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Virtually everyone has heard of the ongoing battle to legalize Cannabis-related products in countries all over the world. In the USA, many states have already adopted laws that allow the use of extracts and products to a certain degree, primarily aimed at health and wellness. But, there are several compounds extracted from cannabis, and some are more useful than others.
The battle is waged because, in its basic form, cannabis is a psychoactive drug, and it is so because it contains THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Online sources show that there are anywhere between one-hundred and thirteen to over one-hundred and forty cannabinoids in marijuana, but THC is the primary constituent and plays the main part in its psychoactive nature.
Cannabinoids are, of course, all of the chemicals contained in cannabis, and they are also referred to as phytocannabinoids. All of the identified ones exhibit various effects when consumed. This is without counting synthetic cannabinoids that can contain the same and some extra properties.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is extracted from the well-known Cannabis sativa plant (marijuana, hemp) as a chemical compound, one of the many phytocannabinoids mentioned. While THC is the main ingredient active in marijuana, CBD is also one of the major ones, and it can contain small portions of THC itself, depending on the extraction process.
CBD accounts for around 40% of the extracts taken directly from the plant. Despite all that, a large part of all major research on cannabidiol is mostly very recent, and online sources usually quote research done in 2018 and 2019. Research is, of course, primarily aimed at the use of CBD for medical purposes.
Despite most of the research available online being recent, it actually dates back to the beginning of the ‘90s. It was Dr. Rafael Mechoulam, from the Hebrew University in Israel that has discovered the endocannabinoid system, which is the foundation for the entire research on the compound.
He has discovered that we, the human beings, have in our bodies receptors specifically designed for binding cannabinoid, particularly in the central and peripheral nervous system. Those cannabinoid receptor proteins, together with endocannabinoids, which are the retrograde lipid-based neurotransmitters that bind them, make up the endocannabinoid system.
This is still classified as “under preliminary research,” but it is widely accepted by doctors and researchers from various health practices all over the world.
Dr. Mecholuam’s research shows that we not only have naturally formed receptors for CBD in our bodies but that we have more of these kinds of receptors than any other kind, throughout our whole body.
This makes the endocannabinoid system the largest network in our physiology, and Dr. Mecholuam also discovered that our bodies produce its cannabinoids, and those are anandamide and 2AG. Anandamide is created when human beings are in a meditative state, and both anandamide and 2AG are contained in the milk of a mother during breastfeeding periods.
As mentioned, the discovery that our own bodies are attuned to use CBD to its benefit is crucial to the research of its health benefits for us. Some only examine effects on the body, others on oral health, but most tests are aimed at using CBD to combat some serious conditions, which are but not limited to:
There is insufficient evidence for determining the level of effectiveness of CBD in treating most of these, but since the receptors for CBD have a strong presence throughout our whole bodies, the research branches out to many segments and some focus on oral health benefits, others on the benefits to the body, and so on.
As far as epilepsy goes, cannabidiol was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2018 as a viable treatment method for two forms of epilepsy, otherwise resistant to standard treatment, and those are the Lennox-Gastaut system and the Dravet syndrome. The trade name for the CBD medication for these is Epidiolex.
Research has shown that cannabidiol does not have intoxicating effects, which is crucial to the arguments against the use of any marijuana-related products in medicine. Not only that, but it was indicated that cannabidiol might actually reduce the adverse effects of consuming THC, like during intoxication or sedation.
Our own bodies tolerate CBD well, but some research also shows it may be connected with tiredness, changes in appetite, and possibly diarrhea. FDA also issued an official advisory in 2019 about CBD, warning that they may be side effects if it is consumed during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Also, it is pretty vague how CBD interacts with other drugs and medications usually issued by healthcare centers.
Beverages and foods containing CBD were officially introduced in 2017 in the United States. These, of course, contain ingredients that are free from THC. The FDA recognized these products as GRAS (Generally recognized as safe) in 2018.
Furthermore, cannabidiol is also allowed by the World Anti-Doping Agency for use by the athletes, both professional and amateur. It is used across many disciplines, in many countries, and its main purpose is treating pain.
Cannabidiol products come in many forms and are mostly classified as food supplements. They are legal to buy in most of the countries in the world, without the need for a medical card or any prescriptions.
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and then the extract is processed into many of the above-listed products.
The final product is being placed into concentrate containers that help to keep it fresh for a longer period of time.
As you can imagine, there are countless different ways to consume CBD. It all comes down to a matter of preference and the desired effects that the person is looking to achieve. CBD can be smoked, vaped, and even applied as a topical cream to help treat some skin conditions.
If it comes in the form of a capsule or a food ingredient, CBD is ingested as one would normally ingest food. However, some Cannabidiol oils or paste are to be placed on the insides of the consumer’s mouth with the help of a finger, or under the tongue, and left there to naturally dissolve. Some are added to drinks, which is particularly popular among people for its discreet nature.