WHAT IS CBD?
What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
It’s not a stretch to say that CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the most exciting and promising compounds currently being studied by the medical and scientific communities. Although government regulatory agencies have not yet ruled on the use of CBD to treat many of the symptoms and conditions it’s currently being investigated for, the FDA did make headlines recently for approving the first CBD-derived medication to treat certain forms of severe epilepsy.
In the meantime, misinformation and confusion about CBD still abounds due to the relatively recent emergence and widespread awareness of this fascinating compound. Let’s take a deep dive into what cannabidiol (CBD) is, and exactly what it does -- and doesn’t -- do.
What Does CBD Stand For?
CBD is simply short for “cannabidiol”, the second-most abundant cannabinoid molecule produced within the cannabis (hemp) plant. The most abundant molecule, of course, being THC: the psychoactive chemical famous for making users feel “high” (note that CBD does not have this effect). Keep in mind that your body already has an endocannabinoid system, an extremely important molecular system that your body uses to regulate and perform various critical functions. CBD binds to receptors in this system; our bodies were designed to interface with cannabinoids from the very beginning -- we even naturally produce them!
Cannabidiol (CBD) Facts
- CBD does not get you “high” (non-intoxicating)
- Comes from hemp or cannabis plants
- Is being studied for potential anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory properties
- Indirectly interacts with CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors
- CBD is totally legal to buy and own in all 50 states
How Does CBD Work?
As we stated earlier, your body already has a wildly complex endocannabinoid system that affects several different areas and functions. That system is rife with “receptors,” sites that await cannabinoid molecules presence. When the cannabinoid nears, the receptor will bind it to itself, creating a sophisticated chemical interaction that modern science is only just beginning to scratch the surface of understanding.
Unlike its sister molecule THC, CBD does not make you feel high -- but don’t think that a lack of psychoactive or intoxicating effects means that nothing is occurring. On the contrary, it’s very clear that there are many chemical responses that occur when CBD binds to those cannabinoid receptors. That being said, the endocannabinoid system is ubiquitous in the human body, affecting nearly all major functions in some way (especially homeostatic regulation). Because of this, it’s quite a task to discern everything that CBD does, precisely, when the binding occurs. That’s where the research is at right now: trying to solve that very mystery.
Though they share the same source plant family (cannabis), there is a huge difference between CBD and THC -- both in the effect they have, as well as the way they chemically interact with your body. Until recently, CBD was somewhat stigmatized and not taken seriously as a potential medically therapeutic agent due to its chemical proximity to THC (the chemical that creates an intoxicating “high”). Now that those barriers are coming down, CBD is finally being scientifically explored in full for the first time. When it comes to CBD vs. THC, let’s set the record straight once and for all.
- Legal to buy and own in all 50 states
- Indirect agonist of cannabinoids
- Binds to the allosteric receptor site
- Non-toxic and safe for humans and animals
- Highly psychoactive/intoxicating
- Has been shown to cause anxiety in some users
- Still illegal in many parts of the United States and the rest of the world
- Directly binds to CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors
- Binds to the orthosteric receptor site
- Not safe or appropriate for animals
News About CBD Potential Benefits
Not a week goes by these days without CBD grabbing a headline or two, and the news is fascinating as clinical studies continue to delve into the mystery of this unique compound.
Besides the huge amount of research being performed on CBD at this very moment (much of it funded by the United States government), anecdotal reports of happy CBD users have flooded the internet and captured the attention of the global media. Although anecdotal reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt compared to peer-reviewed scientific research, it’s hard not to get excited when you read the testimonials from satisfied CBDfx customers.
On top of all of that, the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an exhaustive report in 2017 on the public health impact and efficacy of CBD. Their conclusion? CBD is safe and non-toxic to use, even in extremely high doses.
What Is CBD Oil Used For?
Before we discuss some uses for CBD oil, we should clear up one area of confusion: what is CBD hemp oil, exactly? CBD hemp oil is simply the natural extracted oil product of the hemp plant, a non-psychoactive species of the cannabis family. Although CBD oil can also be derived from the psychoactive species (marijuana) as well, those oils can end up containing higher traces of THC, which is not ideal for all CBD users. That’s why all the CBD products found on CBDfx.com have been derived from only organic industrial hemp plants.
The human endocannabinoid system, which CBD appears to directly interface with, has a profound influence on a myriad of different areas and functions in our body. Therefore, the scientific community is hard at work trying to understand if -- and how -- CBD can regulate or directly affect our endocannabinoid system to provoke positive effects in the body.
The fact is that new research is being performed and published on CBD every single day, and we don’t quite know definitively how or to what extent it works -- but the potential is astounding. The financial sector is certainly betting on CBD hemp oil’s continued popularity: a recent Forbes article estimated that the CBD market will grow 700% by 2020.
Yes — although CBD comes from the cannabis plant family, just like its intoxicating cousin compound THC, you will not feel a “high” or psychoactive effect from CBD. Although there are tiny trace amounts of THC in most CBD products, the amount is so low that it is functionally impossible to get intoxicated from it. Therefore, CBD is legal to purchase and own across the United States. You can shop for CBD products with full confidence (and at CBDfx, we provide unique batch lab reports so that you can see exactly what you’re putting in your body, and in what proportion).
By all measurable results, CBD is extremely safe for humans to ingest. In fact, clinical trial data published by the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design showed that oral administration of CBD is safe even in extremely high doses.
That being said, some users do report mild side effects when using CBD. CBD will affect everyone differently, and you should always consult with your physician before beginning to supplement with CBD. Even when you do begin dosing with CBD, you should start with a small dose and work your way up until you understand how CBD affects your unique physiology.
Mild side effects from CBD are usually reported by users who took relatively high doses. Drowsiness or grogginess was the most common of these side effects. More than this, however, the most important consideration before taking CBD is to determine how it interacts with any drugs you are currently on. CBD may interfere with the way your drug regimen is working, so it’s critical that you have a conversation with your doctor to confirm that it’s appropriate to begin using CBD on your own, especially if you’re currently taking medication.
No — CBD will not get you “high” like the other famous chemical compound found in cannabis (THC). However, just because it doesn’t give you a “body buzz” or intoxicating high does not mean that you won’t feel an effect from taking CBD. Regardless, there is no intoxication involved. The World Health Organization has determined that there is no potential for abuse in terms of CBD usage, and it is considered non-toxic.
CBD affects everyone differently, but don’t go into your first CBD dose expecting to feel a “body high” or effect similar to THC-rich cannabis. It simply doesn’t work that way. THC binds directly to your CB1 and CB2 receptors; CBD, on the other hand, acts as a sneaky indirect agonist of cannabinoid receptors. That all means, in layman’s terms, that you won’t “feel” a prominent intoxicating effect from taking CBD like you would from THC.
Yes, anecdotal reports abound with users reporting beneficial effects from CBD use – however, the FDA has not yet approved CBD to treat any specific symptom or condition, and so CBDfx does not endorse any claims of health benefits or make any suggestion regarding our products’ use for those purposes.
The CBD molecule formula is C21H30O2, with a molecular weight of 314.469 g/mol. It’s a phytocannabinoid (cannabinoid derived from a plant; specifically, the cannabis species) that is “devoid of psychoactive activity, with [potential] analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic and chemopreventive activities” (source: PubChem, National Institute of Health).
As mentioned earlier, the CBD molecule is a mysterious one for several reasons. While THC binds so neatly to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, CBD probably does not. We do know that it stimulates endoplasmic reticulum stress and “inhibits AKT/mTOR signaling” — which means that CBD possibly helps promote the normal breakdown and regeneration of dead cells, processes known as autophagy and apoptosis.
This is the million dollar question: what can CBD be used for? We need to make clear the fact that CBD research is in its infancy, and there are only a handful of quasi-definitive CBD studies right now. Therefore, it would be highly irresponsible to suggest that CBD is definitely or directly linked to any potential medical applications. Right now, CBD usage is wide open, and people are purchasing it for a wide variety of reasons.