Everything you need to know about CBD

Most of the new found excitement around Cannabis relates to CBD or Cannabidiol and its use to help manage a variety of conditions. If you’re new to CBD it can be confusing to know what makes the products you can buy in store or online different - are they Cannabis, are they legal, what’s hemp based CBD etc. etc. Without getting too much into the science we break down the things you need to know.

Hemp and Marijuana both come from the Cannabis plant which has two distinct strains - Sativa and Indica. Whilst Marijuana can be a member of either Sativa or Indica, Hemp only comes from the Sativa strain. Hemp is the least processed form of the Cannabis plant and the one that contains large amounts of CBD.

You’ll notice the CBD products you buy in store and online will be derived from Hemp and should never have more than 0.2% of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive chemical compound that causes the high usually associated with Cannabis and which we often hear about.

Unlike Marijuana, Hemp is rarely modified by farmers which means it has a higher concentration of CBD which is why it’s used in CBD wellness products. And with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in the US and the resulting full legalisation of industrial hemp we can expect to see even more hemp based CBD wellness products entering the market.

What is CBD?

CBD is just one of more than a hundred ‘phytocannabinoids’ unique to the cannabis plant and along with the other well known compound THC, it’s the one that scientists have undertaken most studies on. Given the negativity that often surrounds THC, it might come as a surprise that both THC and CBD both have potent therapeutic properties but the key difference is that CBD does not make a person feel high or intoxicated.

CBD appears to work by having a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory impact on the brain which in turn influences the Endocannabinoid System. It inhibits the production of FAAH, which is an enzyme which causes the breakdown of the Endocannabinoid called ‘Anandamide’. Known as ‘the molecule of bliss’ Anandamide is the body’s natural mood enhancer and the effect CBD has on Anandamide is why of the reasons researchers are conducting more studies into CBD’s use as an anxiety reliever.

CBD Hemp Oil

CBD Hemp Oil is the oil produced from the leaves, buds, and stem of the Hemp plant, and can be extracted both mechanically and chemically. In the extraction process, the oil retains a range of the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found naturally in Hemp. The versatility of CBD Hemp Oil means that it’s ideal to infuse into lots of products including drinks, oils, creams, sweets, and coffee which we can see from the products available in retail stores and online.

You may also have heard about Hemp Seed Oil which doesn’t contain CBD but it’s still beneficial because it is primarily composed of healthy fats which makes it a brilliant ingredient for beauty products and as a food supplement in its own right.

CBD and Health

The versatility of CBD as a wellness aide and its potential to treat more serious medical conditions (although more scientific studies are needed) is what makes it so exciting. One of the most well known health benefits of CBD oil is its ability to act as an analgesic (pain reliever). That’s because its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are thought to interact with receptors in the brain and immune system to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

The results of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced inflammation in mice and rats, and in a 2008 study researchers assessed whether CBD could relieve chronic pain by analysing case studies from the 1980’s and 2007, while also performing their own research. They concluded that CBD was effective in relieving chronic pain without any adverse side effects. This is supported by a report from the World Health Organisation in 2017 which stated:

In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

As the use of CBD is relatively new a lot of research studies are taking place to determine how CBD interacts with the body. We still have a lot to learn but as we find out, we can harness the unique therapeutic and medicinal properties of CBD and use them as a natural remedy to achieve a more emotional and physical balanced state.