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What is CBD?

As you dive into the world of cannabidiol, you’ll discover countless products.

Before you flood your shopping cart with CBD oils and topicals, it’s best to understand the basics surrounding CBD. Read along to learn everything there is to know about cannabidiol, such as how CBD is made, how CBD promotes wellness, and how to use it.

So, What is CBD Anyway?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the 113 distinct cannabinoids found in hemp.

At this point, you may be wondering what a cannabinoid is in the first place. Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring compounds in all species of cannabis plants. The two most common cannabinoids are none other than THC and CBD.

Unlike THC, however, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive. In other words, the chemical composition of CBD does not promote mind-altering effects. Instead, CBD’s primary function is to encourage a sense of wellness.

How is CBD Produced?

Before we delve into CBD’s extraction process, let’s look at why CBD is produced from hemp.

Although hemp is cannabis, it’s a subspecies of Cannabis sativa. There are two primary reasons why hemp is the gold standard for producing CBD.

First, hemp is legal throughout North America. The second reason why CBD is primarily extracted from hemp is that hemp contains sky-high amounts of CBD and trace levels of THC.

Extraction Process of CBD

Once the flowers of hemp plants are ripe — it’s time to harvest.

Depending on the manufacturer, the flowers are dried or sent directly to the extraction phase. The most popular (and safest) extraction method is supercritical CO2 extraction.

Without going into the nitty-gritty details that would only excite your chemistry professor, the raw hemp flowers are fed into a CO2 extraction system. The chamber is filled with CO2 (carbon dioxide) at supercritical temperatures and pressures.

As the temperature and pressure of the CO2 are altered, the extraction process begins. During the extraction process, all botanical compounds are stripped from the hemp flowers. When we say botanical compounds, we’re referring to cannabinoids, terpenes, lipids, and chlorophyll.

After multiple stages of temperature and pressure swings, the final result is a viscous liquid that contains CBD and terpenes.

It’s important to note that the extractors customize the final product into full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate (THC-free). However, we’ll discuss the difference between these three types of CBD later in the article.

Is CBD Legal?

Yes.

Canada, along with the United States, legalized hemp and its derived products, such as CBD oil, hemp seeds, and hemp fiber. Although the FDA / Health Canada is yet to fully approve CBD, it is currently legal to buy, consume, and transport CBD products.

CBD is legal only if it meets specific criteria, such as:

  • Contains 0.3% THC or less
  • Does not make health-related claims

Although this seems like an easy hurdle to clear, many CBD companies fail to meet these demands. Therefore, you must purchase lab-tested CBD products from compliant brands.

What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, is a biological system found in all animals and composed of endocannabinoids.

Unlike cannabinoids, such as CBD, endocannabinoids are found within the body. There are two types of endocannabinoids:

  • Endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters
  • cannabinoid receptor proteins

The first types are neurotransmitters that bind cannabinoid receptors, such as the CB1 and CB2 groups. The second type of endocannabinoids is expressed throughout the body, primarily in the central nervous system (CNS).

The CB1 and CB2 Receptor Groups

The CB1 receptor groups are primarily found in the brain. Although the CB1 receptor group is known for various therapeutic properties, such as acting as an anticonvulsant, it’s mainly associated with THC’s psychoactive effects.

Alternatively, the CB2 receptor group is located in various organs, the immune system, the central nervous system, and is primarily activated by CBD.

CBD and The Central Nervous System

Although research is ongoing, it’s clear that CBD’s interaction with the central nervous system is key to its success as a wellness supplement.

Let’s take a look at the interaction between CBD and the central nervous system.

CBD and Serotonin

One of the flagship effects of CBD is that it promotes a sense of wellbeing.

From decreasing stress to the severity of a panic attack, CBD is genuinely a chill pill. You may, however, wonder why.

Studies show that CBD consumption stimulates serotonin and serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a naturally-occurring compound that regulates a multitude of biological functions. From stress relief to boosting the circadian rhythm, serotonin is a useful compound that collaborates with CBD.

Serotonin has long been touted by research for its therapeutic effects, such as:

  • Decreases stress
  • Regulates anxiety
  • Increases happiness
  • Promote a healthy night’s rest

As you consume CBD products, the CBD can interact with the 5-HT1A receptor group. Once stimulated, the 5-HT1A receptor is believed to promote a cascade of effects associated with an increase in serotonin.

Immune Response

The immune system is a biological system that’s responsible for our body’s defense. From fighting off infections to detecting intruders, the immune system is a critical component of your overall health.

Interestingly enough, CBD is known to interact with the immune system. For example, inflammation that causes chronic pain is the result of a hyper-stimulated immune response.

In this case, CBD acts as an immunosuppressant and reduces inflammation. In another example, reducing stress, anxiety, and insomnia are all methods that benefit the overall immune response.

Healing Without The High

CBD does not make you feel high or stoned.

Remember, cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Not only does CBD not make you feel high, but it also counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC.

As we mentioned, the endocannabinoid system is composed of receptors — which are placed in the CB1 and CB2 groups. THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, primarily attaches to the CB1 receptors.

As you now know, the CB1 receptors are primarily expressed in the brain. If you consume THC-rich cannabis, the THC molecules quickly block the CB1 receptors. The result? A loss in short-term memory, motor skills, awareness, and emotional control.

CBD, on the other hand, is an allosteric modulator. An allosteric modulator is something that can alter the size and shape of another compound. In this case, CBD can adjust the size and shape of the CB1 receptor. Once CBD reshapes the receptor, the THC molecule falls off.

Thus, the CB1 receptor begins to function normally, and the psychoactive effects quickly wear off.

Can CBD help with health conditions?

More research is underway to approve CBD as a treatment for any specific health conditions. Though recent studies have shown possibilities of therapeutic benefits of CBD. Let’s take a look at the primary health-related issues that CBD is being researched for.

Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common issues that individuals contend with daily.

Luckily, research points toward CBD as a useful compound that can assist with the severity and frequency of anxiety. Overall, CBD activates the 5-HT1A receptors to promote anxiolytic effects that result in less fear and an increase in relaxation.

Depression

Depression is another common mental issue that millions of individuals experience throughout the year.

Similar to anxiety, CBD stimulates the 5-HT1A receptor to promote and produce serotonin. As we briefly discussed previously, serotonin is responsible for increasing happiness and a decrease in fear or stress.

Chronic Pain

CBD’s wide range of benefits also encompasses chronic and acute pain.

Endocannabinoid receptor proteins are located in both the central nervous system and the immune system. Once CBD is consumed, the receptor proteins signal the CNS and immune system to promote various tasks.

In the case of chronic and acute pain, inflammation is the prime culprit. Since the immune system activates inflammation, CBD acts as an immunosuppressant to lower the inflammatory response.

Insomnia

A lack of sleep is responsible for many health-related issues, such as weight gain, anxiety, depression, and a lowered immune response.

Current and ongoing research shows CBD as a leading compound that assists individuals with insomnia. Again, the 5-HT1A receptor and CBD’s signaling capability takes center stage while assisting individuals in getting the sleep they deserve.

The Different Types of CBD

Although there are many types of CBD products, you must understand the three different formulations that form each product’s foundation.

Full-Spectrum CBD

When you see a label that says full-spectrum CBD, it means it contains all the botanical elements within hemp, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The unique aspect of full-spectrum CBD is that it also has 0.3% THC.

If you want to experience the most natural form of CBD — full-spectrum CBD products allow you to experience each compound’s holistic effects (the entourage effect).

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD products are similar to full-spectrum CBD except for one thing — they lack THC.

If you do not want to consume any form of THC, but you’d like to experience the therapeutic qualities of other cannabinoids and terpenes — broad-spectrum CBD is for you.

CBD Isolate

Last but not least is CBD isolate — also known as zero-THC.

CBD isolate is the most refined form of CBD available. CBD isolate is exactly how it sounds — void of all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids — except CBD.

If you want CBD and nothing else — CBD isolate is a perfect choice.

How to Use CBD

You’ll be surprised by how straightforward it is to use CBD once it’s in your hand.

For CBD oil, simply squeeze the attached dropper into the liquid. Once it holds the desired amount, squeeze the liquid onto the tongue, and allow it to rest for 30–60-seconds.

For CBD edibles, simply open the pack and enjoy a single serving, such as one gummy bear. As for topicals, rub the lotion or cream into the skin for maximum absorption.

As you can see, using CBD isn’t rocket science, but instead, a breeze.

Find The Perfect Dose of CBD

Although CBD isn’t psychoactive, it’s essential to find the perfect dose for your needs.

Although you may experience trial and error, finding the right dose is essential to an enjoyable experience. The best idea is to follow the instructions on the label of the CBD product.

For example, a 1,000mg Full-Spectrum CBD Oil contains 60 doses. Each dose has 16.7mg; however, you should cut the dose in half if it’s your first time. Instead of using a full dropper (1mL), a half dropper (0.05mL) contains 8mg of CBD.

Once you consume CBD, allow 15–45-minutes for the effects to take place. If you require more, you can increase the dosage to a full dropper. However, do not exceed 3mL per day.

Lastly, you must note the overall potency of each product, as the CBD concentration can range from 300mg to 3,000mg.

Which CBD Product is Right For You?

When it comes to choosing the best CBD products — it’s the quality that counts.

That’s why Plant of Life abides by a higher standard of product development and customer care. By using organic, non-GMO, vegan, solvent-free, lab tested, and cruelty-free methods, Plant of Life is at the forefront of offering transparent, premium-quality, and authentic CBD products.

Are you ready to experience the holistic power of plants?

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