What is CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 active cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is second only to THC for its abundance within the plant, and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s make-up.
Let's get scientific - what is a cannabinoid?
There are two main types of cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are produced within the cannabis plant (Phyto being the Greek word for plant). Endocannabinoids are produced within the body (Endo being a prefix from Greek meaning ‘from within’).
Endocannabinoids are the clever little blighters that help to keep our body regulated and balanced. If you are too hot, it will cool you down. If you’re running low on fuel, blood sugar, or liquid, it will send hunger or thirst signals. If you’re stressed it will regulate your heart rate.
One of the fundamental concepts of biology is ‘Homeostasis’ - the maintenance of a constant internal environment. To achieve this, the body goes through a series of checks and balances; and this is all influenced by our endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of a series of cannabinoid receptors throughout the nervous system and the immune system. A receptor is a protein molecule found on the surface of cells that receives chemical signals and, when it does so, it affects some form of cellular/tissue response. Receptors can only receive and respond to the chemical signal if it can ‘bind’, and for this to happen, it has to be a perfect match.
Cannabinoid receptors can bind to, and be activated by, the endocannabinoids (already present in our body), or external cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. By allowing these plant compounds into your body, they can directly influence the areas that are regulated by the endocannabinoid system.
What are the benefits of CBD
The cannabinoids found in cannabis have been shown to offer therapeutic benefits for numerous conditions associated with an imbalance in the body’s homeostasis. However, it has also been discovered that CBD, in particular, has the ability to influence a wider range of receptors than just the cannabinoid variety. This may be the reason that it is showing results across such a wide range of medical uses. These include:
- Anxiety and panic disorder
- Chronic pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Appetite disorders
- Crohn’s Disease
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Type 1 diabetes
The clinical trials continue; and researchers are also looking into the effects of CBD on alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, obesity, epilepsy, respiratory diseases, and even cancer.
There is also evidence to suggest that CBD can increase the levels of the body’s own endocannabinoids, by obstructing the enzymes that break them down. As cannabinoid deficiency can be implicated in a number of age-related illnesses, this is particularly positive news.
Does CBD oil have any negative effects?
There is still little long-term data available on the negative implications of CBD. However, many short-term trials have found that CBD is well tolerated in adults across a wide range of doses.
To date, there have been no significant side effects to the central nervous system, or effects on the mood or vital signs of users.
Some people have reported feelings of tiredness and/or changes to appetite.
Can taking CBD get you high?
Taking CBD in any of its extracted forms will not get you high! The EU certified strains of hemp that are used to extract CBD oil contain a maximum legal limit of 0.2% THC - the psychoactive element of cannabis. CBD will have no negative influence on your mind or your behaviour.
Is CBD oil legal in the UK?
The law changed on 13th October 2016 in the UK to enable CBD products to be recognised as a medicine. Numerous studies have been carried out, and standards have been established to ensure the quality and safety of CBD, and protect people's health and well-being. Any licensed CBD containing product can now legally be considered by the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) to be medicinal. However, to date, no official licenses have been granted to CBD products and, as such, they are currently legally classified as food supplements.
Ways to take CBD
1. Sublingual Tinctures
This is one of the most effective methods of taking CBD oil, where the user places some drops under the tongue and waits for around about 1 minute before swallowing. This method has been proven to be discreet and very effective in calming some chronic pains almost immediately.
This method is easy to use (even in public), requires no extra accessories, is easy to control, and has long-lasting effects.
You may decide to add a few drops of CBD oil to your drinks and/or food. Some products have infused CBD into gummy bears or lollipops, so you even don't need to add them to your meal. You can also make CBD edibles on your own without necessarily buying them pre-made. However, be careful of how much oil you use.
3. Topical application
This is basically applying CBD through a balm or as an ointment on your skin. It is the easiest because it requires no special tools. It can be effective when dealing with sore muscles, acne, sore neck, back pains, and migraines.
This happens to be the most effective and fastest method because the CBD goes into the bloodstream through your lungs. There are two methods of inhalation: Smoking and vaping. You will need some tools and accessories like a vaporizer, dabber, or oil rig for you to use this method. Also, it can be harsh on your throat.