With all the excitement and headlines around CBD, it would be entirely understandable if you were a tad confused and sitting there asking yourself well, what is CBD oil?
Is it Cannabis? Is it legal? What does hemp-based CBD mean? So without getting too much into the science, we’ve broken down the key things you need to know.
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 to know that both THC and CBD 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 that 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 one of the reasons researchers are conducting more studies into CBD’s use as an anxiety reliever.
The link with Cannabis
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.
It’s also the least processed form of the Cannabis plant and the one that contains large amounts of CBD. Marijuana on the other hand is grown to contains large amounts of THC which is the psychoactive chemical compound that causes the Cannabis ‘high’.
You’ll notice that the CBD products you buy from UK stores and online retailers will be derived from Hemp and it’s also worth noting that they should never contain more than 0.2% of THC. If they do, they’re illegal.
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 which fully legislated industrial hemp, we are seeing even more hemp-derived CBD wellness products on our shelves.
How it goes from seed to bottle
We could try to explain how CBD goes from seed to bottle but NBC news does it better as Kristen Dahlgren goes inside Colorado’s first licensed cannabis research facility to see how CBD is extracted.
Hemp-derived CBD Oil
Hemp CBD 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 Hemp CBD oil means that it’s ideal to infuse into lots of products including drinks, oils, creams, sweets, and even coffee.
You may also have heard about Hemp Seed Oil which doesn’t contain CBD but is still beneficial because it is primarily composed of healthy fats which make it a brilliant ingredient for beauty products and as a food supplement in its own right.
CBD and Health Conditions
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 1980s 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 help achieve a more balanced state, both emotionally and physically.