Beginners Guide To CBD Oil
If you’re struggling with a chronic condition like pain or anxiety, you’ve probably heard someone mention CBD oil by now.
But, to be honest, you don’t have to be a chronic pain sufferer or struggle with epilepsy to be aware of CBD. This compound is all the rage in the wellness industry. People are using CBD to improve the quality of their lives in many ways, and government officials begin o realize both medical and recreational cannabis draws profits from readily available CBD.
Despite all the buzz, though, many people are unsure of what CBD exactly is, how it can help them, and if it’s even leal.
If you’re looking to try CBD oil but aren’t sure where to start, we mapped out all essential information about CBD. This quick and handy guide will answer your questions and help debunk some of the common myths surrounding CBD and its uses.
Let’s start with the very definition of CBD.
What is CBD?
Also known as Cannabidiol, CBD is one of over 113 identified compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant. It’s also the second-most abundant cannabinoid next to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Unlike THC, though, CBD won’t make you feel high.
CBD is non-psychoactive, hence the lack of the high, but it comes with a number of similar health benefits to THC. This allows users to revel in the therapeutic properties of cannabis without having to deal with the psychoactive experience caused by THC.
CBD can be derived from hem or marijuana. Hemp is very efficient in delivering CBD because it has naturally higher concentrations of this compound than most marijuana strains. If a marijuana strain contains more than 3% CBD, it means it has been selectively bred to increase its content.
Of course, when distinguishing between marijuana-derived and hemp-derived CBD, there’s a lot of legal intricacies. Marijuana-derived CBD products are legal in states or countries which allow the medical or recreational (or both) use of cannabis. Hemp, on the other hand, is legal in most places across the world.
How does CBD Work?
CBD is a phytocannabinoid; phytocannabinoids are plant-derived compounds that mimic the structure and actions of the body’s endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are a part of the endocannabinoid system.
In order to understand how CBD works, we must dive deeper into the endocannabinoid system itself.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network of neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) and receptors spread throughout the entire body. So far, scientists have discovered two cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2.
The highest concentrations of these receptors occur in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and immune system. This makes the ECS the most important system in our bodies; it controls the vast majority of biological functions, such as memory, mood, body temperature, pain perception, inflammation, immune function, and cognitive performance.
Whenever something goes wrong with your health, the endocannabinoid system starts to produce more endocannabinoids to help the body regain its chemical balance, also known as homeostasis.
There are instances, though, where the endocannabinoid system cannot produce enough of its natural cannabinoids to restore homeostasis. This is where phytocannabinoids such as CBD come to play.
How Exactly Does CBD Work?
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t directly bind to any of the cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it stimulates the endocannabinoid system to produce more of its natural cannabinoids and also slows their breakdown.
On top of that, CBD acts on 60 different molecular pathways. It interacts with adenosine, serotonin, and vanilloid receptors, all of which are associated with pain perception, inflammation, body temperature, memory, sleep patterns, digestion, and feelings of anxiety.
Ways to Take CBD
There are many ways to consume CBD, but we can group up these methods into four main categories, namely:
- Oral ingestion: products such as CBD edibles and capsules. Oral products usually need more time to take effect because they first need to pass the digestive system, which is also why edibles and capsules have relatively low bioavailability (absorption rate).
- Sublingual application: this term refers to products used under the tongue. Sublingual CBD includes oil drops and tinctures; they are absorbed through the mucous gland in the mouth, passing directly into the bloodstream, hence the faster effects and higher bioavailability.
- Vaporization: vaporization means heating the CBD to the point where it gets released into cannabinoid-rich vapor and then inhaled. Inhalation is the most bioavailable method ensuring that almost 60% of the actual CBD content will make it to the bloodstream. CBD can be vaped as a flower, concentrate, or special E-liquid.
- Topical use: CBD topicals is a broad term to describe balms, lotions, shampoos, lipsticks, and a whole range of other beauty products. Topical CBD offers the lowest bioavailability and is aimed at targeting localized issues or adding the moisturizing and nourishing benefits of CBD to natural cosmetics.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a concentrated hemp extract source from mature hemp flowers. Once harvested, hemp plants are extracted using CO2 or other solvents (e.g. alcohol, olive oil) to obtain a cannabinoid-rich extract that contains all naturally occurring compounds in hemp. This liquid is then infused into a carrier oil such as coconut oil, hemp oil, or MCT oil.
What are CBD Tinctures?
People often confuse CBD oil with CBD tinctures, but these products involve different extraction processes. While CBD oil is typically extracted with CO2 and involves high-tech equipment, making CBD tinctures calls only for a decent portion of high-CBD hemp and some alcohol. The hemp is soaked in the alcohol to strip off the cannabinoid-rich resin and the liquid is then cooked on a stovetop until the alcohol evaporates. Tinctures can be used sublingually or mixed with different foods.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?
Everyone is different and there are too many factors determining the efficacy of CBD oil to give you a short and definite answer. In fact, there’s no one-fits-all CBD dosage.
As with any health supplement, we recommend talking to a trusted healthcare professional before you start taking CBD. The best way is to begin with low doses, between 1-3 mg of CBD daily, and observe the results working your way up gradually to the sweet spot.
Is CBD Safe?
Yes, CBD is generally considered safe. You can’t fatally overdose on CBD and taking too much cannabidiol entails only minor side effects such as dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, dizziness, or — in the worst case scenario — diarrhea.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Since the legalization of commercial hemp through the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD oil has become oficially legal in all 50 US states. CBD products are also allowed for sale in 40 countries across the world as long as they are derived from hemp.
Have you already used CBD in your life? Share your experience with new users in the comments below!