Of late, there has been tremendous interest in a substance called cannabidiol (CBD). One of the biggest questions has always been ‘What is CBD?’ This is the question we will answer in this article; therefore, read on.
What is CBD?
Yes, you know the acronym, but what does CBD stand for? CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol. It is one of the myriads of cannabinoids found in the cannabis Sativa plant. CBD is not psychoactive, unlike its popular counterpart delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As a result, it does not affect the cognitive functions of the brain. CBD users will not have to worry about the ‘high’ feeling commonly associated with marijuana. Cannabidiol has been touted for its numerous therapeutic and medicinal benefits. These are due to the substance’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system, popularly referred to as the ECS. As a result of its usefulness, CBD is now infused into several mainstream products. These include edibles, vape oils, topicals, capsules, CBD for pets, and so on. These CBD-based products can be easily found in dispensaries and retail outlets across the whole length and breadth of the country.
How Cannabidiol and Marijuana are Different?
Now that you know the answer to the question ‘What is CBD?’, there is a need to understand how the substance differs from marijuana. There is usually confusion concerning the difference between cannabidiol and marijuana. It is primarily because the substances generally come from the same species and can even look identical. However, it is paramount to understand that there is a difference between these two regarding the legal environment, uses, and effects. The difference between the two is highlighted below.
First and foremost, CBD and marijuana differ in how they are produced. Hemp, from which marijuana is derived, is grown on a scaled-agricultural model. On the other hand, marijuana is produced at the garden level.
- Psychoactive Effects
The other vital dissimilarity between cannabidiol and marijuana is that they do not exhibit the same psychoactive features. CBD is non-intoxicating. As a result, it does not affect the cognitive functions of the brain to produce a ‘high’ feeling that is commonly associated with marijuana.
One of the main differences between cannabidiol and marijuana lies in their composition. They have different chemical structures. Cannabidiol and marijuana contain different levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabidiol usually contains minute quantities of THC, while marijuana can carry up to 30% by dry weight. It explains why the two substances have different effects on the human body.
- Medicinal Properties
Another critical difference between the two substances is their use as medication. CBD has several known medicinal properties, some of which are approved. The Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug, to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. On the other hand, marijuana is mainly known for its therapeutic properties.
- Legal Status
Another important difference between cannabidiol and marijuana lies in their legal status. The two substances are regulated differently by the government. The use of CBD is federally legal but under substance. Cannabidiol is regulated under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. On the other hand, marijuana is still an illegal substance regulated by the Controlled Substances Act of 2018. However, it is paramount to highlight that the regulatory environment around these two substances is continuously evolving. Therefore, the best way to check their legality in your particular area is to familiarize yourself with the local rules and laws.
Why Do People Use CBD?
After one asks ‘What is CBD?’, the next question is usually on why people use it. Numerous reasons are associated with the use of CBD. The cannabinoid has been touted for its ability to treat and manage depression and anxiety-related disorders. It is also known to be capable of dealing with acne, chronic pain, and inflammation, epilepsy, etc.
How Does It Work?
CBD works for hand in glove with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is a system that regulates several bodily processes such as appetite, mood, social behavior, and so on through a careful balance of endocannabinoids. CBD works by restoring the much-needed balance of endocannabinoids in the system.
The Health Benefits of CBD
Of late, there have been tremendous medical research efforts that have been aimed towards studying the health benefits of CBD. Several high-profile institutions have invested massively in terms of personnel and financial resources to assess the medical benefits that can come with using CBD. It is paramount to highlight that research is still ongoing. However, the cannabinoid has already been shown to be capable of treating a myriad of health conditions. These are briefly described below.
- Pain Alleviation
Medical research has revealed that CBD helps with chronic pain. It is one of the most prominent uses that the cannabinoid has. It can help eliminate pain by affecting endocannabinoid activity, interacting with neurotransmitters, and decreasing inflammation.
Cannabidiol also carries anti-seizure properties. It has been touted as a potential treatment for epilepsy by the American Epilepsy Society. There is an FDA-approved drug known as Epidiolex that is used for the treatment of rare but severe variants of the disease. While the results of the research are still forthcoming, they have already shown that the substance can reduce the frequency of seizures in patients suffering from the condition.
- Neuroprotective Properties
Medical research has also shown that CBD helps in the treatment or management of neurological conditions.
CBD is also effective in treating or managing acne. It is a skin condition that results from the overproduction of an oily substance known as sebum that is secreted by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It can also be caused by other factors such as genetics, bacteria, and underlying inflammation. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and ability to decelerate the production of sebum making it an effective anti-acne treatment.
- Antipsychotic Properties
The cannabinoid has also been shown to help disorders such as schizophrenia by reducing psychotic symptoms.
- Cardiovascular Health
CBD has been linked to a reduction in high blood pressure and overall heart and circulatory system health.
- Anxiety and Depression Management
CBD helps with anxiety and depression treatment. It interacts with brain receptors such as serotonin that are influential in regulating social behavior and mood.
Medical research has shown that CBD can help individuals find relief from arthritis.
- Addiction Treatment and Management
The cannabinoid can also help people overcome addictions. It has been shown to reduce the activation of the amygdala, a part of the brain that is actively involved in addiction.
No doubt, CBD helps with sleep. Medical studies have revealed that taking a CBD dose at night can help you have a better sleeping experience.
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Studies have also shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, and anti-aging properties. These help in the treatment or management of psoriasis, itchy skin, and dermatitis.
Is CBD Worth Trying for Pain Management?
No doubt, CBD is an effective natural remedy against pain. It has been evidenced by research from medical experts and numerous positive customer reviews from individuals who tried the substance or pain management. There are several mechanisms by which cannabidiol can be used in pain alleviation.
One of the most mechanisms is centered on how the cannabinoid interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is a system that comprises endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that produce or break down cannabinoids. The ECS is involved in several regulatory processes, such as pain sensation. According to the clinical endocannabinoid deficiency theory, multiple treatment-resistant conditions, including intestinal pain, fibromyalgia, and migraines, are caused by the body’s inability to produce enough endocannabinoids. Therefore, these conditions can be easily addressed by introducing external cannabinoids such as CBD to provide much-needed relief.
The cannabinoid’s strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties also help it be an effective treatment against pain. According to research, it inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha in mice that have rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive abilities.
CBD also carries immunomodulatory properties that have a positive effect on pain and inflammation. It increases the quantity of a cannabinoid known as anandamide (AEA) by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks it down.
On a final note on pain, CBD has been found to potentiate glycine receptors. According to medical investigations, these play a pivotal role in the perception of pain. Some studies were conducted on mice, and these suggested that cannabinoid potentiation of receptors resulted in a decrease in both neuropathic and inflammatory pain.
Can CBD Help with Anxiety?
CBD is also used in the treatment and management of anxiety disorders. One of the most popular uses of the substance has to do with its anti-anxiety properties. There are three main mechanisms by which CBD combats anxiety. These are explained in depth below.
- Neural Regeneration
Anxiety-related disorders can damage neurons or even shrink brains. However, certain areas of the brain can be regenerated, and CBD helps them do just that. CBD’s ability to regenerate parts of the brain damaged by chronic anxiety is because it can accelerate the growth of new neurons.
- Regulating the Level of Endocannabinoids
Chronic anxiety dysregulates the level of endocannabinoids in the ECS. The use of CBD has been known to be effective in the restoration of this much-needed balance. CBD can do this by decreasing the overstimulation of the CB1 receptors and accelerating the body’s production of endocannabinoids to provide much-needed relief.
According to medical investigations, CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2. These are receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, respectively. CBD interacts with them so that it affects serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a pivotal role in feeling happy and is vital for one’s overall psychological wellbeing. Low serotonin is associated with anxiety and depression, and CBD can help increase it.
Does CBD Help With The Sleeping Disorder?
Yes. CBD helps with sleeping disorders. It is because sleep and cycles are part of the homeostatic aspects of the body. The ECS affects a person’s sleeping patterns. The dynamic equilibrium of activity and rest is vital for total health wellbeing. According to medical investigations, endocannabinoids perform a paramount role in maintaining the sleep-wake routine through a complex series of cell signals. CB1 is responsible for triggering sleep and wakefulness. Therefore, incorporating a dose of CBD into your daily routine helps one get rid of insomnia.
What is The Best Way to Take CBD?
Unfortunately, there is no single best way to take CBD. It is because there are several ways that people can take the cannabinoid. One will have to select the one which suits them best based on several factors, among which are personal preferences. Below, we will describe the several CBD methods, merits, and demerits to help users select one which suits them best.
One of the most popular CBD intake methods is through edibles. Numerous CBD-infused edibles are available on the market today. These include mints, gummies, truffles, and so on. When you use edibles as a CBD intake method, the cannabinoid accesses the bloodstream via the digestive system. There are several places that you can find CBD edibles. These include dispensaries, retail outlets, restaurants, and so on.
- They are easily accessed in retail shops.
- They usually have a great flavor that masks the weedy taste.
- Edibles can be taken in public without attracting unwanted attention.
- The effect of CBD takes longer to kick in since they utilize the digestive system.
Users are an ideal CBD intake method for people trying the cannabidiol-based treatments for the first time. Due to their usually high potencies, CBD tinctures are taken in small doses. It explains why they are administered with the help of a dropper that enables users to take small pre-measured quantities. Tinctures are administered sublingually.
- They are usually blended with carrier oils or other complementary ingredients to enhance palatability.
- They can be easily used in public.
- Easy to control dosing.
- They are prone to abuse due to their quick-acting nature.
Users can also take in CBD through capsules. These also access the bloodstream via the digestive tract like edibles. They are the ideal method to ingest CBD for individuals who would like to maintain a constant dose of CBD in their bodies.
- Their dosing is accurate.
- They take a long while for the CBD effect to be felt.
Vaping is also another popular CBD intake technique. The cannabinoid is now readily available via vape pens or e-cigarettes. These are devices that heat a tiny portion of the CBD concentrate until it boils. Users can inhale the cannabinoid without causing damage to their throat and lungs, as with marijuana.
- It has swift results
- There is no harsh smoke that irritates your throat and lungs
- Highly potent
- Controlling dosing can be difficult
- There is still minimal research information on the long-term effects of vaping.
Is CBD Safe?
It is not enough to have an understanding of the question ‘What is CBD?. You need to know whether it is safe to use. Yes, CBD is safe to use, provided you use only licensed products. It is paramount to highlight that the legal environment around CBD is still evolving. Therefore, several players in the CBD industry have taken advantage of the status quo to introduce bogus products. These could be dangerous health implications and should be avoided at all costs. CBD users should conduct due diligence when buying CBD products. There are several aspects that they should consider. These are briefly described below.
- Source of Hemp
Preferably, users should purchase CBD products that are manufactured from US-grown hemp. It is because such hemp is the one that meets the quality standards demanded by federal guidelines.
- Laboratory Tests
Users should also be sure to use CBD products that are tested for vital parameters. It is pivotal as it ensures that you buy free toxins such as pesticides and heavy metals. A third-party laboratory should have also conducted the tests to ensure that there is no conflict of interest.
It is also vital to purchase CBD products from manufacturers who have a strict transparency policy. These easily avail the results of the laboratory tests conducted on their products through the certificate of analysis. They also ensure that the ingredients list of their products is clearly labeled. It is pivotal as it ensures that users are well-aware of the substances that they are consuming.
Does CBD Get You High?
In addition to ‘What is CBD?’, one of the other most frequently asked questions is ‘Does CBD get you high?’ The answer is no. CBD will not get you high. It is because the substance is not psychoactive, unlike its popular cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. As a result, it will not cause the ‘high’ feeling associated with marijuana.
CBD vs THC
Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have several vital differences. These are highlighted below.
CBD can be derived from either hemp or marijuana. However, it is preferably derived from hemp to avoid the addition of large amounts of THC. On the other hand, THC is derived from marijuana.
- Chemical Structure
While CBD and THC have a similar chemical structure, there is a difference in how these molecules are arranged. It explains the different effects that are associated with them.
- Psychoactive Effects
CBD is psychoactive. It implies that it does not cause a ‘high’ feeling. On the other hand, THC is psychoactive. It affects the cognitive functions of the brain.
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
Usually, after athletes know the answer to ‘What is CBD?’ they immediately know whether it will show up on a drug test. The answer is no. CBD does not show up in a drug test provided that you use only products that a licensed for use by regulatory authorities.
Is CBD Legal?
The legal status of CBD is hazy. To summarize, we can say that CBD is legal but under airtight specifications. Let’s begin by examining how the cannabinoid is regulated federally. At the federal level, the use of CBD is based on the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. It is also known as the Farm Bill. According to the act, CBD that contains less than 0.3% THC content by dry weight is legal. The act also specifies that legally permissible CBD is only grown by licensed producers under strict guidelines. In other words, CBD, whose THC content is within the stipulated limits but was grown by unlicensed producers, is illegal.
On the other hand, while CBD is federally legal, some states are still aligning their laws so that they are in tandem with federal guidelines on the substance. Therefore, the best way to verify the legality of CBD in your area is to familiarize yourself with the local rules and laws regarding the manner.
The Bottom Line
No doubt, CBD has numerous benefits. It is an effective natural remedy against a myriad of ailments such as anxiety, depression, acne, epilepsy, etc. However, it is paramount to highlight the regulatory environment on the substance is still evolving. Therefore, some players have taken advantage of the status quo to introduce some bogus products. These can be hazardous to human health. With this in mind, it is paramount that users conduct due diligence before settling for a particular brand of CBD product.
First and foremost, you should check the source of hemp. Users are advised to purchase products that are manufactured using US-grown hemp extract. It is because such hemp usually satisfies the quality specifications stipulated by the federal government. It is also critical to buy products that are manufactured by producers who have a strict transparency policy. Since it is a health product, it is not advisable to buy from manufacturers whose production processes are shrouded in secrecy. Users should buy products tested by a third-party laboratory whose certificates of analysis are readily available online, and the ingredients list is displayed on the packaging. Finally, it is crucial to highlight that you should consult a certified physician for sound medical advice whenever you are in doubt concerning any aspect of CBD.