What Is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It’s the second most prevalent active substance derived from the cannabis plant that contains hemp’s healthful benefits. The most popular strains are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Naturally, CBD can be found in different amounts from various kinds of strains. But unlike THC, CBD causes no psychoactive effects.

According to WHO, in humans, CBD exhibits no effects that indicate abuse or dependence potential. For this reason, CBD became popular for its health benefits. In addition, it piqued the interest of those who prefer to use natural, herbal alternatives for specific conditions.

What Is CBD?

A Quick History Of Cannabis

The plant cannabis has been used around the globe for millennia. It has been used for various conditions that include joint pain, muscle spasms, gout, and even malaria. Its use can be traced back to ancient Chinese texts, around 2900 BC.

In addition, cannabis was found to be indigenous to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Back then, hemp was an essential crop. People first cultivated cannabis for textile fiber because of its solid and fibrous properties.

The first use of cannabis for medicine was around 2737 BC, where the Chinese Emperor, Sheng Nung drank hemp-infused tea.

In 1533, King Henry VII declared industrial hemp grown by farmers and fined them if they refused to cultivate it. Then in 1619, Virginia settlers made it illegal not to grow hemp.

Then in 1753, Carl Linnaeus classified one species of the hemp plant, which is Cannabis sativa.

The Discovery Of Cannabis

The first discovery of the cannabis species became the stepping stone towards the discovery of the hemp plant’s other strains. 

In 1785, a biologist named Jean Baptiste Lamarck proposed two species of the cannabis plant, which are Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis.

Then in 1839, William O’Shaughnessy, an Irish physician, and medical researcher became the early cannabis pioneer. He studied the effects of cannabis that made researchers begin to consider its medical applications. Moreover, O’Shaughnessy explored the primitive effects of cannabis. He described its use as an anesthetic used for medical application.

In 1940, a British scientist, Robert Cahn, first discovered CBD as an individual cannabinoid. A few years later, in 1942, an American chemist, Roger Adams, discovered CBD by isolating CBD and CBN (cannabinol) from the plant. He also made a hypothesis about the side effects of THC.

After a while, an Israeli professor, Raphael Mechoulam, isolated THC. He identified the stereochemistry and properties of both CBD and THC. In other words, Mechoulam and his team studied hemp’s use for epilepsy. In addition, they discovered the euphoric effects associated with the use of marijuana.

The Cannabis Plant Today

The cannabis plant’s benefits have continuously gained the public’s interest. Consequently leading to research & discovery of the endocannabinoid system, a group of neurotransmitters made by the body & receptor sites. These neurotransmitters look similar to cannabinoids (the ones from cannabis).

Presently, hemp is still recognized for its health benefits. However, specific properties remain unknown even after more than a century. Nevertheless, with the help of the advancement of technology and research, we hope to finally break down the properties of the cannabis plant moving forward.

What Is The Difference Between CBD & THC?

Cannabis is a genus of a plant with three different species: sativa, indica, and ruderalis. It produces these two cannabinoids:

THC: a chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects

CBD: a compound found in cannabis known to have mental and physical benefits.

To easily distinguish the difference between these two substances. I’ve created a table below:

CBD THC
Low THC content (<0.3%)
High THC content (>0.3%)
108-120 days growth cycle
60-90 days growth cycle

In a nutshell, CBD takes longer to grow and has the health benefits of cannabis. On the other hand, THC grows faster and contains the psychoactive side effects of the cannabis plant.

What Is The Difference Between Hemp & Marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana are both classifications of cannabis adopted in culture. Hence, they are differentiated by the amount of THC they contain. 

Generally, hemp is a term used to classify varieties of cannabis containing 0.3% or less THC. On the other hand, marijuana is a term to classify cannabis plants that contain more THC than CBD, at <0.3%. 

According to the Farm Bill, any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC would be considered non-hemp cannabis, which is illegal under federal law. A THC content of more than 0.3% can cause the psychoactive & euphoric effects. Furthermore, states that legalized hemp have a less than 0.3% THC-content standard.

What Does CBD Do In The Body?

Our body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system composed of endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids are receptors that bind to cannabinoid receptors. Hence, cannabinoids bind to these receptors to produce effects in the body.

For example, if your body feels pain from an injury, it can throw off your body’s homeostasis. Your ECS then starts to help regulate your body to return to its balanced state.

The ECS regulates and balances different body functions such as immune response, appetite and metabolism, memory, sleep, reproduction and fertility, and many more. Overall, these functions all contribute to homeostasis. In other words, the stability of your body.

To sum it up, experts believe that the primary role of the ECS is maintaining the body’s homeostasis.

 

The Two Types of Cannabinoid Receptors

The ECS has two receptors: CB1 and CB2

CB1: The most abundant receptor found in the central nervous system. It’s located in the brain and throughout the body.

CB2: Typically found in lower levels in the central nervous system. It’s primarily found in the peripheral nervous system, especially in the immune cells and the gastrointestinal system.

So, what do these receptors do? How does it work? Well, THC attaches to CB1 receptors. Afterward, CBD stimulates the receptors so that the body produces its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids bind to any receptor. In addition, the effects depend on where the receptor is and to which endocannabinoid it binds. In turn, they would regulate the body’s functions by interacting with the brain’s signaling system.

For instance, endocannabinoids might target CB1 receptors in a spinal nerve to relieve pain. In contrast, others might bind to a CB2 receptor in your immune cells. These send signals that your body is experiencing inflammation, a common sign of autoimmune disorders.

Will CBD Get Me High?

CBD and THC are two different substances found in hemp. In other words, CBD does not have the same ability to create a “high” like THC. Additionally, CBD won’t cause a state of euphoria if it’s in its pure form and if it contains less than 0.3% THC.

What is CBD? The Benefits of CBD

What Are The Benefits Of CBD?

There is much anecdotal evidence about the health benefits of CBD. Further research is warranted to determine the specific dose to produce its beneficial effects and discover its side effects. CBD is known to help in the following conditions:

Epilepsy

According to WHO, CBD is an effective treatment of epilepsy-related Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Additionally, FDA approved Epidiolex®, the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions. It is a drug containing CBD in a purified form of oil.  Patients with conditions that don’t respond to anti-seizure medications take Epidiolex as medication.

Pain

One popular use of CBD is alleviating pain and inflammation. This is helpful for those who have osteoarthritis.

2017 study (published on NCBI) conducted an animal study about the ability of CBD to reduce pain and inflammation. The researchers found that CBD can be helpful in treating pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Another 2015 study (published on Wiley Online Library) also conducted animal tests using CBD gel to treat inflammation. The results indicate that CBD gel can reduce joint swelling. Therefore relieving pain associated with arthritis.

Anxiety

The use of CBD for anxiety has boosted the interest of many people. Most shops are marketing CBD especially for its benefit in relieving anxiety. Moreover, products for pets are also available to facilitate the same condition.

2015 study highlights the use of CBD for potential anxiety disorders. The study concluded that CBD has possible anti-anxiety effects. However, more research is needed to identify the dose required to produce its therapeutic benefits.

Sleep Disorders

2014 case series (M.H.N. Chagas, MD, Ph.D., et al.) indicates CBD’s potential in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

In addition, another study (published on Springer Link) suggests that CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.

Cancer

In a recent 2020 study (published on MDPI) The researchers discovered that CBD can inhibit tumor cells. In addition, they found that CBD only acts on the tumor cells. It surprisingly produces milder effects on the tissues in the same area.

2018 study (published on Science Direct) showed promising results of the entourage effect in treating breast cancer.

Another 2018 study (published on NCBI) suggests that CBD acts synergistically with radiotherapy, resulting in a more significant killing activity to tumor cells in mice.

2020 study backs up this research. Again, the results showed a remarkable reduction in the multiplication of cancer cells. The researchers used concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 10 micrograms per mL of CBD.

Heart Disease

2017 study (published on Oxford Academic) indicates that CBD can help reduce the progression of heart failure associated with hypertension. In addition, it helped improve the survival of their test subjects. Therefore showing its potential as a treatment for cardiac health.

In a 2018 study (published on NCBI), the researchers stated that the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of CBD help lower some of the risk factors that can cause heart disease.

While a 2017 study (published on PubMed) conducted on healthy human participants. Patients subjected to stressed took a dose of CBD. As a result,  they had lowered blood pressure compared to those took a placebo.

Acne

According to a study (Leon H. Kircik, MD), CBD can help manage acne because of its natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.

2014 study (published on JCI) suggests that CBD has the potential to be used for acne. It also reduces inflammation and sebum production that leads to acne.

Psoriasis

2006 study (published on PubMed) states that cannabinoids can inhibit the growth and multiplication of skin cells involved in psoriasis. Therefore, it poses a potential treatment for the said condition.

While another 2019 study proved CBD’s effectiveness when the researchers used CBD ointment without THC. The results indicate the safe and painless alternative for patients with skin orders, including psoriasis. Additionally, no notable irritation or allergies were reported during the period.

Diabetes

For diabetes, a 2006 animal study (published on PubMed) showed results that lowered the risk of diabetes in mice after treatment with CBD.

Another 2005 study (published on Science Direct) demonstrated in rats that CBD can help reduce symptoms of diabetes such as the loss of vision and inflammation.

What is The Entourage Effect?

Entourage effect happens when a mixture of THC, CBD, and its terpenes is consumed to improve the beneficial effects of CBD. Some experts say that the compounds found in cannabis work better in tandem than in isolation.

According to a 2011 study (by Ethan B Ruso), the entourage effect improves the health benefits of hemp. Some examples are anxiety, pain, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer, and more.

2018 research (published on Intechopen) found that the other compounds, such as certain terpenes and flavonoids, can help increase CBD’s therapeutic effects.

Is CBD Safe?

Generally, CBD has failed to produce notable effects of abuse potential in human studies.

According to WHO, CBD is well tolerated with a good safety profile. Adverse effects are often the results of drug interactions between CBD and existing medications. Moreover, there is no evidence of recreational use or health-related problems associated with pure CBD.

How To Take CBD?

There’s an array of methods of ingestion of CBD. It has many forms available, which are consumed depending on a person’s preference.

What is CBD? A person holding cannabis leaf

Forms of CBD

CBD Isolate

An isolate form simply means pure CBD, nothing else. In short, there is no THC present. Generally, this form of CBD has no smell or taste. Moreover, using CBD isolate helps you achieve the effectiveness of CBD without the interference of its other substances.

In addition, CBD isolate usually comes in a crystalline or solid powder. Manufacturers produce it by using various processes to extract all compounds from the cannabis plant. As a result, this leaves a pure CBD in crystal form. Afterward, manufacturers grind the crystal and form it into powders.

A high-quality CBD isolate like DuraCanna Pure Isolate CBD Raw Powder can be taken sublingually. Other methods of consuming it are inhalation, vaping, and ingestion.

CBD Oil

One of the most popular forms of CBD available in the market today. CBD oils contain fatty acids, protein, and nutrients. Usually, these oils are extracted from the seeds, flowers, and stalks of the cannabis plant. It uses carrier oils like coconut oil, vegetable glycerin, hemp seed oil, or MTC oil.

In addition, CBD oils like the Unflavored Diamond CBD Oil – 550mg are commonly packaged in a light-resistant dropper bottle. To use CBD oils, you take the oil from the dropper and place a few drops under your tongue.

You can also mix it in your food or beverage to mask its oily aftertaste. Its effects are achievable after 1-2 hours. You can also ingest oils by vaping for faster onset of effects.

CBD Flower

To achieve the entourage effect, CBD flower is often used. Flowers like the Hemp Delight – Hemp Flower (Cuban Smack – Skywalker OG) – 7gm have the most potency compared to the other parts of the cannabis plant.

In addition, you can either consume or vape the flowers. However, you can’t eat the flowers raw. You need to heat it ( for decarboxylation) or cook it to activate the cannabinoids present in the plant.

You can also smoke the buds for a rapid onset of effects, typically lasting for 30-60 minutes.

CBD Vaporizer

The fastest way of achieving the effects of CBD is by administering them into your lungs. Vaping is the most popular way of taking CBD. You can use vaporized oil such as the Chill Plus Delta-8 Vape Cartridge – Pineapple Express – 900mg and vape CBD using vaping pens or e-cigarettes.

Nowadays, compact vape pods are available. In addition, CBD vapes often come in different flavors, such as mango, like the Hempzilla Tango Mango CBD Juul Compatible Pods.

The downside of vaping is that it may cause lung irritation.

CBD Tincture

Tinctures are any medications dissolved in alcohol. But it’s not the same as CBD oil. CBD tinctures often contain CBD in 60-70% alcohol. In addition, the potency of this form is low since its formulation contains other substances added to enhance its flavor. It may also include supplements, vitamins, and herbal extracts.

The advantage of the CBD tincture is its long shelf life. It can last up to 3-5 years because of its alcohol content that acts as its preservative. In addition, you can consume CBD tinctures such as the Connoisseur CBD Tincture Lifter 500mg directly or by mixing it in your food.

CBD Pills And Capsules

First, let’s differentiate a pill from a capsule. Pills are powdered medications compressed into a round solid shape.

On the other hand, capsules are medications enclosed in a hard or soft container, usually made of gelatin. Capsule forms are great options for drugs that can’t be compressed. Take the Meds Biotech Full Spectrum Soft Gel Capsules – 1250mg, for example.

Taking CBD in a pill or a capsule form take longer to take effect. Typically around 15-30 minutes. However, these forms stay in your system for about 4-6 hours.

CBD Edibles

One fun way to consume your CBD is by taking them in edibles. These are usually in the form of gummies, candies, baked goods, and others. Typical doses range from 5-50mg, but some contain up to 1000mg for more potent effects. An example of a potent and delicious edible is the Relax Full Spectrum CBD Sleep Gummy Bears with Melatonin – 1000mg.

Edibles are a flavorful way of taking hemp. However, the onset of effects is longer because the product needs to be eaten. It has to pass through the digestive system. Therefore it will take after 1 to 2 hours to take effect but will last for about 4 to 6 hours. You can read more about this in our article: Why Does It Take So Long for Edibles to Kick In?

CBD Drinks

These are in the form of teas, coffee, sodas, or any drink infused with CBD. The drinks are usually in the form of loose powders dissolved in water. There are also ready-to-drink sodas available.

In addition, CBD drinks have added ingredients like herbal extracts, vitamins, and flavoring to enhance palatability and give a supplement to the body. If you’re a tea lover, I have written an article about What is CBD Tea Good For? which offers a great insight about CBD teas’ benefits to the body.

The Hemp Division provides a flavorful way to enjoy delicious CBD-infused drinks. Additionally, Hakuna Supply has various coffees to keep you alert and calm during your busy days. But if you prefer a quick shot of CBD, Diamond CBD has Diamond CBD Double Shot 350mg (1ml) available.

CBD Topicals

Topicals are one way to achieve localized effects. They usually come in the form of creams, gels, and lotions. Unlike ingesting CBD, you can apply topicals on the affected area only.

Additionally, topicals are usually used for pain and acne management. A great example is the CBD Hemp and Arnica Muscle and Joint Balm – 500mg which contains CBD to provide muscle relief.

What To Look For In CBD Products?

Check the Source: The CBD used to manufacture the product must be grown following the agricultural guidelines. Therefore, it’s always best to look for established companies that source their hemp plants from a good environment.

Look for a certificate of analysis/ Check the THC content. Reputable shops often show the laboratory results of their products. Lab reports also ensure that the product you’re using conforms to the less than 0.3% THC standard.

Check the product label. Important details should be present in the product labels. This is to inform the customers about the product’s properties. A properly labeled product must contain the following:

  • Name of the product
  • Amount of CBD in the product/ per dosing
  • Expiration date
  • Name of the manufacturer or distributor
  • List of ingredients
  • Net weight/ volume
  • Batch code

Before using CBD, decide on what form you want and determine the effects you want to achieve. If you have a medical condition, always consult your doctor first to determine if CBD is right for you.

What is CBD? A person taking CBD oil

What Is The Correct Dosage Of CBD?

There is no specific dosage for CBD. The FDA doesn’t currently regulate CBD, and there is no official recommended dosage available. Presently, the correct dosage varies for each individual.

In addition, it always depends on the person’s weight, gender, tolerance, and condition. Another factor to consider is the concentration of CBD in the product, as this can also affect the dose you need.

You can start by beginning with a small dose, observe its effect on your body, then increase the amount gradually until you achieve its desired effect. If you already own a CBD product, you can always check the label for the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.

Will CBD Show Positive On A Drug Test?

No, CBD will not show up in a drug test. Moreover, if you’re using full-spectrum or isolate forms of CBD. However, taking CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC can make you fail a drug test. You can prevent this from happening by purchasing pure CBD products from reputable sources.

What Are The Side Effects Of CBD?

Dry Mouth

A 2006 study (published on PubMed) suggests that using cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, can inhibit saliva production. Thus, leading to dry mouth.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is expected if you take CBD in excessive doses. However, this side-effect depends on an individual’s tolerance.

Lowered Blood Pressure

CBD is recognized as a potential aid for those with heart conditions. It is also linked to reducing hypertensive cases by lowering blood pressure.

Appetite Changes

The effects of CBD in appetite varies. For instance, an effect of a loss or a gain in appetite is a common experience by some people. This side effect may vary between people.

Drug Interaction

A drug interaction can happen when you take CBD with grapefruit juice and warfarin. This can inhibit the effects of the medication you’re using. So if you’re taking prescription medicines and plan to try CBD, always consult your doctor first to avoid such outcomes.

Is CBD Legal?

The legality of CBD depends on what state you live in. Therefore, you need to check first if CBD is legal in your area. Additionally, hemp-derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC are permitted on the federal level but are still illegal under some state laws.

Moreover, FDA notes that hemp plants are legal under the Farm Bill as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.

Who Can Use CBD?

Generally, you can try CBD if you want to benefit from its healthful effects, such as relief from anxiety and pain, mental focus improvement, and sleep aid.

Children who have seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome can use the FDA-approved drug form of CBD, Epidiolex, the first and only FDA-approved prescription CBD.

In addition, some individuals with certain medical conditions can also use CBD to help improve the effects of the medication. However, this is recommended only with the approval of their doctors.

Some pets can also use CBD. Several anecdotal benefits are claiming CBD has helped their dog’s osteoarthritis, pain management and cancer. Therefore improving the dog’s quality of life. Although its effects sound promising, consulting a veterinarian first is best to ensure its safety. Further studies are still needed to prove CBD’s therapeutic effects in dogs.

If you want to find out about the effects of CBD on dogs, you should check out my other post: “Is CBD Good For Dogs?”

Takeaway

CBD is a fantastic compound that provides a lot of benefits, even way back in 2000BC. Although it has been around for many years, there’s still a lot to learn about its properties. Anecdotal reviews have encouraged researchers to conduct preclinical studies to discover more about how CBD works and its potential use for therapy.

The advancement of technology and people’s interest in CBD is growing. We hope that it could lead to discoveries that can fully benefit individuals. Especially those who have certain medical conditions to improve their quality of life.