While the medical community has known of the potential health benefits (and risks) of cannabis for decades, there is one particular chemical compound of the cannabis plant that is starting to make waves: CBD. Nonetheless, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about what CBD is, how it is consumed, and the short and long-term effects it has on humans. Despite the confusion, there is documented medical research to backup CBD’s numerous medicinal benefits, as well as numerous licensed CBD product companies offering a variety of ways to consume it. Let’s breakdown what you need to know about CBD to get a better understanding of its chemical makeup and potential uses.
What is CBD?
Ali Munk from Infinite CBD tells us CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is one of many cannabinoids present in cannabis. It is definitely not the only chemical compound, as there are at least 400 chemical entities in every cannabis plant, with at least 70 different kinds of cannabinoids.
However, the two most active and well-understood cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is known for the psychotropic “high” effect that it has when consumed, and has therefore been the focus of many medical and therapeutic enquiries. While CBD does not produce the same “high” effect, it does interact with the body through the same metabolic pathway as THC. Research shows that CBD can reduce anxiety, lower high blood pressure, and improve sleep, among other things.
How is CBD Consumed?
Traditionally, people have consumed CBD via the cannabis plant. Cannabis can be inhaled via smoke or vapor, digested with edibles, or absorbed using tinctures, topicals, or oils. However, this requires the user to also consume THC and other chemicals present in the cannabis plant. If you wish to consume CBD by itself, Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller, Canopy Growth’s Global Clinical Scientific Director, suggests a few different methods for safe consumption.
Different Forms of CBD Consumption
Aside from consuming CBD via the cannabis plant, there are a few primary ways to consume CBD directly:
- CBD Vapor: Just like cannabis, CBD can be inhaled as a vapor using a specialized vaping device. Damon Inlow from Vaporizers.ca advises that using a vaporizer is one of the most effective ways to consume CBD, as it’s faster and more discreet than traditional smoking. Using a vaporizer, you will feel the effects of CBD within a few minutes, as this method allows it to be absorbed into your bloodstream almost instantly.
- CBD Topical Lotion: Jodie Mitchell from Canabidol advises CBD lotions and creams are best for sore muscles and general pain relief.
Taja Martinčič from HempTouch gives us a quick science lesson: “Because the skin has its own endocannabinoid system to which the CBD cannabinoid binds, it is effective in a wide range of skin problems.”
- CBD Edibles: Edible CBD can come in the form of candies, baked goods, or even drinks. In fact, CBD-infused edibles are becoming a new trend at many cafes and restaurants. However, you will need to wait up to 2 hours (or more) after ingestion to feel the full effects. Hermes Maldonado from Honest Paws advises that CBD pills are available in various doses providing an excellent method of ensuring you receive a consistent dose.
- CBD Oil/Tinctures: This form of CBD must be ingested via a dropper or similar device, and generally takes effect within a half an hour.
- CBD Patches: Skin patches infused with CBD allow the chemical to enter the bloodstream in small doses over a longer period of time (generally about 5 hours).
Medicinal Benefits of CBD
While CBD is not widely prescribed by doctors, it has been shown to reduce pain and stress, alleviate symptoms of epilepsy, and even fight cancer. The compound has also been shown to help regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Dan Currey from Ice Headshop tells us this is largely down to its anti-inflammatory capability. New studies have been released that found THC can change the histones in a body which leads to the suppression of inflammation.
Here are just a few of the most common uses of CBD:
Using CBD for Stress and Anxiety
Though people have been using cannabis as a way to “destress” for centuries, it is important to note that most medical professionals warn against THC use for anxiety. Though cannabis has a generally calming effect (thanks in large part to CBD), THC can actually worsen anxiety and lead to feelings of paranoia.
According to Justin Kats from Kats Botanicals, One important feature of CB reception is something called Anandamide. Anandamide is what scientists call “the bliss molecule”. It is considered an endocannabinoid (what the body produces) once it binds to the compounds of the hemp plant. One can understand without much explanation what the “bliss” or “joy” molecule does when it interacts with CBD. Essentially, it increases neurogenesis and exhibits both antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties when activated.
This is why CBD is a great alternative for those who want the calm feeling of cannabis, without the negative side effects. In one study, nearly 80% of respondents reported decreased levels of anxiety throughout the trial period. CBD has been known to alleviate symptoms associated with PTSD, OCD, and other anxiety disorders.
Using CBD for Digestion
Numerous studies have shown that there is a direct link between gut health and overall wellness. The bacteria in your gut and the functions of your gastrointestinal system can affect various aspects of your wellbeing, from mental health to metabolism. Accordingly, people are investing more in remedies and research into issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, and intestinal hyperpermeability, also known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome.”
While you should always seek the guidance of a medical health professional regarding serious medical issues, it is worth noting that CBD has been shown to improve digestive health, particularly for those suffering from “Leaky Gut.” Recent research shows that CBD can work to restore endothelial membrane permeability, thus reducing the risk of harmful bacteria entering the gut.
Using CBD for Pain Relief
Researchers often cite CBD’s natural anti-inflammatory properties as reason enough to prescribe the compound in certain situations. A representative from AEL tells us that pain caused by stiff muscles and joints, minor injuries, or chronic illnesses can be alleviated with regular doses of CBD.
The chemical compound is particularly effective for muscle and joint pain. CBD lotion can be used to target specific areas of the body, providing pain relief for up to 5 hours at a time. One study from the University of Kentucky concluded that topical CBD ointments are effective in reducing inflammation and alleviating arthritis symptoms. Other forms of CBD can also help with issues ranging from headaches to muscle spasms.
Using CBD to Fight Cancer
Cancer is a devastating diagnosis for anyone. Many kinds of cancer can be difficult and expensive to treat, and the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy often leave patients weak and distressed. This is why so many people look for natural remedies to ward off cancer and avoid this terrible disease altogether.
CBD is certainly not a cure for cancer, nor will it definitively prevent a cancer diagnosis. However, research shows that CBD can help slow the spread of cancer throughout the body, allowing other forms of treatment to be more effective at eliminating the cancer entirely. It could be particularly effective for those at risk of pancreatic cancer.
Additional Benefits of CBD
Though the benefits listed above are already impressive, some research shows that CBD’s benefits extend into many other areas. Andrew Goedeke from CBD New Zealand gave us some other potential medical benefits of CBD:
- Alleviation of withdrawal symptoms (from nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs)
- Treatment of epilepsy in some children and adults
- Treatment of schizophrenia
- Treatment of inflammation as the result of Type 1 Diabetes
- Prevention or reduction of acne
- Treatment for certain cognitive degeneration associated with Alzheimer’s Disease
- Treatment of insomnia
- Reduction of high blood pressure
Using CBD for Pets
Devin Stagg from Pupford informs us, “one vastly underrated aspect of CBD is the benefits it can give to pets. Pets have overcome stress, anxiety, skin and coat problems, and joint pain with the help of CBD. It’s an all-natural solution to so many pets’ pesky problems.”
While the medical benefits of CBD seem endless, it is important to remember that much of the research into the long-term effects and benefits of CBD is still in the early stages. Further research is needed in many areas, and you should always consult a medical professional before beginning any treatment plans with CBD.
Learn More about the Benefits of CBD and Cannabis
With all of the exciting new research into CBD, in addition to the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada and other countries, it is easy to see why the benefits of cannabinoids have become such a hot topic of discussion. As stated by Reefer Post, new CBD and cannabis shops are opening up every day to meet the growing demand for natural health remedies that can reduce stress, alleviate pain, and potentially treat a myriad of other medical issues.
Would you like to learn more about the benefits of CBD and cannabis? Are you interested in opening a CBD or cannabis shop and don’t know where to begin? In any case, the professionals at Cannabis License Experts can provide you with the guidance you need. For more information, check out our website today!