What is CBD & What Does It Mean?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve no doubt heard the term “CBD” thrown around on the news, in major publications and throughout the media. But what does the acronym stand for? What is it exactly? And why should you care?
These are all questions many individuals have when it comes to CBD. We’re here to set the record straight, separating fact from fiction and giving you a no-hold’s barred deep dive into this natural supplement that has already grown into a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide.
What Does CBD Stand for?
CBD is a short-hand abbreviation for a natural compound called cannabidiol. This compound is found in the cannabis plant as well as in hemp. It is structurally and chemically similar to THC, yet very different in the way it impacts the body.
Unlike its close cousin, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not possess psychoactive properties to cause users to get high. While it won’t cause any type of euphoric high or psychotropic reactions, CBD has its own set of benefits, demonstrating substantial promise in the realm of health and wellness.
Also, unlike THC, CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana plants. This is important, especially in jurisdictions which have not yet legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use. Hemp-derived CBD contains no (or very little) THC, making it legal so long as it adheres to regulations set forth in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Let's take a closer look at how CBD interacts with the body.
The Endocannabinoid System
In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor was found in the cerebrum of a rodent. Analysts found that these receptors responded explicitly to THC, and were discovered in areas of the cerebrum responsible (in part) for mental and physiological processes such as memory, cognitive function, feelings, and coordination.
After two years, in 1993, the second cannabinoid receptor was found as a feature of the CNS and immune system. It was then that analysts began to understand that they may have been onto something, yet these receptors were just found in rodents, so why does it matter?
Then, in 1995, further analysis found that these receptors, aka CB1 and CB2, were found in a wide number of different mammalian species, including humans.
With scientific and technological progression and innovation, clinical studies started to point towards the metabolic pathways of different cannabinoids and how those may impact the physiology and biological processes in animals and humans. This revealed a totally obscure flagging framework between the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our bodies and receptors found in the plants, which they called cannabinoids. Ultimately, this naturally-occurring system in our bodies was coined the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
How the ECS Works – and why this is important
As humans, we get stressed a lot. When stressed, cortisol is released, which is why it is often referred to as the “stress hormone”. Although this hormone can be beneficial, too much can wreak havoc on our bodies.
Endocannabinoids also play a role in mediating stress and the downstream negative effects it can have on the body, as well as in many other physiological processes. It is this regulatory impact on our systems that is thought to be one of the methods of action by which CBD may yield positive improvements in overall health and well-being.
Without getting too heavy into the science of it all, this is just a rough explanation of what we know about cannabinoids and the ECS. To recap: scientists found that there are natural occurring networks of receptors in our bodies that are solely dependent on their cooperation with cannabinoids, and these frameworks are a piece of the puzzle in our bodies and how they relate to physiological responses.
Fundamentally, our bodies were intended to work with cannabinoids, and they can even be considered as basic building blocks to our general wellbeing and health.
What can CBD Treat?
Firstly, we do not endorse nor claim that CBD can treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease, illness or medical condition. However, most studies conducted to date are quite promising, with impressive results on the possible use of CBD in the future to help millions of individuals suffering from a myriad of ailments.
For example, some studies have found CBD may be effective in providing relief from various mental and health conditions, including:
- Pain and inflammation
- Sleep disorders
Various studies are being done to test CBD's effectiveness for treating these serious illnesses. There's still a lot of work and research that needs to be done, but early results are mostly positive. In fact, the FDA passed the first-ever CBD medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex.
How is CBD Taken?
CBD as a supplement is quite versatile, and is available in a number of forms to suit virtually any preference or need. Below we’ve outlined some of the most common ways to take CBD.
CBD Oils and Tinctures
Infused CBD products are now found in drinks, as well as raw oil tinctures. CBD extracts are available in tasteless and odorless products, too. Tinctures are dropped and held under the tongue where they are sublingually absorbed quickly and efficiently.
Although the fastest delivery method is through inhalation, this is one of the better ways to control dosage and administration.
Topical Creams and Balms
Topical CBD products are currently the only category that is federally legalized and found on major retail store shelves both online and in-store. These products fall under cosmetics regulations, which do not require pre-approval by the FDA. Topical CBD applications are purported to work by providing relief for localized issues and do not enter the bloodstream.
They are also very popular in the makeup and beauty section, where they are used to help improve skin and hair health and vitality.
Pills and Supplements
Oral CBD supplements are another popular form of CBD. Pills and gel caps are convenient, easy to take when on the go, and discreet. They also ensure an accurate dose every single time and require zero preparation. Best when taken with a meal so as to avoid stomach upset.
Edibles and Cooking
CBD extracts and oils can be used in any number of recipes for food or drink. Many manufacturers have already begun incorporating edible CBD products into their lineup of products, infusing treats such as chocolate, gummies, and other sweets with the compound.
Pro Tip: If cooking with CBD oil at home, make sure to keep the oil under 325F in order to prevent the compound from breaking down and losing efficacy.
By far the most popular way to take CBD, vaping involves utilizing CBD oils or cartridges and a vaporizer. Vaporizers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the most popular being e-cigs or vape pens.
What is the Dosage for CBD?
There is currently no standard dose that can be recommended. The amount necessary to elicit the desired effect you are looking for may vary depending on a number of factors such as age, gender, height and weight, and more. We suggest following the manufacturer’s advice and always starting with the lowest dose possible to ascertain effect and tolerance.
Some people may take up to 1,500 milligrams daily, while others a few hundred. We also suggest speaking with your doctor before beginning a new supplement regimen.
The Future of CBD Looks Bright
The 2018 Farm Bill that was passed last December has brought CBD into the mainstream spotlight. Since that time the market has been flooded with new and innovative products landing on store shelves both online and in person.
With all this activity going on, it is important to practice caution with what you buy, as new brands may make outlandish health claims or use an insignificant amount of CBD in their products.
Hemp-based CBD is still awaiting FDA regulators to make their decision for public consumption of CBD products. Until then, consumers are their own best advocates, so educate yourself on what is out there and do research on reviews and articles like this one.