CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of 113 naturally-occurring compounds called cannabinoids created by the Cannabis sativa L. plant species.
CBD can be extracted from one of two types of cannabis plants: hemp or marijuana.
Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the molecule that causes the “high” that marijuana is famous for, which means hemp-derived CBD will not get you high.
What Is CBD Used For?
More research is needed, but mounting scientific research demonstrate CBD’s potential to help ease symptoms of a wide range of maladies, such as:
- Anxiety and Depression
- Sleep disorders
- Autoimmune conditions and symptoms (inflammation, chronic arthritis)
- Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury)
- Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism, opioid addiction)
- CBD is not a drug and is not indicated by the FDA to treat any of these conditions (with the exception of a cannabis-based anti-seizure drug called Epidiolex)
- These are all small studies and most aren’t peer-reviewed and placebo-controlled (the gold standard of research). There are risks and side effects for some people with taking CBD.
How Does CBD Work?
Cannabinoids like CBD interact with receptors throughout our body via the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS. The ECS evolved millions of years ago but wasn’t discovered until the 1990’s so we’re just starting to understand its potential in humans.
The ECS helps your body:
- Maintain homeostasis (your physiological “Goldilocks” zone).
- Regulate brain cell firing.
- Control inflammatory responses.
The two primary endocannabinoids created by the human body to interface with the endocannabinoid system are Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG.
When you look at everything the ECS does and is capable of relative to human health and disease, 2-AG & CBD are a big part of the equation.
And when you introduce a “full spectrum” CBD extract containing a synergistic mix of beneficial compounds into your body, it can boost the ECS’s ability to promote, maintain, and regain homeostasis.
Again, CBD is not a drug and definitely NOT a cure-all, and there are safety risks for certain people … but it can help you get some relief from the aforementioned conditions.
Full Spectrum CBD Vs. Isolate
For consumers today, CBD primarily comes in two different forms:
- 1) Full spectrum CBD, which contains an array of beneficial compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils) producing an “entourage effect”. This means these other compounds working together with the CBD produce more of an effect vs. just using an isolate.
- 2) CBD isolate, in which all other plant compounds and material are stripped, leaving pure concentrations of just CBD.
A study from the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology found that test subjects who used full spectrum CBD experienced higher levels of relief, compared to people who used CBD isolate.
In addition, the results showed that full spectrum CBD provided enhanced effects with higher dosages, while the effects of CBD isolate maintained consistent with increased dosages.