What Is CBD?
Many people hear ‘CBD’ and are instantly reminded of high school stoners and the strong, unmistakable smell of marijuana. It’s understandable: after all, Cannabidiol (CBD) is a derivative of the cannabis/hemp plant, but there’s a catch- it isn’t psychoactive. In other words, it can’t and won’t give you a high, unlike its less innocent cousin, THC, the main active compound in marijuana. Still not sure? I’ll go on…
The Cannabis plant makes over one hundred types of chemicals called cannabinoids. Two major cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant are THC and CBD. As mentioned, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that CBD cannot affect you in the ways we may typically associate with THC, e.g feelings of euphoria, intoxication or sedation. In short, you won’t get ‘stoned’ if you consume it.
Why Use CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) has many of the same benefits as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so you can reap the health benefits without the unlawful side effects associated with the marijuana-esque ‘high’. For this reason, CBD has taken the wellness world by storm, and it’s only getting more popular. It’s a naturally-occurring alternative to more mind-altering remedies, pharmaceutical and not, with a broad range of health benefits. Here’s some of them:
Studies have shown that CBD may ease the symptoms of some mental health conditions, such as: anxiety disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Conditions and disorders such as these are usually treated with pharmaceutical/prescription drugs, and they often come with unfavorable side effects like addiction, agitation and a lowered sex drive. Lots of people have touted CBD as a preferable, all-natural ‘calmer’, with many claiming that their anxiety/depression etc. feels reduced or relieved after consuming it. More than this, CBD has been included in research that has found links between CBD and neuroprotective properties, signaling potential to benefit neurological disorders.
CBD may also help to soothe and relieve physical ailments, too. For thousands of years, marijuana has been used as a natural remedy for pain. Studies have shown that certain cannabinoids, such as CBD, are the reason for marijuana’s pain-relieving effects. Whilst there is definitely room for more research to be done, a study on rats has shown that CBD may help with pain associated with arthritis. Similarly, studies on human cells have indicated that CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties.
How Does It Work?
The human body contains something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s responsible for numerous essential functions, such as sleeping, appetite and responding to pain or the immune system. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind with cannabinoid receptors in the human nervous system. It is believed that CBD can help to relieve pain through affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity, and consequently reducing inflammation and/or having an impact on neurotransmitters.
In a similar way, it is suspected that CBD’s potential powers as a tool for depression/anxiety is due to its ability to act on serotonin receptors in the human brain Like endocannabinoids, serotonin is a neurotransmitter. It is important because it regulates mood and social behaviours.
How Do I Take It?
CBD infused products and supplements come in all different shapes and sizes. This means that it’s easy to tailor your CBD consumption to your needs. Here are some of the most common:
- Oils– Oils are usually consumed using a dropper. You simply apply one or two drops below the tongue. Your saliva helps to absorb the CBD quickly. You can also add drops of CBD oil to food and beverages.
- Tablets– Whilst consuming CBD in this form often results in delayed absorption, CBD tablets/pills/capsules can be a quick and easy way to target digestive issues and/or disorders.
- Lotions and creams– CBD infused lotions and creams are most popular for the treatment of aches and pains, just rub them into the affected area. CBD creams and lotions can also be applied to skin affected by conditions such as eczema.
- Vape liquids– Inhaling CBD through an electric cigarette or ‘vape’ allows for the fastest absorption and quickest effects. Of course, smoking cannot be advised but CBD vaping liquids can be a convenient form of CBD consumption.
- Edibles– Edibles are big on accuracy- you know exactly what dosage you’re taking. They usually come in the forms of gummies, so they’re tasty too.
There are lots of different brands of CBD products- when you’re choosing, you should look out for one that’s MHRA complient, which basically means that it is deemed safe to use by The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Be mindful of purity, too: some products can contain other cannabinoids- these are full spectrum CBD products. Multiple cannabinoids in one product can make its effects stronger, and cannabinoids like THC are psychoactive, so more likely to produce unwanted side effects. A CBD isolate is 100% CBD.
When it comes to dosage, guidelines can be vague. You should start low to gauge how the CBD product affects you personally, and adjust accordingly. Make sure to always read the label and check with your doctor if you’re uncertain.