Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a substance out there could relieve chronic pain, anxiety, and even epileptic seizures without a prescription and had very few side effects or potential for addiction or overdose? What if it was affordable, organically grown, and easily accessible? Better yet, what if it could be delivered in the form of a brownie or lollipop?
Great news! This substance does exist, and it’s called cannabidiol, or CBD for short.
If you’ve heard of CBD, it may have been in a negative context. That’s largely because CBD is often confused with marijuana. Government entities at both the federal and state levels have long debated the legality of CBD simply because it’s derived from the same plant — cannabis — from which marijuana is made.
CBD doesn’t make you high
There are lots of species of cannabis plants, but perhaps the most prevalent and well-known are hemp and marijuana. Although a trained eye can spot the subtle distinctions in the appearance in the leaves and stalk structure of hemp and marijuana plants, the real differences are within the plants’ anatomy.
Both hemp and marijuana plants contain biological compounds called cannabinoids, two of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the chemical that produces the psychoactive, euphoric high, and sometimes paranoia that’s associated with marijuana use. CBD is nonpsychoactive, which means that it doesn’t alter your mental state. Instead, CBD has a calming and relaxing effect on the body, relieving stress and anxiety.
Hemp and marijuana plants contain both THC and CBD, but at vastly different levels. While marijuana can be composed of more than 20 percent THC and about 10 percent CBD, hemp usually contains 20 percent or more CBD and less than 0.3 percent of THC. For this reason, hemp is widely produced on dedicated farms across the United States; in fact, hemp is in such high demand that some states are actively encouraging more farms to switch from growing crops like tobacco to cultivating hemp.
The amazing effects of CBD
It may sound too good to be true, but multiple medical studies have shown that CBD alleviates symptoms and side effects of a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, depression, arthritis pain, and acne. CBD works by binding with some of the body’s nervous system neurotransmitters that regulate a variety of functions, including sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response.
Perhaps some of the most promising and exciting potential use of CBD is as an effective treatment for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. In fact, in June 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a CBD oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy — the first FDA-approved drug that contains CBD. And although CBD is not a cure for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s, health professionals agree that CBD can effectively relieve symptoms and side effects of these conditions.
How to use CBD
In states where CBD has been approved for legal purchase and use, CBD products are available in concentrate, oil, vapor, and even edible form in retail stores and online. The people at CBD Distributors, for example, create high-quality CBD oils, concentrates, vape oils, and pet capsules for online purchase.
CBD products can’t be prescribed by physicians, but they are often recommended and suggested dosages are based on the patient’s particular need. The Mayo Clinic recommends a daily oral dosage of 40 to 160 mg of CBD oil for someone looking for relief from a sleep disorder, for instance. Of course, ideal effective dosages will depend upon a number of factors, so the clinic recommends starting with a low dosage and increasing gradually until you feel significant relief.
One of the best and most important aspects of CBD is that you simply cannot overdose on this substance. CBD has no established lethal dose, and even very high doses have been shown to be well-tolerated. Care should be taken, however, to ensure that CBD will not react with another medication you’re taking, so ask your doctor about potential interactions is highly recommended.