What is CBD?
What exactly is cannabidiol (CBD) and what exactly does it do? We try to answer those questions in this short guide to one of the most fascinating and important compounds of the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants are chemical powerhouses that produce more than 400 different compounds. Not all of those compounds are unique to marijuana, of course, and appear in many other species of plants. That’s why marijuana can smell like pine trees or taste like fresh lemons. However, of those 400 compounds, more than 60 of them are totally specific to the plant genus Cannabis. Scientists call these special compounds “cannabinoids.” But not all cannabinoids are created equal. One of them, cannabidiol, or CBD, holds the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects marijuana offers.
The more we learn about CBD, the more it seems poised to impact medicine on a grand scale.
So What Does CBD Actually Do?
We’ve covered the details of what cannabidiol is, and its basic properties. Now, let’s look at what this powerful little compound can do.
For valid reasons, cannabidiol dominates the conversation about the medical use of cannabis. All of the 60-plus cannabinoids unique to the plant genus cannabis interact with our bodies thanks to a network of neurons called the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system runs throughout your body and it is full of receptors that bind to the cannabinoids you introduce to your bloodstream when you consume CBD. It’s the chemical interactions of those bonds that create a wide and largely unknown series of responses in your body.
Now, without distorting the science too much, you could argue that humans are hard-wired for CBD. The endocannabinoid system runs deep and touches all of the major systems of the body. And that’s why CBD can do so many things for us, from altering and regulating moods to stimulating appetites and reducing pain.
And even though cannabidiol has no toxicity for humans, meaning it doesn’t make you intoxicated (i.e. high) it is highly reactive with the endocannabinoid system. To put things simply, CBD makes things happen in your body. When it binds to the endocannabinoid system’s receptors, it stimulates all kinds of changes. Most of those changes are incredibly beneficial, and researchers keep discovering real and potential medical uses for them.
You can find detailed information regarding the benefits of CBD for individual condition on our Health Benefits Page.
Will CBD Get You High?
One of the most crucially important qualities of CBD is its lack of psycho-activity. This basically means that cannabidiol won’t get you high. Unlike THC, the cannabinoid with the power of producing euphoric sensations, Cannabidiol is dormant.
So when taken on its own, users experience none of the sensations of being stoned. And this is the single most important property of the cannabinoid from the medical and legal perspective.
Overview Of CBD Products
It’s easy to get confused by what type of CBD to buy. Many brands are now offering a wide range of products, including capsules, lotions, tinctures, and more. The Paradox of Choice can easily cause more stress.
So, to make it easier for everyone, we broke it down and created a list of the top ways to take CBD.
Overall, the top 5 ways to take and use CBD are (listed in no particular order):
- Tinctures (oils)
When buying any of these products, we highly recommend that you do your own research on CBD and hemp extract.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Though CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people.
Side effects noted in studies include (Read Study):
- Anxiety and depression
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
CBD is also known to interact with several medications. Before you start using CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor to ensure your safety and avoid potentially harmful interactions (Read Study).
The Bottom Line
CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in treating many common health issues, including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease. For those with cancer, it may even provide a natural alternative for pain and symptom relief.
Research on the potential health benefits of CBD oil is ongoing, so new therapeutic uses for this natural remedy are sure to be discovered.
Though there is still much to be learned about the capability and safety of CBD, results from recent studies suggest that CBD may provide a safe, powerful natural treatment for many health issues.