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What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a chemical found in marijuana. Pure CBD differs greatly from THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces a ‘high’. CBD is most well known for its calming and antiinflammatory properties. There is currently an FDA approved drug, Epidiolex, which is simply a massive dose of pure CBD that is prescribed by doctors to certain individuals suffering from serious seizures. Science is in the early stages when it comes to studies on cannabinoids in humans but we are starting to learn that basically CBD helps keep a body in a homeostatic state of balance. That’s a good thing.
Why does CBD work?
It may come as a surprise to learn that the human body naturally produces its own internal cannabinoids through what is known as our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The purpose of these cannabinoids is to keep the body in a state of stasis, or balance. Maintaining internal homeostasis keeps the body’s many processes running smoothly. When a body process gets imbalanced our internal cannabinoids’ job is to help correct the problem. What science has found is that plant based cannabinoids like CBD work because they can directly support our body produced cannabinoids.
Why is CBD good for you?
By supporting your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) CBD keeps the body in balance. That balance promotes health and healing on many levels. That is why it can be used to relieve pain and inflammation and also is good for stress, depression and anxiety. It has been shown to relieve cancer-related symptoms and side effects. It can also benefit heart health by reducing blood pressure. There is also evidence CBD has neuroprotective properties and can reduce symptoms of schizophrenia and psychosis. It has also been shown to improve sleep and help with substance abuse. And as mentioned the FDA has approved CBD under the drug name, Epidiolex, as an anti seizure medication.
Is CBD legal?
All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD. This is because, in 2018, the Farm Bill made hemp legal in the United States, making it virtually impossible to keep CBD illegal – that would be like making apples legal, but keeping apple juice illegal.
Is CBD addictive or Does it make you feel high?
Pure CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high. Therefore CBD cannot cause a “high” by itself. According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” In fact CBD is so anti-high that individuals who have ingested too much THC can actually take CBD to reduce the THC effects.
What conditions can CBD be good for?
- Epilepsy. The first FDA approved cannabis-derived medicine, Epidiolex, is an anti-seizure medication. This massive dose of CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, stop them altogether.
- Anxiety. Studies and clinical trials are exploring the common report that CBD can reduce anxiety.
- Insomnia. Studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Chronic pain. Further human studies are needed to substantiate claims that CBD helps control pain. One animal study from the European Journal of Pain suggests CBD could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis when applied to skin. Other research identifies how CBD may inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which are difficult to treat.
- Addiction. CBD can help lower cravings for tobacco and heroin under certain conditions, according to some research in humans. Animal models of addiction suggest it may also help lessen cravings for alcohol, cannabis, opiates, and stimulants.
How do I take CBD?
CBD comes in many forms, including oils, extracts, capsules, patches, vapes, and topical preparations for use on skin. If you want to reduce inflammation and relieve muscle and joint pain, a topical CBD-infused balm may be the best option. Alternatively, CBD oils designed to be placed under the tongue (sublingual) allows CBD to directly enter the bloodstream. Food and drinks containing CBD are the least effective as they must pass through the gut before being absorbed by the body. Vapes have become popular but can irritate the throat and vape liquid may contain unwanted additives. CBD oil and CBD balm are generally considered the best ways to use CBD.
How much CBD should I take?
As with many or most supplements, start with a small dose and work your way up until you get the desired effect. Current guidelines suggest 0.25mg CBD multiplied by your body weight in pounds on a daily basis. Therefore, a 120 pound person should take 30mg CBD daily (0.25 x 120 = 30), and a 200 pound person should take 50mg CBD daily (0.25 x 200 = 50). Ideally, split your doses equally between morning and evening. There is no toxic or overdose level for CBD so you can never take ‘too much’ CBD. Remember that every body is different. You may need to experiment to find your perfect dose. And even though you can’t take too much, quality CBD products aren’t cheap, so it makes financial sense not to take more than you need.
What should I expect after taking CBD?
How you feel after taking CBD depends entirely on why you are taking it in the first place. Typically you can expect relief from any condition that CBD is able to treat. So if you are stressed, you could expect to feel more relaxed. If you have a headache you should expect it to lessen. If you take CBD not for any acute issue but rather just to maintain bodily homeostasis, then you might feel only a bit more relaxed and at ease. CBD keeps you in balance so if you are already in balance, you might not feel much different after taking it.
Any negative side effects from taking CBD?
Side effects from CBD are minor to non-existent. There is a possibility of dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite and drowsiness. It may also interact with blood thinning medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements including CBD. Therefore, you must be able to trust the integrity of the CBD company you buy from. It is crucial to only buy trusted and vetted products from reputable companies that provide lab analysis on request.
How can I tell if a CBD product is any good?
Because CBD is unregulated, the primary cause for concern is the unreliability of the purity and dosage of CBD in products. A recent study of 84 CBD products bought online showed that more than a quarter of the products contained less CBD than labeled. In addition, THC was found in 18 products. When purchasing a CBD product the amount of CBD it contains in milligrams should be clearly stated on the package. If you can’t see that information, it might only be hemp seed oil with no actual CBD whatsoever. CBD currently cannot be purchased on Amazon or other major online retailers so anything you buy on those platforms will not actually contain CBD. Any legitimate CBD company will provide a lab analysis of their product on request. Aside from that, word of mouth from happy customers is probably the best way to know if a product is any good.
What is full spectrum CBD and why is it better?
A full-spectrum CBD product contains multiple cannabinoids, including essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, such as cannabinol. Because full-spectrum CBD contains all (up to 140) cannabis plant compounds, it can have a more potent effect than pure CBD. Research suggests that CBD’s health benefits may be more prominent when multiple compounds from the cannabis plant are present. This is what researchers call the ‘entourage effect.’
CBD Facts – The Takeaway
CBD is a plant based cannabinoid that is able to support the human body’s own internal endocannabinoid system. It has been proven to be a helpful, relatively non-toxic option for managing anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and other issues. Although legal in all 50 states, care must be taken to make sure you are purchasing a quality full spectrum and lab analyzed product from a reputable source.