What is CBD and How Does it Affect The Body?

CBD oil – and its primary active ingredient, Cannabidiol (one of many discovered molecules, found within the cannabis plant, known as cannabinoids)– are very much in public interest at the moment. It is being used in dietary supplements, pharmaceutical medicine and as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. Cannabis has been used as a natural remedy for a number of centuries, but it is only in recent years that we have begun to understand why.

What is Cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol is a safe, naturally occurring molecule that derives from cannabis, most commonly in hemp. This is the non-psychoactive member of the cannabis family, that is also used for industrial purposes.

CBD is a cannabinoid, one of a large family of molecules which interact with our endocannabinoid system. There are over 120 cannabinoids discovered to date, both natural and synthetic are widely available. To blur the line even further, many naturally occurring cannabinoids like Cannabidiol can be synthesized perfectly – built from base elements or form other complex organic chemicals.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is an oil which contains a high proportion of CBD – Cannabidiol – either extracted directly from plant matter and mixed with a carrier oil, creating a full or broad spectrum oil, or is made using CBD isolate, again mixed with a carrier oil; the traditional carrier oils are either HTC, hemp seed, olive, or coconut oils. The oil is typically either olive oil, hemp oil or something equally healthy and palatable. The most common CBD content ranges from five percent, up to 20 percent.

Is CBD the same as marijuana?

A lot of confusion surrounds cannabis and its alternative names. marijuana is a term given to cannabis as a recreational drug. The fact is, it’s all cannabis; CBD is a cannabinoid, the second most common to its better-known molecule, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive cannabinoid that gives cannabis its recreational value and ability to get you “high”. Marijuana is the same species of plant as hemp, but it has been cultivated for centuries to have a high load of THC.

How is CBD made?

CBD occurs naturally in cannabis. Within its highly psychoactive plants, where THC is abundant, CBD tends to come in smaller quantities. As for hemp (to classify as hemp, the plant contains fewer than 0.3% THC), the CBD content is much higher (anywhere between 2% to 12%). Cannabinoids are extracted via a number of methods, the most common and successful are ethanol or CO2. The most common desired extracted products are  CBD oils, CBD distillates, or CBD isolate.

How does CBD affect the human body?

CBD and other cannabinoids have many different ‘jobs’ in the hemp plant’s metabolism. What is important from our point of view is how they affect us. Cannabinoids bind to certain chemoreceptors present in mammals brain and nerve tissue. These are called the cannabinoid receptors, – CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors occur throughout the human nervous system but are most common in the brain. Whether or not a chemical is attached to a cannabinoid receptor can affect how that part of your nervous system processes feelings of pain, movement, hunger, mood, even perception, and memory.

CB2 receptors are also prevalent in nervous tissue but occur more frequently in the cells of the immune system. If a chemical is bound to the CB2 receptors of a cell or group of cells, it can affect whether the tissue becomes or remains inflamed, or whether the tissue itself is generating pain signals. This is different than a ‘painkiller’ which merely blocks nerve signals of pain. Cannabidiol and some other cannabinoids can stop the pain from ever existing.

CBD does not actually attach to either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. Instead, it attaches nearby and changes the way the cell responds to the natural body chemicals which do attach there. It essentially makes the nerve more likely to pick up and pass on some signals, and less likely to pass on others.

What benefits does CBD offer?

Research is still in its infancy, but yes, CBD has proven to be effective for a range of conditions. CBD has been FDA approved as a treatment for two rare (and hard to treat) forms of epilepsy and is being investigated for a huge number of purported positive effects.

Does taking CBD have any side effects?

Incredibly, no. The vast majority of people taking CBD have no side effects whatsoever. Even the WHO (World Health Organisation) has weighed in on the effects of CBD, stating that it has no noteworthy side effects, no potential for addiction or abuse, and should not be prohibited or controlled.

The side effects of marijuana – memory loss, hallucination, mood shifts, and an inability to function normally – all come from the THC. If anything, the WHO tells us, the CBD component in marijuana reduces the negative effects of THC.

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