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If 21st century medicine has an underdog story, it’s CBD (cannabidiol). Once obscure – illicit, even – CBD is touted as a cure-all for a wide range of ailments and illnesses. In fact, a 2018 study found that nearly two-thirds of all CBD users report they use this natural plant extract for a medical condition. (More than one-third of those users report that CBD is the only product they use to support their condition.”)
But does CBD really work? And what exactly does it do?
Let’s take a closer look at CBD…
CBD is one of many active chemical compounds found in cannabis. In fact, it’s the second-most prevalent compound in the plant, right behind THC. CBD is present in both marijuana and hemp (two different forms of cannabis). Hemp contains much more CBD than marijuana. In the marijuana plant, CBD is primarily found in the leaves and stems; the flowering buds (the part that’s smoked) primarily contains THC, which causes a “high.” CBD does not cause a high.
No. CBD is just a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Usually, when people refer to marijuana they are referring to the THC cannabinoid compound.
CBD in and of itself does not contain THC. Some CBD products, however, may contain THC. However, this should be made very clear by any reputable manufacturer on the ingredients label. If you wish to avoid THC (which many people using CBD for medicinal purposes do), look for products made from industrial hemp with a THC content below 0.3%.
There are many ways to use CBD, including oil drops placed beneath the tongue, tinctures, edibles, topical creams, ointments, and vaping. CBD oil is a commonly preferred method for many people.
CBD oil is one of the most popular methods of using CBD because of its simplicity. A dose can be dropped under the tongue and held for 60 seconds before swallowing. No extra calories, devices, or risks (such as vaping) involved! Plus, because only a small amount is needed, it’s easy to travel with CBD oil or carry it in a purse.
Many people report that CBD oil makes them feel more relaxed and calm. CBD is also commonly recommended as an alternative to pain medications for back pain, joint pain, etc.
CBD does this by binding with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Sure, you know about the digestive system, circulatory system, and other major body systems. But you may not have heard of the ECS because it was not discovered in humans until the mid-1990s! The endocannabinoid system regulates many processes in the brain and body, including pain sensation, mood, hormones, and inflammation (among other functions).
The endocannabinoid system has at least two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. While CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain and central nervous system, CB2 receptors are found throughout the body. CBD works by binding to the CB2 receptors.
Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states, whereas marijuana-derived CBD is illegal according to federal law, though many states have passed their own supportive legislation.
Few side effects or adverse health effects are reported as a result of CBD use. Begin with the low, recommended dosage and use as directed. Some forms of usage, such as vaping, can have dangerous side effects. For example, some low-quality CBD oils are produced with propylene glycol (a thinning agent) that can produce formaldehyde when heated, which occurs during the vaping process.
Some users may experience mild side effects, such as dry mouth, lightheadedness, or drowsiness.
It would be extremely unlikely for use of a quality CBD product to result in a positive drug test. CBD, itself, does not appear on a drug test. A poorly produced CBD product with higher THC content could potentially appear on a drug test, though is still not likely.
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