CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. This naturally occurring molecule interacts with the human body in a variety of positive ways, and its remarkable healing properties have made it one of the most popular natural remedies in recent history. CBD oil, or hemp oil, is a cultural phenomenon.
People are using CBD for everything from acne to arthritis, with impressive results. Every day, more CBD Products are introduced to the market in newer and more innovative ways. CBD-infused coffee, topical lotions, pain relieving patches, and even chocolate can all be found with CBD in them.
What is it about CBD that has caused it to become an overnight sensation which has disrupted the natural health industry? This article will explain the basics.
Hemp Without the High—The Difference Between CBD and THC
The cannabis plant contains over one hundred compounds, with more waiting to be discovered. The two most abundant of these are the cannabinoids Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
You’re probably already aware of THC. It is the compound responsible for the high that users get from smoking or ingesting it. Euphoria is not its only benefit. It is estimated that Medical marijuana is now regularlyused by over 2,132,777Americans. The reason for this staggering figure is simple: Medical marijuana works. Not just a passing fad, it is a legitimate natural cure that people rely on to stay healthy.
For those who live in areas where medical marijuana is not yet legalized, or who, for personal reasons may not wish to experience the effects of THC, CBD offers a solution. Sourced from the hemp species of cannabis, this cannabinoid provides many of the same benefits as THC without the high. CBD extracted from hemp can only be legally sold in the United States if the amount of THC is below 0.3%. This trace amount ensures that no psychoactive effects are experienced.
China first started cultivating hemp to craft ancient medicines and make paper. Buddhists wrote one of the oldest documents discovered on paper made out of hemp. Subsequently, in the middle ages, hemp became an essential crop. Spanish Galleons with reinforced canvas made out of hemp fibers crossed the treacherous Atlantic ocean and brought industrial hemp to the Western Hemisphere.
Hemp was so important in colonial America that there were laws requiring farmers to plant a percentage of it along with their other crops, and for quite a while, it was even considered legal tender.
And now in 2019, the United States has become a mass-producer of industrial hemp. With almost 80,000 acres of land being farmed in states like Colorado and Oregon, growers have found that some areas of the US have near perfect climates and nutrient-rich soil that is ideal for growing hemp.
Technological advances and scientific research are continually improving how industrial hemp is grown. The Increased harvest size and higher levels of CBD that can be extracted due to these advances have resulted in the mass manufacturing of CBD oil and other hemp derivatives.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD oils extracted from hemp interact with cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body. Called the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor, they are part of a vast system found in all mammals. Discovered within the past two decades, this system has aptly been named the endocannabinoid system or ECS.
The ECS controls many of the primary bodily functions needed for optimum health and survival. Appetite, temperature, pain, immunity, sleep, reproduction, mood, and more are all regulated by this vital system.
Most importantly, our own bodies produce cannabinoids similar to CBD to help the ECS function. It is theorized that underproduction of these compounds results in a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. This condition is implicated in a variety of ailments and diseases that plague us in modern society. Inflammatory disease, neurological issues, skin conditions, migraines, and a host of other problems may be a result of a malfunction in the ECS
This is where CBD comes in. When it is introduced into the body, it mimics the actions of the bodies own cannabinoids, interacting at a subcellular level. It not only fills in for the endocannabinoids we are missing, but it helps to encourage our bodies to make more of them.
How is CBD Used?
It is important to note that the CBD industry is still in its infancy, and research is in the early stages. However, The studies that have been conducted thus far are promising. Further, anecdotal information is readily available as to the efficacy of CBD for a wide range of conditions including:
Pain and Inflammation
Cannabis has been used for pain reliefsince antiquity, so it is no surprise that people are turning to CBD to help them reduce pain. Recent studies have shown it to be capable of improving levels of pain and spasticity in MS patients. It has also been shown to be effective in treatinghard-to-manage pain andneuropathic pain.
Inflammation can be a major contributor to chronic pain. CBD’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties can improve overall long term results.
Anxiety and PTSD
Anxiety is often treated using pharmaceuticals, with varying degrees of success. Anxiety can be debilitating for people who suffer from it, and there are several different levels to the disorder. One promising study has shown great promise for reducing these feelings in people with panic disorders.
Other studies on PTSD are encouraging as well. As an approved condition for medical marijuana treatment, it is already determined that cannabinoids are helpful. One study suggests that CBD can help reduce the impact of unpleasant and traumatic memories by blocking the freeze response.
Millions of people are not getting enough sleep. Insomnia is another condition that people are turning to CBD for. As an adaptogen, CBD may work remarkably well to help get a better nights sleep. A study on the positive effects of the compound on kids suffering from sleeplessness and anxiety was published in 2016 in thePermanente Journal.
At high doses, the effects of CBD result in a decrease in seizure activity. In one clinical study, there were 214 participants with epilepsy. 36.5% of them had a reduction in seizure activity after taking CBD.Similar studies conducted for epilepsy in children showed encouraging results as well. This led to a CBD based pharmaceutical calledEpidiolex, which was introduced to the pharmacopeia in 2018.
Further studies are necessary to see just how much of an impact this life-changing compound can make among people who suffer from other conditions. CBD is also being used for the treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis, depression, cancer, addiction, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, andmany other health issues.The preliminary results are encouraging.
How to Find the Best CBD
Since Congress passed the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act in December 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been searching for a solution to regulate the burgeoning CBD industry and its many products. A public hearing is scheduled for the end of May 2019 to discuss the best way to move forward.
Because there are currently no standards in place concerning potency and purity, a lot of companies have jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to earn a quick buck. However, this means that consumers need to be aware of what is in the CBD products they purchase.
If you are searching for a high-quality CBD product, there are three main factors to consider:
Source of the hemp
Purchase products crafted from organic US hemp wherever possible.
Method of Extraction
Find out what method of extraction is used to pull the CBD from the plant. CO2 extraction is the gold standard in the industry, and it results in a pure product. Clean ethanol extraction runs a close second.
Avoid companies who don’t disclose their extraction methods or who use butane or other chemical solvents.
Third Party Lab Testing
Any trustworthy CBD company will stake their reputation on their laboratory results. They should be up to date within the past year and posted prominently on the company website for easy access.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.