming extremely popular, as CBD has been shown to have beneficial effects on human health.Molecules. 2018
It’s everywhere because the lid is opening in legal terms regarding the medicinal use of CBD. According to The Atlantic, Feb 6, 2019, “Cannabis law is changing rapidly across the United States and at all levels of regulation and enforcement”.
But…many remain wary of introducing it freely and controversy exists! Hence there’s much debate and the headlines about CBD surge with for and against it.
What Are the Benefits of CBD?
Currently, the US research database shows more than 180 clinical trials that are either active, recruiting, or intend recruiting to study CBD in terms of its potential health benefits.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, promises benefits for people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, blood pressure issues, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and other medical conditions.
Already studies based on clinical trials CBD show that it helps reduce seizures in rare forms of epilepsy.
This is like a medical marijuana spree — a different approach to the recreational use of marijuana or ‘pot’, as CBD is not the same as THC.
How CBD Works?
Research reveals that CBD oil interacts with our endocannabinoid system, which has receptors in the surface of our nerve cells. It interacts with this network without producing the psychoactive effects associated with THC, which is the compound attributed to the ‘high’ in pot. Different to THC, it interacts indirectly with the CB1 receptors and appears to deliver the health benefits without the psychotic side effects.
Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
These names are often interchanged and used to describe the same thing. They are both sought after for their eco-friendly properties and human health benefits. Both come from a strain of Cannabis sativa L., the industrial hemp plant (a strain of Cannabis with little to low levels of THC but high levels of CBD).
“CBD oil expression is typically limited to extracts in oil of flowering buds and not stalks, fibers, or seeds of each Cannabis sativa L. variety” a group of researchers wrote. And it generally contains much more cannabidiol (up to 25% CBD) than hemp oil. Though, both can be called hemp oil, because they both come from hemp.
It all gets tricky, with legal jargon across the world confusing the meanings, as explained by Yewande Okuleye, Assistant researcher, University of Leicester, in the Conversation. She goes on to explain, in the UK at least, “Cannabis is classified as hemp if it has a maximum level of 0.2% THC.” Above that and it is illegal, and this is where you strike problems with using CBD oil.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Best to check the laws of your state or country. Its legality depends on where you live, but across the world legislation is changing around the use of health supporting substances made from marijuana. At present, no CBD-oil based products appear to be available for purchase from major outlets in the US, although hemp oil is readily available on Amazon.
CBD For Stress
What Does CBD Feel Like? Here’s how I’ve seen it explained: Imagine yourself floating in a warm tub of water and the stress melting away or the calm feeling after a meditation session.
CBT Helps With Anxiety
We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutelyNeurotherapeutics, 2015
DoEs CBD Help with Pain?
According to research findings, CBD helps alleviate pain for arthritis suffers …
…data indicate that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effectsEur J Pain. 2016
There is supporting evidence that CBD generally helps to relieve chronic pain [Ref].
What is the Best CBD Oil?
CBD oil products are sold by different companies. Common sense would tell you to look out for is potency and purity. Consider looking for a certificate of analysis, which proves an independent laboratory has tested for potency, pesticides, and contaminants.
In terms of CBD potency and purity there’s not a lot of scientific publications, but I discovered there are three forms of CBD: isolate, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum, possible, from coverage of the topic by Bill Rawls, MD and Author.
An isolate means the purest form of the compound. In terms of CBD, this is a fully-filtered product, i.e., containing no terpenes, flavonoids, or other compounds.
This compares with the ‘full-spectrum‘ CBD, which would contain all the compounds naturally occurring in the plant, including the terpenes and any THC, along with the effects of these. Terpenes give off the weedy taste and flavor and any THC would give a potential ‘high’. With this you would get the ‘full’ and synergistic effect of all compounds in the product.
Then there is ‘broad‘ spectrum. It contains no THC (the ‘high’ producing factor is removed), but is otherwise similar to the full-spectrum.
Is CBD Marijuana Oil?
CBD oil is marijuana oil in that it comes from the marijuana plant, Cannabis; however, it is not the recreational drug we are used to hearing about.
There are several strains of Cannabis and cannabidiol oil is produced from plants with low levels of THC (the part in ‘pot’ that gets you high). At present, the products with high levels of THC are illegal to possess and produce (depending on the state or country).
According to medical researchers…
Cannabis sativa contains a higher ratio of Δ9-THC to CBD, producing more stimulating, psychotropic effects.Cannabis indica strains contains a higher ratio of CBD:Δ9-THC and are typically more sedating.Neurotherapeutics, 2015
What Should CBD Oil Look Like?
Should CBD oil be clear? According to manufacturers, it’s clear if it is of highest quality simply because the impurities have been filtered out. It has a clear gold-like color to its appearance.
What Should CBD Oil Taste Like?
CBD oil is said to taste nutty, earthy, or grassy – unless you have the isolate form.
What Should CBD Oil Smell Like?
It’s likely to have a weedy aroma because of the terpenes in the hemp plant. However, if you happen across the purest or isolate form, due to lack of terpenes, you wouldn’t expect this odor.
Do CBD Oils Expire?
Best info I could find: Average shelf life expectancy is about 12 to 24 months. Best to check to see if the product has an expiry date and use that as your guide. Store in the dark away from changes in temperature and this should add to shelf life.
Which Are Your Thoughts?
Is CBD oil a good thing, or not?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant. CBD does not produce the psychoactive effects as found from studies based. The CBD oils may have THC if they are the full-spectrum form (See differences btw isolates, full-spectrum, and broad spectrum above).
Night owls might be happy to know that CBD oil can help with insomnia. At the same time however, CBD does not make you tired, like that from marijuana used by recreational users. Different processes are at work here because CBD works on the source of the insomnia, e.g. stress and anxiety.
You can store your CBD oil in the pantry or cupboard out of light and fluctuating temperatures. You can choose to store it in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life especially if you live in hot climates.
It’s advisable to take CBD oil with food to improve how your body absorbs it. A few drops in your morning smoothie or over your breakfast cereal can do the trick.
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Hi, I’m Mary-Anne. Apart from a PhD in Earth and Life Sciences, I have a whole heap of other life experiences. I am a believer in wellness through wildness. This is about connecting with the nature within and the nature around to keep fit and healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I enjoy researching and writing about natural things that support our wellbeing and then sharing the benefits I discover.