There is no denying that Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained attention globally, and you may have even seen it as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee, or a "cure" for any number of diseases or disorders. So what exactly is CBD? Why is it suddenly so popular? What is the difference between CBD and Marijuana/THC?
Well, first things first, you have to understand what CBD is and where it comes from, only then can you begin to understand how CBD works so well within your body. The CBD industry came out of nowhere, one day you were driving down the highway and you noticed a sign in the local gas station “CBD Here”, and next thing you know, products are available on every website in every state in the US. But what is CBD? How do I know what brand to buy from, and if it is safe for me to use?
With so many new products and options available, it’s hard not to have a million questions. But first, let's tackle the big question on everyone’s mind!
Will CBD Get Me “High”?
First things first: CBD is NOT ∆9- tetrahydrocannabinol (aka ∆9-THC), it will not get you “high” or “stoned”, but it does help with anxiety and stress, so you may feel a bit more relaxed after consuming CBD. You will often hear the term “cannabis”, and while “cannabis” is often used by recreational consumers of ∆9-THC rich products, the term “cannabis” is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. All plants within the cannabis genus contain compounds called “phytocannabinoids” and there are over 60+ phytocannabinoids that have been identified and structurally characterized. The most potent psychoactive agents derived from cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Other plant-derived cannabinoids include CannaBiNol (CBN) and CannaBiDiol (CBD).
The most well known are of course ∆9-THC and CBD. And THC is the only one that gets you “high”.
So, let’s break down the Cannabis Plant:
The leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plants are used to make cannabinoid rich oils, these oils are used in tinctures, gummies, creams and other health and wellness products. Female plants with ∆9-THC rich profiles (generally 15-20% ∆9-THC) are considered “marijuana”, the oil produced from this ∆9-THC rich plant are used to induce a psychoactive effect in the human body. CBD oils are made from the Industrial Cannabis (or “Hemp”) plants, which contain, at most, 0.3% ∆9-THC*. That’s why CBD oils do not get you high.
You will often see products with “THCa” listed on their nutritional information profile – the “a” that is listed in “THCa” refers to the carbolic acid present in the molecular structure. THCa will not get you “high” if consumed raw, THCa is the precursor to the intoxicating THC compound. In order to produce THC, the cannabis plant material needs to be exposed to heat, or some other driving force, that is capable of initiating thermal decarboxylation – the process through which THCA loses its acidic carbonyl group to become THC. If you are planning on consuming a THCa rich profile, remember that the introduction of heat will isomerize into ∆9-THC, and this new molecule will get you “High” in greater percentages.
It’s easy to get caught up with the science behind the CBD industry, especially when you’re just trying to figure out how CBD oil can do so much, from reducing tumors to reducing anxiety and all without the high of the marijuana and or the hangover often associated with alcohol. But, even though the science can be complex, learning about the way CBD oils interact with your body’s chemistry is fascinating!
Our Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Humans (all mammals, actually) naturally produce compounds called “endocannabinoids.” Endo means “within”– as in, within our bodies. All these compounds work together to keep your body’s systems (Circulatory system / Cardiovascular system, Digestive system, Excretory system, Endocrine system, Integumentary system / Exocrine system: ...
Immune system and lymphatic system, Muscular system, Nervous system, Renal system and Urinary system) functioning normally, due to an interconnected network of receptors inside your body called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Phytocannabinoids like CBD (phyto meaning “plant”–as in, a compound that occurs naturally in a plant) work with the Endocannabinoid System. Basically, if you regularly deplete yourself through stressful workdays and activity-filled weekends, a CBD oil can help. If your body is suffering from uncontrolled generative cell growth (aka Cancer), CBD will communicate directly with the CB1 & CB2 receptors that can help target that cellular growth. When dealing with diseases and disorders of the body such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis (MS), CBD can act as an anti-inflammatory agent, as well as help with the creation of neurons.
CBD is often referred to as a “snake oil”, but in truth, it’s a Balance Serum that helps the human body to communicate effectively and efficiently with all of the body’s systems.
Understanding what you are buying: Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil
Many of the CBD products you will shop, are made from “hemp extract oil” or “CBD Oil” — and these descriptors are important as they refer to phytocannabinoid rich oils extracted from the trichomes, leaves and flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. Now you may also come across products on ecommerce sites like Amazon that make reference to “hemp seed oil.” - despite sounding exactly the same (confusing), hemp seed oil is actually a different thing.
Hemp seed oil, also sometimes called “hemp oil” by misleading ecommerce sites, is derived from the seeds of the industrial cannabis/hemp plants. Now to be clear, “Hemp Seed Oil” is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, so it can do wonders for your skin, but beyond that it doesn’t have the same benefits as a CBD oil because it does not contain the phytocannabinoids that interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system. It’s of great important to understand the difference between “Hemp Seed Oil” and “CBD Oil” if you are looking to find a homeopathic and natural solution for disease or disorders in your body.
Understanding this simple distinction will ensure that you are buying the correct oils for your body’s needs.
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