In recent times, cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has really come to be seen for its vast range of health benefits. This derivative of the cannabis plant is widely medically accepted, legal, and produced in a wide range of forms. For more on this excellent plant-based alternative, read on.
What is CBD?
Before purchasing or even using CBD, it’s a great idea to understand exactly what it is as well as the basics of how it works. As touched on above, cannabidiol is a derivative taken from the cannabis plant, but unlike other typical components harvested from this plant, CBD itself does not produce a “buzz” or “high.” This component of the plant is produced in absence of THC, the component that is known for the cannabis high.
Cannabidiol, at its core, is an oil. Once harvested from the plant, this unique oil is then sold in a variety of forms. Once consumed, applied to the skin, inhaled, or otherwise taken into the body, CBD has a decidedly universal efficacy on humans and even pets. This is because, once consumed, CBD acts on specific nervous system receptors found in virtually all people and animals. The receptors CB1 and CB2 are the primary points at which the CBD binds and acts on, and as a result of those natural binding points, there are a wide range of benefits one can then experience upon consumption.
Aside from just affecting these specific nervous system receptors, CBD also positively affects numerous proteins and cells in the brain and body. In fact, one could go so far as to say that the body, brain, and nervous system are designed to accept and utilize CBD more readily than just about any other known compound out there. This is because of the body’s own natural endocannabinoid system and how well CBD then plugs into that system when consumed.
The Farm Bill
For a long time, all components of the cannabis plant were strictly outlawed and widely socially shunned. However, with recent advances in science and understanding of the individual components of the plant, cannabidiol has overcome these obstacles and gained wide acceptance throughout the medical, social, and even legal communities.
Specifically, CBD and other non-high-inducing components of the cannabis plant were made legal by the 2018 Farm Bill. As explained by the Food and Drug Administration, the 2018 Farm Bill recognized “derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)” as being beneficial and therefore legal under federal law going forward. As long as the cannabis-derived materials contain less than .3% THC per dry weight, the material is fully legal under federal laws.
In addition to CBD being a direct beneficiary of this new ruling, numerous other useful components to the cannabis plant were then allowed to reach a legal marketable status for those in need of them. Hemp seed, for example, is now legal under the law as well as other various, cannabis-derived oils, fibers, and more. The 2018 Farm Bill also reinforced the FDA’s oversight powers over all cannabis-based products while loosening the overbearing and unnecessary legal restrictions of the past.
Due to these 2018 federal allowances, these compounds then became legal commerce in all 50 states of the US. From that point on, CBD products could then be purchased online or in-person at brick and mortar stores without concern for legal restrictions. The only exception to this is the general requirement that all CBD products must be purchased by adults aged 18 years or older.
Today’s Expanding CBD Market
Once the 2018 Farm Bill passed into law, the markets quickly adapted, and demand for quality CBD products throughout the US skyrocketed. General public knowledge of this cannabis derivative has also been on the rise as more people have learned about its many benefits and newly-legal status. As a result of booming demand, market growth, and even CBD’s own flexibility of form, this essential oil has come to be marketed in a considerable range of products and mediums.
One of the most common forms of CBD sold today is that of the basic oil. Once harvested from the cannabis plant, CBD oil is typically mixed with coconut oil or hemp seed oil to provide it with a more stable carrier medium and then sold in various types of containers and quantities depending on the maker. CBD oil is then consumed in a variety of ways including via tinctures, addition to foods, topical use, and even inhalation through a variety of means.
CBD flower is another, popular means of CBD consumption. In this case, “CBD flower” actually refers to dried cannabis plant material that is ready to be smoked or otherwise inhaled through vaporization. As is the case with all CBD products, this particular cannabis plant material is selectively grown and maintained to a level of less than .3% THC per weight so as to maintain legal status and not produce any sort of intoxicating effects.
Beyond CBD flower and oils, there are many additional products that function well as proper mediums for CBD delivery. CBD lotions and skin treatments are among those. Pill-form CBD is another recent medium of delivery to hit the markets.
Many have come to rely on CBD throughout their lives and for a broad range of purposes. To that end, many utilize a specific daytime CBD routine to help fight various problems they may face during the day. Stress and anxiety reduction are chief causes for many daytime CBD routines seen today, while help with inflammation and pain management are also top reasons for daytime CBD use. As science hasn’t exactly nailed down any particular time of day that is better for CBD consumption or metabolization, users typically just use their preferred CBD products on an as-needed basis.
Common nighttime CBD routine is often utilized for many of the same reasons as daytime routines. At night, CBD has been shown to help many to relax, de-stress, and reduce inflammation and other aches and pains that are not conducive to a restful sleep. With regard to sleep itself, there have been a number of studies done on the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids on the human sleep cycle.
These studies have shown significant promise in how this compound binds to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors and subsequently aids in achieving a deeper sleep as well as the ability to fall asleep more quickly. Per the American Sleep Association, those with insomnia and anxiety have shown significant improvements in their sleep and wake cycles when using CBD for that purpose. Additional studies need to be done, according to the organization, but so far, great promise has been shown.
CBD for Additional Health Benefits
As touched on above, CBD has been widely touted as an aid against inflammation and an aid in healing and pain relief. In fact, according to the medical experts, CBD also has shown great promise as a cardiovascular aid, an acne-deterring medicine, and even as a neuroprotective agent. In addition, those suffering from the severe ails of cancer have shown some benefit through the use of CBD as well as those fighting substance abuse problems. CBD has even shown promise in areas of tumor reduction and the prevention of the onset of diabetes, per the experts.
Because of the many potential benefits of CBD, the sports and athletic worlds have also recently taken to the world of cannabidiol and those numerous benefits. Professional athletes are increasingly turning to CBD where other medications aren’t as effective or come with unwanted side effects. Trainers and rehabilitation specialists are also increasingly recommending CBD products to help in the healing and rehabilitation processes. The fact that CBD is a natural compound as opposed to lab-created is another significant draw to these industries as it is for the general public.
The subject of safety is another important consideration when it comes to any drug’s use, including the use of CBD. How safe is CBD? How much can be consumed before it’s dangerous? Can it be combined with other medications safely?
To date, CBD has no recorded instances of overdose, fatality, or any other significant detrimental effects on health when consumed in typical form. Due to its being a naturally-occurring compound and its inherent proven safety, CBD requires no doctor prescription to obtain and also comes with no product warnings or disclaimers with regard to safety concerns. In general, CBD is a use-as-needed compound that anyone over the age of 18 can freely purchase in all 50 states. For these reasons, potential CBD wellness benefits are thought to far outweigh potential adverse consequences.
The only safety implication associated with CBD use, to date, is its potential to cause mild liver toxicity if used in egregiously high amounts. Such a danger, however, requires incredibly high levels of consumption which are generally not possible in most people. In addition, those taking medications that come with interaction warnings about consuming grapefruit are advised to consult with their doctors before consumption. This is because grapefruit and CBD are similar in their ability to eventually affect P450 cytochromes which are enzymes in the body that affect drug metabolism and uptake.
Product Testing and Maintenance of Standards
All of the potential CBD wellness benefits are truly significant and wide-ranging, but without continued product monitoring and testing standards, the safety of CBD products, like any other consumable products, can then come into question. So how are standards maintained and assured in CBD products? And who maintains those standards?
Standards in CBD products are maintained by the manufacturers of those products. This is done primarily through regular testing of their CBD products during and after their manufacture. Products that test too high in THC are then rejected and not sold as CBD products much like those that may be found to contain any kinds of additional unsafe contaminants.
There are no continuous government-managed standards or practices applied across the wider CBD industry. Makers are generally expected to maintain legal and safe products, as they are in most other industries, with liability and responsibility always looming should mistakes be made or untrustworthy business practices be engaged in. This lack of immediate government oversight, however, does not render the consumer helpless in the CBD market.
Most reputable CBD products come with up-to-date testing results. If they do not come with those results, they can be obtained by request and on the spot from the business actually selling them. If a product is not regularly tested or no testing specs are otherwise able to be obtained for that product upon request, it’s best to avoid that selection and then seek out one of the many CBD products that does readily come with up-to-date testing specs.
All in all, CBD is a safe and reputable compound used for a range of functions in humans and pets alike. It is naturally sourced and generally absent of harmful or intoxicating contaminants. Finally, for those seeking more info on CBD, the Food and Drug Administration is an excellent resource with which to inquire further.