Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound that comesfrom the hemp plant. It is one of over 85 uniquecompounds found in hemp, known as cannabinoids.While its exact benefits and effects are still beingresearched, it is interesting to note that the UnitedStates Department of Health and Human Services holdsa patent titled ‘Cannabinoids as Antioxidants andNeuroprotectants’, which claims that: 

“Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageousto use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactivecannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”

Cannabinoids, which can be either consumed (phytocannabinoids) or producednaturally by the body (endocannabinoid), are chemical compounds that interact withthe body’s central regulatory system (the endocannabinoid system). This system isknown to manage homeostasis and affect bodily processes such as appetite, moodand sleep. 

CBD is an example of a phytocannabinoid. Although our bodies can naturally produceits own endocannabinoids that bind to cannabinoid receptors in both the centralnervous system and the peripheral nervous system, phytocannabinoids help tokickstart our central regulatory system and provide powerful benefits.“Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageousto use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactivecannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”

Where does CBD come from?

CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis. It is the secondmost abundant compound in cannabis, typically representing up to 40% of itsextracts. CBD is a compound that can be found in both psychoactive cannabis(marijuana) and non-psychoactive cannabis (hemp). 

However, most legal CBDproducts that you find on the market will be extracts from hemp.In contrast to marijuana, federal law allows for the cultivation, processing andmarketing of hemp and hemp products, which would include cannabinoids derivedfrom industrial hemp. Passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in2014, the Farm Bill permits the growth and cultivation of industrial hemp in stateswhere hemp is legal to grow. (Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014)

How does CBD work?

Our body’s endocannabinoid system was found to be directly involved in theprocesses that keep our bodies balanced day to day, including: appetite, painsensation, mood, memory, immune system functions, and inflammation control.Essentially, the system helps to manage homeostasis, balancing our body’s naturalconditions. This system is made up of receptors that are located in the brain andnervous systems throughout the body.

The body creates its own cannabinoids, calledendocannabinoids, to help support this regulatorysystem. CBD supplements these naturally createdendocannabinoids to keep the receptors working atoptimal capacity. Similar to how we use vitamin Cto kick start our immune system, CBD acts as akick starter to help the functions of the body’scentral regulatory system. 

Does CBD get you high?

CBD often gets mixed up with THC, which is another cannabinoid found in cannabis.CBD and THC are the two most abundant compounds found in cannabis. Yet, they havefundamentally different properties and benefits.

THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance, is responsible for causing marijuana users toget “high.” Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high. CBD is non-psychoactive becauseit does not act on the same pathways as THC. A 2011 review published in Current DrugSafety concludes that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor andpsychological functions.” 

While CBD can be completely separated from THC and CBD cannot get you “high,”there is still a lot of stigma as many people tend to mistake the two compounds. Justknow this:

"It is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD extractedfrom industrial hemp plants, as they only have miniscule traces ofTHC (<0.3%)."

Is CBD legal?

Yes, CBD oil made from industrial hemp plants are legal to be sold and bought in theUnited States. In 2014, Congress and President Obama signed into law the AgriculturalAct of 2014 (also known as the “Farm Bill”). Under Section 7606, federal law does allowfor the cultivation, processing and marketing of hemp and hemp products, which wouldinclude cannabinoids derived from industrial hemp. 

Under U.S. federal law, industrial hemp products (containing less than 0.3% THC) can becommercially shipped to all 50 states. 

What are Health Benefits of CBD?

Here are just five of the key health benefits of CBD oils: 

1. Pain relief 

One of the most celebrated health benefits of CBD oil is its analgesic (pain relieving) effects. It’s thought that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain and immune system to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Some studies, such as this investigation published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that CBD significantly reduces inflammation in mice and rats – but it’s not only rodents that experience these effects. A 2008 review identified that CBD offered effective pain relief without inducing adverse side effects in patients. 

2. Anti-Seizure 

PropertiesSeizures occur when there’s a dramatic fluctuation of electrical activity in the brain. Over the years, a number of high profile cases have raised awareness of CBD’s anti-seizure properties, but it’s only recently that science has been able to confirm this link. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine explored the effect of CBD medication on young adults with Dravet syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy with seizures that are often induced by fever. Those who received CBD experienced saw their seizure frequency drop by a median of 38.9 percent. 

3. Combat Anxiety 

While CBD is most commonly used to treat physiological symptoms, there’s a growing body of research that indicates it can also be used in the therapy of a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety. A study by the University of São Paulo found that CBD significantly reduces subjective anxiety, leading investigators to conclude that “These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in [social anxiety disorder] and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.” 

4. Fight Cancer 

Research indicates that CBD may be valuable in the treatment of cancer in a number of different ways. CBD as well as some of the other compounds found in cannabis have an antitumor effect and can amplify the death of tumor cells in both colon cancer and leukemia. In addition, investigations have shown that CBD can be used to stop the spread of cancer cells in cervical cancer cells. It is important to note that the vast majority of CBD and cancer studies are pre-clinical, meaning they’re not conducted on human or even mammalian test subjects, and the findings – while promising – should not be construed as conclusive proof that CBD can cure cancer. 

5. Reduce the Risk of Diabetes 

A rarely discussed health benefit of CBD oil is how it can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. In a study published in Neuropharmacology, researchers set out to explore what effect CBD would have on non-obese diabetes-prone female mice. Only 32 percent of the mice that received the CBD were diagnosed with diabetes, compared to 100 percent of the untreated group.In closing, CBD oil is an incredibly valuable medicine that can be used to treat a range of health conditions. While this article is far from an exhaustive list, it does highlight just a few of the ways CBD can potentially benefit your health.

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