The cannabis plant has been used for medicinal and wellness purposes for centuries. The benefits are more understood publicly and continuing to be studied, both in the US and abroad. The compounds in the cannabis plant known as cannabinoids are its key healing components and collectively have application in a wide range of ailments, with the main characteristic being anti-inflammatory.
There are two main cannabinoids present in large quantities in the cannabis plant. The cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in the plant, and CBD (cannabidiol), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
While recreational cannabis users typically seek out marijuana plants that contain high levels of THC and terpenes, others prefer to get the same benefits of the cannabis plant without the psychoactive effects of THC. In this case, CBD along with other naturally occurring cannabinoids is sought after.
CBD products are associated with a plethora of health benefits, which is why more and more people are seeking hemp derived CBD oil in order to alleviate side effects of certain medical ailments in addition to supporting their overall wellness.
If you're just starting to implement CBD oil into your lifestyle, the following guide will help you find out everything you need to know about CBD and its applications.
- What Exactly is CBD?
- Types of CBD Oil Products
- What Are The Health Benefits of CBD?
- How Does CBD Differ From THC?
- Does CBD Produce Any Side Effects?
- Will CBD Be Detected on a Drug Test?
- How to Buy the Best CBD Products
What Exactly is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis plants.
Cannabinoids are the organic chemical compounds that give the plant its therapeutic properties. CBD is one of the many cannabinoids that have been found in hemp. The effect that CBD has on the body has to do with how it interacts with receptors in the brain and within the immune system.
More specifically, users are able to feel the effects of CBD because of the naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors found in the brain and peripheral that interact with the endocannabinoid system that is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. The main components of the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are located on the surface of many cells in the body.
Although both are found in abundance all over the body, CB1 receptors are more prevalent in the central nervous system and in the brain, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system.
These receptors are involved in a number of factors in the body including appetite, pain, mood and memory to name a few. Since CBD interacts with these receptors, it is easy to see how this cannabinoid has such a powerful effect on alleviating symptoms associated with various medical disorders that affect mood, pain and memory.
The reasons why CBD does not have any psychoactive effects, unlike the THC compound, is because it doesn't have a direct effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors, rather they are indirect. This is why the majority of marijuana that is produced for recreational purposes is usually very low in CBD and much higher in THC.
Types of CBD Oil Products
There are several different types of CBD oil products. Which products make the most sense for your needs depend on why you are using the oil and your preferred method of use.
The following are some of the more common types of CBD oil products available on the market:
One of the more popular forms of CBD products are tinctures, which are a liquid form of CBD. Tinctures make it easy and fast for users to consume CBD and experience its effects by placing a drop under the tongue. CBD tinctures are a great way to get started using CBD oil products because they tend to be a more affordable option and offer a lower concentration of CBD. This way, users can start with lower concentrations and work their way up as they start to become increasingly familiar with the compound and how it affects their body. CBD tinctures can also be mixed into food or beverages.
Vaping is becoming an increasingly popular way to take CBD oil and benefit from its effects. This product and method of application is ideal for many users because it allows the CBD to enter the bloodstream directly without having to go through the digestive tract first. Users can typically feel the effects within a matter of minutes. Vaping CBD shouldn't irritate the throat or lungs because the vaporizer heats the oil without burning it, meaning no smoke is created while the active ingredients of the product are inhaled.
Capsules are a relatively easy and convenient way to get your fix of CBD. The advantage of having specific doses already measured out for you is there's no guesswork involved. Capsules also make a great option for those who might have an issue with the taste of oils and tinctures, or who don't necessarily want to inhale the oil by vaping.
However, if you are looking for very specific doses that are not standard, you might want to consider taking a form that allows you to customize your doses.
Supplements are an simple way to incorporate CBD into your normal diet. Simply add powder straight into your food or beverage and mix until you’ve reached your ideal dosage and consistency.
Bottles of CBD supplement powder are portable and versatile, making it a perfect fit for those who are constantly on the go.
Adding CBD to water is an easy way to incorporate the cannabinoid into your daily fitness and wellness routines. Many products, like Nanocraft’s, also contain electrolytes, vitamins and minerals to boost your energy and supercharge your workout recovery.
Another topical method for administering CBD is through patches which are placed onto the skin. The cannabinoid absorbs into the skin from the patch and enters the bloodstream directly.
These patches are designed to deliver a specific dose of CBD, making them effective for targeting injured or painful areas similar to topical creams. One of the biggest benefits of CBD patches is that they allow for a more controlled release of the cannabinoid. Many users opt for CBD patches to deal with pain and inflammation.
For those who like to enjoy chewing gum, CBD oil products also come in gum form as well as candy. CBD-infused chewing gum is an effective way to gain the effects of CBD because the compound is quickly absorbed into the body through the mucous membranes in the mouth.
These products typically take effect immediately and are great for quickly alleviating stress, anxiety, pain and nausea. They taste great too!
CBD Topical Creams
Topical lotions infused with CBD are ideal for targeting specific areas of the body, especially those that are sore or injured. Many CBD users who are looking to alleviate muscle or joint pain as a result of overexertion from sports activities or from injury tend to opt for CBD creams, which they apply and rub into specific areas on the body that require relief. Instead of being ingested and have to enter into the bloodstream in order to feel its effects, CBD topical creams are absorbed directly into the skin and start reacting with the CB2 receptors of the body right away.
What Are The Health Benefits of CBD?
CBD products have become a phenomenon in the world of health, wellness and medicine. It's already been linked to helping alleviate a number of symptoms with more possibilities expected as research continues both in the US and abroad.
Here are some of the medical and health benefits CBD has been linked to thus far:
One of the more common uses of CBD is the alleviation of pain as a result of overuse or injury to the musculoskeletal system.
Whether you're experiencing sore muscles from exercise or joint pain from arthritis, CBD oil may offer pain relieving effects. Science shows that CBD may be useful in reducing pain by inhibiting the transmission of neurons in pain pathways.
Reduces Frequency and Severity of Seizures
Another popular medical benefit of CBD is its ability to treat seizures related to epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
CBD can be helpful for children with epilepsy who do not respond well to traditional epileptic pharmaceutical medications. Many studies have been done to show the efficacy of CBD for this particular purpose.
One study in particular published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that CBD reduced the frequency of seizures in study participants by 23% more than participants who took a placebo.
Many other studies have shown similar findings, making CBD a breakthrough natural product that can be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment for epilepsy and other seizure-related disorders.
Wards off Diabetes
People can incorporate CBD oil into their health regimen in an effort to ward off diabetes. Studies have discovered that CBD can significantly lower the incidence of this disease.
One particular animal study indicated that the incidence of diabetes dramatically reduced in non-obese mice. Another study found that the use of CBD was associated with lower fasting insulin levels in those who used cannabis compared to participants who did not. Researchers also discovered a link between cannabis and lower body weight, an important risk factor in the development of diabetes.
Researchers continue to study the link between CBD and a lower incidence of diabetes and have found that it can help to stabilize blood sugar levels, improve circulation, reduce blood pressure and reduce inflammation of the arteries.
Improve Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is a growing issue in the US, which is responsible for one in every four deaths. In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death both for men and women. While many factors play a role in cardiovascular disease, a healthy lifestyle that incorporates the use of CBD oil can help with prevention.
One study was able to show a connection between CBD oil and improved heart health. Researchers found that CBD is able to protect the body against vascular damage as a result of inflammation or a high glucose environment. CBD was also shown to limit the permeability of vessels, which is associated with heart disease.
For centuries, people have been using the compounds of the cannabis plant to relieve nausea among other things. Today, research continues to solidify CBD's effect on reducing feelings of nausea and vomiting. In one study, CBD was shown to relieve nausea in participants as a result of the cannabinoid’s ability to suppress toxin-induced vomiting in low doses.
CBD can help with nausea by blocking the binding of serotonin and dopamine at receptor sites, which cause nausea. This can prove to be especially helpful for cancer patients who typically suffer from nausea and vomiting, two side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
May Help Combat Cancer
Not only can CBD help alleviate nausea that is typically associated with chemotherapy, it may also help to fight cancer. Many studies have shown that CBD has certain properties that help inhibit cancer cell migration and invasion.
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics discovered that CBD was able to selectively and powerfully inhibited the growth of tumor cell lines of breast cancer patients without being destructive to healthy non-cancer cells.
Another study continued to show CBD's positive effect on breast cancer cells, showing that CBD was able to increase breast cancer cell death without having much effect on non-cancerous mammary cells.
CBD has also assisted with the treatment of other types of cancer including lung and colon cancer, various gliomas and leukemia.
Being anxious and feeling down can be debilitating, especially for those who have been clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. But in addition to traditional medications that patients with anxiety often take to deal with their symptoms, CBD oil may also be included as a part of overall treatment.
Studies have shown that CBD reduces anxiety in patients as well as obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Reduces Psychotic Symptoms
Patients who experience psychotic episodes as a result of a mental health disorder may find relief from the use of CBD oil. Research discovered that CBD has anti-psychotic effects and can complement traditional pharmaceutical antipsychotic medications that are normally prescribed to patients. It is believed that CBD can potentially prevent psychosis and may even have a place in treating patients with schizophrenia with no known side effects.
Helps With Weight Loss
More and more active individuals and athletes are incorporating CBD oil into their lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy weight. According to recent studies, CBD oil may be associated with weight maintenance and loss.
The cannabinoid boosts metabolism by triggering the activity level of mitochondria, which are the energy powerhouses in the body. By increasing the number and activity of these cells, the body is better able to metabolize body fat with the stimulation of genes and proteins that oxidize fat.
In particular, CBD oil is connected with the “fat browning” process in which white-colored fatty tissue that stores calories is converted into beige fatty tissue, the latter which is filled with energy-inducing mitochondria that helps burns body fat.
Helps Maintain Homeostasis in the Body
When the body is not in proper balance, any number of systems can be thrown out of whack and cause all sorts of issues. Homeostasis is crucial for making sure that the environment inside the body is in balance at all times so that all processes function properly.
CBD oil is useful for maintaining homeostasis because of how it is able to interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system. As already mentioned, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for a number of tasks including regulating the immune system, appetite, mood, pain, memory and body temperature.
When the body is not in balance, the CBD cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system — stimulating a chemical response that helps bring the body back to homeostasis.
Although the body already has its own naturally occurring cannabinoids to interact with receptors to maintain balance, there can be times when they can’t maintain homeostasis in the body.
By introducing CBD to the body, the endocannabinoid system can get a boost to help ensure proper balance in the body.
CBD has been shown to improve sleep with several studies linking this cannabinoid to a good night's rest. Researchers discovered that the consumption of CBD oil is closely associated with an improvement in several sleep biomarkers including the onset of sleep, which helps people fall into a deep, restful sleep.
While CBD oil is able to help people fall asleep, it may also help to keep people alert and awake. Studies have shown that people who take CBD oil are able to stay alert all throughout the day while still being able to easily fall asleep at night.
Researchers believe that CBD oil is able to do this because it can modulate the activation of microglia in the inflammatory cycle. This means the body is able to be less inflamed and stressed, both of which are conducive to wakefulness during the day and restful sleep at night.
Improves Skin Conditions
CBD oil can even be applied to the beauty industry because it has been shown to improve the overall condition of the skin. Research has linked the use of topical CBD oil to treat skin issues such as eczema by fostering the death of abnormal skin cells. It is also able to help reduce acne by moderating the oil production of the skin. There are also many nutrients in CBD oil like vitamin E, which is very good for the overall health of the skin.
How Does CBD Differ From THC?
Both CBD and THC are derived from a cannabis plant and interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system. They share a similar chemical makeup to the body’s own naturally existing endocannabinoids, which allows them to interact with the receptors associated with the system to influence the release of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Although they are both found in large amounts and are the more abundant of all the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, they are very different. And while they have both been found to have several health benefits, CBD and THC are different.
Psychoactive properties. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is the fact that THC evokes psychoactive effects, which is what recreational users seek to get "high." By itself, CBD does not have any psychoactive components.
THC is an agonist to the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system. The high that recreational marijuana provides is triggered by the activation of these CB1 receptors.
On the other hand, CBD does not bind with CB1 receptors and is considered to be an antagonist of CB1 agonists. That means CBD does not have any psychoactive effects, regardless of the amount consumed.
Legality. THC is considered to be federally illegal, though some states have already started legalizing recreational use of THC-laden marijuana. On the other hand, CBD derived from hemp is considered to be federally legal, but may be prohibited in individual states.
The legality of cannabinoids in the U.S. depends on their source (or plant) and concentration. Since THC is listed under the Controlled Substances Act, it is federally prohibited. There are currently 29 states that have made medical marijuana legal, and nine states that have made recreational marijuana legal.
It should be noted that legal CBD products must be derived from a hemp plant that is high in CBD and low in (or none) THC concentrations. In hemp-derived CBD products, the THC concentration must be less than 0.03% for the product to be legal.
Source. Both CBD and THC are found in the flowers, stalks and seeds of both hemp and marijuana in varying proportions. THC is more abundant in the marijuana plant, while CBD is more abundant in hemp.
THC dominates the marijuana plant. It is considered illegal because it produces a psychoactive effect. In contrast, CBD dominates hemp. CBD doesn’t give users a “high” effect when used.
Does CBD Produce Any Side Effects?
Unlike the side effects of THC such as memory impairment, dry mouth, red eyes and reduced coordination, CBD is not known to induce any significant physiological or psychological side effects when consumed.
In fact, CBD is considered to be non-toxic and safe to be used by just about anyone — including children and pets.
From the studies that have been done on CBD so far, this cannabinoid does not create any of the same physiological changes in the body that THC can.
The absence of harmful side effects makes CBD a safe choice to alleviate several different types of symptoms associated with medical ailments. That said, there are certain minor side effects that some users have reported including:
- Fatigue when consumed in high doses
- Reduced effectiveness of other medications when taken simultaneously
It should be noted that any CBD side effects are typically related to the dosage taken. This is why proper dosing is important.
Will CBD Be Detected on a Drug Test?
There may be a number of reasons why you would need to undergo a drug test. Landing a new job, getting in an accident at work, and participating in competitive sports are just some of the common reasons someone might be required to go through a drug screening.
If you need to take a drug test and are considering taking CBD, you might be wondering if it will show up on the test results.
You need to be aware of the THC concentration in the CBD product if there is any. The legal amount of 0.03%. If there is any more than a trace of THC in your product, it will be detected on a drug test.
However, high-quality CBD products that are derived from hemp have very little to no THC present, meaning you can rest easy knowing that you'll be able to pass a drug test despite having taken CBD.
How to Buy the Best CBD Products
There are several CBD products available for purchase. As CBD oil continues to grow in acceptance and popularity across the country, more and more CBD products are being manufactured.
But with so many different products on the market, how can you decipher which products are superior versus those that are not as high-quality?
As a consumer, you want to be sure that you are making the most informed purchasing decision. You want to make sure that the product you buy and consume will provide you with maximum benefits with minimal side effects.
Here are some aspects to consider when purchasing CBD products.
How Was the Compound Extracted?
Before you are able to purchase and use CBD, it needs to be extracted from a hemp plant. That said, there are several different methods of extraction that manufacturers use. The following are the extraction methods typically used are:
CO2 Extraction: perhaps the best and safest method of CBD extraction is the CO2 extraction method. This tactic uses pressurized carbon dioxide to pull out the CBD (along with other chemicals) from the hemp plant. Using low temperatures and high pressures, carbon dioxide serves as a solvent with no hazards that other extraction methods can. The end result is a pure, potent CBD product that lacks any potentially hazardous residues. However, this method of extraction requires expensive equipment, which means the product will cost more.
Ethanol Extraction: this method of CBD extraction uses ethanol to remove the CBD from the hemp plant. The hemp plant and ethanol are heated up together and once the solvent evaporates, CBD is left behind. This method of extraction is much less expensive than the aforementioned CO2 extraction method, but the product is not as pure or potent. Further, chlorophyll may be left behind which can cause negative side effects. While chlorophyll can be removed, the CBD product is not as potent.
Butane Extraction: similar to ethanol extraction, butane is used to extract CBD from the hemp plant. This product is sometimes chosen over ethanol because it leaves behind a CBD oil that's more potent. However, it can also leave behind residues that can affect users negatively.
Dry Ice Extraction: many DIY and at-home CBD oil users may extract their own CBD using the dry ice extraction method. This is because it is a relatively easy process and simple equipment is required.
Who is the Product Manufacturer?
Much like any other type of consumer product, the quality of CBD oil products tends to rely on the manufacturer. There are several CBD oil manufacturers, and the number continues to grow as the product gains popularity. But not all manufacturers are created equal, meaning their products are not all the same quality.
It's important for consumers to do some homework into the manufacturer they are planning on buying CBD oil products from. Ideally, the manufacturer should use high-quality hemp plants that are cultivated using innovative hemp breeding techniques that result in higher CBD concentrations. Although these plants can be grown in all types of soil, they should be cultivated in airy soil that is not overly saturated with water or acid. Further, the plant should be sowed at low temperatures.
Manufacturers should also be transparent with their labeling, making it easy for consumers to know how much CBD is their product as well as if there are any traces of THC.
In addition, manufacturers should also use superior extraction methods to ensure potent, pure CBD products. Of course, experience and reputation also play a key role in the consumer’s decision.
What is the CBD Concentration?
Another important factor that consumers should consider before purchasing a CBD oil product is how much CBD is included. Different CBD products will have varying levels of CBD concentrations, and it's important to know exactly what that is before making a purchase.
Consumers buy CBD products to take advantage of its medicinal and therapeutic benefits, so the product should contain a relatively high level of the cannabinoid. Labels should indicate this information, but consumers should also check with the manufacturer and look for any lab reports that accompany their products.
In addition to checking for CBD content, consumers should also be looking for any traces of THC. Since THC has psychoactive effects, it's important that the product contains no more than 0.03% THC, if any at all. This is to avoid getting "high" and the risk of purchasing a product that may actually be illegal, depending on your state’s laws.
CBD's lack of psychoactive properties makes it an ideal compound to be implemented into treatment protocols for several purposes due to its healing properties. As more research is done, the more we will know how it can help reduce negative symptoms and improve quality of life.
If you're just learning about CBD and are considering adding it to your daily regimen, research the different products available types. Like many other types of health products you buy, be sure to do your homework on the manufacturers who supply CBD to ensure high quality and potency. It is also recommended to consult your doctor before using.
Kai Pattison, M.S.
Athlete Relations x Physiologist
Kai Pattison was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Kai graduated with a Master’s degree in clinical physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University. He is very passionate about human physiology and the applications in sport performance, recovery and clinical diagnostics. Kai has specialized in cardiopulmonary diagnostics, exercise induced energy expenditure and metabolism. Kai has also gained extensive research experience at UCSD on Parkinson’s disease. He enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of exercise to reduce risk of multiple inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. His passion for alternative medicine enables him to strive when promoting health and wellness.