Cannabidiol or CBD is becoming subject to increased media scrutiny as its many medical benefits come to light. Seemingly overnight, online news websites and print publications are awash with claims that CBD could be the next best thing for improving health.
But which of these claims are true? And most importantly, what can CBD do for us?
To answer these questions, it would help to learn more about what CBD is and where it comes from. Read on to find out more about CBD and its history, and what makes it so useful.
What is CBD?
CBD is a compound that belongs to the class of chemicals known as phytocannabinoids. It is only one of the many chemicals found in cannabis. Of course, most of what you may recognize as CBD has undergone extensive processing. The result is an oil that can be applied on the skin, ingested in a tincture, or inhaled via vaping.
It is important to differentiate CBD oil from cannabis oil. While CBD oil is derived from hemp plants, cannabis oil is a concentrated liquid extract of Cannabis Sativa.
According to an article by Harvard Health, CBD is the second most abundant active ingredient in the cannabis plant after THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. It is a naturally occurring substance that is used in products such as oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. Although it does not cause users to feel ‘high’, it has many other beneficial effects.
Where is CBD from?
Now, we already know CBD is extracted from hemp plants. However, there are many varieties of this plant. Where then does CBD come from specifically?
CBD comes from hemp plants that have been bred to have low concentrations of THC. In the United States, the cultivation, selling, and use of hemp products are legal in every state. However, the hemp plants from which CBD is extracted are engineered to contain no more than 0.3% THC. This limit, which is mandated by federal law, ensures the safety of CBD products.
Hemp-derived CBD is safe to consume due to its low THC levels. CBD is packed full of nutrients and minerals, such as potassium, protein, and omega fatty acids, all of which are beneficial to the body.
Known side effects of using CBD
Although CBD is relatively safe to consume, that doesn’t necessarily mean that CBD has no side effects. There are some health concerns over the use of CBD as a dietary supplement because CBD products aren’t subject to FDA regulation.
Some known side effects of CBD include irritability, nausea, and fatigue. Users of the blood thinner Coumadin may also experience raised levels of the drug in their body when using CBD.
Some research indicates that CBD may reduce the adverse effects of high doses of THC. In some people, ingesting CBD can reverse the intoxicating and sedative effects of marijuana use.
Cannabidiol is generally well-tolerated by most people. However, it could cause diarrhea, fatigue, and changes in appetite in some users. When ingested as medication in the form of Epidiolex, users may experience side effects such as fatigue, insomnia, sleepiness, poor sleep quality, and a decrease in appetite.
Health benefits and medical uses of CBD
Currently, the only FDA approved CBD-based prescription medication is Epidiolex. Although it is used mainly to treat certain types of epilepsy, CBD may also be useful in pain management and the treatment of medical conditions such as stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Some studies suggest that CBD may also be useful in the treatment of childhood epilepsy syndromes such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. Children diagnosed with these conditions typically do not respond to anti-seizure medications. In some cases, CBD effectively reduced the number of seizures experienced by the children. In other cases, CBD was able to stop them altogether.
CBD also shows considerable promise in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia . According to some medical reports, patients have successfully used CBD to fall asleep and maintain their state of sleep throughout the night.
Cannabidiol can also be an effective alternative to pain relief medications, particularly for patients suffering from chronic pain. Research in this area shows that CBD-based topicals can significantly reduce pain and swelling. Still other studies suggest that CBD could be useful in the treatment of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, both of which are some of the most challenging types of chronic pain to treat.
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