CBD for beginners

Cannabidiol (CBD for beginners) is one of the hottest things at the moment. CBD is nearly as popular these days as Bitcoin was a year ago. And just like the famous cryptocurrency, CBD seems more confusing than it actually is.

Let’s take a look at what CBD is, and examine whether it could help you or not.

What is CBD?

CBD is one of the 100+ cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that produce different effects in the human body.

You surely know that people get high by smoking marijuana. Well, marijuana is a plant belonging to the Cannabis sativa species that is rich in cannabinoids. The cannabinoid that produces the infamous high people get from smoking weed is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Now, even though both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, they couldn’t be more different. Each of them produces distinct chemical responses in the human body. Unlike THC, CBD does not get you high. Far from it.

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How does CBD work?​

You might be wondering why so many people are into CBD if the cannabinoid doesn’t even get you high. Well, CBD offers a wealth of benefits which we’ll examine shortly. For now, let’s see how CBD works.

The endocannabinoid system

You cannot understand how CBD works if you don’t know what the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is.

As you learned in school, the human body is made out of different organs and tissues that work together to keep you alive. To simplify our understanding of human biology, scientists split the components of the body in different systems – digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system, respiratory system – and so on.

Now, it’s a common misunderstanding that each system works independently. That’s far from the truth. Your grumbling stomach can make your heart race and make your palms sweat as you rush to the bathroom, so it’s easy to see how everything is interconnected.

What we’re looking at today is a system your biology manual didn’t cover, but that’s still part of you. Now, you shouldn’t get mad at your biology teachers for skipping the lesson on the endocannabinoid system. Thing is, they probably didn’t even know this system existed.

The ECS was only recently discovered – in 1988 – and some scientists are still debating its roles and usefulness. That’s why most schools in the world didn’t cover it. But there’s no denying that this system exists and influences your day-to-day life.

The role of the endocannabinoid system

The ECS is a biological system composed of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids – which are cannabinoids produced by the human body. The cannabinoid receptors are distributed throughout the human body. You can find most of them in the brain and peripheral nervous system, though you can find some in other organs and tissues, as well.

Scientists are still looking into the roles of the ECS, but so far they discovered that it influences the human nervous system, pain-sensation, mood, appetite, and cognitive process. Some ECS aspects that are still debated are its ability to influence fertility, pregnancy, prenatal and postnatal development, and more.

How the endocannabinoid system works

The ECS is made out of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids. To keep things simple, think of the receptors as locks and the endocannabinoids as keys.

There’s a key for every lock, and when the right key enters the lock, it opens a door. When the right endocannabinoid comes in contact with its designated receptor, it produces a biological effect.

How CBD influences the endocannabinoid system

But this is where the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant come into play. Plant cannabinoids – or phytocannabinoids, as scientists call them – have a similar chemical and molecular structure to those produced by the human body.

Their structure is so similar that some phytocannabinoids can activate the receptors in the human nervous system. Sure, there’s a key for every lock, but you can always use a copy if you lose or misplace the original.

And the good thing is, CBD has a chemical structure similar to that of an endocannabinoid produced by the human body. So when you supplement your diet with CBD, your body uses it just as it would use the cannabinoids it normally produces.

CBD benefits

CBD influences the ECS, so it has a direct impact on your wellbeing. Let’s take a look at some CBD benefits.

1. CBD helps with anxiety and depression

According to a 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) report, approximately 264 million people across the globe suffered from some form of anxiety. And sadly, this figure grows each year. The same report mentions that up to 322 million people worldwide suffer from depression, a figure that’s also on the rise.

Anxiety and depression are common mental health conditions that significantly affect the quality of life. Unfortunately, most prescribed anxiolytics and anti-depressants produce dangerous side effects. To make matters worse, some pharmaceuticals prescribed for these conditions can sometimes lead to substance abuse and addiction.

As a result, more and more people looked for alternative means of treatment to overcome their health problems. And cannabis seems to be one of the best solutions.

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Now, every stoner in the world could tell you that smoking weed calms you down, but the intoxicating effects of THC can drastically interfere with your ability to function normally. So people turned to CBD.

CBD helps with anxiety. A study published in 2015 revealed that CBD is a potential treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. In addition, a study presented in 2010 stated that CBD could effectively treat patients suffering from social anxiety. What’s more, an article published in Nature Magazine showed that cannabidiol can reduce the anxiety caused by public speaking.

As far as depression is concerned, CBD seems to be just as effective. According to a 2018 study, CBD can be a novel treatment for depression and associated disorders. In addition, a 2005 study showed that CBD could help those suffering from bipolar affective disorder, a mental health problem that causes periods of depression followed by periods of abnormally elevated mood.

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2. CBD eases pain​

The first mention of cannabis being used as pain treatment is at least 3,000 years old. Archeological records show that Indians used to treat pain with hemp preparations before 1000 B.C. and Chinese physicians prescribed cannabis for pain in 200 A.D.

As technology advanced and scientists figured out how to study each cannabinoid individually, they started to see how each of them could benefit humanity. And it seems that CBD can be used as a painkiller.

According to a 2018 study, cannabinoids reduce inflammation and interact with the neurotransmitters responsible for the painful signal, easing the painful sensation.

Adults should sleep seven or more hours per day. But unfortunately, sleep is often one of the first things you sacrifice to work more, watch your favorite series, or to spend more time socializing with your friends and family.

To make matters worse, you often can’t fall asleep when you want to, or you fall asleep but wake in the middle of the night and fail to fall back to sleep. According to a 2007 study, up to 30 percent of adults suffer from insomnia.

And this is where taking CBD comes in handy. A study published in 2019 revealed that CBD improves the quality of sleep. As a result, you’ll feel fresh in the mornings and more energetic during the day.

Another study, this one published in 2016, showed that CBD helps people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sleep better. 

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3. CBD improves sleep

Adults should sleep seven or more hours per day. But unfortunately, sleep is often one of the first things you sacrifice to work more, watch your favorite series, or to spend more time socializing with your friends and family.

To make matters worse, you often can’t fall asleep when you want to, or you fall asleep but wake in the middle of the night and fail to fall back to sleep. According to a 2007 study, up to 30 percent of adults suffer from insomnia.

And this is where taking CBD comes in handy. A study published in 2019 revealed that CBD improves the quality of sleep. As a result, you’ll feel fresh in the mornings and more energetic during the day.

Another study, this one published in 2016, showed that CBD helps people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sleep better. 

4. CBD helps with arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic disease that affects up to 91 million Americans. CBD is an option for arthritic patients looking for a natural alternative treatment.

According to a 2017 study, CBD is an effective treatment for chronic pain, just like the pain produced by arthritis. Furthermore, a study published in 2018 showed that CBD can be used as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

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5. CBD helps with seizures

CBD helps those suffering from seizures. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently accepted a CBD medication for the treatment of seizures produced by two severe forms of epilepsy – Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

According to a study presented in 2018, CBD administration lead to fewer seizures and also reduced the severity of the seizures patients experienced. In addition, CBD also decreased the adverse effects patients experienced after suffering a seizure.

6. CBD might help you overcome substance use disorder and addiction

Substance use disorder is defined as the repeated use of a substance that leads to clinical distress and/or addiction. Simply put, substance use disorder means you indulge in your favorite substance more often than you should, which might harm your health and/or lead to addiction.

Well, according to a 2019 study, CBD might be a good treatment option for the management of substance use disorder. The study showed that CBD reduces cravings and relapses in those who just quit using a substance. 

In addition, a 2013 study showed that smokers who supplemented their diets with CBD oil reduced their cigarette consumption.

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How do I take CBD?

As you can see, it’s safe to say that supplementing your diet with CBD oil benefits your wellbeing.

Now that you’re familiar with the numerous CBD effects that could help you, let’s see how you can consume it.

CBD is all the rage right now, so it comes in several different forms. This is an advantage because it allows you to tailor your consumption method to your specific needs or to your lifestyle. However, you can usually find CBD oil for sale at better prices than the other products.

CBD oils and tinctures

CBD oils and tinctures remain the most popular ways of consumption. Now, even though CBD oils and CBD tinctures look similar because they come in small stoppered bottles, they’re not the same thing.

CBD oil is CBD diluted with a carrier oil to improve its taste and make it easier to consume. Most manufacturers use hemp seed oil as a carrier, but you can find some that use olive, coconut, or MCT oils as carriers.

As far as CBD tincture is concerned, this is CBD diluted with alcohol and water. Unlike oils, tinctures also contain additional ingredients such as herbs or flavors for improved taste.

You can ingest both the CBD oil and the tincture by placing them under your tongue, waiting for a few moments to absorb the CBD into your bloodstream, and swallowing them. You can also use them to cook.

CBD e-liquids, vape juices, and vape cartridges

Vaping is one of the most convenient ways of experiencing the CBD benefits. CBD e-liquids and vape cartridges usually contain glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavors besides CBD. One of the great things about CBD e-juices is that they come in various flavors, so you can surely find one that matches your tastes.

CBD vape juices look and smell exactly the same as the nicotine ones, so you can vape them discreetly if you want to. Vaping allows you to experience the CBD oil effects in mere moments.

CBD topicals – Creams, lotions, balms, soaps, bath bombs

CBD-infused topicals are very popular nowadays, but you should be aware of their limitations. Will CBD soap ease the pain in your throbbing fingers? Probably. Would it ease your anxiety? Probably not.

You can use CBD topicals to treat muscle and joint pain, but they might not help with anything else.

CBD pills and capsules

CBD pills and capsules are the perfect dietary supplements for those who don’t enjoy the sensation of keeping oil under their tongues and for those who are looking for a quick administration method. These CBD products contain different amounts of active ingredient, so be careful to check their CBD concentration before making a purchase.

The main drawback of this form of administration is that it can take a while for CBD to kick in.

CBD edibles

CBD gummies are the most popular CBD edibles, but you can find CBD in everything from honey to drinks and chocolate nowadays. These products are usually affordable, and they have the advantage of being discrete and containing a precise CBD dosage.

CBD oil VS Marijuana oil VS Cannabis oil – what’s the difference?

You might have noticed that some products are called marijuana oil or cannabis oil instead of CBD oil. You might be wondering why that is.

Well, they’re generally different products. CBD oil is CBD in an oil base. The CBD in the CBD oil is usually extracted from industrial hemp, which means it contains less than 0.2% THC, making it legal across the U.S and most European states.

Marijuana and cannabis oils are usually whole-plant extracts. This means they contain other cannabinoids besides CBD. On one hand, this means they’re richer in flavonoids and terpenes, which is good. On the other hand, it might also mean they contain more than 0.2% THC, which might make them illegal in your home state.

You should always check the product’s ingredients before buying to make sure you’re purchasing the right stuff.

How much CBD should I take?

When it comes to CBD, the rule of thumb is to start with a low dosage. See how your body reacts to the CBD supplementation and gradually increase your dosage if you need to.  

Final Thoughts

CBD is currently the hottest thing in the wellness industry. But the thing is, this is not a fad that will blow over soon.

Apart from the studies that support using CBD as a dietary supplement, there are also a lot of reviews online recommending it for chronic pain, anxiety, acne, and everything in between.

Here’s the deal. CBD is not a miracle potion that produces notable changes at once. If you want to benefit from everything CBD has to offer, it would be best to take it regularly for at least two weeks.

The bottom line is, find the right product for your needs and give CBD time to produce its effects on your body. You won’t regret it.

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