CBD Oil - A Complete Guide to Understanding Cannabidiol
Cannabis, marijuana, weed, pot — no matter what you call it — it contains CBD. Although it won’t get you high, this plant compound can take your health to the next level.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol, most commonly known as CBD, is one of over 60 compounds that are most commonly found in the cannabis plant. that are found in the cannabis plant. Researchers have been looking at the potential therapeutic uses of CBD.
Oils that contain concentrations of CBD are known as CBD oils. Most cannabis plants contain less than 4% CBD, so the only way to get a good amount of this cannabinoid is from pure CBD oil. Most CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp, which usually has a higher CBD content than marijuana.
After extraction, the CBD is added to a carrier oil and sold at many different potencies to be used in a variety of different ways.
Is CBD marijuana?
CBD oil is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant.
Until recently, the most well-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the most active ingredient in marijuana.
Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, but the compounds have different effects.
THC is well-known for the mind-altering "high" it produces when broken down by heat and introduced into the body, such as when smoking the plant or cooking it into foods.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that it does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it. However, it does appear to produce significant changes in the body and has been found to have medical benefits.
Most of the CBD used medicinally is found in the least processed form of the cannabis plant, known as hemp.
Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, cannabis sativa, but they are very different.
Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to be very high in THC and other compounds that interested them, either for a smell or an effect they had on the plant's flowers.
On the other hand, hemp farmers have not tended to modify the plant. It is these hemp plants that are used to create CBD oil.
[You can skip to "How CBD works" if you don't want to confuse yourself with the detailed chemistry behind THCA, THC, and CBD.]
The Difference Between THCA, THC, and CBD
Industrial hemp (a popular variety of the cannabis plant) tests out at less than 0.3% THC. THC rich cannabis in its raw form is non-psychoactive. “Raw” THC is actually THCA. What we call “Marijuana” is cannabis that tests out with THCA between 5 and 35%.
THCA is beginning to demonstrate immense therapeutic qualities. Some people add THCA-rich cannabis leaves and flowers to their salads and smoothies, others consume with a tincture.
THCA becomes the psychoactive THC through a chemical process called decarboxylation, which occurs with heat and time. The delivery methods for THC are smoking, vaporizing, and consuming “edibles.” Drying and curing cannabis will cause some decarboxylation to occur.
Cured cannabis flowers will often test for small amounts of THC along with THCA. THC is fat soluble (and not water soluble). THC infused cooking, from pesto to chocolate, is made by heating ground up THCA rich cannabis with oil at 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104 Celsius) for 30 to 45 minutes.
THC rich treats are commonly referred to as “edibles,” and they typically have massive amounts of sugar btw!
THCA’s Therapeutic Properties
THCA is the most abundant cannabinoid in a plant, depending on the time at when it is tested. THCA has been seen to have many benefits in a limited number of studies.
Studies have found THCA to be anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, anti-emetic, and anti-proliferative.
There is plenty more this compound can do, and there are other cannabinoids, like the many varieties of terpenes and THCV, all proving to have some similar and some very different effects, and many of which are proving to be medical viable in very different ways.
The science on all of these other cannabinoids is in its infancy. The cannabinoids that we know most about, however, are CBD and THC.
The Relationship Between CBD and THC
In particular, the effect that CBD can have when ingested with THC has garnered significant interest. What research has found so far is fascinating.
For example, when active THC is ingested alone, it increases pulse rate, disturbs time tasks, and induces strong psychological reactions in some people, but when CBD is ingested with the THC, it blocks most of these adverse effects.
CBD also has been found to decrease the anxiety component of a THC “high” in such a way that the study subjects reported more pleasurable effects when CBD was included with the THC.
This evidence suggests that it is better for our health to have a higher percentage of CBD in or with our cannabis if we decide to ingest the plant in any form.