What is CBD?
The cannabis plant has over 400 naturally-occurring chemical compounds, of which over 80 are classified as cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD) and the more well-known THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. CBD is likely the most abundant cannabinoid, composing about 40 percent of cannabis resin.
CBD is sold in a variety of forms, including tinctures, sprays, oils, edibles, and topical creams; though, most people purchase CBD as an oil.
Though more research is needed, some scientific studies have shown CBD may have certain healing properties and can be used in the treatment of chronic pain,
inflammation, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and anxiety, just to name a few.
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
The main difference between CBD and THC is their psychoactive effect, or their mind-altering abilities. While THC impairs mental and physical functions and can produce a state of euphoria, CBD does not produce feelings of being “high”. In fact, CBD has been shown to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC.
Though scientific studies have shown THC to have therapeutic effects, the cannabis compound can increase the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety, induce temporary psychosis, and impair short-term memory and motor functions.
CBD, on the other hand, does not negatively affect memory or coordination, is thought to have antipsychotic effects, and is shown to improve anxiety symptoms, especially in those with generalized social anxiety disorder.
Because CBD does not produce mind-altering effects, CBD oil can be used in everyday situations, including social, academic, and professional environments.
What are the possible health benefits of CBD oil?
Though more research is needed, scientific studies have shown CBD may have a
number of therapeutic effects, including:
- Preventing seizures. Though research regarding CBD’s impact on epilepsy is still in its infancy, the American Epilepsy Society says the outcomes are promising. One such study showed an oral dose of 2 to 5mg of CBD per day, in addition to existing epilepsy medications, resulted in an overall reduction in seizures by nearly 37 percent per month.
- Reducing Anxiety. CBD may help people with anxiety disorders manage their systems by affecting the way cell receptors react to serotonin, a molecule that regulates everything from mood and sleep to bowel movements. Other ways CBD may help relieve anxiety include diminishing psychological stress and reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat and nausea.
- Relieving pain. CBD may help alleviate pain by acting as an anti-inflammatory and affecting brain receptors responsible for pain perception. The National Institute of Health is studying CBD’s potential to reduce pain caused by arthritis, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), muscle pain, and spinal cord injuries.
- Protecting nerve cells. CBD has neuroprotective properties and may help improve the quality of life for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s disease, and alcohol-induced neurodegeneration.
- Enhancing cancer treatments. In addition to relieving the side effects of cancer treatment, including nausea, pain, and loss of appetite, CBD may also aid in killing cancer cells, decreasing tumor growth, and preventing metastasis, or the spread of cancer to other areas of the body.
What is the appropriate dosage of CBD oil?
Though a wide variety of doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD have been reported safe, individual tolerance levels will vary. Harsh side effects were either rare or unobserved in people using CBD, though the most common side effects reported by users are tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite and weight.
Is CBD oil legal?
Since CBD is a chemical extracted from marijuana, a Schedule I drug, CBD oil is
deemed illegal by the federal government. At the state level, however, CBD is legal
where recreational and/or medical marijuana is allowed as well as in states that have approved CBD products with low THC levels.