CBD: Definition, How It Can Help, and Other Common Questions
Are you considering trying CBD?
Since its legalization, there's a lot of confusion around the CBD definition.
But one thing is for certain. There's been a huge surge of applications for CBD that includes, but isn't limited to, gummies, beverages, cosmetics, salves, and even dog treats.
And with a projected market of $20 billion by 2024, CBD is here to stay.
If you're ready to get in on the action but need a clearer picture of what exactly CBD is, we'll simplify it.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and it's one of a wide range of chemicals called cannabinoids that exist in the cannabis plant.
For decades, the most well-known cannabinoid has been tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - mostly because of its ability to deliver a "high." But THC researchers started to discover the medicinal benefits of THC to treat ailments such as pain, depression, and nausea.
Marijuana plants are the biggest source of THC, while hemp plants contain less than just 0.3% of the compound. Meanwhile, CBD is abundant in both the hemp and marijuana plant.
CBD is among the 100-140 cannabinoids in cannabis that don't deliver a high. Like THC, however, it does appear to have medicinal applications as well - particularly in the areas of pain, anxiety, and seizures.
How does it do this? Researchers speculate it all starts with the human endocannabinoid system.
The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
CBD appears to have a wide range of potential benefits. It's widely believed that this is the result of the complex way it interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS)
The ECS was identified in the early 1990s by researchers who were studying the effects of THC on the body. They discovered that the body naturally produces cannabinoids that are involved with a number of bodily functions including pain sensation, mood, appetite, and sleep.
In order for the body to take advantage of these natural cannabinoids, there is a system of cannabinoid receptors. They receive the cannabinoids and then break them down with enzymes. The ECS is active even without cannabis use.
The thinking is that when CBD and other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant enter the body, they also bind to those receptors of the ECS. Depending on which receptors they activate, they can produce a wide range of effects.
Studies on the ECS are still fairly new, so there isn't a complete understanding of this system. But it seems clear that it has an effect on mood, memory, reproduction/fertility, sleep, and appetite.
There's also research that looks at CBD's effectiveness in dealing with pain and handling seizures. Within the body, there is an endocannabinoid called anandamide that is responsible for regulating pain. Research suggests that CBD may reduce the absorption of anandamide - thereby leading to pain relief.
CBD also appears to be capable of inhibiting the release of certain neurotransmitters, including those that signal the body to go into seizures. There's even an FDA-approved medication available now that uses CBD to reduce epileptic seizures in patients.
Is CBD Psychoactive?
This is the most common question. And the answer is not as clearcut as yes or no.
People often compare CBD to THC but claim that CBD is not psychoactive. For those who struggle with the effects of THC, this is one of CBD's selling points. It's not entirely true though.
It's clear that THC is extremely psychoactive in that it directly affects mental processes such as mood and cognition. But to say that CBD doesn't also affect these same processes is fallacious.
CBD has been shown to ease anxiety and depression. And its potentially calming effects help some people sleep. This, by definition, makes it psychoactive. But only mildly so.
The biggest distinction is that CBD is not intoxicating while THC is. The effects of THC result in consumers being temporarily impaired. This is not the case with CBD though. And it's this distinction that leads people to say it's not psychoactive.
Whatever the case, CBD does not create a high. Knowing your CBD source is important though. How can you find this out? These CBD answers can help with that.
In the meantime, you'll want to make sense of labels too.
Understanding CBD Labels
When you make the decision to try CBD, you'll be faced with options. Many options. And it can get confusing. To make these various labels easier to understand, we'll break them down.
If you're hypersensitive to THC, you may want to avoid anything that says full-spectrum. A full-spectrum product contains more than 0.3% THC.
Because a full-spectrum product is derived from whole-plant flowering cannabis, it also has a wide array of cannabinoids including CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC.
While 0.3% THC might not sound like much, any full-spectrum product you buy at a legal dispensary can have more THC than that. Meanwhile, if it contains less than 0.3% THC, it's considered legal under the 2018 United States Farm Bill and is federally legal. In other words, it doesn't need to be sold at a dispensary.
A distillate starts out as a full-spectrum oil that is distilled down further to reduce or remove CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC. This form of extracted CBD is the most common.
3. CBD Isolate
If you're looking for the purest form of CBD, look for the word "isolate" on the label. This indicates that the product is 99.9% pure CBD and there are no additional cannabinoids.
4. Nano CBD
To incorporate CBD into beverages, it's broken down into micro-emulsions that are water-soluble. This form of CBD is known as nano CBD. Though there's no proof at this point, some people believe that these smaller (nano) particles could increase absorption in the bloodstream.
5. “Truck Stop” CBD
This isn't an actual label. You could just as easily call it gas station CBD or drugstore CBD.
When CBD became legal, it opened the market for a lot of fake stuff. So it's best to avoid buying CBD from any place that’s not a dispensary or medical office. If you do, there's a chance you'll end up with a product that contains only trace amounts of CBD. - if any at all.
Are You Ready to Try CBD?
Now that you've gotten more clarity about the CBD definition, you're armed with information to start experimenting for yourself.
It could be just what the doctor ordered to enrich your life - naturally.
And for more great articles on a wide variety of interesting topics, keep checking back with us.
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