What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
“So what is CBD (Cannabidiol), anyway?” is a question we are commonly asked.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a natural substance that has recently come into the spotlight for a number of reasons.
It is a relatively new dietary supplement that is still being researched, and while the initial results are promising, there is a lot of doubt, misinformation, and sheer confusion surrounding it.
Recently, CBD oil has become an accepted means of relief from anxiety and inflammation, and the substance’s popularity is rising fairly rapidly.
As the use of CBD oil as a dietary supplement is very new, there are still significant gaps in what we know about its effects. While we can confidently say the substance is safe and legal, its exact benefits are still an issue of hot debates and fervent research.
In this article, we are putting the most important facts surrounding Cannabidiol together to cut through some of the confusion and give you a clearer picture about this new and upcoming dietary supplement known as CBD. This article covers:
- The benefits of CBD
- Where does CBD come from?
- CBD’s legal status (and the confusion surrounding it!)
Finally, we have included our “Cannabidiol Definitions” section to help you make sense of all the technical terms and jargon surrounding CBD.
What Are the Benefits of CBD?
Numerous people are reporting success in using CBD to ease a variety of symptoms, and the scientific community is currently experimenting with the substance on a wide scope of medical applications to epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spasms, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, nausea, convulsions, inflammation, and many other conditions, including cancer.
However, the effectiveness of CBD in helping with the above conditions (and many others) hasn’t yet been scientifically proven, and many trials are still in pre-clinical stage.
What we know with fairly high certainty is that CBD has been shown to be effective for decreasing anxiety and helping in a number of inflammation-related problems, including arthritis and other inflammatory ailments as well as multiple sclerosis.
CBD is also proven to inhibit the growth of the MRSA bacterium (a strain of staphylococcus resistant to antibiotics), which causes several difficult-to-treat infections. Strictly as a chemical substance, CBD also has strong antioxidant properties, a fact that so far has been largely ignored by the broader dietary supplements industry.
As each person is different, and because CBD’s beneficial effects are still under study, we strongly encourage you to do your own research before incorporating CBD to your daily life.
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis, often known as hemp. Chemically, CBD is one of 85 chemical substances known as cannabinoids, which are all found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the second most abundant compound in hemp, typically representing up to 40% of its extracts.
However, here is where the confusion starts.
Unfortunately, the most abundant constituent of cannabis is the cannabinoid known as THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance that is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.”
While CBD is completely separated and isolated from THC and CBD cannot get you “high,” there is still a lot of stigma as many people tend to mistake CBD for THC. These fears, though unfounded, are understandable to an extent, especially since the terminology surrounding CBD can be very confusing.
Nonetheless, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD-high hemp (that has only traces of THC), as it is also impossible to get high by consuming CBD oil products (that contain no THC at all).
CBD is extracted in oil form and is often found mixed in hemp oil extracts in varying concentrations.
Is Cannabidiol Legal?
Yes, CBD is legal worldwide (a controlled substance in Canada alone). As we’ve seen above, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD, partially because its chemical properties are poorly understood and partially because of its close resemblance to THC.
Until relatively recently (1980s), scientists believed that CBD was a natural precursor to the formation of THC, and since THC was a strictly controlled substance back then (it still is), it only followed that CBD should be equally strictly regulated.
However, CBD is actually unrelated to the chemical chain that results in THC. They share some characteristics but are created via different paths. Again, unlike THC, CBD is considered a legal dietary supplement and is safe to consume in any amount and concentration.
We understand that there are some confusing terms related to Cannabidiol, so we wanted to take the time to explain them to you. Below is a list of the most important terms to understand related to Cannabidiol:
Cannabis – A type of flowering plant that includes three distinct variations: Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis sativa. Cannabis has a wide range of industrial and medical applications. It has been used since antiquity for its sturdy fiber, for oils, and for medicinal purposes. However, it has also been used as a recreational drug, a fact that renders the cultivation of cannabis strictly regulated because of some variations including high concentrations of THC.
Hemp – Hemp refers to the high-growing varieties of cannabis that are grown to be specifically used for fiber, oil, and seeds. These are then refined into numerous products including wax, resin, cloth, pulp, paper, rope, fuel, and hemp oil.
Cannabinoids – A very diverse chemical family that includes natural as well as artificially created substances. Different cannabinoids have widely varied effects, with some cannabinoids proven to have medically beneficial effects and others classified as illegal drugs.
CBD – A naturally occurring cannabinoid, and the second most abundant constituent of the Cannabis plant. CBD is legal and safe to consume, yet has long been in the shadow of THC.
THC – The most abundant constituent of the cannabis plant and a strongly psychoactive cannabinoid, THC is responsible for getting “high” from smoking marijuana and, as a result, its production and usage are strictly regulated.
Psychoactive – Any chemical substance that can enter the brain from the bloodstream and directly affect the central nervous system is considered psychoactive. Many psychoactive substances have medical applications (such as anesthetics, psychiatric drugs, etc.), but some of these substances are used solely for recreation, causing dangerous side effects and addiction.
Intoxicating – Any substance that can cause you to lose control of your faculties and alter your behavior is considered intoxicating. Almost all illegal drugs have intoxicating properties, although worldwide most intoxication cases are attributed to alcohol. Intoxication can be caused by substances that directly affect the brain (i.e., psychoactive) or by indirectly causing damage to your organism (i.e., through toxicity, hence the term).
Closing Words / What Makes CBD Different
In today’s world, there are countless dietary supplements on the market. Yet, even as a newly popularized supplement, CBD stands out as a natural remedy to several fairly common problems. In addition, scientists are staying open the possibility of wider applications of CBD in the near future — like this recent research. For many people, CBD products are becoming a healthy addition to their daily lives. However, since each person’s needs are different, we always encourage you to do your own research to see if CBD oil is right for you. As we strive to be the most consumer-focused provider of CBD oil in the market, we will be creating more articles to point out the most recent CBD research and all related scientific breakthroughs. Our aim is to provide a balanced and accurate view of everything and anything related to the use of CBD as a dietary supplement, so stay tuned for more objective information about CBD and always be prepared for some critical thinking and research of your own as well.