As the exploration into healthcare innovation continues, so does the interest in more natural remedies. One particular remedy that has gained particular interest as of late is marijuana.
While the marijuana plant itself is highly controversial, the components of the plant have begun to provide another alternative for those seeking relief from chronic illnesses. For those who prefer a treatment that is free of standard pharmaceutical products, CBD has opened a new world of possibilities.
Being one of the new frontiers in the natural healthcare market, CBD has multiple ways for users to obtain and enjoy the health-saving benefits it can provide. Between oils, edibles, and vaping, those who want to take advantage of CBD have a plethora of options from which to choose. The proper method of use for each person can vary based on their need, but it is critically important first to know what CBD is, and how it correlates to your health in any form.
The Non-psychotropic effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) force a change in perspective on marijuana as a medicinal option
Cannabis has been used medicinally for more than 3,000 years, but only entered Western use in the 19th century for various modalities including spasming, convulsing, inflammation, and pain.
It was only in recent years that prohibition created a false stigma that marijuana was used for its recreational effects alone.
The non-psychoactive effects of cannabidiol, combined with its many proven medicinal uses, have begun to force people to change how they view marijuana, however.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol is a powerful healing substance extracted from the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is not psychoactive but does offer a wide range of health benefits. CBD is also commonly referred to as CBD oil, hemp oil, CBD hemp oil, or full-spectrum CBD.
Before you can understand the benefits and uses of CBD, it is important first to understand what it is. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a molecular compound produced exclusively by plants in the cannabis family. Though it is often confused with marijuana or hemp, CBD is quite different from its plant sources.
While there is a strong misconception that CBD is simply a replacement for marijuana, there is a vast difference between the two. As previously mentioned, CBD is a molecular ingredient within the marijuana plant. As a component, it lacks the presence of THC, the psychoactive element found in marijuana. This prevents the “high” commonly associated with marijuana usage.
While every variety of the cannabis family produces cannabinoids, CBD is one of the most well-known. Recently, there has been a stark increase in the health benefits this particular component can provide. As the brain is naturally designed to accept cannabinoids, there are many who aim to explore ways to process CBD and extract its medicinal wealth while avoiding some of the common fears and misconceptions related to its use.
There are over 85 compounds to be found in cannabis, which belong to a type of molecule found in the body called cannabinoids. Delta-9-THC and cannabidiol comprise the highest concentrations of these compounds, so they are frequently the main focus of scrutiny when it comes to marijuana.
The given concentration of delta-9-THC of CBD varies from plant to plant, but growers can choose their plant strain intentionally for higher amounts of CBD if so desired.
Advancements in modern cultivation have allowed professional growers to breed their strains for even more specific traits, such as cannabis plants with no delta-9-THC and a high majority of the cannabidiol compound.
When speaking of marijuana most would think of the psychotropic effects of delta-9-THC, however, this is only one of more than 85 compounds found in cannabis. In recent years cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis has been gaining popularity with the medical community for its many benefits treating the symptoms of various health conditions, ranging from arthritis to anxiety, to cancer, epilepsy, inflammation, and many others. Cannabidiol is ideal for medical treatment due to its lack of “high”. This is because it doesn’t affect the CB1 receptors clustered in the brain, which delta-9-THC does. Cannabidiol, once extracted can be processed for various delivery methods, one of which is oil.
As with anything new or unknown, there are often many misconceptions that accompany the mention of CBD. Most often, this is caused due to the assumption that being a part of marijuana makes CBD it’s equivalent. This, however, is not truly the case.
Many companies now use standard drug testing in their hiring processes and, inevitably, marijuana use would bring the possibility of termination or be passed over for new employment altogether. While marijuana usage would be cause for concern, CBD usage should not.
As previously discussed, the difference between THC and CBD. Though they are both cannabinoids, they have very different effects on the human body. While THC has the ability to affect cognitive function, CBD does not produce the euphoric feelings associated with THC. As THC has a higher chance of affecting the cognitive elements of the brain, drug testing has been designed to focus on this cannabinoid rather than CBD.
1. CBD Hasn’t Been Regulated
The introduction of CBD products on the market caused quite a stir initially and continues to be somewhat controversial in some circles. Some equate the presence and sale of CBD to that of illegal substances. This, however, is inaccurate. While illegal substances such as marijuana are not subject to regulatory practices, CBD is
Once the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growth and sale of industrialized hemp, there was a wave of enthusiasm from those who had long heralded the benefits of hemp and CBD, respectively. This victory, however, did introduce a large number of regulatory needs for those who decided to take part in this new frontier.
Inevitably, once the federal government has approved a new product, they will forever be involved in its sale and development. This is doubly true of industrial hemp and, by extension, CBD. Being directly involved means the federal government could now review multiple facets of the industry and ensure its safety.
Similar to what is seen in the supplement industry, CBD retailers have had to be very careful in terms of advertising. The FDA is not only involved in the cultivation of CBD but also its sale. As the CBD industry has expanded, claims that it can be used for almost anything have also grown. Since the FDA has not tested and approved these claims, retailers are unable to market their CBD products using these assertions.
Additionally, CBD also faces regulatory action on the state level. Despite states such as Colorado and Washington being at the forefront of the change, other states have been slowly wading way into the industrial hemp market. Those choosing to open or distribute CBD products must have a firm understanding of any state and federal regulations before opening their doors.
In short, the CBD industry is anything but unregulated, and this misconception is more than likely derived from fear of the unknown.
2. CBD Produces a “High“
As was discussed previously, there is no link between CBD and becoming intoxicated or impaired. As this is one of the most common misconceptions associated with CBD use, it is worth taking a closer look into why there is so much confusion surrounding it.
In general, most people tend to group things. This is true in an array of settings and circumstances. In the study of Psychology, there is confirmed proof that people group things based on their perceived similarity to one another. In social cases, this could be gender. In this specific case, however, CBD and THC are inevitably linked due to their being derived from the same plant.
While it is true that they come from the same course, their molecular structure is also vastly different. Scientifically, both CBD and THC have an impact on CB1 receptors within the brain. THC activates the corresponding receptors and enables both its absorption and effects. This is what causes the euphoria commonly associated with its presence.
CBD also has an impact on CB1 receptors within the brain; however, these are vastly different from THC. CBD functions as an antagonist to the CB1 receptors. This means that it blocks the intoxication found with THC use. In fact, there is some evidence suggesting that the use of CBD, in conjunction with THC, may inhibit the effects of the latter.
Despite the many beliefs that CBD and reaching a euphoric or intoxicated state go hand and hand, evidence and research suggest the opposite.
3. There’s No Scientific Proof Supporting Use of CBD
As science moves us further into exploration and innovation, there is inevitably an increased interest in proving health benefits. This is exceedingly true of CBD and other natural health remedies. While some believe that there is a gap between research and the benefits of CBD, there has actually been an overwhelming interest from the scientific community. This research has paved the way for more positivity and excitement for the advancements CBD may be able to provide.
While there are still many scientific unknowns, there has been a substantial amount of research done since 2018. This has been done, in part, due to the progress of legalization. With the FDA now having a hand in the industrial hemp and CBD markets, research is required to ensure the safety of those who choose this natural remedy.
As of January 2019, there are approximately 150 active CBD trials nationwide. Though this may sound like a small number, this is a massive step towards defining the benefits of CBD and further legitimizing its status as an efficient treatment method. Clinical trials that prove to be successful inevitably pave the way for others.
According to The New England Journal of Medicine, CBD was identified as an effective treatment in the reduction of seizures. Following this discovery and trial, the FDA approved a CBD solution. Epidolex has now gone on to become an extremely popular option for physicians that have patients seeking assistance for seizure-inducing illnesses.
Through scientific methods and observation can move at a somewhat slower pace, the increase in research will only help to make CBD an established choice among both general and holistic physicians.
4. It’s Can Be Illegal To Use CBD
This specific assertion is a little trickier than others. The legal aspects of CBD use can vary based on your location, as well as the ultimate source of the CBD compound. While CBD is produced by both marijuana and hemp plants within the cannabis family, they are viewed very differently in legal terms.
Though there has been substantial movement in terms of marijuana legalization, it is still considered to be illegal in most places. Hemp, however, is legal and was given this status with the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018. As both produce CBD, users need to know where their particular CBD is coming from.
If the purchased CBD comes from marijuana, you could be subjected to legal ramifications down the road. If you choose CBD from Hemp, you should face no problems in terms of legal matters. Users should take great care in educating themselves on reputable producers and providers to ensure they are following the law.
There are many factors to consider when investigating CBD, such as the legality of medical marijuana and medical CBD extract in your region, as well as more complex factors such as isolates and the entourage effect, the health impact of terpenes, and the differences between specific types of cannabinoids.
Medicinal benefits of cannabidiol (CBD)
When cannabidiol was introduced into Western medicine it was only used for spasming, convulsing, inflammation, and pain, however, it has been known as a beneficial treatment for many conditions, almost since the beginning of recorded human civilization.
CBD has been commonly recommended to be used for:
- Neurodegenerative disorders
- Fighting cancer/tumor cells
- Stopping seizures
With medicinal marijuana legalization happening in more states, research into the various health benefits of CBD is revealing more and more each year.
When researching the possibility of a new medicinal treatment, the possibility of side effects is often a concern. This should not be surprising and is to be expected. New and experimental treatments tend to have a higher occurrence of possible issues long-term. When combined with some of the common misconceptions related to CBD, however, this concern can only increase.
Though some apprehension is to be expected, CBD is generally well-tolerated and has a significantly lower risk of side effects than more traditional medication sources. Some of the more prevalent side effects are:
- Dry Mouth
- Reduced Appetite
Out of the above- mentioned side effects, most are very mild in severity. CBD also tends to interact with other medications. Given some of the uses for CBD, users should always partake in this treatment with the supervision of a physician.
Drugs, such as blood thinners tend to have the most severe interactions. When compared to other medication touting the same uses, there is much to be said of the CBD revolution and the positive aspects that it can provide.
How Do Cannabinoids Work?
The fact that the compounds found in cannabis affect so many different systems within the human body, and mammals in general, isn’t a coincidence. This is because of what a cannabinoid molecule is, and where it comes from.
We are hardwired to respond positively to cannabis because our bodies already produce cannabinoids naturally in the form of endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system is a group of cannabinoid receptors spreading throughout the mammal brain, and central/peripheral nervous systems. It’s a part of how our very cells communicate.
Systems affected by the ECS
- By increasing endocannabinoid signals within the central nervous system, anandamide can increase adenosine levels, inducing a drowsy effect.
- Hypothalamic neurons create endocannabinoids that regulate hunger, and increase dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, making it more enjoyable to eat.
- Metabolism/Energy Level
- It has a regulating effect on metabolic functions, including energy accumulation and nutrient movement. It has also been shown to regulate insulin sensitivity.
- Stress response
- Prevents excessive discharge of glucocorticoids when you are presented with a stressful situation, allowing you to process stress more levelly. The ECS is vital in controlling anxiety-dependent habits, as well as your level of interest in normal situations.
- Immune function
- It assists the immune system, acting as neuromodulators and immunomodulators. This decreases muscle spasming and inflammation, in addition to assuring the transport of B cells to the marginal zone in the body and controlling proper LGM levels.
- Reproduction systems in females
- A child in utero develops their cannabinoid receptors very early on, so they can respond to the anandamide introduced to the womb by the uterus. This anandamide also regulates the likelihood of pregnancy, meaning that if anandamide levels are made too high or low, it can lessen the likelihood of pregnancy, or increase the likelihood of miscarriage.
- Nervous system
- Reduces the noradrenaline release to nerves in the sympathetic nervous system, as well as activating the CB1 receptor to innervate visceral organs presynaptically via motor neurons.
- Anandamide and N-arachidonoyl dopamine interact with the temperature sensing TRPV1 areas associated with thermoregulation, causing vasodilation.
- Effects areas of the brain associated with learning and memory storage/formation. The ECS enables neurogenesis from neural stem cells and progenitor cells, essential for neural development. Stimulation of cannabinoid receptors on neurotransmitter release in the brain also functions as the brain’s mechanism for depressant mobility.
- Cannabinoids reduce bad responses to negative stimuli to neurons at the dorsal horn, through controlling the descending noradrenaline information being sent from the brainstem.
The cannabinoid molecules produced by marijuana are the only substitute found in nature for the endocannabinoids found in every mammal body. This is the reason cannabis is able to affect so many different types of conditions. It interacts with the human body on a very basic level.
Each of the more than 85 compounds found in cannabis affects different pathways in the body, but for the most part, treat similar conditions to varying degrees.
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