What is CBD and How to Use It
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants, another being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning there is no “high” associated with consumption. CBD works with a regulatory system of the human body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
How does CBD work?
The ECS is comprised of a multitude of receptors scattered throughout the body. These receptors can be activated either by the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids or by cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
CBD interacts with a number of these receptors, though it primarily affects the CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, unlike THC, CBD does not directly bind to these receptors. Instead, CBD signals the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to activate the receptors. This stimulates them to simply do more of what they usually do.
How is CBD different from THC?
In addition to not being psychoactive, CBD has slightly different effects than THC. For example, while THC contains numerous medicinal properties, there are often undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, paranoia, and impaired decision-making. THC can also cause pupils to dilate and certain senses to be over-enhanced.
On the other hand, CBD typically does not apparently have any side effects. The only side effects reported are slight dry-mouth and mild digestive upset. In fact, CBD is commonly used to mitigate the negative effects of THC. In this case, consumers are able to benefit from both cannabinoids and their medicinal power with less overall side effects.
Is CBD legal?
The legality of CBD can be a little confusing at times, and depends entirely on where it was derived. Cannabis-derived CBD is illegal at the federal level, however state laws vary. Typically, in states where marijuana is legal, cannabis-derived CBD is as well. Cannabis-derived CBD also can contain mild amounts of THC, which can cause it to be mildly psychoactive.
Hemp-derived CBD, on the other hand, is legal in all 50 states, provided the hemp is grown and harvested overseas. If that is the case, then the final product is completely legal for importation, selling, and consumption. Hemp-derived CBD has little to no THC present, which is why it is not psychoactive.
How do I dose my CBD?
Because every individual metabolizes compounds differently, effective dosage will vary by individual. In addition, CBD is not regulated by the FDA so there is no official consensus. This is why you may see recommended dosages vary from company to company.
Your ideal CBD dosage will also depend on the health condition you want to attend to. For example, conditions with high levels of pain and discomfort will typically require a higher dosage of CBD. If you are simply wanting to balance and enhance your health, a lower dose may suit you well enough.
When it comes down to it, there are a few simple guidelines to help you determine the optimum dose for your body:
- Start small. Start with the lowest recommended dose of the product you purchase. You can even start lower than that if you’d like.
- Maintain the dosage for several days. Even if you don’t feel an effect immediately, it’s crucial that you keep your CBD dosage the same for at least three to five days before increasing it.
- Increase slowly. If you have waited several days and still do not feel relief from your symptoms, you can increase your dosage slightly. By increasing slowly, you will find the ideal measure for your individual body.
- Repeat process if needed.
In some cases, CBD can take up to 30 days to be effective, so don’t become discouraged if you haven’t noticed any benefits right away.
→ For more information on how to dose your CBD, click here.
What are the potential health benefits of CBD?
Preliminary studies have shown promising evidence that CBD contains numerous potentially effective properties. These potentially effective properties include:
- Antiemetic (potentially reduces nausea and vomiting)
- Anticonvulsant (suppresses seizure activity)
- Anxiolytic (combats anxiety)
- Analgesic (relieves pain)
As there is still much research, study and medicinal trials to be done in addition to any anecdotal reports from users, the experiment continues.
There are a number of success stories surrounding the use of CBD. Perhaps the most popular success story is that of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte began suffering from epileptic seizures at just three months old.
It took several years for doctors to determine the underlying cause of Charlotte’s condition. At the age of six, she was suffering from over 300 seizures every week. Finally, she was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, which is a form of epilepsy that is resistant to most treatments and prescription drugs.
Charlotte’s parents were desperate to find an effective therapy or treatment for their daughter to alleviate her pain and suffering. After seeing a video of a young boy from California with Dravet Syndrome successfully being treated with CBD, Charlotte’s parents found a new hope. Around this time Charlotte’s cognitive and bodily functions were declining rapidly and doctors had suggested to put her into a medically-induced coma. With nothing to lose, they decided to give CBD a chance.
The results were astounding. At first, Charlotte went seizure-free for an hour, then two, then a whole week. Her parents contacted a grower in Colorado, who just so happened to have recently created a strain low in THC and high in CBD. This strain was later named Charlotte’s Web, in honor of Charlotte Figi’s miraculous transformation and also the spider in the acclaimed book by E. B. White.
There are numerous celebrities who have publicly commended CBD on its ability to help treat numerous health conditions and its multitude of other potential benefits. In fact, several revered health professionals such as Dr. Oz and Dr. Sanjay Gupta have come out in favor of CBD and its advantages.
In fact, in 2013 Dr. Gupta made a public apology for “leading the public astray” in 2009 when it came to the potentials and benefits of medical cannabis and CBD. Dr. Oz is also now in favor of the use of medical marijuana and CBD. He has stated that he remembers growing up in a time when marijuana and its derivatives were seen in a very harsh light. However, he now firmly supports that when used correctly, medical marijuana and CBD can be highly beneficial.
CBD is a powerful compound with many potentially medicinal properties, and a number of people have had great success in treating a multitude of health conditions with CBD.
Disclaimer: While initial studies have found promising evidence that CBD is effective in treating a multitude of health conditions, the findings still need additional scientific research to be accepted into the larger medical community. Remember to always consult your doctor or another health professional before incorporating CBD into your treatment regimen. This is especially important if you are already taking other medications.