There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding cannabidiol (CBD) in the medical and wellness spheres over the recent past, with an increasing number of studies and plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting its benefits on overall health. CBD is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and is among the most abundant and studied, along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is non-psychoactive and is mainly consumed for medicinal purposes. Instead of causing a “high” feeling, the cannabinoid provides a therapeutic effect in the body that can address a range of health conditions.
The CBD industry booming, with sales expected to hit $5 billion by the end of 2019, which is a testament to the increased demand for the cannabinoid. And with the recent passing of the Farm Bill – more formally known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 – which has removed hemp from the list of banned substances under the Controlled Substances Act, further studies on cannabinoids are being met with less difficulty.
Certainly, the health benefits of CBD are vast, and many people are turning to cannabis as a supplement in their daily lives and are even consuming it as a natural alternative to traditional medicine. If you are new to the world of cannabis or CBD, this comprehensive guide will help you learn all about why you need to add CBD into your health care arsenal as well as how to use it effectively.
So, What Are the Health Benefits of CBD?
It seems as though the list of potential benefits of CBD on the mind and body continues to grow with each passing study. As of late, research has found that CBD may have the following health and medical benefits:
- Reduces anxiety
- Relieves pain
- Calms inflammation
- Reduces the severity and frequency of seizures
- May protect the brain and neurological system
- May promote healthier skin and combat acne
- May alleviate nausea
- May serve as a wake-promoting agent
- May benefit cardiovascular health
Considering all the potential benefits of CBD, the cannabinoid has far-reaching benefits for many different people with varying issues that they need help with. While there may be pharmaceutical medications that are designed to specifically deal with any one of these issues, CBD may be a potentially effective supplement or a complete alternative to such medication.
How Does CBD Work in the Body to Take Effect?
There are plenty of claims that CBD may help to deal with various medical and health issues, and many studies provide scientific evidence of such claims. But how exactly does CBD work in the mind and/or body to have these positive effects? It all comes down to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body and how CBD – and other cannabinoids of the cannabis plant – influence it and the systems it regulates.
The endocannabinoid system (endo – meaning “within”) is naturally found in all living vertebrates and chalked with tons of cannabinoid (CB) receptors. This biological system is tasked with maintaining homeostasis – or balance – of the internal environment of the body. When the body is not in proper balance, disease and health issues can ensue, including pain, inflammation, and anxiety, among others. Naturally-occurring endocannabinoids (similar to those found in cannabis) in the body interact with CB receptors of the endocannabinoid system to help regulate various systems of the body and help maintain equilibrium. But external cannabinoids found in cannabis (also known as exogenous) – including CBD – act similarly to these endocannabinoids and thus, produce similar effects. CBD, in particular, is known to interact mainly with the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which are found all over the body.,
Due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-anxiolytic, antiepileptic, antioxidant properties, when CBD interacts with CB2 receptors – without actually binding to them directly – health conditions such as insomnia, pain, inflammation, anxiety, and many more can be alleviated.
Full-Spectrum CBD Vs. CBD Isolate
When shopping for CBD products, you may notice that some products may be labeled as “CBD isolates” while others may be labeled as “full-spectrum CBD.” To understand the difference between the two, it helps to start off by explaining what CBD isolates are. Simply put, a CBD isolate is a pure, isolated CBD extract that contains only CBD and no other cannabinoids, flavonoids, or terpenes. When the hemp plant goes through the extraction process to extract its cannabinoids – including CBD – all the other bioactive compounds tend to come out as well, which means certain extra measures must be taken to ensure that the CBD is isolated and void of other compounds from the plant.
Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, contains all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that are within the cannabis plant. Some people may be concerned that a full-spectrum CBD product that they are consuming contains THC. If the plant that the CBD is being extracted from is marijuana, then there may be THC contained within the product at a certain concentration level that could produce psychoactivity in the body. However, if CBD is extracted from hemp plants, then there should be no concerns that any THC over a level of 0.3% (which is considered the legal level) is contained within the product.
Full-spectrum CBD is considered the best of all CBD products, as CBD along with terpenes, flavonoids, and other essential cannabinoids contained produce their own set of unique effects for consumers who are looking for an even greater therapeutic value. It’s commonly theorized that CBD may be more effective at alleviating ailments when it works in conjunction with these other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. This is known as the “entourage effect” and is based on the notion that the therapeutic effects of CBD are magnified when in the presence of other compounds of the cannabis plant. This phenomenon occurs when the compounds of the cannabis plant work synergistically together to interact with the body to induce a heightened effect compared to when any one of these compounds works alone. While some may believe that consuming a CBD isolate may be best because of its pure state, there is evidence to support the idea that working along with other cannabinoids in a full-spectrum CBD product may be best.
How to Use CBD Oil – Dosing 101
Consumers consuming CBD for the first time may want to get familiar with appropriate dosing in order to maximize the effects of CBD. Everyone is different and so, everyone will also metabolize CBD differently. However, as a general rule of thumb, it’s suggested to start with very small doses of CBD, then increase the dosage gradually in small increments until the desired effects are achieved with no side effects.
The appropriate dose of CBD will also depend on the mode of consumption. CBD comes in a variety of different formats, including capsules, tinctures, oils, edibles, topicals, and vapes. The specific mode of consumption will come down to the consumer’s comfort level and the exact ailment that is being treated. Regardless, how CBD is consumed will play a role in dosing. The dose you may find that is required for a CBD edible may be different than the dose needed when consuming a CBD tincture, for instance. Your body itself is also a crucial component in assessing the right CBD dosage for you. For instance, your body weight and body chemistry may affect how much or little CBD you need to feel your desired effects.
The good news is, CBD has been shown to be relatively safe, as CBD has no overdose, intolerance, or overdose potential. The standard safe dosing range of CBD is anywhere between 20mg to 1,500mg per day. When just starting out, however, it’s recommended to begin on the lower end of the spectrum and work your way up until you find the right dosage of CBD for you. Though, it’s important to be sure you speak with your healthcare provider about your health, as CBD may impact certain medications — either increasing or decreasing their effectiveness.
Reasons Why You Might Not Be Getting the Results You Want
Regardless of the reasons why you’re consuming CBD – whether it’s to reduce anxiety, alleviate pain and inflammation, or even to calm your acne – it’s possible that you may not be getting the results you’re looking for. There may be any number of reasons for this, including the following:
You’re not dosing properly – It’s possible that you’re not consuming enough CBD to target your symptoms – or perhaps you’re even consuming more than you need to. As already mentioned, the right dosage of CBD is what you need to find in order for the cannabinoid to work its magic. There is no general dose that will necessarily work for everyone, and each individual may have his or her own exact dose that works best. The idea is to experiment with your CBD product of choice by starting small and working your way up until you find the right dose that works best for you. Until then, you may not find that CBD is as effective as you thought it might be.
You’re consuming a low-quality CBD product – Look at the manufacturer that developed your CBD product – is it a reputable company? With the demand for CBD so high these days and more and more CBD manufacturers popping up all over the place, it can be tough to decipher who’s a reputable manufacturer versus one who doesn’t put the same amount of effort into developing products that claim to do their job. it’s quite possible that the CBD product you’re consuming does not come from a reputable manufacturer that uses the best extraction processes or enlists the help of third-party laboratories to thoroughly test their products before marketing them for sale. As such, you may not be getting the results you were promised.
You haven’t given the CBD enough time to build up in your system – Somewhat like antibiotics that require a little bit of time before they take full effect in the body, so too does CBD require a little bit of time before you’ll feel its effects. It’s not common to feel near-instant effects after taking CBD, no matter what format it’s consumed in. In fact, it often takes a few days or even weeks for the full effects of CBD to be felt. A certain amount of time is needed to take CBD on a regular basis before its long-term effects are experienced.
You’re not consuming the appropriate CBD product for you – There are several different CBD product formats, but not all of them are necessarily ideal for what you are taking the cannabinoid for. If you have been consuming one particular type of CBD product and are finding that it’s not working as you would have hoped, consider trying a different type of format. For instance, if CBD capsules aren’t working well enough to relieve your knee pain, consider applying CBD topicals to the affected area(s) instead.
There is plenty of evidence – both scientific and anecdotal – of the potential for CBD to alleviate a myriad of uncomfortable and painful symptoms that have arisen as a result of disease or injury. As such, the demand for the cannabinoid has skyrocketed over recent years and will likely continue to do so going forward. If you’re curious about consuming CBD, be sure to do as much homework and speak with your doctor to ensure your health and safety are always at the forefront.
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