What is CBD?
CBD stands for CANNABIDIOL which is one of the compounds from hemp oil, an extract from the hemp plant; studies suggest that CBD has powerful health benefits.
Hemp oil contains powerful compounds including cannabinoids (like CBD), terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial phytochemicals. Full spectrum hemp oil contains all of these compounds, so more than just CBD, and this creates an entourage effect, meaning each beneficial compound enhances the other.
Not your brother's marijuana ...
The hemp plant is a cousin to the marijuana plant, but they are different plants. By definition, a hemp plant contains no more than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that gets you "high").
CBD is found mainly in hemp oil extracted from the stalks of the hemp plant. The leaves and flowers have only a small amount of CBD, so hemp plants grown for CBD are selectively bred for more stalks and smaller flowers. Meanwhile, a marijuana plant is selectively bred for more and larger flowers, since that is where THC is found.
There are other products from hemp: hemp seed oil, hemp fibers. Hemp Seed Oil is, you guessed it, oil extracted from hemp seeds. This is roughly the equivalent of sunflower seed oil. It is a healthy oil, high in omega-3 and -9. Hemp seeds are also high in protein and fiber and are a great addition to a smoothie.
Why CBD is so awesome
Hemp oil imparts several powerful health benefits. The four specific benefits detailed here work together to reduce pain, reduce anxiety and depression, support exercise recovery, protect your heart, and more.
(1) CBD improves sleep, (2) CBD reduces stress, (3) CBD and Hemp Oil are powerful antioxidants, (4) CBD and Hemp Oil have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, and more not detailed here ...
Good for more than just beauty ...
Many people have trouble getting a good night's sleep. This could be due to stress or a racing mind before bed. Research has found that CBD may be able to significantly improve your sleep.
CBD has been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms associated with insomnia. Taking CBD can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and prevent disrupted sleep.
GOOD SLEEP IS IMPORTANT! Epidemiological studies have found links between sleep deprivation and hypertension, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Fight the Free Radicals
Oxidative stress & free radicals are the same phenomenon. Free radicals are formed as a byproduct of normal metabolic function, but also when you are exposed to toxins, eat processed foods, or get stressed.
Anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals.
What is so bad about free radicals? Scientists have theorized that physical aging is the result of oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Too much oxidative damage adds up to oxidative stress. (Free radicals are molecules that are lacking an electron, so are off-balance, and they need to find an electron to be balanced. So, they go around in your body stealing electrons from other molecules, which ends up damaging cells.) (Anti-oxidants have excess electrons so can give these to the free radicals, neutralizing them, so they don't need to go around terrorizing your body.)
Oxidative stress can lead to fatty plaque deposits in the arteries an plays a role in heart tissue damage. Antioxidants protect your body from the negative effects of oxidative stress.
CBD is a powerful antioxidant and therefore can have a powerful antioxidant effect in the body.
Long term emotional stress
Our bodies generally experience two kinds of stress: physical stress, such as from exercise or injury, and emotional stress, such as from a busy lifestyle, a long to-do list, work and family responsibilities.
Studies have found that chronic emotional stress can speed up aging on the cellular level by shortening the length of each DNA strand. In addition, cortisol (the hormone associated with stress), contributes to weight gain and can damage the heart.
One study found that CBD was able to significantly decrease the levels of cortisol, and, by triggering the Endocannabinoid System, can help your body deal with stress.
Basically, the Root of All Disease
According to the Harvard Medical School, inflammation plays a large role in almost every disease and a number of chronic diseases and conditions of aging, including
- cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- insulin resistance
- and more minor issues such as frequent headaches, fatigue, or gut problems.
You can take steps to fight inflammation by eating lots of organic fruits and veggies, avoiding processed foods, exercising regularly and detoxing.
In addition, hundreds of studies have found that (CBD) exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers found that CBD oil can help modulate the body’s inflammatory response in a unique way (in a different way than NSAIDs*). CBD reduces inflammation by suppressing immune cells that trigger inflammation.
CBD is so hot right now ...
The reason that CBD is booming right now is thanks to the Farm Bill from 2018. In this legislation, hemp is no longer classified as a class I substance - class I substances are federally illegal, such as cocaine. Now that hemp is no longer illegal, research can be done on it, and banks can support hemp businesses. So, hemp oil is federally legal.
However, states can do what they want ... so far, North Dakota is being lobbied hard by the pharmaceutical industry to restrict the sale of CBD.
What else you should know about CBD and Hemp Oil
All mammals have this
"Endogenous" means in the body naturally, i.e. we are born with it. Just like our bodies have an endocrine system and an immune system, our bodies (and all mammals) have an Endo-cannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a series of receptors found throughout the body - in the brain, the immune system, the central nervous system, and more. These receptors respond to cannabinoids that our body produces, as well as cannabinoids from plant sources (such as hemp). The receptors are generally called CBD1 and CBD2 receptors.
Why is this important? Because our bodies are brought into balance when the ECS is balanced. When our ECS is balanced, it sends signals to other systems in our bodies telling them to calm down - it signals the immune system to reduce production of inflammatory particles, resulting in a reduction in inflammation. It signals the endocrine system to back off on cortisol production and improves how your body copes with stress.
Hemp extracts work synergistically with the ECS to support your body’s natural ability to heal and re-balance itself (reach homeostasis*). Whenever something is out of balance, CBD encourages your body to bring things back to normal.
This is why evidence suggests hemp extract can help relieve insomnia, dry skin, and alleviate stress.
(*Homeostasis is the state achieved when all body systems are balanced and operating optimally. It is the continuous goal of our bodies to achieve homeostasis; our bodies are constantly working towards this goal.)
What to look for when purchasing CBD or Hemp Oil
First of all, the best bang for your buck is hemp oil as an oral product (capsules or oil in a dropper bottle). Look for these criteria when shopping for Hemp Oil.
If you only remember two things about what to look for when buying, remember these two:
#1 - Organic
Just like any other crop, hemp is often covered in a ton of pesticides and herbicides and other yucky stuff. MANY HEMP OIL PRODUCTS ARE FULL OF TOXINS. Be sure to buy organic to avoid putting more toxins into your body.
#2 - No more than 11 ¢ / mg
Hemp oil is often sold in dropper bottles, often a ~1 oz. bottle (30 mL). This bottle does NOT contain 30 mL of hemp oil - it contains a specified amount of hemp oil, and the rest is the "carrier oil" (more on that below). The bottle should say something like "500 mg" or "750 mg" or "1500 mg" on it - this indicates how much of the product in the bottle is hemp oil (or CBD isolate if that is what is in the product).
Now, take the price of the bottle, eg. $69, and divide it by the amount specified, eg. 750 mg. $69 / 750 mg = $0.092 / mg (or 9.2 ¢ / mg).
Also look for:
# 3 - Broad or Full Spectrum hemp oil (see section above "CBD is part of Hemp Oil")
#4 - Nano-emulsified. Your body has a hard time absorbing most hemp oil supplements due to their particle size. (Imagine that a kitchen sponge could "absorb" sand, but not peas - the peas are too large.) CBD is naturally a nano-sized molecule ("sand sized"), but it can clump up together, thus becoming "pea sized".
Nano-emulsification technology breaks the oil down into tiny droplets so your body can rapidly absorb all the beneficial compounds. It also increases the surface area of the hemp oil for increased bioavailability.
Nano-emulsification technology is essential because the oil droplets are anywhere from 4 to 40 times smaller than liposomal delivery (the next best technology). This means a far greater number of the oil droplets are easily and rapidly absorbed by the body, creating a fast-acting and effective hemp-derived CBD Oil. .
#5 - Processed using supercritical CO2 extraction. Just like any other food that we put in our bodies, the way the product is created can make or break it's quality and "healthy-ness". For example, typical vegetable oils (of any kind) are already oxidized (rancid) when you buy them. They are also bleached to remove flavor. This reduces a heart-healty oil (like canola) to a free-radical-laden pro-inflammatory bomb.
For hemp oil, the best extraction method is supercritical CO2 extraction. Using this method, the oil is not damaged or compromised at all.
#6 - The "carrier oil" is the roughly 29 mL of product that is in the bottle that is not hemp oil (or CBD isolate). (Remember, the 30 mL bottle contains eg. 750 mg hemp oil; 750 mg = 0.75 mL). You will see hemp seed oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil as the carrier oil, under Ingredients. Hemp seed oil or Extra Virgin olive oil is best; vegetable oil is usually oxidized during the manufacturing process and indicates a low-quality hemp oil/CBD product.
CBD is part of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil contains over 100 different beneficial compounds, of which THC is one, and CBD is one. That means there are about 100 more beneficial compounds such as other cannabinoids (like CBDV, CBC, CBG, THC, THCV, ...), terpenes (aromatic oils naturally found in plants), flavonoids, and other beneficial phytochemicals. When a hemp oil is processed in such a way that all of these compounds remain, the hemp oil is called "Full Spectrum" or "Broad Spectrum". If you're looking at a CBD product and it doesn't say one of these things, it isn't.
The cool thing is that all of these 100 different compounds enhance each other's qualities - they all work together to increase the overall effectiveness; this is known as the entourage effect.
Some manufacturers save money and extract only CBD from hemp - this is called "CBD isolate" and it is much cheaper to manufacture, and since it is only one of the 100 compounds from hemp oil, there is no entourage effect. You would need to take much more CBD isolate to experience the same effects of a good quality broad spectrum hemp oil. CBD isolate products are usually flavored or sweetened to mask the bitter taste imparted during the extraction process.
Of the many compounds found in hemp oil, several are being researched for their individual beneficial properties, mainly as anti-inflammatories. One cannabinoid called cannabichromene was found in rat studies to be as effective as an anti-inflammatory drug called phenylbutazone. The scientists even noted that it may be a better alternative than the anti-inflammatory drug because it is significantly less toxic, yet just as effective.
Another study on mice found that a different cannabinoid called cannabigerol is a very potent anti-inflammatory compound – scientists are looking more closely at it.
Hemp extract also contains a variety of terpenes. Much like the cannabinoids, these terpenes can fight inflammation. Two of these terpenes in hemp extract are alpha-pinene, and myrcene. Research is being done on their anti-inflammatory properties as well.
No wonder the pharmaceutical industry wants to ban hemp oil (in North Dakota)!!
How to take Hemp Oil
Early and Often ... ?
There are a TON of products out right now with "CBD" on the label ... in many cases, it is just a marketing ploy. The product may actually contain CBD, but maybe only trace amounts, and not in any way that can benefit you.
Hemp oil should be taken orally and daily. Orally just means to ingest it, put it in your mouth & swallow it. If you hold hemp oil under your tongue for 30-60 seconds, the compounds are absorbed directly into your blood stream, as opposed to just swallowing the hemp oil in which case it goes through your digestive system and is absorbed into the blood stream more slowly.
Hemp oil can also be applied topically (to the skin) for muscle discomfort. When applied in this way, it can alleviate inflammation and pain in the area to which it is applied, but you will not experience the whole body benefits described in this article.
Hemp oil is also sometimes used in a facial - this is likely due to it's antioxidant properties; skin care products often contain antioxidants. Again, this can help your skin fight free radical damage, but you will not experience whole body benefits.
Taking hemp oil daily is also recommended. Since CBD acts to balance and moderate different areas around the body, it should be taken on a regular basis. CBD and the other anti-inflammatory substances in hemp oil do not act in the same was an an NSAID*, which are fast-acting. So you shouldn't expect immediate pain-reducing results from CBD in the same way that you do for NSAIDs. Most people experience benefits after taking hemp oil for 1 1/2 - 2 weeks. And these results will gradually dwindle if you stop taking hemp oil.
More is not better - 25 mg of hemp oil has been found by Touchstone Essentials research to be the the average effective dose for adults. In general, for most people (aout 85%), a dose of between 15 mg and 50 mg will deliver good results. (For about 5% of people, no effects are noticed at any dose.)
Taking large amounts of THC (the psychoactive compound that gets people "high") can counteract the benefits of CBD, so stick to a small amount of THC (0.3% is common for hemp oils), or just take THC separately.
* NSAID - Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil)
Who should take Hemp Oil?
- People who want to protect their heart
- People who want to have younger bodies (reduce the effects of aging)
- People with inflammation-caused illnesses (arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's, asthma)
- People with immune system related illnesses (MS, Parkinson's)
- People with anxiety
- People who don't sleep well
- People who exercise a lot (inflammation & stress)