What is CBD?
Marijuana Without the High
CBD hemp oil is growing in popularity with good reason: it’s changing lives.
Whether you’ve heard something on the news, seen mention of it on television, or are simply searching for a natural alternative to treat an ongoing health condition or frustration, CBD oil has likely come to your attention. However, finding clear, reliable information on what it is, what it does and whether it’s legal in the first place, has probably presented a challenge.
We’re here to change that. Read on for information relating to what CBD is, how it can be used, and whether it might be right for your specific needs.
Table of Contents
Learning the Language
CBD – or cannabidiol – oil is a type of cannabinoid – or, chemical that’s naturally found in cannabis plants, which is where concern generally starts to arise. Before going any further, it’s important to note that while CBD comes from cannabis, it doesn’t create a high, because on it’s own it cannot, that’s caused by another cannabinoid, THC, which we’ll get to later.
Instead, CBD hemp oil is derived from cannabis plants that produce over 400 different compounds. Some are unique to the plant, while others are common in other species of plants as well. 60 of them, however, are unique to cannabis plants. These 60 compounds are classified as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol is one of these compounds. It happens to be the second-most prevalent cannabinoid occurring in cannabis, and is completely separate from THC.
Let’s break it down
While we’re on the topic of THC…
Because of the psychoactive properties of THC, and the fact that THC and CBD are both derived from cannabis plants, understanding the difference between the two is critically important.
As referenced above, THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, or, compounds occurring naturally in the cannabis plant. Additionally, each have unique – and similar – medicinal effects that are commonly sought after for a variety of healing purposes.
This is where it gets important: Due to THC’s psychoactive qualities, it is known to provide a high that can be either euphoric, or, accompanied by paranoia and other negative effects, depending upon the strain and user. While THC is frequently used for those suffering from chronic pain, mood disorders and other medical ailments, its effects can be difficult to predict, and – sometimes – unpleasant.
CBD, in short, is:
- Naturally occurring.
- Potent, without psychoactive qualities.
- Beneficial for a variety of medicinal effects.
The fact that CBD provides the benefits without the negative side effects makes it a legal, more desirable option than traditional or medical marijuana, providing it contains less than 0.3% THC. We’ll get to the legality of CBD in just a bit.
Following so far? Great. Now, where does CBD come from?
Like other plants, there are actually multiple plants that fall into the cannabis family, which means there are different sources and strains of CBD. The top two are hemp and marijuana. CBD can be harvested from either plant with similar health benefits. Where the oil comes from does, however, determine whether it will be legal in a given state.
CBD can come from marijuana flowers, or, from hemp leaves, depending on the source. Many argue that CBD derived from the marijuana plant is more potent, perhaps because of the way THC and CBD can interact, however, CBD derived from hemp leaves demonstrates proven medical benefits as well.
What are the effects of CBD?
Before we jump into what CBD can do, it’s important to reiterate what it can’t do. Remember, THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of recreational – and medical – marijuana. Because standard marijuana in these categories contain up 25-30% THC, mood alteration is a natural result.
For some users, this is a desired effect. For others:
- It’s concerning and may violate their belief systems.
- It leads to less-than-desirable emotions including paranoia and depression.
- It can cause a decrease in short-term memory and the ability to sense time.
- It can heighten anxiety, sometimes causing panic attacks.
In these cases, the side effects of high-THC levels may outweigh the proven benefits of the plant.
This leads us back to CBD.
Because CBD contains less than .3% THC, psychoactive effects and the “high” feeling provided by traditional marijuana are eliminated, while the benefits remain.
CBD interacts with – and helps regulate – the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which you probably never learned about in school. This system regulates balance in the body, which means it affects a variety of functions like sleep, immune responses, mood and more. When the endocannabinoid system is in balance, you’re likely to function – and feel – your best!
Put simply: CBD helps regulate important bodily functions, leading to optimal health and proven benefits.
What, exactly, are the
health benefits of CBD?
What is CBD oil used for?
Lessened Anxiety. Unlike its counterpart, THC, which can heighten anxiety, CBD can interact with the endocannabinoid system to reduce anxiety, even for long-time sufferers, leading to a better overall quality of life and daily functioning.
These are just a few of the research-backed benefits of CBD oil. As the supplement gains popularity, other notable benefits are likely to be recognized.
When it comes to hemp, the traditional image of a smoke filled room might come to mind. Now’s a great time to move past that. Today, there are more options than ever before for recognizing the benefits of CBD oil without the stereotypical use cases that might come to mind. Depending on the benefits you’re hoping to obtain from CBD oil, and your general preferences, there are various forms that may appeal to your needs.
The oil itself. CBD as an oil is the most popular form of CBD currently available. It can be taken orally or used topically, depending on your need.
Vaping. Hemp oil e-liquid, inhaled through a vaporizer like other e-liquids allows for rapid absorption of CBD into the body.
Edibles. The potential for pre-packaged edibles – from baked goods to gummies – is beginning to increase. Each of these includes CBD oil or powder, allowing for the same benefits as other forms.
Tinctures. CBD tinctures, or, drops commonly dispensed from a glass dropper, are generally placed under the tongue. These tinctures can be combined with other extracts to mask the taste of the CBD and to provide various health benefits.
Topicals. CBD oil topicals exist for the treatment of skin condition, the reduction of the signs of aging skin and even muscle pain relief.
Capsules. Capsules make the consumption of CBD simple and can be combined with other beneficial supplements to provide maximum health benefits without a lifestyle change or noticeable taste.
As CBD becomes more popular, new methods of delivery across countless previously unthought-of mediums will continue to emerge.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move onto the next question you’re probably wondering about…
Is CBD oil legal?
The simple answer is not so simple. In fact, it’s complicated. CBD oil is can currently be purchased in all 50 states, but there is confusion associated with the process, as well as a few (or a lot, depending on how you see it) restrictions.
To understand the confusion, let’s go back to the beginning. In the 70’s, during the infamous “War on Drugs,” Congress signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 into law. This act created the Drug Enforcement Administration for enforcement, and banned a select group of drugs, including marijuana. It also – perhaps unintentionally – created a stigma around all things related to the cannabis plant, which is where much fear relating to hemp stems from today.
Because many states have begun legalizing medical marijuana, and some moving toward recreational marijuana, this is where the confusion starts to set in.
In states where marijuana is legal, varying laws exist that regulate the source of CBD oil. However, overall, CBD oil sourced from hemp plants – not marijuana – containing less than .3% THC can be purchased by residents of all 50 states.
The US is slowly joining other nations like Paraguay and Mexico, which have approved the use of CBD, recognizing the substance as a dietary supplement, and regulating it accordingly.
Furthermore, the World Health Organization announced a recommendation in 2017 that CBD should not be labeled a scheduled substance.
Where can I find CBD oil?
Ready to experience the benefits of CBD oil? Great!
CBD is an amazing, natural way to treat a variety of conditions and to improve daily functioning. But, like other good things in life: quality is everything. Ensuring your oil comes from high quality hemp plants and a reputable provider, while meeting the regulations of your own state should be a top priority.
Research potential providers, read reviews and take the time to understand their testing and quality assurance processes before making a purchase. It’s your health we’re talking about!
CBD oil’s benefits could change your life.
We don’t say that lightly. Research, science and experiences of those who have put CBD oil to the test can attest to the fact that the benefits of CBD oil are worth the hype.