What Is CBD Oil? A Beginner's Guide to Cannabidiol
Even for people well versed in the world of medical marijuana, there can often still be significant mystery surrounding the recent explosion in the popularity of a substance called cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is by no means a new discovery, but the proliferation of research, medical applications, and use by the general populace is quite recent.
Phytocannabinoids were discovered in the 1940’s, and this included the identification of specific cannabinoids such as CBD. It wasn’t until 2009 however, that the popularity of CBD oil really broke into the mainstream. Typically, medical marijuana horticulturalists have solely focused on the well-known cannabinoid called THC, as THC was considered to be the primary substance responsible for the medical benefits of the plant. It wasn’t until people began to experiment with CBD heavy strains in 2009, that the potential for CBD as an alternative medicine really exploded.
There are many people who are curious about CBD, because it contains many of the same benefits touted by the medical marijuana industry, but seemingly none of the down sides. In this beginners’ guide to cannabidiol, we’ll cover the ins and outs of CBD from its very basic mechanisms, to its major differences with THC, and finally what health issues people are using CBD oil to treat.
Cannabinoids and your Body
How does any cannabinoid, THC and CBD included, interact with your body? Firstly, it's important to understand the function of your endocannabinoid system. This system is vital to a series of important processes like appetite, mood, digestion, memory, and pain sensory. Its receptors are spread throughout the human body, but are particularly focused in the nervous system, brain, and digestive system. Although the body produces cannabinoids to interact with this system, triggering different functions, there can sometimes be problematic malfunctions and misfires that require treatment. For example, experiences of chronic pain, memory loss and digestive issues.
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Cannabis produces a huge variety of cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, which mimic the ones produced internally. One plant can have dozens of different cannabinoids, each interacting differently with this system. There are some which lock directly with receptors, like the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors ,while others, like CBD, associate indirectly. Even for the most thoroughly understood cannabinoids, there still remains a level of mystery surrounding the exact science of how they interact with the endocannabinoid system. Research into this area is expanding at a phenomenal pace, with new discoveries being published all the time. Each new development is a small piece in the complex puzzle of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system.
How is CBD different than THC?
The recent surge in popularity of CBD is mainly due to its differences with THC. We are all familiar with the effects of THC: being stoned, dissociated, an alteration in perception. Although pursued recreationally by some, these effects tend to put many others off. Especially in cases where children are involved, medical marijuana simply doesn’t work. This is where CBD comes in, because it contains medicinal properties very similar to THC, but doesn’t have any of the negative side effects. In fact, the only feeling people report when taking CBD oil is that of feeling more calm and a sense of relaxation.
This major difference leads us to another major difference between the two substances - the legality. In the United States, as is the case in many other countries, marijuana remains illegal, as least in terms of its recreational use. In the US, it is listed as a Schedule I Drug by the DEA, although many individual states have moved towards decriminalization and regulation. Thankfully, due to its lack of psychoactivity, CBD falls into a legal grey area. It can be derived from both medical marijuana, as well as from industrial hemp, the latter of which is legal to grow, sell and consume. Therefore, CBD oil, is legal and available across the country and around the world.
What are the Most Common Issues People use CBD Oil to Treat?
Cannabidiol is largely used for medicinal purposes. The huge array of possible applications is being rapidly pursued, which has led to much excitement for patients seeking alternative treatment and for those who haven’t been able to find solutions with modern pharmaceuticals. Although the list continues to grow, here are four of the major areas patients are currently using CBD oil to treat.
Inflammation and Chronic Pain
There are few options for people who suffer from chronic pain, especially if opioids pose too high of a risk. Cannabidiols on the other hand pose no risk of overdose, and no risk of addiction. So far they have proven just as powerful in treatment of specific cases of chronic pain as the more traditional opioid based medicines.
One of the most visible therapies, CBD is able to radically reduce or completely eliminate the number and severity of seizures. This is particularly evident in the treatment of children whose epilepsy was resistant to traditional medicines. On top of this, CBD oil is a safe, all natural substance, safe for consumption by small children.
Cannabidiol has a direct relationship to the endocannabinoid system, and specifically with the way our body produces and re-absorbs serotonin. Because of this, CBD oil has given many people suffering from depression a way to find hope when SSRIs have failed. It can provide immediate relief, and remains effective over the long term.
The reason why many are labeling CBD therapy as a miracle, is because it has been found in laboratory studies to reduce the growth of tumors. Specifically, the research has found an ability to reduce the metastasis of cancer cells, their proliferation rate and the ability to move to other areas of the body.