What is CBD? - A comprehensive beginner's guide
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol and is a compound that is unique to the cannabis plant; making it a cannabinoid. CBD is the active ingredient in medical cannabis; not to be confused with THC, which is the active ingredient in recreational cannabis and is responsible for the psychoactive effects that most people associate with marijuana..
CBD is gaining popularity with people in treatments for a wide variety of ailments, including anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, inflammation, arthritis, MS, and many other conditions.
The scientific studies that have been done in this area are relatively new. Some studies have been done on the psychoactive compound THC but there is little research done on the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.
There has been a push to continue the studies and build a solid evidence base for the benefits of cannabidiol.
Is a Cannabinoid a Scientific term?
Even though THC and CBD are technically cannabinoids, they are not technically cannabinoids in western science. Cannabinoids are distinguished from other compounds that have similar effects from plants. The cannabinoids in cannabis are called phytocannabinoids.
The phytocannabinoids in cannabis is produced by cannabis plants. There are at least 85 different phytocannabinoids in cannabis that belong to at least 10 different families.
THC is also slowly starting to gain favor as a treatment for certain conditions. But because of THC’s psychoactive properties, it was outlawed as a controlled substance until relatively recently (2001).
CBD is believed to have health benefits without psychoactivity. CBD and THC both bind to the cannabinoid receptor that is present in all mammals. The two have very similar effects. The main difference is that CBD does much more good as a pain killer than THC.
CBD is thought to have a medicinal effect in treating different ailments. In the last decade, there have been several studies into the benefits of CBD. These benefits are mediated through the body’s endocannabinoid system.
In the endocannabinoid system, the body produces endocannabinoids which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found in different organs and parts of the body, including the heart and gut. Some of the endocannabinoids help carry messages between the brain and organs.
In the brain, endocannabinoids help control mood, sleep, appetite, and pain. In addition to receptors in the brain, there are endocannabinoid receptors in the immune system and they are believed to be responsible for immune function.
In the body, endocannabinoids are linked to anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. CBD is thought to help reduce inflammation and pain in the brain and the body through endocannabinoid receptors.
To many people, the legalization of cannabis has raised many questions. The legalization of cannabis has raised a lot of questions in the minds of some people. People may not know how cannabis will promote their health or the benefits it may have for them.
The good news is that there is a viable alternative to cannabis. It is a substance that is produced within cannabis called cannabidiol (CBD). CBD may help people without the mind-altering effects of THC.
Cannabinoids: Understanding the Difference Between THC and CBD
Cannabinoids are the compounds that are responsible for the recreational and medicinal effects of Cannabis.
They can be described as a natural and biologically active compounds formed by Cannabis. Cannabinoids can affect our mood and behavior. They can either lift or lower our spirits depending on them.
There are 113 different cannabinoids and over 400 different types of terpenes found in Cannabis.
Cannabinoids include various compounds like THC, CBN, CBC, CBG, and CBD; also known as Cannabidiol.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound. CBD can be found in cannabis seeds, leaves, flowers, and resin. It is also found in high amounts in industrial hemp.
CBD has been found to have numerous medical and therapeutic properties. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-epilepsy, and anti-psychotic effects.
These results have been seen in research. However, more research is needed to determine all of CBD's effects on the human body.
CBD has been used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effect of Cannabis. THC is the acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol. It can also be found in hemp seeds.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil comes from Cannabis Sativa (a common hemp plant), and is a concentrated cannabinoid-rich oil.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is the chemical compound of the hemp plant.
CBD has no psychoactive effects whatsoever, which means that you cannot get high from using it. CBD is believed to help with pain relief, stress relief, and anxiety.
CBD oil is also beneficial to people with epilepsy and other conditions where they have seizures.
CBD oil has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It started in China and eventually made its way to Western medicine. However, CBD is being used mainly for pain management, and it has been shown to help in this way.
Although CBD is relatively new in Europe, it is already pervasive in the US (although this could change soon).
CBD oil is extracted from cannabis plants and is a mixture of the chemical compounds obtained from the plant.
The CBD oil is natural and is extracted from the hemp plant in a lot of cases. The CBD oil extraction process is very tedious, and the DEA is still looking into the legality in the United States.
The CBD extraction process
The CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant using hexane, ethanol, or carbon dioxide. All of these result in a thin oil that is rich in the compound CBD.
The CBD oil is not THC-free. This means that there is still some amount of THC in the oil. THC is the component that causes psychoactive effects.
Depending on the extraction process, the CBD oil will contain different concentrations of the compound CBD. The CBD concentration will determine the effectiveness of the CBD oil.
The higher the concentration, the stronger the CBD oil will be.
The CBD concentration often depends on what part of the plant is used to make the oil. If the plant is organically grown, more nutrients are extracted in the extraction process.
Types of CBD Oil
CBD oil from industrial hemp is used in seeds, yogurts, hot sauces, ice cream, and cosmetics. CBD oil from industrial hemp has no psychoactive effects.
The amount of CBD in CBD oil from industrial hemp can be up to 20 %. CBD oil from cannabis plants usually contains an average of 10 % to 25 % CBD.
The difference between raw CBD oil and CBD oil that is refined.
CBD oil that is not refined is called "raw" CBD oil.
CBD oil is also regularly mixed with other ingredients and compounds to make it taste better.
By using a particular process, manufacturers can improve the taste of the CBD oil without adding more CBD.
The Medical Benefits of CBD
CBD has been shown to have healing properties and to be beneficial for some medical conditions.
There have been many studies done on the effects of CBD. These have shown that CBD has many healing properties. CBD has been shown to help in the following ways:
Epilepsy - CBD has been shown in studies to help people who have epilepsy. This has not been tested on a global scale and is however highly promising.
Reduce stress and anxiety - The effects of CBd have been shown in studies to reduce stress and anxiety symptoms. This is something that a lot of pharmaceutical drugs do and are much more effective than CBD. That being said, medical trials are still ongoing.
Reduce inflammation - Two major acute conditions which cause inflammation are rheumatoid arthritis and gout. CBD has been shown to reduce the effects of inflammation in very recent studies.
Alleviate pain - Various pain relief drugs have negative effects on people that cause addiction. CBD has been proven to help with pain without the negative long term effects.
Promote restful sleep - This is fairly self-explanatory. CBD has been shown to help sleep!
What most people fail to consider is that these are not the only reasons for taking CBD.
There are some other benefits of CBD as well. Such as...
Appetite suppression - This is one of the most important benefits of CBD. CBD has been shown to help suppress appetite. By suppressing appetite, you can reduce the amount of calories you eat which will result in a more healthy weight loss.
Soothes pain without causing addiction - As stated previously, CBD helps relieve pain without causing addiction.
Boost the immune system - CBD helps the immune system. This is shown from various studies which have shown that CBD increases immune system responses. Overall, CBD seems to help the immune system.
CBD is also pretty safe and has virtually no side effects.
CBD represents an exciting time in the world of medicine. CBD research is still ongoing but I hope that it promotes research into the different types of cannabis that help different illnesses and conditions.
There are of course more benefits. We will look at each of these in separate articles.
When is the best time to start taking CBD?
It all depends on what you want to use CBD for. If you use CBD for pain then I would recommend starting to use as soon as you think that you need the help of CBD.
However, if you prefer to take it to increase your well-being then starting a little bit later would be wise.
If I use CBD to help with pain should I stop taking regular pain killers?
CBD and regular pain killers do not interact in a negative way. If you would use regular pain killers then I would not stop them.
However, I would only take CBD if I feel that the pain killers are not needed. I tend not to worry about taking regular pain medications when I am taking CBD.
Cannabinoids and the Brain
In 2009, scientists discovered a brain pathway that allows cannabinoids to activate signals within the body.
These signals activate an immune signal in the immune cells which then increase the production of antibodies. The more antibodies produced, the stronger the immune system.
There is growing evidence to suggest that Cannabis is great for brain health. It contains compounds that are similar to vitamins.
These compounds are called phytocannabinoids.
Phytocannabinoids are free from the psychotropic effects of THC. These compounds can increase the likelihood of the growth of new brain cell growth.
This growth promotes new connections between neurons. Some studies show how these compounds can increase the amount of gray matter in the brain.
Cannabinoid receptors are concentrated mainly in the subclinical areas of the brain.
These areas are concerned with memory and learning, which helps explain why Cannabis has such a profound effect on neurological conditions and other cognitive processes like attention, focus, and creativity.
It also sheds light on why Cannabis reduces anxiety and also helps to alleviate pain.
How Do Cannabinoids Act on the Body?
Cannabinoids interact primarily with cannabinoid receptors which are found in the brain.
These receptors are the subject of intense research. They are responsible for many side effects and both positive and negative effects that can be observed throughout the body.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system has an essential function for the brain. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is divided into the endocannabinoid system, and the G-protein coupled cannabinoid receptor type 1.
The G-protein coupled cannabinoid receptor type 1, or CB1 receptor, is found mainly in the central nervous system. It is activated by endocannabinoids which are produced naturally in the brain.
As the endocannabinoid system is sub-divided into the endocannabinoid system and the CB1 cannabinoid receptor subtype, there were distinct differences in how the endocannabinoid and other cannabinoids acted in the brain.
The CB2 receptor also exists in the brain.
This receptor was found to be located on the immune cells and the brain. The CB2 receptor can bind with cannabinoids such as CBD, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and Cannabidiol.
The effects of CBD on brain inflammation, cell death and been associated with the development of diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, and depression.
These receptors are not found in the brain but are spread throughout the immune system.
The Role of the Endocannabinoid System
The brain's endocannabinoid system has many functions. One of the main functions of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of body temperature.
At the beginning of sleep, the endocannabinoid levels in the brain increase, causing a fall in the body temperature.
The endocannabinoid system is also responsible for regulating blood pressure and appetite.
Changes in the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system also influences the formation of memory.
Cannabinoid receptors in the brain that are associated with memory formation are called the fornix. As the endocannabinoid level increases, sleep also becomes easier.
The Cannabis Terpene Profile
Terpenes are the compounds that are responsible for the smell and taste of marijuana. There are more than 400 different terpenes found in Cannabis, including:
Myrcene is a heavy terpene. It is mainly found in flowers and resins; it also has a powerful smell. Myrcene increases relaxation and calms a person.
Limonene is one of the two terpenes which give a pleasant odor to marijuana. It is mainly found in flowers and resin. Limonene is an antidepressant, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic.
Linalool is a light terpene. It is mainly found in flowers and resins. Linalool is also thought to increase relaxation. It is also considered an antioxidant.
Disaphellandrene is a high terpene. It is mainly found in the stems and flowers. Disaphellandrene boosts the effects of THC and causes them to appear faster.
Caryophyllene is another high terpene. It is mainly found in fruits and resins. Caryophyllene is antimicrobial and anti-parasitic.
Cineole is a heavy terpene. It is mainly found in flowers and resins. Cineole also gives marijuana a pleasant smell and taste.
Recommended Dosage for CBD Oil
The recommended dosage for CBD oil depends on the person.
There is no standard dosage.
The CBD oil manufacturer has to determine a recommended dosage.
The maximum recommended dosage for CBD oil is 2.5 ml (0.25 ml every hour).
However, it is recommended that you start with smaller dosages and then gradually increase them. You are advised to start with small dosages of 10 drops.
Effects of Cannabis
Cannabis alters your state of mind and allows you to reach the desired feeling you were after.
The effects range from slight sedation to a sense of euphoria where people can lose themselves in the music or conversations with others.
It is common for people to experience a "high" after consuming Cannabis. Effects can last a short while or a few hours, depending on use.
Subtherapeutic levels of Cannabis are known to cause learning problems. A study at the Salk Institute is a study that looked at the effects of Cannabis on people with schizophrenia.
They found that Cannabis increases the brain's efficiency but can reduce its efficiency for the following 24 to 48 hours. This is opposed to a sober individual being able to process information efficiently after consuming Cannabis.
Legality of Cannabis
The legalization of Marijuana (Cannabis) is a hot topic at the moment. There have been many instances where laws have been changed to allow medical marijuana through many states, including California, Colorado, and recently (in November) through Michigan.
Others such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas still have not responded well to the legalization of medical marijuana.
When Cannabis was made legal for medical use, some people had concerns about its adverse effects.
One of the concerns was that legal Cannabis would appear the same as illegal Cannabis.
However, research has shown that this is not the case. Legal Cannabis is explicitly grown for medical use and contains varying amounts of THC and CBD.
This is usually enough to provide the user with the desired effect with little to no influence from THC.
To see if Cannabis is legal in your state, check the Marijuana Policy Project website.
Side Effects of Cannabis
There are many side effects that Cannabis could potentially be having on the human body.
Some studies have looked at the effect on the lungs. They suggest that if consumed regularly, there is a reduction in the effectiveness of the lung, the airways become wider and harder and easier to injure.
There is also an issue with how long it remains in the lungs. It is possible that this could lead to the development of lung cancer.
Some research suggests an increase in the possibility of developing schizophrenia if regular use is prolonged.
It is documented that smoking cannabis is a factor in the development of lung cancer. It is thought that it increases the effects that are already caused by smoking tobacco. This could be one of the reasons that people are developing the disease.
The potential negative aspects of Cannabis are still being researched. Unfortunately, the information we have is contradictory, though Cannabis may be beneficial to some.