The hemp plant is comprised of a variety of cannabinoids, one of which is cannabidiol (also known as CBD), an increasingly popular and in-demand cannabinoid that has been linked to a plethora of health benefits. The demand for CBD from consumers is so strong that it is anticipated that the CBD market may reach as much as $24 billion by 2024, according to recent data.
CBD is a naturally-occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and is just one of over 200 cannabinoids that contribute to the plant's therapeutic properties. It is one of the more abundant cannabinoids in cannabis, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, unlike THC, CBD does not possess any mind-altering properties. THC is known to be the cannabinoid in the cannabis plant that induces psychoactive effects, while CBD does not. It is this characteristic that makes CBD so attractive to many consumers who seek the therapeutic effects of cannabis without experiencing any effect on the mind.
CBD's Potential Health Benefits
CBD has been linked to a number of medical and wellness benefits. Studies continue to show that CBD may be able to alleviate many issues, including the following:
In addition to the scientific research that has been conducted and continues to be done, there is also plenty of anecdotal evidence from those who have first-hand experience with CBD and its impact on their health. Many people who are looking for alternatives to traditional medications often turn to CBD as a more natural way to deal with their pain and discomfort.
How Does CBD Work to Alleviate Symptoms of Medical Ailments?
CBD's ability to calm symptoms of a variety of medical ailments has to do with its relationship with the endocannabinoid system in the body. This system is tasked with regulating a number of bodily functions and processes, such as pain, mood, appetite, and sleep, among others. It also plays a key role in ensuring that the internal environment of the body remains in homeostasis, or balance. When this environment is out of balance, any number of conditions can arise.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid (CB) receptors that are located throughout the body and brain, as well as endocannabinoids that bind to these CB receptors and signal that the system must take action to restore equilibrium. In turn, this may alleviate any negative symptoms that the body may be experiencing.
But in addition to these naturally-occurring endocannabinoids that are produced by the body, external cannabinoids - such as CBD and others found in the hemp plant - can be introduced to mimic similar actions. CBD works by interacting with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, and depending on where the receptor is located in the body, the effects will vary.
Types of CBD Oil
Consumers have a few choices when it comes to the type of CBD they choose to consume. Namely, CBD comes in three specific types, including the following:
Full-spectrum CBD - When CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, it can sometimes be extracted along with all other cannabinoids and compounds that are contained within the plant. This includes THC, as well as several other less-abundant cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Full-spectrum CBD oil essentially has the full spectrum of hemp compounds from the plant. Having all compounds extracted and working together in the body may produce what's known as the "entourage effect," which occurs when all compounds work synergistically to promote more enhanced effects in the mind and body.
Broad-spectrum CBD - Similar to full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD has many of the compounds of the hemp plant, except THC, which is removed during the extraction process. Those who want to take advantage of the synergistic effects of all compounds working together but don't want the psychoactive effects that THC induces may prefer this type of CBD oil.
CBD isolate - Unlike full- and broad-spectrum CBD, CBD isolates only contain CBD, and all other cannabinoids and compounds are removed.
How Can CBD Be Consumed?
Consumers wishing to incorporate CBD into their regimen have a few options in terms of how to consume the cannabinoid.
Vapes: CBD can be vaped by using a vape pen along with vape juice or pre-filled oil cartridges. A heating element vaporizes the CBD, after which the consumer inhales the vapor through a mouthpiece. Since the CBD does not have to be digested, the effects can be produced very quickly. Those suffering from anxiety, seizures, or any other acute situation may find the quick effects of vaping attractive.
Tinctures: CBD tinctures are liquid compounds that come in bottles with droppers that can be applied under the tongue, after which the CBD can be absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth and enter the bloodstream without having to be digested. As such, the effects of CBD by consuming it in this manner are often faster compared to other modes of consumption.
Edibles: CBD can be added to a number of foods and beverages, including baked goods, candies, and even water. Since the CBD must first pass through the digestive system, it may take longer to take effect.
Capsules: Beginners in the world of CBD may find the easy dosing and discreet consumption of CBD capsules helpful. CBD capsules are precisely dosed and can be consumed much like any other type of medication or supplement.
Topicals: For those experiencing localized pain or skin conditions, CBD topicals may prove to be useful. These creams and ointments contain CBD and are rubbed directly on the affected area. The CBD is absorbed through the skin and interacts with the cell receptors in the skin, muscles, and nerves to calm pain and inflammation.
More studies are needed to continue to solidify the therapeutic effects of CBD, but the current that has been conducted thus far is rather promising. Perhaps just as importantly, all the anecdotal evidence from people who claim that CBD has helped ease their pain and discomfort shows that CBD may have a justified place in the world of alternative medicine.