by Lisa Maguire
What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, a chemical property found in cannabis plants. Most people think of marijuana when they hear the word cannabis, but cannabis actually has a few distinct varieties, the two main species being cannabis indica (hemp), and cannabis sativa (marijuana).
While there are physical distinctions between the two, the chemical compounds are also notably different. Hemp traditionally contains trace amounts of THC, the part of the plant with “psychoactive” properties that marijuana is well-known for, but high amounts of CBD, where the reverse can be true with marijuana strains.
It is important to note that in the wake of the gradual legalization of marijuana for medical and, in some cases, recreational use, the companies responsible for the supply in those states have had the freedom to play with different varieties and create new and more customized strains of the plants. This newfound ability to test the properties of different strains legally has led to a lot of new knowledge about the potential properties and benefits of both plants.
So what’s the big deal?
Formal studies on a number of proposed uses are on-going, but CBD looks to be a promising therapy for a number of issues. Small case studies, international research, and anecdotal testimonies have shown CBD to act as a potent painkiller and powerful anti-inflammatory agent which strengthens & balances the immune systems. CBD can also stimulate serotonin production which may alleviate feelings of anxiety.
How does it work?
Research in the 80s-90s led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, which is a set of naturally occurring receptors in the body that play a role in a number of bodily functions, including memory, appetite, metabolism, anxiety, immunity, female reproduction, the autonomic nervous system, pain recognition, inflammation, thermoregulation, sleep, and the response to exercise.
There are receptors located all over the body which help to explain its heavy integration into so many of the body’s processes.
Hold on.The endocannabinoid system? Really? This is starting to sound a lot like some hippie voodoo named after a pot plant.
Yep! Really! The research started out as a look into the effects of cannabis on the body, hence the name. Turns out, the body creates its own cannabinoids naturally as well. To think about it in reverse, if researchers had named the system the supplementary regulative system, and the compound RD4 (I’m totally pulling these out of the air, here folks.), then we might be talking about how RD4 was discovered as another property in cannabis plants. No pot-smoking hippie voodoo here, just happens that the body had this whole system in place with or without marijuana. Back to the good stuff!
The system’s primary function seems to be to keep the body in homeostasis. When an imbalance is found, cannabinoids are required to return the body back to its best state of function. As an example, there has been great success in treating severe epilepsy disorders with CBD. There aren’t any psychotropic effects on the kids, very little side effects have been recorded, and several patients have experienced immense relief, some even stopped having seizures all together! (As a forewarning, their stories tug on the heartstrings, but Charlotte is a particularly good case for familiarity. Check her story out here.)
The premise is that the presence of CBD in the body prevents the two types of cannabinoid receptors from becoming overstimulated, therefore keeping the body’s endocannabinoid system from being overstimulated and therefore no interruptions occur in the processes with which it’s intertwined.
Before You Start Filling Your Amazon Cart: Buyer Beware
One of the biggest challenges with CBD right now is the fact that the FDA hasn’t regulated its production. First and foremost, a number of scientific product reviews have tested various products for potency and a lot of them are far from what the labels claim. Several products tested for less than 1% CBD when they listed 10% or more on the label. Additionally, to be legal in the United States, the product must have 0.03% or less THC. That means the product should not make you feel “high”.
So how do you protect yourself from getting C-B-Duped? Well, HAC is now carrying products from the lines Medical Mary and Green Roads, both of which have third party testing done to ensure quality. Medical Mary is also organic and 100% THC free. When selecting a product, you’ll want to look for seals that indicate quality, such as GMP, Made in the USA, and third-party testing.
Remember:There is a lot of information out there on CBD. Some of it is really scientific and fascinating, some of it is junk. For questions or help sifting through it all, our sources are below, and you can always give us a shout at email@example.com
https://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system (We know! Not technically a scholarly website, but the author is a real doctor with real credentials!)