CBD is one of the hottest nutraceutical compounds of the century; from cosmetic products to oils, drinks, or even snacks with CBD, the possibilities are endless. Chances are, you too have someone in your circle who has already used it. Even though cannabidiol is currently turning the whole wellness world upside down, most people still know very little about the active hemp ingredient. It is quite normal that with the flood of information on the internet, you will eventually lose track, and questions will arise: What is CBD exactly? Can you get high from it? This article will explain everything about CBD and end the confusion, from the plant’s origin to the effects and health benefits.
What is CBD?
The hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa) has been used for thousands of years as a food, in the production of clothes, or traditional medical treatments. The first record dates back to 2737 BC when Ancient Chinese physicians prescribed cannabis for various ailments. Unfortunately, many people are still ignorant about cannabis, which – unfairly – is still somewhat controversial in our modern society.
CBD is short for cannabidiol and is a chemical compound found in the hemp plant. Unlike its well-known sister cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not cause the high generally associated with cannabis use and is therefore not psychoactive. Since commercial hemp contains no more than 0.2 percent THC – the plant’s psychotropic component, you can rest assured that CBD products are completely safe to use and will not get you high.
Although the hemp plant has been used as medicine since ancient times, the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol have only recently started to attract scientist’s and doctors’ interest. This positive movement has resulted in research specifically centered around the potential anxiety-reducing, relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
The difference between CBD & THC
If you want to understand how cannabidiol affects the body and mind, you must first understand the concept of cannabis better. Many people still associate the plant with a narcotic, which is illegal in most countries. The common hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) is a species from the genus Cannabis Sativa L, which includes hemp and Marijuana (Cannabis Indica). This means that Marijuana as well as industrial hemp both come from the same species and contain the active ingredient cannabidiol. Since hemp, unlike marijuana, has a much higher percentage of CBD and much lower THC levels (less than 0.2%), the two have very different effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but while THC is intoxicating, CBD is its non-hallucinogenic sister molecule. Cannabis contains more than 100 known active cannabinoids, which, researchers believe, provide a unique therapeutic effect.
The difference in a plant’s THC content is a result of targeted cultivation. Industrial hemp is allowed to have a maximum THC content of 0.2% within the EU. Since CBD is extracted from these plants, CBD products are entirely different from marijuana and legal to sell throughout the EU. Although both active ingredients have potential benefits, they differ in how they interact with our bodies. So if you are looking for the potential benefits of hemp without getting intoxicated – CBD is worth giving a try.
Effects of CBD in the human body
Cannabidiol is one of over 100 known cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. These are similar to the endocannabinoids that are naturally produced in our bodies by the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a biological system that influences the regulation of various physiological and cognitive functions. If our body is not fully balanced, it can lead to endocannabinoid deficiency. This imbalance can then lead to sleep problems, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, or other chronic diseases.
Studies have shown that the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant have a positive effect on our overall wellness because they stimulate our endocannabinoid system by interacting and “docking” with our CB1 and CB2 receptors.
– CB1 receptors: Found in the brain, they regulate mood, emotions, coordination, movement, appetite, among other things.
– CB2 receptors: They are found in the immune system and affect pain and inflammation levels.
Health benefits of CBD
With its valuable compounds, the hemp plant can positively affect all mammals with an endocannabinoid system. These include the before-mentioned cannabinoids, vitamins B1, B2, and E, terpenes, proteins, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
CBD and many of the other cannabinoids are small wonders in how they help our body regulate the endocannabinoid system. This can lead to a relief of symptoms such as improved sleep or alleviation of chronic pain. Inflammation is often the trigger of pain, which is our body’s natural response to fight off an illness or injury. Recent research indicates that CBD can act as a potent anti-inflammatory. Research is also indicating that CBD has potential to help with anxiety and stress with its relaxing effects by calming the nervous system.
CBD products: oils, capsules, and co.
Meanwhile, a great variety of CBD products are found on the market. As a beginner, you might get confused quickly by the vast selection; there are CBD oils, capsules, liquid, sprays, flowers, crystals, cosmetics, and even protein bars and chocolate infused with CBD. Of these, the most prevalent format is CBD oil or CBD tinctures, as they are commonly called.
CBD oil is made from the leaves and flowers of high-quality commercial hemp plants. There are several extraction methods, but CO2 extraction is considered to be one of the purest and most effective methods of extraction. When buying CBD oil, it is essential to pay attention to the quality and make sure no pesticides or herbicides were used to cultivate the hemp.
CBD oil is available in different concentrations, mostly from 5% to 15%. The percentage indicates how much cannabidiol is present in the oil. The rest usually consists of carrier oil such as MCT oil, Hemp seed oil or olive oil. The drops of the oil are applied sublingually 2-3 times per day. After about a minute, the oil is swallowed. This approach is important because it allows the cannabidiol to be adequately absorbed through the mucous membranes and which significantly increases the absorption rate.