CBD -- What you need to know
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent and the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid* found in cannabis plants.
1. It comes from the hemp plant, which is in the same plant family as marijuana. CBD is made from a type of hemp that's very low in THC, the component that's responsible for marijuana's mind-altering effects. The hemp plant has been used for thousands of years for building materials, textiles, and food products such as hemp seed and hemp oil--which is not the same as CBD oil (more on that later).
2. It's safe. Unlike marijuana, which contains large amounts of THC, CBD products made from hemp are not psychotropic. CBD won't impact drug tests, and it's safe enough for children. In fact, CBD came to national prominence with the discovery of its ability to halt seizures in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. And while both THC and CBD are considered phytocannabinoids, they interact with the body in very different ways. THC works by directly binding to cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). CBD doesn't bind to these receptors, but instead interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
3. It impacts a body system you probably didn't know you had. CBD works by interacting with the endogenous cannabinoid system or endocannabinoid system (ECS), a collection of cell receptors that play a fundamental role in the function of the nervous and immune system. The human body produces its own endocannabinoids--the highest concentration is in mother's milk. CBD works with the body's own system, blocking or reducing the breakdown of naturally occurring endocannabinoids.
4. It's not the same as hemp oil. CBD oil is different from hemp oil and hemp seeds. Hemp oil is derived only from hemp seeds, and does not contain appreciable amounts of cannabidiol; CBD products, on the other hand, are made from the whole plant, not just the seeds. There are thousands of varieties of hemp, and the cultivars used for CBD oil contain significantly higher concentrations of cannabidiol.
5. It's highly refined--in a good way. The hemp extract used to make CBD oil comes from cultivars that are already higher in cannabidiol. To further concentrate the active components, that material goes through an extraction process that involves CO2 or alcohol, in a manner similar to the production of essential oils. The extracted oil is then tested for contaminants and toxins such as heavy metals, as well as for cannabinoid content.
6. It works. Studies are proving the ability of CBD to stop seizures, calm anxiety, reduce inflammation, ease depression, and soothe chronic pain.
7. Dosage guidelines. Effective doses vary widely, based on severity of symptoms and the balance or tone of an individual's endocannabinoid system. Generally, though, doses start at 5 mg and may go as high as 200 mg. Start small, and increase dosage gradually, dividing the total amount into multiple doses--if that is effective--until you find what's right for you.