If you know anything about cannabis, or marijuana, you’ve heard of THC…but recently, the more talked about acronym has been CBD. So, what is CBD? More than a few trendy letters, CBD is Cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in cannabis known for medical effects. Increasing in popularity, CBD has the opposite effect to THC which provides the psychoactivity effects associated with “getting high”.
Cannabis that doesn’t get you high? Exactly, what is CBD, and what does it do, then?
Breaking it down
CBD is again, Cannabidiol, which is extracted from the flower and buds of the plant known as Cannabis. CBD is specifically derived from the hemp plant, vs THC from its’ cousin plant, marijuana. CBD is only one, out of at least 113 different cannabinoids found in hemp plants.
But how does CBD work internally? You have cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, predominantly in your brain, and cells in your immune system. CB1 is said to handle coordination, movement, pain, emotions, mood, thinking, memories, appetite and other functions. While CB2 receptors affect inflammation, and pain.
It was once believed that CBD attached to these receptors. But now, researchers say what CBD is doing, is directing your body to use its’ existing cannabinoids. So, CBD is actually affecting the signaling throughout your body with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Even further, what does CBD do to protect your body? It increases the amount of your body’s own naturally-produced cannabinoids (also known as endocannabinoids) by hindering the enzymes that naturally break them down.
CBD also affects non-cannabinoids receptors in your brain, like neurotransmitters, or opioid receptors that are known for their assistance in pain regulation. Similarly, CBD also interacts with dopamine receptors which can affect behavior, cognition, and even personal motivation.
Lastly, CBD is influencing your Serotonin 1A receptor, which is connected to therapeutic relief and possibilities. Research is still being completed on what CBD is able to accomplish with this receptor, but experts in the industry say it “could be used to ameliorate disorders that include: opioid dependence, neuropathic pain, depression and anxiety disorders, nausea and vomiting (e.g. from chemotherapy), and negative symptoms of schizophrenia…”
What can CBD do for me or others?
Through these neurotransmitters and receptors, CBD’s primary effects on your body, and how can help ease medical issues and symptoms. First, let’s talk about pain relief. Researchers published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, that CBD decreased chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats. The anti-inflammatory and pain relief components of CBD are now being researched for treatment in chronic conditions like arthritis, as well. A study conducted in 2016 introduced results of CBD topical treatments successfully reducing pain and providing relief for joint stress and inflammation.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients have also seen positive effects from the use of CBD for many of the conditions’ symptoms. MS is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body through nerves and the brain. Muscle spasms are a common occurrence for those with MS. One recent study concluded that short term use of CBD improves the symptoms of these spasms.
Most recently, the FDA approved one type of CBD as effective treatment for specific and rare types of epilepsy. CBD is able to affect patients prone to seizures caused by the condition. What is CBD’s results for treating seizures? One study, not yet published, is reporting that patients using CBD in addition to their normal medicine regiment, are having 39% fewer convulsive seizures. New York University neurologist Orrin Devinsky, who is completing the study, said recently, “We’ve found significant positive effects with CBD.”
While research is still underway, early results and application have also shown that CBD is useful in treating or aiding symptoms of other disorders, or issues like –
- Schizophrenia and antipsychotic effects
- Opioid/drug or smoking withdrawals
How do I use CBD?
CBD is available for application or consumption in medicine like forms, liquids or topicals.
The most common use of CBD is through CBD oil. These oils contain concentrations of CBD, which can vary. The oil is used as liquid drops or tinctures, that can be placed under your tongue. Others choose to add the oil to teas, or drinks.
Edibles are also receiving the CBD oil treatment. Candies, gummies, baked goods, or cooking oils are infused with the beneficial component and can deliver drawn out effects.
CBD oil through vape or e-cigarettes is an option for smoking, as its’ counterpart THC would normally be. Again, similarly, CBD Isolates or Concentrates (shatter, wax, etc.) are produced to use in vaporizer, pipes, bongs, and dab ribs.
Like normal medicine, CBD oil is now found in ISO (isolate) capsules, like vitamins or pills.
CBD is also available in topical form. Now salves, balms, lotions, patches, bath bombs, and soaps are produced with the beneficial compounds. Topicals may be slow to take effect, and have varied factors for use, but show long-lasting effects for those with muscle, joint or chronic pain.
CBD to be continued…
From CVS to your local gas station…CBD is everywhere and trending to grow in popularity among herbal and natural medicines. With widespread legalization, more studies are being funded and published. These studies are increasingly proving and discovering additional uses and benefits of the Cannabis plant. From a ‘chill pill’ to medically relieving symptoms, CBD is here to stay.