You see, I have written hundreds of articles on medical marijuana. I explore different cannabis-based products and a myriad of concerns by users.
I am a member of several CBD oil groups on Facebook. Also, I do follow conversations happening on Twitter and LinkedIn.
One thing is sure, CBD is still a grey area to most people, including users.
But today, we shelve all those doubts, questions, and concerns about CBD and its benefits in this comprehensive article.
Talk about killing two birds with a single stone throw.
An introduction to CBD
What is CBD? What does it even mean in the first place?
Well, CBD is a common abbreviation for cannabidiol which is a cannabis phytocannabinoid.
Phytocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant.
There are over 100 phytocannabinoids. CBD is the most studied of them all, followed by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
By far, these are the most essential cannabinoids of the cannabis plant.
However, you need to take note of the compound that causes psychoactive effects. THC is notorious for making you feel high once taken in the body. On the other hand, CBD will never cause any high.
The cannabis plants
Cannabis, hemp, and marijuana don’t mean the same.
Scientifically, cannabis is a genus in the Cannabaceae family. There are three cannabis species, Cannabis Indica, Cannabis sativa and finally Cannabis Ruderalis.
Hemp and marijuana do not form part of the s cannabis plant’s nomenclature. Read this.
Take cannabis to be the mother plant that gives rise to two beautiful daughters; marijuana and hemp. The cannabis industry adopted the marijuana and hemp terminologies to bring out variations in the three species.
For more clarity, hemp refers to cannabis plants that have less than 0.3% THC.
On the other hand, marijuana or weed contains high amounts of THC which is usually more than 0.3%. Some cannabis strains have over 20% THC composition.
In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill into Law that allows hemp farming in the US. Marijuana still remains illegal under federal law. However, some 11 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational marijuana use.
The CBD extracts that you need to know today.
Well, cannabinoids are extracted from the cannabis plant to form several products.
The extraction and processing realize a range of products. Let us see the various forms of CBD extracts to understand which one is the best for you.
CBD exists amongst several other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. From these we get between full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.
What is the difference? Here is a clue! We need to know what else exists alongside the cannabidiol.
Terpenes and flavonoids?
Terpenes are the aromatic molecules found in many plants; cannabis included. Other common plants harboring terpenes are ginger, cinnamon, and resin. All these plants stand out for their intensive aroma.
Now you can relate where the earthy, citric or spicy aromas of your favorite buds come from.
What about flavonoids? Terpenes alike, they help us perceive the cannabis plants through our senses. You may confuse flavonoids to cause different flavors.
The truth is flavonoids play a role in the pigmentation of the strain. The word flavonoid comes from Flavus, a Latin term that refers to the yellow color in nature.
We now know all these cannabis compositions, let us go back to our main question.
Think of cannabis as a spectrum made up of phytocannabinoids, flavins, and terpenes. When extracting cannabidiol, one can choose all chemicals or a few of them.
Definition for CBD isolate
Isolates refer to the purest form of a compound in science. The compound gets extracted from natural existence and refined to isolate it. In its pure state, it is free from other compounds that exist alongside it.
As for CBD isolate definition; it is an extraction of phytocannabinoids refined to only contain cannabidiol. All other phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are absent.
In most cases, the CBD isolate originates from hemp.
Definition for full-spectrum CBD
Yes, you are right; it has the full cannabis composition spectrum.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other essential oils.
You need to understand one thing about full-spectrum CBD. Unlike CBD isolate, it contains the psychoactive THC compound. The percentage composition varies with different products. If your profession tolerates zero THC use, refrain from full-spectrum CBD products.
Definition for broad-spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD represents a mix of full-spectrum and CBD isolate properties.
This is the better option for those looking to use a full spectrum CBD product with zero THC in it. The broad-spectrum CBD is a full spectrum extract with zero THC.
The entourage effect
We are all gifted in different ways. When we come together, teamwork fuels efficiency than individual approaches. This is an excellent example of the entourage effect in our daily lives.
The collective synergistic benefits of cannabis compounds surpass individual benefits. All cannabis chemical properties play a huge part in realizing the entourage effect.
So, what is the entourage effect? It is the mechanism that complements cannabis compounds to realize a more significant benefit.
Well, we know that THC is psychoactive. However, it harbors substantial therapeutic benefits. CBD is known to mitigate the psychotic effects of the tetrahydrocannabinol. Coupling the many benefits of CBD and a modulated THC, you can only think of a wholesome and holistic therapy explosion.
Terpenes and flavonoids contribute to the synergistic therapeutic value of the entourage effect.
According to Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem, the entourage effect increased relief with an increase in dose. Likewise, CBD isolate showed the same curve, but a further increase had no value.
This highlights the value of the entourage effect. However, more research needs to substantiate the entourage effect on human beings.
The medical benefits of CBD
So far so good we understand some basics about cannabidiol. Let us get to know even more about how CBD helps us live fuller and better lifestyles.
A brief history of medical marijuana
I suppose this is the best place to start with, the medical history of hemp. It is such a fascinating old tale as you will find out.
Since time immemorial, human beings used whole plant extracts in treating various diseases. Cannabis lives one of these beautiful tales of providing important relief to the ancient people.
The history of medical cannabis dates back to over 5000 years. The earliest documentation of cannabis use is amongst the Chinese. Back in time, they used cannabis as an aesthetic before surgical operations.
Shen Nung is one of the most ancient Chinese legends, also the emperor of the time. He is among the very first people to prescribe medical cannabis. This is dated as far back as 2737 BC. However, the emperor is known to warn against the overuse of cannabis as it made users see demons. This is the psychosis often associated with recreational marijuana.
How does CBD work in our bodies?
CBD is often associated with so many benefits.
It may leave you wondering how they come to be. Most of these benefits stem from different body systems.
So, how does CBD have an impact on so many body systems? Is it even possible for this to happen?
In our bodies, there is a system connected to all other body systems, the central nervous system (CNS). It is tasked with the responsibility of controlling the whole body.
Through the central nervous system, CBD acts to reveal its benefits. This is possible through the body’s endocannabinoid system.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
Don’t you find it funny that there is a system in our bodies named after the cannabis plant? Hahaha 😂😂😂😂
It all started in 1992. A Czech analyst, Lumir Hanus, discovered the first endocannabinoid from the human brain. He was working under the team of Raphael Mechoulam who is known as the father of cannabinoids. He is credited for the discovery of THC and CBD, the most active and crucial cannabinoids known.
They named the first endocannabinoid anandamide. This discovery proves that the body produces its cannabinoids.
Notice the difference between endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. The former refers to cannabinoids produced in our bodies’ endocannabinoid system. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced in the cannabis plant.
The discovery of anandamide led to an understanding of the importance of cannabinoids. This brings us to the functioning of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
How the endocannabinoid system works
The endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. These work together in signaling for homeostatic reactions.
Our bodies have a molecule-based signaling system that handles homeostasis. It works by regulating a broad spectrum of biological body functions.
The system helps to maintain the internal body environment. It works to mitigate changes in the external environment.
Whenever there is a change in the external environment, the body forms endocannabinoids. They interact with specific receptors to bring normalcy back. In cases where there is a deficiency of endocannabinoids, they can be boosted by taking CBD.
As simple as that, it is how CBD and other cannabinoids help in reclaiming the normal functioning of the body.
Wondering what some of the benefits of taking CBD oil are?