New To CBD? Learn What CBD Is And Its Potential Benefits
Ever heard of CBD? Maybe a friend referred to it in passing, or perhaps you’ve come across the abbreviation online. CBD is a relatively new addition to the expanding world of medicinal cannabis, but it is fast becoming a household name in the U.S. So, what does CBD mean, exactly?
What Does CBD Stand For?
CBD is the abbreviation for ‘cannabidiol’, pronounced can·na·bi·di·ol.
Where Does CBD Come From?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, was first isolated from the cannabis plant by a team of researchers at the University of Illinois early in the 20th century. Over the following decades, different teams further explored the compound to better understand its structure and characteristics, and research is ongoing. 
Cannabidiol comes from the Cannabis sativa L. genus of plants. At the moment, it is most commonly obtained from industrial hemp, but it can also be isolated from medical marijuana strains.
CBD Is A Cannabinoid in The Cannabis Plant
It’s natural to be confused by this tongue twister. When first introduced to the world of CBD, many people are confused by the cannabis lingo. Marijuana, cannabis, hemp, and many more popular terms are thrown around with little regard for the specific definition. Yet, when it comes to understanding CBD, it’s important to clarify these definitions.
To keep it simple - Cannabis is a family of medicinal plants that encompasses many subspecies, and, depending on how the plant is grown and utilized, is commonly referred to as either ‘marijuana’ or ‘hemp’. This is very simply put because the classification remains controversial.
For the purpose of the article, however, it is only necessary to understand that marijuana is well known for its psychoactivity (causing the feeling of being ‘high’ or ‘stoned’). Hemp, however, is well known for its usefulness in commercial production of fibers and oils and has very low psychoactive content.
But what does CBD mean? Cannabidiol as a term can be confusing because, technically, it is derived from both medical marijuana and hemp plants. Each cannabis plant contains anywhere from a few dozens to over a hundred cannabinoids. One of the best-studied cannabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another is CBD.
What’s the Difference Between CBD and THC?
Although THC and CBD are both cannabinoids with therapeutic potential, there is a significant difference between them. THC is the only cannabinoid responsible for the well-known psychoactivity of marijuana, the so-called “high.” None of the other hundred or so cannabinoids, including CBD, triggers a psychoactive response.
Is CBD Legal?
When sourced from certified hemp plants, CBD is legally sold across the U.S. and in many countries around the world. Marijuana, which naturally contains over 0.03 percent THC, remains illegal in America and is restricted by federal regulations. That said, different federal departments seem to have different ideas about CBD products.
What Does CBD Mean for Human Health?
It’s all well and good to understand the finer points of what CBD stands for, but it’s also helpful to understand its medicinal value. Like THC, CBD has demonstrated potential with indications for a host of health issues, ranging from inflammation and chronic pain to anxiety and depression. Unlike THC-heavy cannabis trains, CBD doesn’t have side effects such as euphoria, paranoia, and anxiety. It’s been shown as safe to use, with very low toxicity in humans and other species. 
Most research into CBD is in its preliminary stages, but this hasn’t stopped many people from flocking to obtain it as a viable alternative to mainstream medicine. Some use it for the stated conditions, while it is also indicated for drug-resistant epilepsy in children, and improving quality of life for patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Now That You Know What CBD Means, How Does CBD Work?
There are obvious nuances as to how effective CBD is for each health issue, but in every case, it consistently relies on binding with our endocannabinoid system. If you have never heard of this vital system, you are not alone.
The endocannabinoid system was only discovered in the early 1990s (thanks to research into cannabis) and it has since been found to regulate many physiological processes, such as pain management, mood, memory, immunity and many more. It's essentially a system of receptors spread throughout the body, with concentrations in the brain, central and peripheral nervous systems, and the immune system. It aims to keep the internal environment in a perfect state of homeostasis, and Dr. B Alger, author of Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System (Cerebrum, 2013) states that “the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease.” 
Cannabinoids, such as CBD, have a natural affinity for this system. They mimic the chemical transmissions (endocannabinoids) produced by our own bodies and similarly interact with our cannabinoid receptors. Cannabidiol supports the system in a myriad of ways, helping to return it to and keep it in a naturally balanced state.
Where Can You Find CBD?
With the rise in popularity of cannabinoid comes a flood of CBD products for sale. While CBD is easily obtained in the online marketplace, ensuring that you buy a quality product requires a bit of digging. Always source high-quality, organic and non-GMO cannabidiol from a company with high production standards. Learn to sort out the good CBD from the bad, and don’t settle for anything less than the best. For then only are you likely to reap the health benefits associated with this cannabinoid.
RELATED: Are You Using Organic CBD Oil?
Still Confused About What CBD Stands For?
For those intrigued by what they’ve learned about CBD, don’t be afraid to keep exploring. There is an ever-expanding body of research investigating a great number of applications. For example, some research suggests CBD could help people stop smoking. Other studies explore CBD’s strong anti-inflammatory characteristics and its potential as an anti-cancer drug of the future - the list goes on. 
What does CBD mean? Find out what it means for you by exploring its use for numerous applications. However, don’t replace any standard treatment with CBD products without the supervision of your prescribing doctor. The possibilities presented by CBD are exciting, especially when compared with conventional pharmaceuticals. It is not only a completely natural alternative to standard drugs, but it also has a very low risk of side effects. Most conventional drugs these days come with a host of unwanted and severe side effects, especially with chronic use. No wonder people have started exploring what CBD might have to offer.
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