The cannabis plant has been used medicinally for nearly 4,000 years. Ancient texts from China, Egypt, Greece, India and more describe the plant’s applications and benefits. And we are now learning the science behind those claims. The cannabis plant’s composition is the reason behind its myriad of uses. Over 113 cannabinoids can be isolated from the cannabis plant. Cannibidiol, or CBD, is receiving the scientific community’s attention for its therapeutic benefits. Here’s what to know before you buy CBD, so that you can find the best CBD product for yourself.
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of the most prominent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, known for its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. CBD is non-psychoactive, as opposed to its sister cannabinoid, THC, which is the molecule that causes the ‘high’ typically associated with cannabis ingestion. Its properties are associated with healing and harmonizing, working with our bodies to find equilibrium.
CBD does this through its interactions with the body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a physiologic system that regulates many of our basic functions and patterns including appetite, immunity, inflammation, memory, metabolism, mood, pain and sleep, among others.
What can CBD help?
Much of the CBD’s benefits are related to its anti-inflammatory characteristics; and many are taking CBD for pain. However, there are other medicinal properties that have become clear as well, including homeostatic and neuroprotective properties. Below are reported effects and benefits of CBD.
Relief of pain and chronic pain
Calm anxiety, improve mood + promote alertness
Treats acne, psoriasis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) + inflammatory bowel disease
Defends against damage from oxidative stress and free radicals
Relieves psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia
Assists with generalized anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and social phobia
Inhibits the proliferation and invasion of certain cancer cells such as breast, prostate, lung, skin, pancreatic and bone
Stimulates appetite, eases nausea and vomiting, and aids digestion
Stabilizes modulate immune function
Reduces damage to the brain and nervous system. Encourages growth and development of new neurons
Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
The terms hemp oil and CBD oil are often used interchangeably. However, the products are technically different. When understanding hemp oil vs CBD oil, it’s important to realize that the part of plant used, as well as the method of extraction are different. Hemp oil extraction is mechanical. Seeds from a hemp plant are actually run through a mechanical press. CBD oil extraction is a chemical process. Methods include CO2 extraction or ethanol extraction, among others. The two above mentioned methods are the safest and cleanest techniques. Further, ethanol extraction is proving to be more efficient and pure than the others, extracting nearly 99 percent of CBD present within a plant and requiring no post-processing.
Full Spectrum vs THC-Free CBD
Full-spectrum CBD oil means the oil includes the full array of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant. It contains all the unique elements that comprise the specific plant’s strain. Products that contain full-spectrum oil are known to encourage what is known as the Entourage Effect, meaning each element complements and elevates the medicinal properties of its others.
CBD isolate is just that, an isolate. The molecule is distilled further, after extraction, and its oil contains no other cannabinoids or terpenes.
Is CBD Safe?
As we already know, CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, interacting with receptors across the body to facilitate equilibrium. While the endocannabinoid system is linked to so many processes related to the brain, nervous system and reproductive organs, it has not been linked to regions of the brain that control heart and lung function. This is one of the main reasons that fatal overdoses of cannabinoids do not occur.
CBD research is ongoing, and its benefits continue be recognized and applied to a wide array of ailments and illnesses. CBD for pain continues to receive a vast amount of attention, and reviews on its power can be found across the internet. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an oral CBD solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy in patients who are two years of age and older. This marked a milestone for cannabis, as it was the first FDA-approved drug that contained a purified substance derived from the plant.
It is only a matter of time before more applications of the plant, approvals of its use as medicine and acceptance of its benefits are realized. In the meantime, it is important to do your own research to discover how and why CBD can help you.