If you’ve ever wanted to know more about CBD health benefits -what it can do for you, and how it works, this article will cover all the bases.
You’ll learn about its benefits for different types of chronic pain and many other ailments. You'll also discover what delivery options are available and how to choose the best one for you.
Let's begin by explaining what CBD is so you have a better understanding of how it can improve the quality of your life.
CBD is a chemical compound found in cannabis. It stands for Cannabidiol.
It’s one of over 100 compounds that can be extracted from the resinous flowers on the cannabis plant. It has been used by humans for centuries as medicine to treat all sorts of ailments.
This gooey resin is concentrated around dense clusters of flowers (commonly called buds). The buds are covered with tiny mushroom-shaped structures known as trichomes.
Trichomes protect the cannabis plant from UV radiation. Trichomes are glandular and have a treasure trove of medicinal compounds, including CBD, THC, and other aromatic terpenes.
The trichome oil also has antifungal, antibacterial, and insecticidal properties that repel pests and predators. The resin is sticky and helps to protect the plant by trapping insects.
CBD versus THC
CBD is not what gets you “high”. It's THC or tetrahydrocannabinol that is psychoactive.
CBD is non-addictive, so you don't need to worry about developing a “habit” from its use.
CBD oil comes from these resinous trichomes of the cannabis flower. But, there are many different strains or varietals of the plant. The amount of CBD in the flowers depends on which strain you harvest.
Choose a CBD-Rich Cannabis Strain
It is important to choose a CBD-rich cannabis strain.
Low-resin industrial hemp, which is legally defined as Cannabis has less than 0.03 percent THC. It has fewer trichomes (and thus, less oil) than high-resin strains do.
Most high-resin strains are THC-dominant with little CBD. But there are a few CBD-dominant strains with just a little THC.
These strains are mainly grown to harvest cannabidiol
- Charlotte's Web
- Valentine X
Methods of Extracting the CBD Oil
Once you have a CBD-rich source, you then extract the oil.
The purpose of this extraction is to make the CBD and other beneficial components of the flower available in a highly concentrated form.
Because the cannabinoids are naturally oily, separating the CBD from the plant material creates a thick, potent oil.
CBD is soluble in both oil and alcohol. Thus, the process of extraction usually uses a chemical that can dissolve an oil or alcohol-based compound. These chemicals include supercritical CO2, ethanol, hydrocarbons like butane, and common olive oil.
CO2 extraction is one of the safest methods, and it’s the one most commonly used commercially. Under high pressure and fluctuating temperature, CO2 becomes a liquid that can flush out the active ingredients of the plant matter.
This method is very effective because each compound in the oil can only be extracted by CO2 under very specific temperatures and pressures. This means you can fine-tune the process to extract pure CBD instead of a chemical stew.
Ethanol extraction has been used in many cultures for centuries. In 1854, the US Pharmacopeia recommended ethanol-based tinctures of “Indian hemp” to treat many ailments (including anxiety, depression, pain, and even muscle spasms).
Until 1937, when the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, these tinctures were commonly sold and used by the public, and in recent years, ethanol extraction has once again become popular.
Today, food-grade grain alcohol is used to create very potent, high-quality CBD-rich oil suitable for oral ingestion.
Hydrocarbon extraction (such as butane, hexane, or propane) has some major advantages as well as disadvantages compared to the other methods.
When done properly, this technique is very effective at separating cannabinoids and terpenes from unwanted plant components like chlorophyll.
However, the hydrocarbons are highly flammable. The potent concentrates of this extraction method, which are inhaled or “vaped,” can be very harmful to the user, especially if they have compromised immune systems.
Finally, olive oil extraction is simple and cheap – and you can do it at home! Heat the plant matter in the oven. This will turn THCA into THC and CBDA into CBD. Steep the flowers and leaves in the olive oil.
Then sift, strain, and separate the oil from what’s left of the plant.
Note: This process doesn’t strain out the THC, so this product can produce a “high.” Cannabis-infused olive oil is perishable and should be stored in a dark, cool place so it doesn’t spoil.
CBD Health Benefits – How CBD Can Improve Your Life
CBD has been used for thousands of years in many cultures as a medicine.
Ancient Sacred Plant
In the fourth Veda, it is written that Cannabis is a sacred plant that relieves anxiety. According to legend Shiva compassionately gave cannabis to humans to release us from pain and suffering.
People today are looking for safer alternatives to prescription drugs and their often harsh side effects. CBD has been proven to provide relief from many chronic conditions without any harmful side effects.
Let’s take a closer look at just a few ways CBD could help improve the quality of your life:
CBD creates anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that quickly help with pain management. It’s been studied in relation to reducing cancer pain, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia,
arthritis, migraines, and other body pain, particularly back and neck pain.
CBD interacts with receptors found in your central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
It is believed CBD alters serotonin signals in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in your overall mental health.
Low serotonin levels have been directly associated with depression and anxiety. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that CBD reduced stress in rats, which means it could be used for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Inflammation is a natural response to injury. Chronic inflammation is a prolonged response that can negatively impact tissues and organs.
Chronic inflammation is found with many diseases and disorders, like Crohn’s disease, cancer, ulcerative colitis, asthma, and diabetes.
A 2015 review in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry found that CBD reduces inflammation relatively quickly.
CBD is thought to interact with special receptors found mostly in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
A 2014 study found CBD produced an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect. Another 2018 review found that CBD can reduce stress if depression is stress-related.
Autoimmune disorders are where the body’s immune system gets mixed up and thinks its cells are the invaders. Then, it goes to work attacking different areas of the body as if they were diseased. CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, so it may help with autoimmune disorders.
Diabetes and Obesity
Diabetes is an inflammatory condition and CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
A 2016 study, published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation, found that CBD-treated mice showed a reduction in pancreatic inflammation and developed diabetes later than mice who didn’t receive the compound.
They also showed a reduction in immune-cell activity, which can cause inflammation. CBD has shown promise in lowering insulin resistance and moderating blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes who are not taking insulin.
Anti-psychotic – Can help with Alcoholism and PTSD
A 2019 review of several studies found that CBD showed antipsychotic properties. It was also shown to reduce the addictive effects of many common drugs.
Several recent studies have shown that CBD can help with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It can help with symptoms like nightmares and replaying negative memories.
These studies looked at CBD as a stand-alone treatment and along with traditional medication or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Reduce Cardiovascular Disorders (arrhythmia, atherosclerosis)
CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects may be able to reduce some of the risks of cardiovascular disorders like high blood pressure.
In a 2009 study, CBD did reduce the blood pressure of rats exposed to a stressful stimulus. In 2017, a study showed reduced blood pressure in people compared with a placebo.
Skin Disorders (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)
Topical CBD reduces oil production, provides moisture to the skin, and may relieve pain and itching. These products show encouraging results in pain relief caused by certain skin disorders.
CBD also has proven neuroprotective effects, meaning that it protects your nerve cells and system. Several academic research centers are now investigating CBD’s anti-cancer effects.
CBD is available in many different forms. Before you choose which one is best suited for you, here’s a quick overview of currently available options.
Let’s take a closer look:
Capsules are used for the systemic treatment of conditions such as seizures or digestive issues. They are also ingested to help with a variety of other health problems, including acne, anorexia, and even glaucoma.
Remember that you must allow enough time for the capsule to dissolve in your stomach and be distributed throughout your body by your bloodstream.
When you swallow a capsule, it’s absorbed through your intestines and sent to the liver. It takes about an hour to feel the effects if you take it on an empty stomach, and up to three hours if you’ve eaten recently. This means don’t take more until after at least 3-4 hours have passed.
The psychoactive effects of a capsule subside after around six hours in the average person. Other effects may last up to twelve hours. This longer-acting effect makes capsules suitable for many chronic conditions.
Like capsules, gummy edibles first must be digested and pass through the liver before they begin to take effect. Again, remember not to take more until at least three hours have passed.
Many studies have shown that CBD, through oral spray specifically that has a combination of CBD and THC, has been proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce muscle spasticity in those suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Tinctures are made with a solvent like ethanol or sesame or olive oil. They’re applied into the mouth or under the tongue. These doses are absorbed directly into the blood vessels in the mouth.
How it works: You spray or drop the liquid onto the skin in your mouth and wait at least 1-2 minutes for it to absorb before you swallow. If you just swallow immediately, it’s going to take much longer to have an effect, like a capsule or edible does. It’s best not to eat or drink immediately before or after taking a tincture.
Tinctures take between 15 minutes to an hour to have full effect. They last anywhere between six to eight hours.
Tip: Always start with the lowest dose possible if you are new to CBD. 2.5 to 5.0 milligrams are a good starting dose for most people. Pay close attention to the label so you’ll be certain exactly how many cannabinoids you’re getting per dose.
Inhaling CBD is the fastest way of administering the drug.
The chemicals are sent straight to the brain before they pass through the liver, so they take effect within seconds to minutes.
Most effects usually dissipate within two to three hours. The short onset and duration make this method good for acute problems like nausea.
The fast onset also allows people to adjust their dose quickly. Even if you do get a “high,” it won’t last very long and you can adjust the next dose accordingly.
One thing to consider, vaping may carry unique risks as it hasn't been proven whether it's safe to vape.
Creams, lotions, and gels
These topical products are rubbed onto the skin to provide quick pain relief for muscles and joints.
The CBD is not usually absorbed into the bloodstream in any significant amount, so you don’t need to worry about getting “high” or causing side effects.
What You Need to Know
We encourage our readers to seek out products made from the unfertilized flower tops of high-resin, CBD-rich cannabis. It is better suited for extracting medicinal oil than is low-resin fiber hemp, or industrial hemp grown for seed oil or protein.
Plant breeders have been creating high-resin cannabis varietals with CBD levels over ten percent while keeping the THC under 0.3 percent.
Another problem: some of the highly processed hemp products also contain toxic solvent residues, corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and other contaminants.
How do you know which CBD products are safe?
Consumer Reports suggests using products made in states where medicinal marijuana is legalized. Those tend to have stricter standards and regulations. If you live in a “CBD-Only” state, choose CBD products made with American-grown hemp.
Choose full-spectrum, CBD-rich oil extracts instead of products labeled “pure CBD” or “no THC.”
Full-spectrum means it contains several cannabis compounds, including a little THC. If THC is illegal in your state, look for “broad spectrum” CBD oil products that still contain other cannabinoids (but no THC).
Here are some things you should avoid when choosing a CBD product:
Companies that make grandiose promises or explicit health claims. This is not allowed by the FDA.
CBD hemp oil vape cartridges are made with toxic thinning agents like propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol. Also, avoid flavoring agents and other toxic additives
Poor-quality CBD-infused gummies made with corn syrup and artificial colors
Brands that claim their CBD is extracted from the hemp seed and/or stalk. CBD is not found in hempseed and very little is found in the stalks.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact any CBD company you are considering purchasing through. Ask questions before deciding to buy to ensure you are properly informed.
CBD offers many health benefits, including pain management as well as reducing anxiety and depression.
But CBD goes far beyond that. It has been proven to help reduce symptoms related to cancer (as well as the side effects of cancer treatment such as nausea and vomiting) and much more.
Further, recent research has linked CBD to many benefits relating to the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure!
And best of all, regardless of your reasons for experimenting with CBD, it is known to carry little to no side effects.
I hope this post has provided with you better insight as to how CBD can help improve your quality of life.