CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a type of cannabinoid, which means it’s an active compound from the cannabis plant. There are hundreds of cannabinoids, but in recent times, CBD has become one of the most talked about – and the most popular.
It used to be THC that was so famed, in part because it triggers an intoxicating high. However, CBD has overtaken its infamous cousin and become the star of the health sector. By now, most people know a little about CBD, but if you’re new here, then read on to discover the basics of what you need to know.
Where Does It Come from?
In short, CBD comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. Some confusion stems from the fact that there are multiple types of the cannabis plant, contrary to popular belief. Marijuana is probably what springs to mind – the variety that is used recreationally for its high THC load. At the other end of the spectrum is hemp, a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC by definition.
Hemp has a variety of uses, and one of them is CBD. While its THC quantity is low, hemp can contain plenty of cannabidiol. Manufacturers extract this for use in CBD supplements, ensuring that the THC content stays barely traceable while packing tinctures with cannabidiol.
It’s true that you can find decent amounts of CBD in some marijuana strains. However, for the purposes of supplements, hemp is the primary source.
Why Do People Use CBD?
There are lots of reasons why people use CBD. Research into this compound is ongoing, and so the benefits are not one hundred percent clinically proven. That said, combining the wealth of anecdotal evidence with the mounting number of positive studies, it’s easy to see why many people are trying these products.
You may sometimes see information online that touts CBD as a panacea; however, this is not true. It could nevertheless have a positive benefit on your overall wellbeing if you use the right product that works for you. People find all sorts of beneficial results when using CBD frequently and consistently. Generally, users employ it as an all-around health product that supports an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
Most of the clinical evidence so far comes from animal studies, which must be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, the human body is not exactly like a rat’s body.
What we do know is that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared CBD generally safe, non-toxic, and non-addictive in humans, so there’s no harm in giving it a try.
How CBD Works
Scientists think that CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a network of receptors that exists throughout the entire body, regulating a multitude of functions. The system works using endocannabinoids, messenger molecules that are similar to the cannabinoids from plants, but the body produces them naturally.
The similarity between endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids (from cannabis) allows compounds like THC and CBD to affect the human body. While THC may engage directly with the receptors, CBD may prevent endocannabinoids from being broken down, allowing them to do their job for longer. The exact mechanism is still up for debate, but we know that CBD does not bind directly to the receptors.
So, why is that important?
Endocannabinoids exist to regulate the body and maintain homeostasis. Once their job is done, enzymes break them down. By preventing this, CBD ensures that the endocannabinoids can regulate the body for longer periods of time. It has a knock-on effect on numerous physiological functions.
So far, it appears that the effects of CBD are mostly positive. The vast reach of the endocannabinoid system ensures that ingesting CBD can have wide-reaching effects on the body. That is why it is suited to being an overall wellness product.