What's the Deal with CBD?
CBD oil and CBD products have become incredibly popular, but I find that most of my clients don’t fully understand what CBD is or how it is used.
CBD or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant or cannabis plant (also known as hemp or marijuana). These plants contain unique compounds called cannabinoids. In fact, there are many (100+) different types of cannabinoids, with the most well know being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is what is responsible for the high people get when they use marijuana. While marijuana plants contain very high levels of THC, hemp plants contain relatively small amounts of this psychoactive compound. In most countries, there is a legal limit as to how much THC can be contained within CBD products (under 0.3% in the U.S.).
Hemp and marijuana plants also contain another important compound called CBD. In fact, the hemp plant contains significantly more CBD than marijuana, which is why it is predominantly used in the production of CBD products. CBD products, particularly tinctures/oils, are used for a variety of reasons such as helping manage stress, dealing with anxiety, insomnia and even to reduce pain.
So how does CBD work?
We have a system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is located throughout the body. It is responsible for helping us to maintain overall health and wellness. Initially thought to primarily be involved in the nervous system, research has shown that it is involved in multiple systems throughout the body and therefore impacts a number of physiological functions such as sleep, metabolism, mood, appetite, immune function and even pain. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that interact with the ECS in our body. Interestingly, cannabinoids from the cannabis plant resemble endocannabinoids and function in a similar manner. Therefore, these cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in our body, which allows them to have a physiological effect.
Although CBD is the primary cannabinoid that is focused on in these products, most of these products contain multiple different types of cannabinoids, which by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies, may help to aid in a wide variety of conditions. CBD has anti-inflammatory effect, which is why many people use it for pain and to naturally reduce inflammation throughout the body, rather than using things like NSAIDS which when overused can have negative implications. Further, chronic inflammation is a contributing factor in a number of medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, as well as many others. Therefore, CBD oil is commonly used as a more natural approach for reducing inflammation throughout the body. Many people also use CBD products to help with sleep, improve mood, reduce anxiety and it may even aid with some digestive dysfunction.
As with most things, quality is everything. Be sure when you are using any CBD product you ensure you are using a trusted brand that sources its products responsibly, using quality ingredients, non-toxic extraction processes, as well as reliable testing. Recent random testing studies have shown that a significant portion of the CBD products on the market do not have the potency or effectiveness they claim to have – in fact some products tested did not even contain any CBD post processing.
I have found that many of my clients and friends have found real benefits in using CBD products. They are safe and in studies that have been conducted, do not seem to have any negative side effects. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or if you are looking for a recommendation on the best brands to try.