If you’ve been thinking of purchasing some CBD and you’re like most people, you’ve been doing your research and wondering if CBD is right for you. If you’ve noticed there is an amazing amount of conflicting or just plain confusing information out there about CBD, you’re not alone. First of all, let’s be sure you understand the crucial difference between CBD and other cannabis derived products. Then we’ll get a closer look at the ways in which CBD is being used to treat various conditions, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, joint pain, inflammation and more.
Cannabis Versus Hemp – The Crucial Difference
The cannabis plant, which has the Latin name Cannabis sativa L. has a couple of different subtypes. One of these subtypes is the marijuana plant, which is often referred to as simply cannabis. The cannabis plant subtype contains the intoxicating compound THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (say “TET-tra-HIGH-dro-CAN-i-buh-nahl”). THC is the compound which is responsible for the “high” that people get when they ingest marijuana.
Another subtype of Cannabis sativa L. is the hemp plant. Hemp has been used for many thousands of years and was one of the very earliest plants ever grown for its use as a textile fiber. In the 1600’s, colonists in Virginia were cultivating the hemp plant which they used to make rope, sails for their ships and even their clothing. The hemp plant, unlike cannabis, has been bred over centuries for its fiber content and contains a negligible amount of THC, so little in fact, that you do not get any intoxicating effect from ingesting it.
The two plant subtypes, both cannabis and hemp, contain a class of chemical compounds called cannabinoids (say “CAN-nah-buh-noids”) and there are more than a hundred of these compounds in Cannabis sativa L. Because of its intoxicating qualities, THC is the best known of the cannabinoids and besides its ability to induce a high, it has some well publicized therapeutic effects. Another of the cannabinoids is CBD (or cannabidiol) and it also has therapeutic effects, but without the potential of an intoxicating high. Both THC and CBD are classified as cannabinoids.
So now that you know the difference between THC that comes from cannabis (marijuana) and CBD which is derived from hemp, you may be wondering what exactly is a cannabinoid? These are chemical compounds that act on receptors found in your brain as well as in your body and produce various effects, such as the regulation of inflammation, mood, appetite and pain perception.
In fact, your body naturally produces THC-like compounds all on its own, called endocannabinoids, which explains the presence of these receptors in your body. The receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are found throughout your body but are concentrated in the brain. These receptors involve movement and the body’s coordination, pain perception, appetite, memories and emotion and thinking. THC (the psychoactive compound) attaches to these CB1 receptors.
The CB2 receptors are more commonly found in your immune system and are involved with pain and inflammation. Scientists used to believe that CBD attached to these CB2 receptors but now more current research suggests that CBD does not attach to either receptor, but simply allows your body to use more of your own naturally produced cannabinoids.
Because you have these cannabinoid receptors in place, you can take advantage of products which contain cannabinoids and not have to rely only on the ones your body produces. When you take a product that contains CBD, you can get the therapeutic effects of the cannabinoids without the intoxicating effect that comes with products that contain THC.
CBD And Its Uses
Let’s look more closely at CBD and just a few of the ways in which this remarkable compound is being used:
CBD for Anxiety
A 2013 study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology outlined CBD’s many therapeutic effects, including its effectiveness in treating anxiety. Plus a 2015 review article in the journal Neurotherapeutics supported CBD’s use in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) This is especially interesting, as physicians will often advise patients not to take THC, as the psychoactive compound can set off feelings of anxiousness or even paranoia. CBD on the other hand, does not seem to have this detrimental effect.
CBD for Insomnia
Because CBD has the ability to reduce anxiety, this effect alone can help some people with insomnia, as anxiety is a major cause of sleep disruption. But CBD has been shown to increase sleep and improve insomnia in patients without anxiety. CBD is also useful in patients who suffer from diseases involving REM sleep disorders which is common in patients with Parkinson’s disease as well as those who suffer from PTSD.
CBD for Joint Pain and Inflammation
One of the major problems with opioid medications in the treatment of pain, besides their addictive potential, are the unpleasant side effects associated with these medications, such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation and other distressing symptoms. A 2009 review article in the Journal of Opioid Management concluded that the pain relieving properties of CBD provide a welcome alternative to opioid medications. Another 2008 journal article reviewed CBD’s effectiveness in relieving chronic, difficult to treat pain and concluded that the cannabinoids were safe, effective and showed great promise.
CBD for Depression
In addition to its effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety, CBD has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression, which often goes hand-in-hand with the anxiety disorders. CBD appears to help with both depression and anxiety because of its effects on the brain’s serotonin receptors, the same receptors targeted by the antidepressant drugs manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies.
Other Uses for CBD – Epilepsy, Neurodegenerative Disorders and Cancer
Besides CBD’s usefulness in the treatment of anxiety, depression, joint pain, inflammation and depression, CBD has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of epilepsy. CDB’s effectiveness was highlighted to the general public when Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a respected neurosurgeon and reporter for CNN, publicly admitted his previous bias against the medical use of CBD and came out in favor of it on national television, largely due to the well publicised successful treatment of a child with a rare seizure disorder.
CBD is also showing promise in the treatment of cancer, with experiments showing the compound can lead to suppression of the growth of many tumor types.
By now, you should have a good understanding of the difference between CBD, derived from hemp, and the intoxicating, psychoactive THC compound which comes from cannabis. You have also learned about your body’s own naturally produced cannabinoids and how your body’s cannabinoid receptors allow you to take advantage of CBD’s therapeutic properties over a wide range of conditions.
CBD is a safe and effective natural product that has tremendous potential to relieve a host of distressing symptoms as well as to provide effective treatment for many diseases, especially when you choose a reputable, trusted company for your supplier who not only guarantees our products come from the highest quality sources but also provides test results showing the active amounts of naturally occuring CBD and other cannabinoids.