If you follow healthy living blogs or keep up with trends in healthcare or natural wellness, you may have heard about the latest product that has been touted as an effective way to treat pain, inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, and a variety of other ailments - cannabidiol, also known as CBD. Today we’re talking all things CBD. What is CBD? Where does it come from? Does CBD show up on drug tests? Will CBD make me feel intoxicated? Read on to learn more about what CBD is and how it can be used safely.
CBD oil is a product created from cannabidiol, which is one of the many components of the cannabis plant, also known as hemp or the marijuana plant. Despite its controversial origin, CBD oil doesn’t contain the properties which cause the side effects typically associated with marijuana consumption. Tetrahydrocannabinol - also known as THC - is the component of the cannabis plant that causes hallucinogenic effects. Like THC, CBD is naturally occurring, but unlike THC, CBD is not considered to be a psychotropic drug since it does not interfere with one’s ability to perform essential tasks or daily functions. Because CBD does not present any side effects whatsoever for most individuals, it’s also safe for daily use.
Tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol are both components of the same plant, but they have significantly different effects on the human body. Why is that so? While these compounds and their interaction with the human body is complex, the short answer is they each affect different parts of the brain. THC affects the prefrontal cortex and the frontal cortex of the brain responsible for planning and judging as well as the reward system of the brain which is responsible for producing feelings of happiness and pleasure. This can affect your visual and auditory experiences, your decision making abilities, your behavior, and more.
CBD, on the other hand, is not intoxicating and does not stimulate the same receptors in the brain that THC affects, but instead produces a calming, relaxed effect on the mind and body without interfering with decision making abilities or daily functions. For this reason, CBD is not considered dangerous, hallucinogenic, or psycho-active. As a result, CBD is currently legal in all 50 states and in more than 40 countries around the world and is effective at treating various symptoms and illnesses.
CBD oil is made by extracting the cannabidiol from the cannabis, or hemp, plant. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including using carbon dioxide chambers to force the compound out of the plant or soaking the plant in grain alcohol or olive oil, which leaves the cannabidiol in a liquid state.
Carbon dioxide extraction, olive oil extraction, and alcohol extraction are effective methods of creating CBD oil. These types of extraction methods are referred to as single compound extractions, since they isolate the cannabidiol in order to create pure CBD oil. Some individuals, however, prefer the whole plant extraction method which uses, you guessed it, the whole plant. The biggest difference between single compound and whole plant extract compounds are the parts of the plant used:
Single Compound: Only the cannabinoid "CBD" is extracted from the hemp flower.
Full-Spectrum Extract: All cannabinoids including CBD, CBG, and more are extracted from the hemp flower, leading to an "entourage effect" where healing improves due to all cannabinoids working together. THC is a cannabinoid but is only present in small amounts in the hemp flower (as opposed to marijuana). Some CBD products go a step further and remove this minuscule amount of THC before bottling.
Cannabidiol targets receptors in the brain that relieve stress and override pain receptors. This in turn allows you to relax, find relief from chronic pain, and relieve inflammation in the body due to emotional duress. On a molecular level. CBD has the ability to interact with dozens of receptors in the brain without the side effects of many medications on the market today. Just a few of the brain’s receptors that cannabidiol can interact with include:
Cannabidiol has long been touted as an anti-cancer wonder. Is there any evidence to support this grandiose claim? Turns out, there’s quite a bit of evidence indicating CBD may in fact prevent tumor growth and can even play a part in combatting tumors in the body. This in due to CBD’s ability to work with PPAR receptors, also known as nuclear receptors, since they are located on the nucleus of a human cell. This allows the cell to prevent invaders from attacking and duplicating, or in other words, it enables cells to prevent the creation of tumors. Nuclear receptors also play a role in many physiological functions, including insulin sensitivity, inflammation, energy conversion, lipid uptake, and more.
Research indicates that CBD also works with G-protein receptors known as GPR55, also referred to as orphan receptors, since scientists are still unsure whether these receptors belong to a larger group of receptors that regulate body functions or if they act on their own. Regardless, evidence shows a direct link between these receptors and blood pressure, bone density, and inflammation. Pharmaceutical companies have studied the interactions between CBD and these receptors for years in order to determine how to effectively lower blood pressure through medications that target these receptors, but why not skip the high co-pays and various additional ingredients found in these medications and opt for all-natural and effective CBD instead?
The serotonin receptors in our brains are responsible for balancing our moods, our stress level, and more. When cannabidiol interacts with serotonin receptors, it can have an anti-anxiety affect on the brain and the body. Studies have also shown CBD oil to be effective at treating depression, nausea, and addictions that are affected by serotonin receptors.
When cannabidiol interacts with vanilloid receptors that control body temperature, inflammation, and pain perception, it creates a therapeutic effect on the body that can alleviate headaches and chronic pain and reduce inflammation in blood vessels, which can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
We’ve talked about how CBD interacts with the brain and various receptors. Now let’s talk about CBD’s ability to prevent and treat specific ailments.
Because cannabidiol can prevent insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance, the claims that it is effective at preventing diabetes do hold up. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics may also benefit from CBD oil use in lowering the amount of insulin needed to sustain healthy blood sugar levels and seeing more stable blood glucose levels with regular use.
In the same way that anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants are intended to work by targeting specific serotonin receptors in the brain, CBD safely and effectively targets serotonin receptors without the unwanted side effects of prescription medications used to treat anxiety and depression such as sexual dysfunction, nausea, vomiting, headaches, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, and more. In addition to its ability to interact with various receptors in the human brain, cannabidiol is known to have a calming effect on the brain and the human body, which is why it’s been used by those suffering from anxiety and mood disorders, insomnia, and more.
CBD is an effective all-natural remedy for chronic or acute pain relief associated with headaches, joint pain, arthritis, chemotherapy treatments, and more. Because CBD does not have the harmful side effects associated with pharmaceutical pain medications, it can also be used to treat long-term pain without the risk of developing an addiction or experiencing withdrawal symptoms. CBD oil also doesn’t need to be taken with food, which is why it’s become a popular over-the-counter form of pain relief for cancer patients and individuals who suffer from chronic nausea or vomiting.
Cannabidiol has been shown to help alleviate inflammation caused by chronic stress through its ability to create a calming effect. In addition to its blood glucose regulating abilities, diabetics can also benefit from CBD’s ability to fight inflammation which can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and too much or too little insulin production.
CBD has been shown to improve cholesterol through its ability to regulate lipid uptake and blood pressure. How does this work? Cannabidiol is able to bind to the receptors that control blood pressure and cholesterol, and in addition to its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, it can be an effective way to treat high blood pressure related to stress and overwhelm.
You can find CBD oil online and in many stores around the country, but not all retailers offer 100 percent CBD oil in its purest form. Do you research, read reviews, and make sure that the CBD products you’re investing in are creating using safe and effective extraction methods, that no harmful chemicals or ingredients or added, and that the manufacturer and seller is using a reliable source for their CBD products. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our certified physician assistants who can evaluate your current needs and provide you with other types of supplement recommendations based on your hormone levels, blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels, and more.
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