Researching, selecting and benefiting from CBD hemp oil can be a confusing, time-sucking task. We’re here to save you from strangling yourself with that laptop cord (or getting distracted by those Facebook puppy posts) so that you can get what you need. Get the straight-talk here about CBD, hemp oil, the benefits and also the differences.
lcome to the world of Hemp! As CBD hemp oil gains popularity and recognition for its medicinal + wellness properties, more and more information is coming out: Some of that information includes fantastic scientific studies and laboratory proof. But most of the information out there is downright confusing. There isn’t one simple answer for what is CBD (Cannabidiol). Worse yet, you’ve likely found quite a bit of e conflicting info, not to mention all this “industry lingo” that’s super confusing to newbies.
And if you’re seeking to learn about CBD as a possible solution to a serious health condition — your own or a loved one’s — you don’t want to be confused. You want to feel confident that you’re getting accurate, verifiable information.
Our mission at HEAL thy BODY is to provide sound, evidence-based information about plants that can help you heal. We’re here to give you real information and some much needed clarity to help you on your wellness journey.
So, buckle up and read on for what you really need to learn about CBD and what it can do for you. We’ll walk you through all you need to know to take advantage of the healing powerhouse that is hemp-derived CBD.
What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
Let’s back up a bit and start our definition with the cannabis plant family. Fancy Latin name: Cannabis sativa. This family has many different species of plant, most famously, hemp and marijuana.
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of 104 known naturally occurring chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant family. (There are very likely more than 104, but science is still catching up with nature.)
CBD and cannabinoids in general, have long been known to have medicinal properties and there’s ample scientific evidence that CBD hemp oil can be used for pain relief and to treat a wide range of ailments including things like anxiety, arthritis and even neurological disorders like epilepsy. (More on that in Chapter 5.) The effects of CBD are overwhelmingly positive.
You can get your CBD in primarily two ways:
- Hemp-Derived CBD
- Marijuana-Derived CBD
If you want minimal to zero psychoactive effect, and therefore little to no THC, then you want to go with a hemp-derived CBD. If you want both cannabinoids present in a ratio of 1:1 or 3:1 or even 10:1 CBD to THC, you can visit a dispensary where marijuana is legal and purchase a marijuana-derived CBD product.
Currently, the most popular way most people take their CBD is as a CBD oil tincture. CBD gets extracted from the hemp plant and then blended with a carrier oil. There are all kinds of CBD products such as tinctures, gels, gummies and more (more on that in Chapter 3).
CBD vs THC
A recent study demonstrated that over 65% of people polled did not know the difference between CBD versus THC. So let’s break it down.
THC is responsible for the “high” people get when they use marijuana. However CBD is non-psychoactive and won’t produce that high feeling. Both THC and CBD are found in the same plant (cannabis sativa) family and have the same molecules (C21,H30,O2). However, they have very different effects on your brain because of the way all those molecules arrange themselves and interact with the receptors in your body. (Kind of like siblings you’d never guess came from the same set of parents.)
Both THC and CBD have medicinal properties and play a part in the myriad benefits of medical cannabis use. The main thing you need to know is that THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. You will not get high using CBD hemp oil (or any other CBD product) to treat your trick knee, your migraine or anything else.
Remember when we talked about hemp and marijuana being different species of cannabis? Well both plants contain CBD and THC, but hemp has a high concentration of CBD and a very low concentration THC (around 0.3 percent) while marijuana has low levels of CBD and high levels of THC (between 5 and 20% or more).
If you live in a state or country with legal marijuana, you can even visit a dispensary to purchase a CBD/THC blended oil, edible or topical.
Your Body’s Endocannabinoid System
This may sound a little crazy because you probably never learned about it in school… but the human body has an intricate system of cannabinoid receptors and a variety of cannabinoid-like chemicals. It’s called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It’s a completely natural part of your body (that’s what the “endo” means, it stands for endogenous — meaning it originates from within, not from some external source).
It was discovered in the 1990s by Dr. L.A. Matsuda who was studying how THC affects the brain. The answer was, in a nutshell, that because THC and CBD are so much like other naturally occurring cannabinoids that our bodies produce, we already have receptors for them. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Science is still trying to understand all the functions of the ECS, but we do know that our endocannabinoid system helps our body balance a crazy number of internal systems. The job of the ECS is to help achieve homeostasis. Meaning, it’s basically the great equalizer of your body, helping regulate appetite, sleep, immune system functions and more.
So, our bodies have built in receptors for cannabinoids — what are they and what do they do? When we think of receptors, we tend to think of receptors in the brain. But your body has cannabinoid receptors all over the place: your brain, your gut, your skin, even your colon! We don’t yet know all the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, but we do know about two of them: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 has a high affinity with THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid and has receptors through your body including your central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, connective tissues and glands. This is the receptor responsible for the high marijuana users experience.
CB2 is found throughout the immune system and related organs like the spleen and tonsils. CB2 receptors are also found in high concentrations in your digestive tract.
These receptors sit on the surface of your cells and monitor conditions and send in endocannabinoids (the cannabinoids your body makes) to keep things working properly. The best studied endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG. Once those chemicals have done their job, the last piece of the endocannabinoid system comes into play: enzymes get to work destroying the cannabinoids that are no longer needed. Your body doesn’t save or store its endocannabinoids.
When you boil it down, your body’s endocannabinoid system works hard to get all the systems in your body functioning just right all the time. But, as we know, our bodies sometimes have trouble functioning due to genetics, environment, disease — any number of factors — and supplementing with plant cannabinoids can have a wide range of benefits.
CBD hemp oil works with receptors in your endocannabinoid system, however the CBD molecule has a much lower “affinity” with the CB1 receptor than THC and therefore doesn’t produce a euphoric effect. But CBD doesn’t stop it’s work with the endocannabinoid system. It also works with receptors in other body systems such as those for serotonin, which plays a big role in mood regulation. CBD also works with vanilloid receptors, which help regulate body temperature among other things, and peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs), which regulate expression of your genes and have powerful properties to fight disease when activated.
So, while you may have been skeptical about one little CBD molecule’s ability to help so many different conditions, now that you know about the ECS, it starts to make some serious sense.
Is CBD Hemp Oil Legal in the US?
In a word: yes. As of December 2018, CBD was finally taken off the federally controlled substances list and rendered completely legal to produce and consume in the United States.
This wasn’t always the case, however. For decades, the US government classified hemp and CBD that same way it classified marijuana, which was as a “Schedule 1” drug. (Other schedule 1 drugs include heroin and LSD.) That meant it was strictly illegal with no accepted medical use. Hemp CBD Oil got lopped in with cannabis oil and marijuana-derived oils, even though hemp-derived oils contain little to know THC and CBD itself is not psychoactive. *sigh*
Luckily for all of us, the times are a-changin! We live in an exciting cannabis rennaisance that is now bringing the medicinal benefits of hemp and marijuana back to the masses.
So many people now stand to benefit from CBD’s medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties — and with fewer side effects than some of our most common over-the-counter medications.
While the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) did not make going after CBD users a priority, it was still technically illegal at the federal level until December 2018. At the state level, things have varied greatly.
There are an ever growing number of states who have legalized cannabis to a greater or lesser extent, ranging from simple decriminalization, to making just CBD legal, to approving medical marijuana, and all the way up to full legalization in states like Oregon, Colorado, Washington.
The commercial production of hemp is now legal nationwide, in all 50 states. (It only took 81 years.) This means that hemp CBD is now legal (vs. marijuana CBD, which is still illegal except in states with full legalization).
Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) issued a statement shortly after passage of the farm bill underscoring the FDA’s authority to regulate cannabis products and said, “We treat products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products — meaning they’re subject to the same authorities and requirements as FDA-regulated products containing any other substance.”
This is great news for US farmers, who now have access to a new easy-to-grow cash crop (previously, any hemp oil in the US was probably grown in Europe). It’s great news for researchers, who will now have easier access to hemp for research studies and clinical trials and help to more quickly unlock all the potential uses of this amazing plant. And finally, it’s wonderful news for consumers like you, who are anxious to get their hands on the incredible therapeutic benefits of hemp CBD and CBD oil products.
In Article 2 of our series, we’ll take a look at the various kinds of hemp oil, so that you can select the specific type of hemp product perfect for you and your needs. In particular we’ll lay out the basics for why you want a CBD hemp oil, versus a hemp oil without verified CBD content. Later in this series, we’ll also discuss the importance of extracting CBD with pure CO2 rather than other methods, and how to determine this and other important factors with our 13 Things to Know Before You Buy CBD.
Next Article: What Is Hemp Oil? The Benefits of Hemp-Derived CBD Oil