What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. Along with other cannabinoids, like THC, it is one of the two main compounds found in cannabis sativa. There are 60 cannabinoids in cannabis sativa, but CBD is the most significant. It is main reason cannabis is touted for its medical benefits and is particularly exciting because it is non-psychoactive—meaning, it doesn’t get you “high”—making it safe for children and even pets.
The genus cannabis refers to a family of plants, some of which contain the psychoactive compound THC. THC-rich strains of cannabis are what we know as marijuana, types of which include cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. These types of cannabis have a higher concentration of THC and are primarily intended to serve the recreational user.
Industrial hemp, on the other hand, is a type of cannabis that is widely cultivated for its fiber, which is then made into products like rope, fabric, and paper. Hemp is naturally high in CBD and has been hybridized to contain a negligible amount of THC.
Many CBD formulations on the market today are derived from a hemp source, meaning there is not much chance it will get you high, no matter how sensitive you are. The CBD you might get at your local health food store, for instance, will be a from a hemp source. It is legal in all 50 states as it is considered to be perfectly safe.
What does CBD do?
The human body produces some natural cannabinoids of its own. Called endocannabinoids (ECS), they assist the body in regulating such functions as immune response, pain signals, and sleep cycles.
CBD acts with the cannabinoid receptors in your body to help your ECS work more efficiently. It prevents the body from absorbing a compound called anandamide, a neurotransmitter that is involved in regulating pain. When the body does not absorb anandamide, the compound binds to the cannabinoid receptors and remains in the bloodstream, affecting a marked reduction in pain, but also controlling inflammation in the brain and the central nervous system.
Extensive research has shown that both CBD and THC have healthful benefits that range from easing symptoms of PTSD and mood disorders to treating seizures in children. Its success in treating chronic pain has been well-documented, and many CBD evangelists will tell you that it worked for them when no other drug would.
Since CBD can be derived from hemp, which does not contain THC, taking CBD at any dosage will not cause drowsiness or cause an altered mental state. When manufactured by a reputable source, CBD is considered to be as safe to take as a herbal supplement.
CBD Oil: what is it?
CBD oil is a highly concentrated extract in oil form. Pure CBD oil will be derived from a hemp source and will contain no THC. However, if it is processed from a marijuana source, it can contain THC in concentrations that range from very low to very high. Currently, there are many brands offering a wide range of CBD:THC ratios. Depending on the medical complaint you are treating, having a small amount of THC can be beneficial. This is especially true when treating pain.
How is CBD Oil made?
CBD is extracted from the hemp plant using a variety of methods. The preferred method is by supercritical CO2 extraction, which does not use harsh chemicals and ensures a highly potent CBD extract. This method requires special equipment and highly specialized expertise, but it provides a result that is far superior to other solvent extraction techniques, which may leave harmful compounds behind – not to mention lower concentrations of CBD.
Other methods of extracting CBD from cannabis include the solvent method, which uses either petroleum or another solvent called naphtha. This method produces higher concentrations of THC and lower amounts of CBD and terpenes. As the CBD industry is not well regulated or standardized, this can invite inconsistencies as the results obtained from solvent extraction are not consistent. Additionally, residues can be left over from the solvents used during extraction, which could potentially cause harmful reactions.
CBD can also be extracted using ethanol or olive oil. The problem with this method is that the potency is often very low, and a great deal of the product would have to be consumed in order to reap the benefits.
How do I use CBD Oil?
CBD oil can be administered in many ways. It can be added to a carrier oil, ointment, or lotion to create a topical pain-relief rub that provides relief exactly where you need it. Many commercial formulations are available, some of which contain other active ingredients like menthol, clove oil, or other essential oils that are known to be good for pain relief.
CBD oil can also be taken internally. As a pure oil, CBD can be dosed into gelatin capsules and ingested orally, or, the pure extract can be blended with a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, and administered with a dropper. It may also be blended with alcohol, in which case it is called a tincture. CBD tinctures are administered via a dropper and can either be taken by mouth or added to food or beverages.
CBD Oil can also be vaporized and inhaled via vape oil or eliquid. Edibles are very popular with some users, and depending on the supplier, you may be able to obtain CBD patches or mouth strips.
How much CBD Oil should I take for pain?
CBD works exceptionally well for some chronic pain sufferers. While there is no standard dosing for pain relief, it is always advisable to start slowly at about 2.5mg per dose to be sure you know how it works for you. This is especially important if your CBD oil contains any THC as it is very easy to consume too much.
A widely accepted adult dose of CBD Oil is 25mg, twice daily. Once you are accustomed to this dose, it is safe to increase by 25mg until you achieve the level of pain relief you are after. CBD Oil is available in a wide range of strengths and concentrations, so it should be easy to purchase in the strength you need.
Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD Oil offers many health benefits besides pain relief, though its effects on other complaints are not as widely researched as they are for pain.
CBD Oil for pain relief
If you suffer from chronic pain, CBD offers hope for leading a normal, active life, even when all hope had been lost. Some CBD aficionados report that they were able to stop taking potent opioid painkillers completely, maintaining that the pain relief they get from CBD is far superior to anything they had ever tried. If you suffer from arthritis pain, chronic back pain, joint pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain, failed back surgery syndrome, or any type of long-term pain, CBD could help you reclaim your life.
CBD Oil for anxiety
Though anxiety attacks have long been linked to marijuana use, it is probable that high THC and low CBD levels are the culprits. Higher levels of CBD in marijuana can reduce anxious feelings caused by THC, and CBD on its own has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce social discomfort, and improve cognitive focus.
Some of the other medical uses of CBD Oil include:
CBD Oil has proven effective in controlling nausea and increasing appetite in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
CBD has been the subject of various National Cancer Center studies that suggest it has a tumor-inhibiting effect.
Studies show that CBD Oil reduced psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.
Multiple Sclerosis and anti-spasmodic
CBD has been found to reduce the incidence of muscle spasm in patients with MS or spinal cord injury.
There are new findings being published daily on the benefits of CBD. Based on the results so far, we are surely at the beginning of an exciting phase in natural medicine and the treatment of chronic disease.
Side effects of CBD Oil
CBD that is derived from a hemp source is unlikely to cause adverse reactions in most people. However, higher doses carry more risk of side effects, many of which are similar to the side effects of THC, though not nearly as intense. These include:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
As few studies have been published on the effects of CBD on pregnancy, if you are pregnant or may become so, it would be best to avoid CBD Oil unless you are doing so under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner who is well-versed in CBD Oil and its uses.
Though the alcohol content in CBD tincture is fairly low, you should avoid CBD tinctures if you are allergic to or sensitive to alcohol. On the same token, if you are allergic to coconut, almond, or have any other serious nut allergies, be sure you know what the non-medicinal ingredients are before you consume or apply your CBD oil formulation.