You’ve been thinking about trying CBD, but don’t quite understand what it is and how it differs from marijuana. Here is my version of CBD 101 for the novice. At the same time, it’s a good review for those who use CBD regularly.
CBD has become a hot commodity, and especially now in these challenging times, people are looking to this product as a supplement and a way to relieve conditions without going out in public.
Here is a beginner’s guide to CBD.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, also found in cannabis plants, CBD is nonpsychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. Our products at Lost Remedy are made with hemp-derived CBD. We also use full-spectrum CBD, which contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum is important because the cannabinoids and terpenes work together to increase CBD’s efficacy.
CBD and your endocannabinoid system
Our bodies come already equipped with an endocannabinoid system (ECS). What is that? According to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “The endogenous cannabinoid system—named for the plant that led to its discovery—is one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”
Ethan Russo, MD, medical director, PHYTECHS, says, “There is hardly any physiological process that is not affected by it to some degree.”
Despite records going back almost 5,000 years that document medicinal use of cannabis, a generation ago little was known about the system. Physicians were, and many still are, unaware of the ECS and how it regulates our bodies. Russo explains that there are two primary endocannabinoids, arachidonylethanolamine (AEA), nicknamed anandamide from the Sanskrit word for bliss, and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG). More information than you want, right? I’ll call them CB1 and CB2 for easy identification.
CB1 is found mostly in the nervous system and brain. CB2 is found outside the brain and tends to monitor and regulate the immune system. When the ECS is functioning optimally, you’ll have a general sense of well-being and good health. Our bodies create endocannabinoids to stimulate the receptors. When the balance is off, the receptors can’t do their jobs. Illness or imbalance occurs. On the other hand, to kick-start the system, small doses of cannabinoids from cannabis can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors.
In fact, Dustin Sulak, DO, believes that regular small doses of cannabis can help moderate our central healing system, which in turn could prevent or cure disease.
Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals prescribed by medical professionals, CBD and cannabis work in concert to promote health and combat disease rather than isolate a condition, which often brings about significant side effects and additional problems.
What can CBD help treat?
The amount of research on CBD and conditions it might treat is relatively paltry, at best. But, as we become more interested in CBD, and as its status as a schedule one narcotic relaxes, more research is being done and will continue to be done.
Studies that have shown promise are related to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders. It has also been found to be effective for sleep disorders that stem from these issues. Chronic pain, joint and muscle pain from overexertion or injury, arthritis pain and nerve pain respond well to CBD because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Skin conditions such as rash, eczema and psoriasis are also candidates for CBD. Speaking of skin, CBD beauty products are a great way to moisturize and nourish your skin. Lost Remedy uses no toxic substances or chemicals in our topicals, just CBD, essential and carrier oils.
A big plus for using CBD to help treat symptoms is that there have been few if any side effects, unlike most over-the-counter products.
Choose CBD wisely
Not all CBD products are the same, so do your research. Here are four things to look for when you purchase CBD:
1. Manufacturing. Ask how the company extracts the CBD from the cannabis plant. If these toxic chemicals are present in extraction—propane, hexane, pentane and butane, which are flammable hydrocarbon gases found in petroleum—walk away. Fast. Two healthful extraction methods are done with organic, pharmaceutical-grade ethanol or a process called supercritical CO2 extraction. Look for that instead.
2. Sourcing. Find out where the cannabis or hemp originated. How it was grown, and the species; sativa, ruderalis or indica. Hemp easily accumulates toxins in the soil. If the growing environment isn’t clean, your CBD probably isn’t either. One of the best sources of CBD is organic-certified, hemp-grown farms in pristine regions of Europe. If you can find it, U.S.-grown hemp can be a good source, too. U.S. farmers are required to be certified by state departments of agriculture. Check a company’s website or inquire with its customer service to get that information.
3. Purity. Is the CBD made from the whole plant? Look for a label that says whole plant or full spectrum. Using the whole plant ensures that the oil contains CBD as well as a full range of primary and secondary parts of the hemp plant. These include terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids that enhance the CBD, making the benefits exponentially higher than with CBD alone.
4. Lab results. A product should be tested by a third-party lab to ensure that the CBD is what its label claims. A company willing to undergo scrutiny by an independent lab has nothing to hide. Look for high levels of CBD, with trace levels of several other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG and CBN to name a few. There should also be test results for potential impurities such as solvents, pesticides and heavy metals to ensure a safe product. Reputable companies will disclose their lab results if you ask or may even put it right on the products.