Cannabidiol (CBD) has been rapidly growing in popularity over the last decade. And for good reason.
Many have claimed it’s properties have treated illnesses even pharmaceuticals couldn’t grapple.
But what is CBD? How does it interact with the body? And how does this interaction offer medical benefits?
Throughout this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid that’s produced in the cannabis sativa plant. These plants contain dozens of different cannabinoids, all of which have their own medical properties.
The most popular of these cannabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the cannabinoid responsible for making you feel “high” after consuming cannabis.¹
However, CBD doesn’t make you high. In fact, it has quite an opposite effect on the body and can even subdue psychoactivity (see below).
When searching for CBD products, you’re going to come across two important terms:
- Full Spectrum CBD – CBD that contains other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
- CBD Isolate – Solely CBD with no other cannabinoids.
It should be noted, under federal law, full spectrum CBD products aren’t allowed to contain anymore than 0.3% THC. This means no CBD product will get you high.²
In order to ensure this, companies obtain CBD through hemp rather than marijuana. Hemp is a cannabis plant that contains high amounts of CBD and 0.3% or less THC. Whereas marijuana is the cannabis plant that contains high amounts of THC.
How Does CBD Effect the Brain and Body?
Scientists’ understanding as to how CBD affects the brain and body is still vague compared to other substances. However, what we do know is CBD has an indirect effect on our endocannabinoid system (ECS).³
Our ECS is found all over the body – from the brain to other vital organs – and is responsible for a number of different functions, including (but not limited to):
- Hormone levels.
- Mental function.
- Sleep patterns.
When you consume CBD, it will balance out your endocannabinoid system. For example, if you were to experience strong inflammation in a specific area of your body, CBD has the ability to balance that inflammation. In effect, diminishing it and easing pain.
Since THC imbalances the ECS – by attaching to one cannabinoid receptor (CB1) – CBD can counteract psychoactivity.
What are CBD’s Health Benefits?
CBD has such a range of health benefits, we could write a series of articles on this topic alone. Furthermore, more and more research is appearing and adding to this range.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in medicine is the discovery of CBD’s effects on seizures, convulsions, or epilepsy. Though the science behind this isn’t entirely understood, the FDA has gone as far as to approve a prescription medication known as Epidiolex for severe forms of epilepsy.⁴
Other heath benefits include (but aren’t limited to):
- Appetite control
- Bone strengthener
- Cancer cell inhibitor
- Digestive aid
- Healthier skin, hair, and nails
- Pain reliever
- Prevents atherosclerosis
- Reduces arthritis and joint pain
- Reduces osteoporosis
- Vasorelaxant for glaucoma
Unfortunately, besides Epidiolex, the FDA has NOT approved CBD for any other form of medication. Therefore, this natural alternative won’t be the first recommendation from your doctor.
In order to understand if CBD can help you with an illness you’re facing, it’s important to do further research. Look into both what the science and other people have said about CBD’s effects.
Through this research, you’ll have a better idea as to whether or not CBD will help you.
CBD Side Effects
One of the biggest advantages CBD has over other medication is people experience little to no side effects when they take it. In fact, some have gone as far as to say CBD is one of the safest medicines on the market.
However, that’s not to say there are no drawbacks. When you consume CBD, you might experience:⁵
- Drowsiness (or lightheaded)
- Dry mouth
- Liver injury (rare)
- Low blood pressure
One aspect that plays a role in these side effects is how you consume your CBD. For example, someone who vapes cannabidiol is bound to run across a dry mouth more frequently than someone who eats an edible.
To take this a step further, it’s not entirely clear how each consumption methods produces side effects on the body. Though CBD is safe, one person might not be able to handle an edible as well as they’re able to handle a tincture.
Will CBD Interact with Medication?
The short answer is CBD does have the potential to interact with other medications. If you are currently on a medication, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking CBD.
How Much CBD Should You Take?
The best advice we can give for those curious to try CBD is to start small and work your way up. This will give you a better idea of how CBD interacts with your brain and body and allow you to adjust dosage in accordance with this understanding.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the amount of CBD you’ll need to consume is determined by your body weight. The more you weigh, the more CBD you’ll need to consume and vice versa.⁶
To get a better understanding of dosage, refer to the chart below:
|<25 lbs||26-45 lbs||46-85 lbs||85-150 lbs||151-240 lbs||>241 lbs|
|Small||4.5 mg||6 mg||9 mg||12 mg||18 mg||22.5 mg|
|Medium||6 mg||9 mg||12 mg||15 mg||22.5 mg||30 mg|
|Large||9 mg||12 mg||15 mg||18 mg||27 mg||45 mg|
Is CBD Legal?
Yes! Under the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD and hemp became legal in all fifty states.⁷ In fact, you may have notice CBD products recently appear in your area in places such as gas stations or smoke shops.
However, it’s vital to note, different states have different regulations when it comes to CBD and hemp. For example, in Idaho, it’s still illegal to grow hemp.
With that, it’s vital to become aware of the laws in your specific area and county before consuming CBD. Since this is such a new industry with such a new market, regulations are still being worked out regularly.
Furthermore, we advise you don’t travel with CBD on you. Not only does it remain illegal in other countries, but you can get in trouble for having it even if you’re flying within the United States.
Still have questions concerning CBD? We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any personal or professional information about CBD that you’d like to share, we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ Dialogues in clinical neuroscience: Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health
⁵ Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol
⁶ MedlinePlus: Cannabidiol
⁷ Congress.gov: H.R.2 – Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018