CBD is a compound derived from cannabis that has become the subject of a lot of research and speculation. Most people are familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but CBD is just as important to understanding the health benefits of cannabis. This has become especially relevant as many states have passed laws specifically legalizing CBD, while the cause of cannabis legalization continues to lag behind. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what CBD is, how it works, and how best to consume it safely.
What Does CBD Stand For?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and is one of the most important compounds in cannabis. One of the distinguishing facts of CBD is it does not bind to the cannabinoid receptors found in the endocannabinoid system of your body. Instead, it interacts with non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels. If you’re interested in learning more about the chemistry behind all this, take a look at this informative article in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal.
But what does that mean for the rest of us? That means that CBD, unlike THC, does NOT produce the feeling of being “stoned” that we associate with marijuana. In fact, CBD can actually counteract those effects. This makes it ideal for patients looking for a natural solution to their problems without having to deal with the foggy after effects of smoking weed.
Where Does CBD Extract Come From?
The difference between CBD extract and oil is important but often misunderstood. Extract is a term used for the raw, unprocessed liquid that results from applying a CO2 extraction method to raw hemp. For more information on the extraction process, you can check out our article on the subject.
Now, if you go to an apothecary or online store and you see a liquid CBD product in a bottle, chances are it’s CBD oil. CBD oil is a combination of extract and a carrier agent. A carrier agent is just a fancy term for certain types of vegetable oils that act as a diluant.
A Closer Look at Ongoing Research into the Health Benefits of CBD
So, if CBD doesn’t get you high, then what does it do? Well, there is some research demonstrating that it offers considerable health benefits. While it’s important to note that current studies and testing methods use pharmaceutical-grade CBD – which is quite different from commercially available CBD products – their results show plenty of promise for medicinal and therapeutic applications of CBD in the future.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential benefits of CBD below:
CBD Oil as an Analgesic
The most promising medical benefit of CBD is pain relief. There is substantial evidence that CBD can help treat chronic pain and inflammation in adults, including symptoms associated with arthritis.
This is due to what are known as the serotonin and vanilloid receptors in your body. These receptors are responsible for mediating pain perception, inflammation, and nausea among other things. CBD binds to these receptors and helps inhibit these sensations.
CBD Oil for Treating Anxiety
Along with pain reduction, it turns out CBD could also be effective at treating anxiety disorders. It may surprise some cannabis connoisseurs that doctors often advise people with anxiety issues to avoid cannabis altogether, because the THC in cannabis can actually amplify anxiety.
On the other hand, CBD has been shown to have the opposite effect, and has become a popular choice for people suffering from a host of anxiety-related disorders, including:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
The Future of Cancer Treatment - Could CBD Be A Way Forward?
One of the most impressive developments is the ongoing research into CBD’s role in preventing cancer cell growth. Recent studies featured in the US National Library of Medicine have found that CBD may slow the growth of tumors, and even cause cancer cell death.
Less contentious is the ability of CBD, and cannabis more generally, to help patients manage symptoms of cancer - mainly the nausea and vomiting that come from chemotherapy.
The whole is greater than the sum of its part (or is it?)
In 1998 Mechoulam and Ben-Shabat demonstrated the ‘entourage effect’. Their research suggested that the combination of compounds inside the cannabis plant produced a stronger effect compared to any individual one.
While many users of CBD may be wanting to avoid THC in order to stay sober, there are a wide range of terpenes for sale with varying therapeutic benefits. Whether you should try to achieve the ‘entourage effect’ depends on your personal situation. Beta-caryophyllene has been shown to increase the benefits of CBD and pinene could help with memory and cognition. However, it’s worth doing your research as the entourage can also block compounds from performing their desired role.
How Should I Consume CBD?
Much like the cannabis industry at large, new methods of packaging and consuming CBD are emerging every day. A few quick Google searches will reveal everything from CBD-infused butter (so called “cannabutter”) to CBD bath soaks. That being said, let’s review the most popular and effective ways of ingesting CBD oil:
CBD Drops: The Simplest Method
Aside from the actual dosage, how you take your CBD oil is extremely important as it affects how your body absorbs and transports the CBD throughout your body. Simply administering CBD oil under your tongue (formally referred to as “sublingual”) is one of the most efficient methods around. In about 90 seconds, you’ll begin to experience its effects. While it’s true that you can spray CBD oil under your tongue, the most common method of ingestion is CBD drops, also known as tinctures. We have some great recipes for how to make your own homemade CBD drops here.
CBD Pills: Perfect If You’re On The Go
Another popular option are CBD pills. This is an quick and convenient way to get your daily dose of cannabidiol. Many people aren’t particularly fond of the taste of CBD oil and want something that you can consume discreetly and easily. This is particularly useful when traveling as TSA agents aren’t going to ask you to take them out and explain what they are. Capsules also have the added benefit that you don’t have to measure out your daily dosage, which can be one of the downsides of using tinctures. Something to keep in mind when shopping around for capsules is that most CBD pills contain diluants like coconut oil or other inert powders to increase the volume of the capsule. While these other ingredients are necessary to make sure the CBD works fast and effectively, not all ingredients are created equal. So make sure to always check the CBD content before you make your purchase!
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With CBD Gummy Bears
A lot of people are interested in experimenting with CBD but are hesitant toward taking drops or pills. This isn’t so surprising when you consider that one of the main reasons people smoke weed or vape is that they enjoy the flavor and aroma just as much as the psychoactive effects. Taking a pill or squeezing a couple of drops under your tongue isn’t exactly a “fun” experience. That’s where CBD gummy bears come in. We all enjoy the taste of gummy bears which makes them a perfect delivery system for the medicinal effects of CBD. Just as everyone has their favorite brand of gummy bear, the answer to the question, “What is the best CBD gummy bear?” is definitely subjective. Sites like Medix CBD and Green Roads World, have a lot of different options that are sure to meet your needs.
CBD Cream: Topical Ointments For Targeted Treatment
One of the hottest new product categories out there that will satisfy your CBD fix is through topical ointments and lotions. CBD, like many other cannabinoids including THC, can absorb through your skin to provide targeted relief for your muscles and joints. These ointments are made from CBD extract and a carrier agent like coconut or olive oil. Manufactures then blend this oil with other therapeutic herbs like lemongrass or tumeric - both of which are well-known pain relievers.
Good For Your Skin?
In addition to the purely medical products out there designed to help you deal with joint stiffness and muscle pain, there is also a growing market of CBD-based skin care products.
While there is still much research to be done on the efficacy of this sort of topical application, CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory as such can help reduce skin puffiness or redness. Given their sheer number and variety, you could honestly replace your entire daily beauty regimen with cannabis-derived concoctions. A very short list includes:
- Face moisturizer
- Body oil
- Lip balm
- Under eye cream
- Sleeping masks
- Bath salts
- Pomade - we’re not joking! Check it out!
How Long Does It Take For CBD Oil TO Work?
Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular ways to consume CBD, let’s turn to another important question - how soon does CBD oil work after being taken? While there are many different factors, the biggest determinant is how you choose to take it. Aside from vaping, CBD drops are the fastest way to get CBD working in your system as it absorbed directly by the mucous membranes under your tongue. Once it’s been absorbed sublingually, it quickly works its way into your bloodstream within 10 to 15 minutes. Ingesting CBD directly in pill or gummy form will take a little bit longer as it has to work its way through your digestive system and then be metabolized by your liver before you feel any effects. Topical application takes the longest to, but that means it has the potential to last a lot longer in your system as it is slowly absorbed through your skin over time.
How Much Should I Take?
One benefit to using CBD is that you’re unlikely to build up a tolerance to its effects, so there won’t be a need to continually increase your dosage. That being said, if you take CBD and still aren’t feeling its effects after a while, it probably just means you need to take more.
A Word on Side Effects
Just like any other kind of medication, it’s important to be informed of any possible side effects of consuming CBD. While there hasn’t been any serious evidence indicating that CBD does possess negative side effects, that could very well be due to to the relative dearth of information on the topic. The same goes for interactions with other meds. To quote the WebMD article on the subject, “We currently have no information for CANNABIDIOL Interactions.”