An Introduction to the World of CBD

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Up until recently, the first thing that would come to mind after hearing the word “cannabis” would be a beautiful – or perhaps notorious! – greenish flower with a pungent, and often fruity aroma. Fast forward to 2018 and while cannabis flower remains immensely popular in the recreational industry, the medicinal and wellness industries have embraced a range of products which maximize the remarkable therapeutic potential of the herb. Walk into a dispensary or visit an online store, and you’ll be met with cannabis oils, e-liquids, massage gels, concentrates, and even chocolate bars!

Furthermore, there are now two distinct types of cannabis: that which gets you high, and that which doesn’t. Or, to go by the scientific terminology, high-THC products and high-CBD products. The latter is not psychoactive because of how it affects the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), and this discovery has spawned a multi-million-dollar industry centered around CBD. The compound is also to thank for the slew of feel-good stories about medical cannabis in the media – CBD-rich cannabis oil is being used to treat children worldwide for intractable epilepsy, and in some cases has eliminated their seizures entirely!

Altogether, cannabis consists of at least 113 cannabinoids, with CBD and THC just two of them. However, cannabinoid research is in its infancy, and there are only a handful of cannabinoids we know very much about. This is an exciting prospect for the future, as researchers will be able to make specialized cannabinoid products to treat various conditions with no downsides. An example of this already happening is with anxiety – while the entire cannabis plant can have an unpredictable effect due to the THC, CBD is only beneficial for the mental disorder.

The lack of side effects with CBD has made it a promising treatment for several mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia and psychosis. This is rather ironic considering that cannabis has been viewed as an arch-enemy of mental health for decades. However, let’s not be too hasty – scientists have much to find out about the ECS and the full effects of cannabinoids on the body, and the lack of clinical evidence on CBD means it cannot be touted as a definitive cure for many conditions, yet. But, the World Health Organization has researched CBD in recent times and found it to have no abuse potential. So, there’s certainly no danger to trying it out.

Rest assured, CBD won’t give you the munchies or drinkies, and nor will it make you lazy! Those effects, as desirable as they may be for some, are reserved to THC.

Now, let’s check out a few different CBD products, and see how they can be beneficial.

CBD e-liquid

Believe it or not, there is a medicinal reason why people have smoked cannabis for decades instead of consuming it in other ways – it simply gets to work more quickly, which is great for those with acute conditions. Indeed, tobacco smoking among Native American cultures began several thousand years ago.

Thanks to science and technological improvements, the fast relief that smoking provides can now be administered without subjecting the lungs to carcinogenic punishment. The vaporizing process uses reduced temperatures, but still activates all the cannabinoids – in fact, vaping is more cost-effective than smoking since there is no burning. CBD vape oil and e-liquid is available in many flavors and potencies. Products made with full-plant extracts (from hemp) have extra therapeutic value because small concentrations of other non-intoxicating cannabinoids and terpenes also feature.

Vaping is popular with patients who have anxiety, as it can instantly soothe panic attacks, and also for managing pain. The benefits of CBD generally last around three hours when vaping, before a top-up is required. Many vapers use portable devices with USB charging functionality so they’re never left dry.

CBD topicals 

The ECS has been identified in the central and peripheral nervous systems. The former contains mostly CB1 receptors, while the latter consists of CB2 receptors, which are present in the body’s immune tissues. Hence, it appears that cannabinoids have immunomodulatory properties, which can be harnessed to improve the condition of the skin. CBD-infused topicals are excellent at capitalizing on these anti-inflammatory effects. 

Take acne, a notorious inflammatory condition that causes spots, redness and oily skin. For self-conscious people, and especially teenagers, acne can be a nightmare – that one spot or zit can ruin an otherwise youthful and vibrant complexion. However, break it down, and acne is the result of excessive inflammation which manifests in the aggravation of the sebaceous glands. Treating the skin with CBD helps to calm the immune system, which in turn reduces activity in these glands, renormalizing levels of sebum production. CBD also has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, so can be used to manage skin infections. 

CBD tincture oil

CBD oil is taken into the bloodstream via a process called sublingual absorption. The oil is dripped under the tongue and held for a few minutes, where it is absorbed by the tissues. This is a popular method of consumption as the onset of action takes less than 30 minutes, and often happens much quicker. This is typically at least twice as fast as with edibles and other products which require ingestion.

Once in the bloodstream, the CBD from a tincture oil can be transported all over the body, helping to reduce inflammation, pain perception and even symptoms of anxiety and depression. Oils are sold in a range of potencies, but it’s recommended to start off small, incrementally upping the dose as necessary.

CBD edibles

Those familiar with cannabis need no reminding about the popularity of high-THC edibles, which provide a much different and longer-lasting high. These lengthy effects can also be valuable for medicinal users, who aren’t in need of rapid relief, but need the benefits to last for many hours. Products such as CBD gummy bears are therefore perfect for those using CBD to regulate and improve sleep quality.

Edibles require some pre-planning, as they can take more than hour to kick in. Taking edibles on an empty stomach may speed up the effects, although this may reduce the potency. Therefore, some decide to consume edibles with a meal. However, what works for one may not work for another, so feel free to tweak the intake method to suit your requirements.

CBD concentrates

CBD wax, shatter and crystals are all types of CBD concentrates. These are extremely potent, and primarily intended for those who need very strong doses of CBD to benefit. Patients with extreme pain (perhaps due to chemotherapy) or severe anxiety often require hundreds of milligrams of CBD to enjoy significant relief. Some vaporizers are compatible with concentrates; others invest in a dabbing rig with a nail especially for concentrates. Crystals can also be dissolved into an e-juice to strengthen the mix, or even taken as an edible.

This article was written for educational and informational purposes, and is not a replacement for medical advice.