Understanding CBD

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the main compounds found in cannabis. Its vast amount of medical benefits has been discovered in the last several years, making CBD a very trendy subject. The story of the strain Charlotte’s Web somewhat launched the CBD revolution, and as with any new topic, there are many misconceptions.

Hemp CBD vs. Cannabis CBD

The Cannabis sativa species can produce varieties grown for their resinous glands  (the marijuana that most people are familiar with) or a taller fibrous plant that has many uses including textiles, biodegradable plastics and biofuel, referred to as industrial hemp. Many products are available online that are made with industrial hemp-derived CBD. Due to the minimal amount of THC present in the plant, it is legal to possess its bi-products in the US. While these products are a viable option for people in states without recreational or medical marijuana, there are some significant differences between the quality of hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD.

Hemp CBD:

  • Grown and lab tested outside of the US, not subject to US standards and procedures
  • Requires a large amount of plant to make a small amount of oil, increasing risk of contamination due to the toxins accumulated in the hemp (a bio accumulator)
  • Minimal terpene content, a major constituent in the efficacy of cannabinoids
  • Some products contain additives

Cannabis CBD :

  • Grown in states with recreational or medical marijuana laws, which include growing and testing standards for pathogens, insects, toxins and more
  • Cannabinoids present in concentrated amounts in the plant, where a small amount of plant can produce a generous quantity of oil
  • Whole plant extraction yields a complete terpene profile
  • Extracted from CBD dominant strains like Charlotte’s Web, Cannatonic, ACDC

For more information, the research group Project CBD did an independent investigation into several hemp CBD companies and compiled their findings into a 30-page report, titled Hemp Oil Hustlers, on their website, projectcbd.org.

Is CBD Non-psychoactive?

It is often said about CBD that it is the “non-psychoactive” cannabinoid, as compared to THC. While it is true that the effects of CBD are not the same as THC, it is not entirely accurate to refer to it as non-psychoactive. CBD can have powerful anxiolytic, anti-depressant and anti-psychotic qualities, and it also modulates how THC effects the brain. When THC activates a cannabinoid receptor in the brain, it starts a chain of cellular events that lead to the euphoria or “high” that is associated with using cannabis. While CBD doesn’t create that same effect, when both THC and CBD are present, the CBD changes the THC interaction. It can decrease OR increase the effects of the THC. Think of THC as the light switch and CBD as the dimmer. CBD by itself will produce no euphoric effects, but it does have a host of medically beneficial effects.

Effects on the Body

There are many beneficial properties of CBD, and it has been found to help conditions such as anxiety, depression, MS, diabetes, psychosis, seizures, PTSD, schizophrenia, arthritis and inflammation. One recent finding has shown that CBD is powerful in helping bone cell growth, which is very promising for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. One common misunderstanding with CBD is that many people think that it is for sleep. CBD will not create the sedative effects that you might find with an indica cannabis strain; it promotes better sleep health by relieving symptoms commonly disrupting a healthy sleep cycle such as anxiety or chronic pain. Another misconception is that CBD is believed to be most beneficial entirely on its own — that CBD is the medical cannabinoid and that THC is the recreational cannabinoid. While THC also has many medicinal benefits of its own, CBD and THC actually work best in combination, most finding a 1:1 ratio to be the most therapeutic.

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