CBD is a part of a family of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. They exist in many plants, including marijuana and hemp plants. Products made with CBD oil have become highly popular in recent years and can now be found in everything from sunscreen to beverages.
CBD burst on the scene in 2013 due to a story that received widespread news coverage. A six-year-old girl named Charlotte, who lived in Colorado, suffered from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Meaning she was having multiple seizures, up to 300 episodes a week. Her parents were desperate until someone suggested using marijuana. Medical marijuana was already legal in Colorado at the time, and they found a strain that was very high in CBD. Her doctors were skeptical, but the seizures dramatically reduced. This strain of marijuana was renamed Charlotte’s Web, and it’s now world-famous.
The short answer to the question is no. While cannabidiol and marijuana come from the same base plant, the similarities end there. Cannabis contains a wide range of components, many of which cause psychoactive effects and impair one’s ability to think and act naturally. Cannabidiol, on the other hand, is one of the many non-psychoactive components of the hemp plant and can help multiple conditions, including chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
In the United States and most western countries, there is a clear legal difference between cannabis and cannabidiol products. This comes from the radically different chemical composition of the two. While there is a significant amount of scientific research backing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, this is an entirely separate discussion that generally does not affect the standing of CBD products in the market.
While the debate regarding the legality of both cannabis and CBD products is relatively recent in the United States, several countries worldwide already have well-established markets for these products. In most of Europe, CBD products are widely available and are used alongside traditional medications to treat common physical and neurological disorders.
Some of the countries where CBD products have long been available for the public include the Netherlands, Spain, France, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Canada. The reason for these markets to be open and free is purely scientific; cannabidiol has proven time after time to be effective in dealing with several conditions while causing no secondary effects or dependence.
The human body, as well as other animals, has a system called the endocannabinoid system. It’s involved in a variety of processes, including cognitive function, appetite, pain, sensation, memory, mood, metabolism, concentration, sleep, and inflammation.
Cannabinoids are a group of 120 chemical compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors. They can also be made by our bodies and found in plants.
THC is well-known as the psychoactive component of marijuana. CBD and TBC are both cannabinoids but completely different compounds that act very differently in the body. THC produces the psychoactive effects or ‘high’ feeling, while CBD has no psychoactive effects.
Some of the more outlandish CBD claims include that it can be used to treat multiple sclerosis and cure cancer, but no human studies support those assertions. The more reliable and scientifically tested claims about CBD refer to clinical research performed on humans. Animal studies don’t rise to the same level of evidence.
But there’s solid research supporting the use of CBD for epilepsy, a condition where drugs are sometimes ineffective. One study showed a 42% reduction in seizure frequency and children and adults taking 20 milligrams of CBD oil per kilogram of body weight per day for 28 days.
In one study, CBD effectively reduced psychotic symptoms compared to the most commonly prescribed drug used to treat schizophrenia. CBD oil is also said to help manage pain due to diseases like cancer and arthritis or relieve soreness in the muscles after exercise.
Unfortunately, according to a recent review of 11 systematic reviews and observational studies, there’s insufficient evidence to suggest that CBD is effective at reducing pain related to cancer and serious rheumatic conditions.
Pure CBD is a non-intoxicating compound, so you can’t get ‘high’ from it. Addicts have reportedly been using CBD oil to break the addiction to cigarettes and drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
But many CBD products do have THC in them, usually less than 0.3%. This is especially important to consider for athletes as THC is a prohibited substance, and consuming it violates anti-doping rules.
But if you’re taking pure CBD oil derived from the hemp, there are no addictive properties and no psychoactive effects.
This relates to the previous question, and having these definitions clear is essential to make an informed choice while buying CBD products either online or at physical retail stores. In a nutshell, CBD isolates are made by extracting cannabidiol from the hemp plant and getting rid of every other component that comes with it, regardless of whether it is psychoactive or not.
On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD products contain not only cannabidiol but also other cannabinoids and terpenes that are naturally present in the hemp plant and also have beneficial effects. Some of the most common non-CBD components of full-spectrum hemp extracts include CBG, CBDV, and THCV.
The choice between CBD isolates and full-spectrum cannabidiol products depends on a number of factors. First of all, it is essential to consider that full-spectrum products usually have higher concentrations of THC, while isolates can be entirely free of this psychoactive component. If consuming trace amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol is not a problem for you, it is always recommended to go for the full spectrum alternative. When the multiple components of hemp work together, they create what is known as the “entourage effect,” which enhances their ability to reduce pain and balance the endocannabinoid system of the body.
CBD comes in many forms. The most common is usually oil in a tincture, But you can also use pills, chewable gels, vape cartridges, cream on your skin, and foods like chocolate. But the amount and quality of CBD oil found in these products often vary greatly.
The recommended dose of CBD is still yet to be thoroughly studied. Some studies indicate that increased dosages work only to a certain point and then become less effective.
The FDA has not currently approved CBD oil as a medical treatment in the United States, but the National Institute of Health has researched CBD. Their findings indicate that CBD may have potentially positive effects on mental health issues and inflammatory conditions.
A World Health Organisation report found that CBD is safe and non-addictive, with doses up to 1500 milligrams per day shown to be well tolerated.
CBD is not without potential side effects. Some studies have noted nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. However, these secondary effects are usually mild and do not compare to the sometimes-severe effects that pharmaceutical products can cause. The low risk of side effects in cannabidiol products is one of the key selling points for the industry, which has been backed by extensive scientific research that proves cannabidiol’s ability to treat certain conditions with little risks.
While it is true that the secondary effects caused by the regular use of cannabidiol are significantly less than those related to most pharmaceutical products, using cannabidiol alongside any medicine is not recommended without getting medical advice first.
One common trick to have an initial idea of whether your current medications will interfere with any CBD product is known as the “Grapefruit Test.” It is known that cannabidiol and grapefruit have a somewhat similar effect, as they both suppress the CYP3A4 enzyme, which is used by the body to metabolize certain medicines. If your medication has any counterindications regarding grapefruit, it is better to avoid mixing it with any hemp-derived product.
The best CBD products in the market are made from high-quality hemp plants that are grown and harvested under natural conditions. After the plants are dried and ground, they go through an extraction process which effectively isolates the physical components from cannabinoids and terpenes. CBD is a naturally oily substance that can be later mixed with other carrier oils for better absorption into the body; the most popular of these carriers is MCT oil, which is typically obtained from coconuts.
When looking for an effective CBD product, it is vital to do some research and take a close look at the origin of the hemp plants used by each producer and their extraction methods. As a rule of thumb, cannabidiol products made from organic hemp plants and extracted with carbon dioxide methods are to be preferred.
As CBD products with THC levels below 0.3% are legal across the United States, getting quality hemp extracts has become significantly easier. There are hundreds of retail distributors in the country, with large stores that sell everything from the most traditional sublingual CBD oils to cannabidiol-infused balms, capsules, and vape liquids.
On the other hand, the rise of online sales has allowed both manufacturers and retailers of CBD products to reach more customers, not only in the United States but around the globe. Before ordering any product online, however, it is crucial to take some precautions to ensure that what you are buying will live up to your expectations.
Some of the critical questions to ask yourself before placing an online order for a CBD product must be related to their sourcing and extraction methods, as well as the reviews of previous customers. While it is very easy to create flashy websites and marketing campaigns, there are a few tricks to find out those offering real quality. Take a look at the quantity and quality of their customer reviews and try to find companies not only on their websites but also on social media and independent channels.
Because CBD is an unregulated supplement, it isn’t easy to know precisely what you’re getting. One FDA study showed that out of 80 CBD supplements, 68% contained a different amount of CBD than was listed on the label, and 21% contained detectable levels of THC.
This issue applies to all nutritional supplements. You need to know where your product is coming from. There are many poor-quality supplements from major retailers that don’t have enough active ingredients or aren’t effective.