As people's interest in cannabidiol (CBD) continues to grow immensely, so does the availability of its various products. You may have come across CBD one way or another, be it while you're scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or while watching TV. This healthy alternative has taken the internet by storm. In the internet age today, you will find many articles and products on CBD. But what exactly is this product? What is CBD made out of? What are its benefits? These questions might be overwhelming to a person hearing about CBD for the first time. But worry not; This article speaks about what you should know about this miracle discovery.
But first, what is CBD?
Cannabidiol, prominently known as CBD, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the most famous of all ingredients in the cannabis plant. It is credited as the main psychoactive component in the plant and is the major ingredient of marijuana, which gives the 'high' feeling.
The extraction of CBD from the cannabis plant is difficult as it is found in lesser quantities compared to THC. Therefore, CBD is obtained from hemp, another plant of the same species as the Cannabis sativa that only contains minimal amounts of THC. While the two chemical compounds may have a lot in common, CBD does not have psychoactive effects, unlike THC. CBD seems to affect some chemicals in the brain, but these are different from the effects of THC.
Where does CBD come from?
Unlike other chemicals in cannabis, like terpenes and flavonoids, CBD is present only in the cannabis plant. When we say cannabis plant, we mean both marijuana and hemp. While cannabis and hemp originate from the same species, their cannabinoid and terpene profiles are very different. As every plant has different chemical compound profiles, CBD from each plant also has different profiles.
For instance, hemp plants have very low levels of THC to begin with, usually 0.3% or less; but the CBD content is abundant. Therefore, if you want to avoid THC, CBD derived from hemp may be a better option for you. Hemp also has a different spectrum of products which means that the therapeutic benefits may differ from other plants. Until recently, hemp farmers had to grow vast amounts of hemp to make CBD oil. Now hemp farmers grow PCR (phytocannabinoid-rich) hemp plants, allowing more minor crops to yield higher CBD content. Cannabis plants produce a broad range of cannabinoids and other compounds, particularly THC.
How does CBD work in the Human Body?
Let us first get introduced to the endocannabinoid system to understand better how CBD works in the human body. The endocannabinoid system is one of the complex biological systems in the human body. It was discovered in the 1990s by medical researchers, but more research is required to figure out how it works. Experts today know that it may impact several major processes, including sleep, appetite, memory, and mood.
The endocannabinoid system consists of three components: enzymes, receptors, and endocannabinoids. Regardless of whether you use CBD or not, these parts will still function.
Receptors are a substance to which endocannabinoids bind, and they exist throughout the body. Although enzymes appear in many forms, only two of them break down endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids support the body by running the internal functions smoothly.
The human body has two kinds of receptors, CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are primarily in the central nervous system and supervise appetite, movement, coordination, pain, mood, memory, and other functions. The CB2 receptors are positioned in the peripheral nervous system, and they influence inflammation and pain.
After the cannabinoids break down the enzymes, the endocannabinoids bind with receptors. Researchers gather that CBD does not immediately attach itself to the receptor but influences it in some way. Activation of these receptors allows for the many health benefits that people associate with this compound.
CBD can also influence non-cannabinoid receptors by modulating the 5th serotonin receptor, which treats psychotic disorders. It can also affect the TRPV1 receptor, responsible for inflammation and pain.
Benefits of using CBD.
- Pain Relief
Research has been conducted on using CBD as an alternative to long-term pain medications, and there have been satisfying results. Some benefits include:
- CBD provides relief from pain at a fast pace.
- It is discrete.
- Until now, no long-term side effects have been reported.
The pain-relieving effect of CBD is one of the main reasons why it is being used in the world today. CBD represses the body from absorbing the pain regulating compound, anandamide. When levels of this compound are high in the bloodstream, it may reduce feelings of pain. CBD also interacts with receptors to change how pain is perceived.
- Reduces Side-effects of Chemotherapy.
In a research study, patients who underwent chemotherapy used CBD and found that it helped reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, especially the feeling of nausea. Most of these patients also reported a decrease in discomfort and pain caused by chemotherapy.
- May Treat Insomnia.
In a study on the effects of CBD, researchers found that patients' cortisol (the stress hormone) levels significantly reduced when they took CBD Oil. These results suggest that CBD Oil affects the release of cortisol, possibly acting as a sedative.
- Battling Addiction.
Research studies have discovered that CBD can be of use in aiding the withdrawal symptoms that are experienced by people combatting drug addiction. They also found that CBD may have a therapeutic effect on people with cocaine, opioid, and psycho-stimulant addiction. CBD may also help block or reduce the impact of THC on the mind, thus reducing the dependence on its psychoactivity.
- Promotes Brain Health.
Research has found that CBD protects the brain from diseases such as Alzheimer's and Dementia. It helps block free radical damage, reduce inflammation, protect the cells in the brain, and assist in the generation of new brain cells.
CBD has been rigorously studied for its potential role in alleviating symptoms of many health issues, including anxiety, acne, depression, and heart disease. It may provide a natural alternative for relief from pain and side effects like nausea for those patients with cancer. Since the research on the health benefits of CBD is still ongoing, new therapeutic benefits for this natural remedy are to be discovered. Although there is more to be learned about the efficacy and safety of CBD, results from recent studies suggest that CBD may provide a safe, powerful natural treatment for many health issues.