What is cannabidiol (CBD)?

Cannabidiol (CBD) chemical structure

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one among over 100 various compounds that can be extracted from the cannabis plant, being non-psychoactive. It has enjoyed a surge in popularity with potential health benefits. Unlike its more famous counterpart, THC, it does not get you high, making it a popular choice for seeking relief without the mind-altering effect.

There are as many forms of application as there are healing potentialities, ranging from oils to tinctures, edibles, and even creams. Recent research has shown that CBD is helpful in many diseases, such as chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and much more. Consequently, this chain of evolving evidence has skyrocketed into a wave of popularity and acceptance throughout the medical and general circles.

As we keep discovering all the magnificent benefits of CBD, it becomes clear that this natural compound could play a critical part in modern healthcare—a holistic way to wellness and treatment.

Examining cannabidiol (CBD) oil in bottle

Key takeaways

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis plant, unlike THC, which is psychoactive.
  • CBD products, including oils, tinctures, edibles, and topicals, offer various options for therapeutic use.
  • CBD’s popularity stems from its potential health benefits without inducing a ‘high.’
  • Ongoing research continues to uncover the broad applications of CBD for physical and mental health.

Understanding cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the essential compounds present in the cannabis plant. Mainly, it comes from hemp. It is more available from hemp because the plant contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. Current research suggests that it interacts with our endocannabinoid system to derive multiple health benefits, free from the ‘high’ effect often linked to using cannabis.

A study by Barnes, M P et al. (2006) found that Sativex can help with symptoms of multiple sclerosis and nerve pain. It did this without causing big side effects. Another study in 1980 by Cunha, J M et al. showed that giving CBD to healthy people and those with epilepsy had benefits. A study in 2007 by Collin, C. et al. suggested that cannabinoids, including CBD, can help reduce spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.

In a comparison of CBD and THC, CBD doesn’t cause paranoia or memory issues linked with THC. Englund A. et al. (2013) expanded on this idea. CBD works in ways that may lower pain and inflammation, and make us feel better emotionally. Several studies have backed up these effects.

The ongoing research and legal changes are making people more aware of CBD. We are learning more about its unique benefits. These findings are opening up new doors for how we see CBD in healthcare, pointing towards a more holistic approach to wellness.

The history of cannabidiol (CBD)

The story of CBD started at the beginning of the 20th century when it was first isolated. Since that time, research has been showing that it may possess some medical values, from reducing anxiety to easing pain. They indeed revolutionized our thinking about medicine, opening up new horizons for natural treatments. Today, CBD is widely used in various forms, with its potential growing almost daily.

Early research

First of all, the scientists looked at what CBD is. They found out that it does not work the same way as THC and get a person high. Such a discovery is big news. People began to use CBD to solve their health issues.

Cannabis sativa has more than 80 different parts. A unique thing about CBD is that it doesn’t have a lot of THC in it, but it can do a lot of good for health. For now, we know it’s perfect for stopping seizures. We’re still learning about other health benefits.

What is cannabidiol (CBD)?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an exciting compound with beneficial effects on health. It does not get you “high” like THC, a compound very widely loved for its medicinal uses. Studies are currently suggesting that CBD might help treat a wide range of things, from chronic pain to anxiety and epilepsy. Such findings open new doors in medicine.

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil vials and leaves

CBD works with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies to work its magic. It doesn’t connect with the most widespread key cannabinoid receptors initially. Instead, it kind of affects different paths. For example, one of them notes that CBD may help with spasticity in multiple sclerosis. It also might reduce the adverse effects of THC, such as feeling paranoid, while increasing memory.

In smaller tests, CBD’s antianxiety power was evident. Even with just nine people, its effect on anxiety was strong: So strong that a medicine made from the chemical in CBD is now fighting severe seizures in some syndromes—it’s been tested a lot in more than twenty studies, and it seems to be very consistently working well.

This is a giant leap, and approval from the FDA for the use of Epidiolex in treating severe seizures is something big. But, research keeps showing more uses for CBD. It’s being studied for conditions from arthritis to Alzheimer’s. The journey of understanding CBD and its potential appears promising.

How CBD works in the body

Learning about CBD in the body is looking at how it interacts with our systems. Unlike THC, it doesn’t make you feel high. But, it has a big impact on how our body works.

Endocannabinoid System

CBD mainly works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), helping our body stay balanced. The ECS manages many things like pain, mood, and our immune system. It has CB1 and CB2 receptors that respond to CBD.

  • CB1 receptors: They are mostly in the brain and nervous system.
  • CB2 receptors: These are in outer organs and immune cells.

CB1 and CB2 receptors

Even though CBD doesn’t attach strongly to CB1 and CB2 receptors, it affects them. This shows how CBD can manage pain, decrease swelling, and help with mood. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make you high because it works differently.

Serotonin receptors

CBD might also change how serotonin receptors work. Serotonin controls our mood and feelings like anxiety and happiness. By working on these receptors, CBD could help with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. This shows CBD’s effects go beyond just the ECS.

Scientists are still studying how CBD works with these systems. They want to use this knowledge to make new treatments. Lots of people are curious about CBD, which is why we need to keep researching its effects.

Potential benefits of CBD

Recent studies have shown that CBD has many health benefits. For example, it can reduce pain, lower swelling, and help with nerve issues like epilepsy. In 2017, using CBD oil reduced seizures in children with Dravet syndrome. This breakthrough led to the FDA approving Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine.

A review of many studies found that CBD might help those feeling down, anxious, or seeing things that aren’t there. A small 2019 study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed CBD could help adults with bad dreams, which is common in PTSD. All these discoveries point to CBD possibly making us feel better.

Dropper dispensing cannabidiol (CBD) oil

Furthermore, a 2022 study published by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggests CBD might lessen cancer patients’ sickness, throwing up, and pain. A different 2022 study from the journal Life showed a CBD and THC spray could ease pain and muscle tightness for those with multiple sclerosis.

CBD also seems good for our hearts. In 2020 a small study from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology highlighted that CBD helped lower blood pressure in men. Researchers think it might help our hearts beat better and open blood vessels. This could improve our heart health.

Scientists are also looking into whether CBD can help with addiction, sleep issues, and certain cancers. But, we need more studies on these topics to be sure.

ConditionResearch findings
Seizure disordersReduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome (2017)
PTSDReduced symptoms, including nightmares, in adults (2019)
Depression, anxiety, psychosisEffective symptom reduction (2020 review)
Cancer-related symptomsReduction in nausea, vomiting, and pain (2022)
Multiple sclerosisReduced pain and muscle spasticity (2022)
Cardiovascular healthReduction in blood pressure in healthy men (2020)

Scientific evidence supporting CBD use

Scientists have been studying CBD more and more. They find it might help with different health issues. So far, it looks like it could be good for the brain, reducing swelling, and helping with emotions.

Neurological conditions

CBD seems to do well in the brain health area. A 2017 study from The New England Journal of Medicine suggested that CBD helps with epilepsy, a seizure disorder. There’s a medicine called Epidiolex for certain types of seizures. There’s also talk that CBD might help the brain protect against diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Plus, a study from 2019 found it could make nightmares less for people who have gone through very stressful things.

Neuron receiving cannabidiol (CBD) effects

Anti-inflammatory properties

One of CBD’s big wins is fighting off swelling. This helps with pain and diseases like arthritis. Some say it’s been known to work since Ancient China, around 2900 B.C. CBD oil from plants has been shown might ease pain and stiff muscles for those with multiple sclerosis.

Mental health

CBD might be great for the mind, too. A look at lots of studies from 2020 found it could help with feeling sad, worried, and out of touch with reality. These studies also showed it might help with addiction and sleeping better.

If you’re thinking of using CBD, make sure it’s good quality. It should be tested by others to be sure it’s safe and works well. Keep in mind, that it might make your mouth dry, give you a dodgy tummy, make you less hungry, or very tired. Also, it might not go well with some other medicines, especially those for thinning the blood.

Different forms of CBD products

CBD comes in many forms, each meeting different needs. The ease of use of CBD oil makes it convenient, and it takes effect quickly when put under the tongue, for that pin-point relief, products such as CBD topicals in forms like creams and balms will work perfectly, providing relief where applied. They target specific areas and help with localized pain or skin issues.

And for those who prefer to take their CBD orally, there will be edibles—the second type of CBD delivery that gives users the freedom to take their CBD anywhere they want. Gummies are tasteful and very discreet. Another ease-of-use option is capsules. They make incorporating CBD into your daily routine a breeze.

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil capsules and leaf

Each of the forms of CBD has its pros and cons. Knowing these will help you make the right choice, according to what suits your life. Below, the table shows some key points:

CBD oilSublingualRapid onset, versatileStrong taste
CBD topicalsTopical applicationLocalized reliefMay not affect the overall system
CBD ediblesOralDiscreet, tastySlower onset
CBD capsulesOralConvenient, pre-measured doseLess flexibility in dosage

CBD dosage and safety guidelines

Figuring out the right CBD dosage depends on a few key points. It’s wise to start with a low dose and increase slowly, titrating your way to what works best for you. Clinical studies show doses ranging from below 100 mg to 900 mg per day. This large range highlights why custom dosing plans are vital. Things like your health condition, weight, and the type of CBD product you use also play into finding the right amount.

Recommended dosages

Because CBD products vary widely in concentration and formulation, there is no universal recommended dose. It’s essential to start with a low dose to assess how your body reacts. Many people begin with about 5 mg of CBD per day and then gradually increase the dose, typically in 5 mg increments, until the desired effect is achieved.

Potential side effects

Being aware of possible side effects of CBD is key to using it safely. While many people do fine with it, others might feel tired, get an upset stomach, or see their appetite and weight change. In rare cases, big doses could cause liver troubles. Checking in with a doctor regularly helps lower these risks.

Interactions with medications

Knowing about potential medication interactions with CBD is very important. It can mix poorly with drugs like blood thinners and sedatives, affecting how well they work. Talking to your doctor before using CBD ensures your safety.

Form of CBDRecommended starting dosage (mg)Common side effects
Oil/tinctures5-10Fatigue, digestive issues
Edibles10-15Changes in appetite, weight
TopicalsN/A (varies)Skin irritation
Capsules10-25Fatigue, digestive issues

Legal status of CBD in the UK

In the UK, CBD’s legal status depends on where it comes from and how much THC it has. CBD products from industrial hemp with less than 0.2% THC are legal. You can buy them without needing a prescription. But, if a CBD product has more THC than 0.2%, it’s illegal under the law.

Rules for buying CBD without a prescription are changing as more people get interested. In 2019, a report showed a big rise in CBD use. But, a study in 2020 published by F1000Research found that 37% of CBD products had too much ∆9-THC. This shows there’s a problem with the products being sold.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency says you should not take more than 70 mg of CBD a day. Health food shops sell CBD products that stick to this advice. There are capsules, edibles, oils, and sprays. They have different amounts of CBD in each dose. This difference shows why it’s important that products are checked and safe. The CBD market is getting bigger. Consumers and companies in this area need to know the newest rules and understand them.

Legal documentation for cannabidiol (CBD)

Personal insight

The growing body of research in favour of CBD for several health conditions is not only promising but revolutionary. I have been working in the cannabis industry for more than a decade now and hence seen how decisive the action of cannabinoids, including CBD, can be on quite a few occasions.

From my professional experience, I have seen CBD better the quality of living for many people who are otherwise suffering at their worst with chronic pain, anxiety, and even severe epilepsy.

However, caution and awareness should guide this course of using CBD. While the potential benefits are relatively high, it’s essential to understand proper dosages and caution over other possible medication interactions. More research is being conducted on the beneficial aspects of the compound in question, and I hope, with subsequent validation through serious research approaches, its future role in holistic health and wellness will open up.

Frequently asked questions

What is cannabidiol (CBD)?

Cannabidiol is a compound from the cannabis plant. It doesn’t cause a ‘high’ like THC does. Many use it for possible health advantages. Users often find it in the form of CBD oil.

What are the benefits of using CBD?

CBD may help with pain, lower inflammation, and boost mood. Studies look into its effects on anxiety and epilepsy. Many prefer CBD products from hemp for their possible health benefits without the effects of THC.

What is the history of CBD research?

CBD’s exploration began in the early 20th century. But, its use in medicine grew later. The UK has changed its view on CBD, with some products now approved for specific medical needs.

How does CBD interact with the body?

CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to help the body stay balanced. It affects specific receptors and may also impact serotonin, aiding in mood and anxiety management.

What are the most common forms of CBD products?

You can find CBD in oils, tinctures, edibles, and more. Each type has unique benefits. For example, oils under the tongue work quickly while skin creams target specific areas.

How should I determine the right CBD dosage for me?

Start with a small amount of CBD and slowly increase it. Watch how your body reacts. Side effects may include tiredness and stomach issues. Always check with your doctor, especially if you take other medicines.

Is CBD legal in the UK?

Yes, in the UK, you can buy CBD products with less than 0.2% THC without a prescription. But, items with more THC are not allowed. Rules are updated to keep CBD items safe and reliable.

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