CBD wellness is a hot topic these days. There are very few topics in the wellness space that currently generates as much controversy and cause so much confusion as the cannabis plant. As it grows in popularity and as more countries accept and adopt cannabis, it’s more important now than ever to know precisely what it is and what it’s not.
Cannabis can be broken down into 2 sub-species, marijuana and hemp. We are primarily concerned with hemp for the sake of this article, and these days people recognize that it is a multipurpose and eco-friendly plant, that’s been utilized for millennia for both a fiber and health.
Cannabidiol oil (Hemp CBD oil) is gaining in popularity because it has so many uses. Hemp is highly nutritious and is a potent pain reliever, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This oil has come under a lot of legal and moral questions for decades. Opinions may differ but what can’t be ignored is the incredible wellness power CBD oil seems to possess and how versatile it is as a supplement and natural remedy.
What Is It?
Like we mentioned above, Cannabis has different species: marijuana is one of them and hemp is another. This is often where people get confused. Even though marijuana and hemp are species of the same plant (cannabis), chemically, they are so very different.
All cannabis contains an array of healthy plant compounds called cannabinoids. These are to the cannabis plant what flavonoids are to vegetables and fruits, in that they are powerful compounds with various wellness properties. There are approximately a hundred cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis. The 2 most known ones are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for creating a high but it’s very important to note where it is found and in what amounts.
CBD is found in much higher numbers in hemp with minuscule amounts THC, while marijuana is generally very low in CBD and high in THC. It’s important to note that CBD doesn’t get you high at all.
In the U.S. laws, the difference between hemp and marijuana has everything to do with THC percentages. To be labelled as hemp, it can’t have more than 0.3% THC. Marijuana can have THC content over 20%.
Cannabinoids play a larger part in our general health than people realize as they don’t just come externally from cannabis, they are also produced in our bodies. These internal versions are called endocannabinoids and we actually have a network in our body called the endocannabinoid system (aka ECS). The main purpose of the ES is to keep your body in balance (homeostasis). It’s a much bigger deal than most people give it credit for as it plays a major role on pain, inflammation, sleep, appetite, stress levels, exercise, reproduction, metabolism, and a whole lot more.
History Of The Industry
CBD was 1st brought into western medicine in the 1800’s and was researched significantly during that time period. Confused political leaders and industry led propaganda, primarily from pulp and paper, eventually caused cannabis prohibition in the early to mid 1900’s. This also included all industrial hemp and CBD oil applications.
Unfortunately, this prohibition caused much of the hemp oil research to be forgotten for the remainder of the 20th century.
As things started to change for hemp in early 2000’s, we started to see more of a resurgence for CBD oil as well, especially around the 2017 time-frame. Since CBD has been villainized in modern society for so long, there’s now very limited understanding behind the products and we are going through a new period of education in regards to hemp wellness.
Benefits Of Cannabinoids
Researchers have known there was health and wellness possibilities with plant cannabinoids, but the demonization of the plant stopped any research from being performed in the US. But things are changing in a big way and more and more research is being done.
The medical use and benefits of marijuana has put a spotlight on the topic of using cannabis products for wellness and health, but the we need to take note of the difference between marijuana and hemp oil. The main difference is in the plant being used to make the product. Cannabidiol oil isn’t usually made from marijuana, rather it’s most mostly made from hemp. The part of the plant matters as well as Hemp CBD oil is also very different from hemp seed oil, because it’s extracted the leaves, stalks and flowers of hemp, not the seeds.
The research is showings that CBD products are beneficial for reducing a number of ailments. Upcoming research has been showing that each of these conditions is likely related to dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system.
Although it’s not as well known as the immune or cardiovascular system, it is a vital part of the body and it was found by looking into what effects cannabis has on the body.
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of endocannabinoids and their receptors. These are located all over the body from the brain to immune cells and glands. This unique system works differently on different parts of your body but the result is homeostasis which is a balanced state.
Research mentioned in the Scientific American found endocannabinoids to be mostly responsible for the “runners high” athletes feel. For those people not familiar with it, a runners high is a natural feeling of euphoria that increases your sense of well-being and decreases your perception of pain.
What It Can Do:
Here are a few of the uses for this incredible oil:
1. Pain Relief
People dealing with pain may find relief with CBD. Better still is that CBD doesn’t cause dependence making it an amazing option for people wanting to stay away from opioids.
2. Seizure Prevention
CBD has anti-seizure properties. In a study put out by the New England Journal of Medicine, CBD lowered the frequency of seizures by 23% more than the placebo group.
Even the FDA appears to agree that cannabis-derived products may be helpful. In April 2018 FDA advisers put forth a product that is cannabis based and promises to help with seizures.
3. Helps To Fight Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria
Research has shown that cannabinoids have a rare ability to destroy bacteria, more importantly the drug-resistant strains. Researchers have concluded that hemp derived CBD likely does this by inhibiting T-cell proliferation, rather than having antibacterial properties.
However it is able to destroy bacteria, it seems to be an excellent weapon against the antibiotic resistant “superbugs” that are rapidly becoming a serious threat to our health.
4. Helps To Reduce Inflammation
Having some inflammation is healthy as that is the body’s way of fighting off infection. But, when inflammation is ongoing, it can lead to all kinds of significant problems.
In our current society, lifestyle and diet play a big part in inflammation. But, when people are already exercising, getting good sleep, and eating a clean, healthy, nutrient-dense diet, then hemp oil can help.
Research has shown it to have anti-inflammatory properties, so by adding hemp drops to your supplement routine and/or using it externally by way of a CBD hemp cream, you can reduce and minimize inflammation-based discomfort.
5. Reduces Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is when our body has way too many free radicals and can’t neutralize them all with antioxidants. It’s responsible for many of today’s ailments and is now more of a problem than it has been previously because our environment is far more toxic than it was. A research study from 2010 has shown that hemp oil behaves as an antioxidant while a different study suggests CBD has neuro-protective qualities helping to reduce any neurological damage caused by free radicals.
6. Promotes Healthy Weight
Cannabidiol can help with increasing mitochondria that help burn calories, stimulates proteins and genes that help to break down fat, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
CBD also helps your body to create brown fat from white fat. White fat is what we generally think of when we think about unhealthy body fat. Brown fat is in small deposits and it behaves quite differently than white fat. Brown fat is said to better your health by helping your body to burn white fat, generate heat, and regulate blood sugar levels. As you can see, it’s great for keeping a healthy weight.
7. Improved Heart Health
Keeping a healthy diet and lifestyle is priority for good heart health, but CBD oil can also help out. Research indicates that cannabidiol can help to reduce: blood pressure, stress induced cardiovascular responses, and artery blockages.
As mentioned above, it’s great at helping with preventing oxidative stress as well as inflammation. Interestingly enough, both of these things are usually precursors to heart related issues.
8. Improves Skin
As well as all the things we’ve mentioned that it can help with on the inside, it can also can be used topically to help with skin conditions. Research indicates that show cannabidiol oil is very useful for treating skin conditions by helping to regulate the skin’s oil (sebum) production. Additionally it contains many nutrients such as vitamin E that can help with improving and protecting your skin.
It’s also full of amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids. Essential fatty acids, like omega-6 and omega-3, are good for your general health but they are also fantastic for your skin by helping to give your skin a gentle, supple appearance.
The amino acids help your skin with generating elastin and collagen, which allows your skin to stay moisturized thus preventing wrinkles. With all that it helps with, it’s no wonder that it has found a home in the skin care product sector.
CBD Fact or Fiction
Statement: All cannabis gets you high.
That one is FICTION folks.
A discussed, cannabis has 2 main variations; Marijuana and Hemp. THC is what gets you high and is generally found in high levels in marijuana. Hemp on the other hand is extremely low in THC.
So with that said, there are 2 of CBD oil products. Hemp based CBD oils as well as marijuana based CBD oils. Both have CBD, and they’re both come from the cannabis family, but hemp and marijuana are very different sub-species of the plant.
Marijuana derived versions are usually going to have higher THC. Hemp based versions only contains up to 0.3% THC. It’s the THC that gets you high so this is a very important distinction.
So with hemp oil you get all of the benefits of the cannabis plant without the psychoactive components that come with smoking marijuana.
Statement: Hemp is useful for so much more than CBD wellness oil.
That’s a FACT.
In addition to the oil benefits, hemp is one of the longest, strongest, and most durable natural fibers you can find that can be grown without any herbicides or pesticides. It also:
• makes up to 4x more fiber per acre than pine trees
• can be recycled way more times than pine-based pulp items
• doesn’t require chemicals and is actually extremely good for the surrounding soil
• creates a seed that is loaded in protein, amino acids & essential fatty acids
• can be used to create hempcrete which is used to create home and other high quality structures
Statement: CBD can also be used on pets.
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, so this amazing compound can have some of the same benefits for your pets as it does for people.
For dogs and cats particularly, CBD oil can help with:
• continuous crying or barking
• attitude for getting along with other animals
• relaxing before a stressful trip to the veterinarian
• low appetite
• separation anxiety issues
• skin issues
Statement: Cannabis is only useful when smoked.
Although marijuana has a long history of joints and bongs, (especially in pop culture) it’s now also gaining popularity in the form of oils and edibles. Hemp derived CBD is having huge growth month after month and is predicted to become the largest part of the booming cannabis industry. Keep in mind that is primarily ingested through oils, capsules, or delicious gummy bears, and not smoked.
Statement: Oil is Oil. It all works the same.
Their are a lot of really bad CBD products in the marketplace and the saddest part is that there is no easy way for new buyers to know what or who they can trust. The market is still very young and mostly unregulated, quality control is generally low, and buyers really don’t know what they should be looking for when shopping for these products.
There are definitely points that make a massive difference in how good/effective the end product will be. Things like the the hemp source being organic, non-gmo and processed in a GMP certified facility. The extraction method is another big deal (look for CO2 extraction). You’ll also want to make sure there are 3rd party lab test results available to prove what is being advertised is actually in the bottle. Believe it or not, many products actually contain far less than listed or no CBD in them at all. Perhaps even worse is that many contain other unlisted ingredients or fillers.
To ensure you get a quality product make sure to follow these steps:
1. Request 3rd party lab results
Request third party lab results that test for potency, residual solvents, pesticides, and mycotoxins. If a company doesn’t have these or doesn’t want to share the results, that should be a big red flag as it shows they likely have something to hide from consumers.
2. Read the product labeling.
Because there aren’t any labeling requirements, it creates so many different ways of these being labeled. Read your labels carefully. First, look at the dosage, instead of just the total mg in the bottle or container. by doing this you’ll know just how much you’re taking.
Some brands just say Hemp Oil which can be confusing as sometimes it means Hemp Seed Oil. While hemp seed oil is a great product and is used often in beauty care, it doesn’t contain any CBD.
3. Ask for advice
If you are new to buying CBD products don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t simply trust a product because it’s a “known brand” (there are reports of big CBD companies having questionable quality control as well as not actually having the advertised amount of cannabidiol in the bottle). Make sure to ask for 3rd party testing results as mentioned in step 1 and ask whatever questions you have beforehand. You can also check online reviews and testimonials to read about others experiences.
4. Full Spectrum
Ideally, you’ll want to look for a product that is full spectrum. This means that contains CBD as well as the other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes from the plant. They all work much better when they are all kept together thanks to the “Entourage Effect”.
5. Buy products made from American hemp.
While there are certainly companies using foreign hemp that are good, just be wary if thy can’t (or won’t) give you the details on how it is grown (is it organic?), it’s origins, as well as how it’s extracted and if it’s tested.
Statement: The recommended dosage will work the same for everyone.
That one’s FICTION
Everyone will respond differently to hemp oil. Some people will need more, some less. The recommended does is a good starting point but you’ll need to find what works best for you. What your ECS needs to get you to homeostasis will vary according to what you have going on in your body.
Also know that sometimes a small dosage 3-4x/day can work better than 1 large daily dose.
Statement: CBD isn’t safe.
On its own it is very safe, but it may interact with medications by influencing their effectiveness. Speak with your doctor if you’re concerned about interactions or are unsure about using hemp oil for your conditions.
The x-factor here is it needs to be from a reputable source and be labelled properly.
Statement: CBD is addictive.
Nope. Complete FICTION.
CBD is definitely not addictive in any way. Actually, the World Health Organization decided to do a study with oral ingestion of CBD alongside placebos. The report says it “demonstrated that cannabidiol was placebo-like on all measures”.
The hemp wellness industry is a booming market. Many entrepreneurs with the best of intentions are entering this sector to provide a natural solution for people suffering from pain. What we all need to keep in mind is that with any growing industry, we’ll also see an increase in less reputable businesses who are willing to take advantage of the uninformed demographic who are simply wanting something to help their loved ones.
No doubt there are stronger regulations on the way, regulations that will improve the quality control and transparency of the products in this sector. However, until that happens be cautious of what brands you trust and ask questions.
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