You’ve heard about it, it caught your interest, but there’s so much varied information out there, that it seems impossible to tell right from wrong. Worry not, for in this article, I’ll give you a comprehensive look at what exactly is CBD, what does CBD do and who are the people that might find benefits within CBD products.
We’ll take it from the top - if you’ve spent some time researching the topic beforehand, you might have noticed that there’s a lot of confusion about some of the specifics surrounding CBD. Even the basic information, such as where does CBD come from and what is CBD oil can get twisted pretty fast.
For those reasons, we’ll take it slow and try to cover each point as objectively as possible. As you’ll see in just a moment, that’s not always easy to do.
Before we begin, though, I would like to also suggest that, if you find this article informative and develop an even deeper interest in CBD, do take a look at some of the top CBD oil providers in the industry. Never purchase from shady shops or the black market - reliable and trustworthy providers are the way to go.
Table of Contents
- 1. Once and for All - What is CBD?
- 1.1. CBD and Cannabis Sativa
- 1.2. CBD and THC - Some Common Misconceptions
- 2. The Effects of CBD
- 2.1. Anxiety and Stress Relief
- 2.2. Physical Pain Relief
- 2.3. Illness Symptom Mitigation
- 2.4. Drug Addiction Alleviation
- 3. CBD Products - A Tricky Market to Explore
- 4. Reliable and Trustworthy CBD Oil Options
- 5. Conclusions
Once and for All - What is CBD?
Let’s tackle the big one right from the get-go, shall we? After we get the definitions and basics out of the way, we’ll move on to some of the more expansive subjects.
CBD and Cannabis Sativa
So, then - what is CBD?
CBD is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant - a cannabinoid. Different sources will give you different numbers, but based on some semi-recent researches, it is believed that there are more than 100 cannabinoids within that same plant - CBD is just one of them.
Well, saying “just one” is probably a bit of an understatement - together with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), they make up a huge part of the plant.
One of the first misconceptions here is that “CBD is derived from weed, which means it’s illegal in most places”.
Well, CBD ISN’T derived from “weed” - the Cannabis Sativa plant group has two big plants within it. One of them is marijuana - in other words, weed. The other one, however, is hemp - that’s the plant from which CBD is extracted.
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CBD and THC - Some Common Misconceptions
Looking at what does CBD stand for - cannabidiol -, you’ll notice that it’s also often associated with another, before-mentioned cannabinoid - THC.
It is this relationship that makes CBD a tricky topic still, and CBD products some of the most controversial ones in the fields of alternative medicine and legal issues.
You see, THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid - it makes people high (or stoned - depends on your word preference) when they consume it. This cannabinoid is actually the main reason why some people smoke marijuana in order to get high - in other words, out of all of the chemical compounds found in the plant, THC is the one responsible for that effect.
Since both CBD and THC come from the same plant - Cannabis Sativa -, oftentimes when you’re looking for what is CBD, you might notice that both of them are grouped up into the same pile.
That’s a really bad way of looking at things.
It is true that both THC and CBD can be found in hemp and marijuana plants. If you’re ever searched “what is CBD oil?”, you might have noticed that some oil bottles say “hemp-derived CBD oil”, while others mention “marijuana-derived CBD”. There’s a big difference.
Hemp-derived CBD is the way to go. It is the CBD product that everyone talks about - these oils fall under the federal rules of not containing more than 0,3% of THC within them, and are quite a bit more lenient than marijuana-derived CBD ones.
Now, here’s another controversial take for anyone out there looking at what is CBD - the cannabinoid is actually psychoactive, too. There are many - and I do mean, MANY - sources online that will tell you otherwise, but they are objectively incorrect.
How can I be so sure? Well, it’s quite simple, really.
At the beginning of this chapter, when we were talking about what does CBD stand for, I told you that THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid - it makes people high. In other words, it alters a person’s mood, in one way or another.
Well, CBD also does that - users report feelings of calmness, relaxation, stress relief and so on (we’ll talk more about that in a minute). If it alters your mood and mind in any way, shape or form, it’s psychoactive - that’s the literal definition of the word.
There should be a point made in the counterargument’s defense, too, though.
You see, THC is very psychoactive - CBD is not. Its psychoactiveness goes as far as the definition does - that’s why many online sources simply claim it as a non-psychoactive compound. To put it bluntly, once you figure out what is CBD, and start using it at your own leisure, you won’t get high - not even by a long shot.
Speaking of using CBD…
The Effects of CBD
We’ve touched on the questions of “what is CBD?” and “what does CBD stand for?” pretty firmly, but it would be impossible to get the full picture without talking about the actual effects of the chemical compound.
Well, I should probably use the term “perceived effects” - none of the potential benefits of cannabidiol have been “confirmed” officially, and so you should thus take everything with a grain of your doctor’s opinion.
For the sake of continuity, let’s assume that all of the customers who’ve read an article on “what is CBD oil?” and have bought and tested the products are right about the benefits of such products. If that’s actually the case, and you want to figure out what does CBD do, I’ll give you a simple and to-the-point breakdown below.
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Anxiety and Stress Relief
No matter if you’re looking at what is CBD, or searching for some actual products, this is likely going to be the main benefit (read: claim) that you’ll come across.
CBD is believed to alleviate anxiety and reduce stress levels, if used consistently.
This does range anywhere from reducing everyday stress that you might experience because of work or personal life issues, all the way to anxiety disorders, depression or other mental health-related issues.
Physical Pain Relief
Quite a few people use cannabidiol products for physical pain relief. Granted, “physical pain” can mean a lot of different things - let me be more precise.
Most of the time, when you talk to someone who wants to learn what is CBD in order to alleviate pain, they’ll reference joint and muscle pain. Out of all of the different CBD products out there (of which there are many), there are actually specific creams and other topicals designed just for this type of use.
Also, pains caused by illnesses and some inflammatory issues. When you google “what is CBD oil used for?”, you might notice that there’s actual research that talks about the possible anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol.
Illness Symptom Mitigation
When it comes to the benefits of cannabidiol, if you’re still wondering what does CBD do, you’ll likely be interested to hear that this is actually the point that probably has the most scientific research and studies done about it.
Cancer, epilepsy, fibromyalgia… You name it! Granted, there are studies that contradict one another, but the general sentiment still stands - CBD might help people with seizures, mitigate cancer cell growth and spread, and help your body deal with various diseases, in general.
I probably don’t need to say this, but I’ll mention it just in case - CBD should NEVER replace actual medicine, especially given that its effects are yet to be indisputably proven.
Drug Addiction Alleviation
While this might be a less-talked-about potential benefit of CBD, it’s still worth mentioning in an article that talks about what is CBD.
There are studies that claim and show the benefits of cannabidiol when it comes to confronting certain drug addictions. CBD is believed to have resilience-like qualities, and might help drug addicts combat their issues.
CBD is claimed to have many more potential benefits, but the ones mentioned above are some of the main, most important ones out there. Now, with all of that out of the way, we should also talk about the actual CBD products, and how you should go about purchasing them.
CBD Products - A Tricky Market to Explore
As of writing this article about what is CBD, the FDA still does not govern cannabidiol products - to put it very bluntly, this means that companies can potentially write anything that they want on their product pages, and basically get away with it.
As you can probably imagine, this raises a few serious concerns. It’s also the reason why you should pay attention to only the top-rated and most reliable companies in the industry, and avoid any shady markets.
There are actually a few good rules of thumb that you could reference when choosing your CBD products:
- Third-party lab tests. Proper CBD products have to be tested by independent, third-party laboratories. These tests will show whether or not the product contains any harmful materials (toxins, pesticides, etc.), and if the levels of THC fall in-line with the provider’s claims.
- Hemp farming location. The vast majority of trustworthy CBD companies grow their hemp in the US, specifically - in Colorado. This means that the processes are regulated and watched over by all of the official institutions, and there’s no fishy business going on in the background. Note, though, that hemp can also be sourced from Scandinavian countries, too - it’s not too uncommon, and that region actually has even stricter rules than US, in some regards.
- Type of CBD. There are three different types of CBD products out there - full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolates. Full-spectrum CBD products contain a variety of different cannabinoids in them (THC >0,3%), and aim to create an “entourage effect” for the user. Broad-spectrum products have some cannabinoids in them (in addition to CBD, of course), but are usually THC-free. Isolates are pure CBD products - they are completely THC-free, and contain no other cannabinoids other than cannabidiol itself.
- Extraction method. There are different ways of how you can extract CBD from the hemp plant. The most popular of these methods, arguably, is the CO2 extraction - that said, you should research the specific extraction methods of the brand that you’ve chosen.
Now, we know what is CBD oil used for, and how to distinguish proper products from frauds. All that’s left to do is talk about some of the most reliable options as far as CBD providers go.
Reliable and Trustworthy CBD Oil Options
If you’d like to see a full list of the top-rated CBD brands out there, you can find one here. That said, the top 3 brands that are currently dominating the industry are Charlotte’s Web, cbdMD and CBDistillery.
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Table: Top 3 CBD oil providers of the industry
Let’s take a brief look at each one of them, shall we?
- Charlotte’s Web. The company offers potent CBD oil that actually has a reputation of being one of the better-tasting oils on the market. The hemp used to create the oil is grown and farmed in the US, and Charlotte’s Web maintains a natural mindset towards their production processes, overall.
- cbdMD. Broad-spectrum CBD products that have “undetectable” levels of THC within them. All products are tested by independent, third-party labs, and the hemp is sourced from within the US.
- CBDistillery. Huge variety of products, all of which are independently-tested. Coconut oil as the carrier oil for the CBD products (which is great). A reliable and great reputation-maintaining brand.
Well, that’s that - as mentioned earlier, if you’re still not sure what is CBD oil used for and where you could get it from, do make sure to check out a full list of providers here.
To this day, CBD is still a mystery to many. Even though there’s a lot of research coming through each and every single day, most people are still careful with their use of cannabidiol-based products.
That’s actually really good. Being careful, you’ll be able to “test the waters”, while also avoiding any shady brands and shops that might try to sell you who-knows-what.
Remember - trust only the fact-checked, reliable companies! With that, I hope that this article was informative to you, and that you now know what is CBD and how you should go about finding the best products for yourself.
Contributed by Leslie Mudd, Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist
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7. Claudia Calpe-López, M. Pilar García-Pardo, and Maria A. Aguilar: 'Cannabidiol Treatment Might Promote Resilience to Cocaine and Methamphetamine Use Disorders: A Review of Possible Mechanisms'