What is CBD and How it Affects Your Body?

Last Updated on May 18, 2023

The cannabis plant, commonly known as marijuana, has two main chemical compounds: THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). These two have a lot of similarities, and it is difficult to divide them. For instance, they have the same molecular formula, C21H30O2, while each one has a mass clocking in at 314 grams per mole. Moreover, their chemical structure seems almost identical. 

Despite their many similarities, one structural difference is that THC contains a cyclic ring while CBD belongs to the hydroxyl group. Their difference in biochemistry is the determining factor on whether or not one feels high upon consumption. 

THC is part of the cannabis plant that causes an individual to feel high, altering their mood as well as forming certain behaviours. CBD, on the other hand, does not possess those qualities. Further explanation in this article seeks to understand CBD’s qualities that make it different from THC. (Harvard Health, 2020)

What is CBD?

When we talk of CBD, we are definitely talking about the cannabis compound that does not make someone feel high because it is non-psychoactive.

CBD helps individuals with insomnia, depression, and anxiety issues. It is also known to create happiness and calmness in stressful situations, and some doctors also prescribe it help with other medical conditions, the most common one being cancer patients.

Is CBD Legal?

According to the 2018 farm bills, hemp and the CBD extracted from it are legal in all 50 states of the United States of America. In the present day, both in US and Canada, one can walk into a store and buy a cannabis-infused product that contains CBD. 

In addition, the United States transportation security administration updated its policy on the same, stating that CBD products derived from hemp can be carried and transported on planes under certain circumstances. 

However, when it comes to CBD food-based products, the laws of the state could be clearer in their guidance as to what is allowed and what is not. The Food and drug administration in the United States has yet to legalize CBD on food products, and purchasing them could land an individual into trouble with the law. 

What Does CBD Feel Like?

Unlike THC, CBD does not get one to feel high. Instead, it makes the individual feel sudden happiness and calmness, among many other good feelings. 

In general, a cannabis sativa plant contains more than 60 compounds of cannabinoids. These chemical compounds act upon the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates an individual’s mind-body functions, such as appetite, memory, mood, and even pain. 

As a result, these cannabinoids bind to two main receptors in the body, namely CB1 and CB2. When THC is consumed in the body, it acts on the CB1 receptor, which consequently affects memory, body coordination, and concentration, which gets you high. 

CBD, on the other hand, does not fit into the CB1 receptor due to its difference in shape from the hydroxyl group; hence, it does not make anyone feel high. However, it binds to other receptors in the human cannabinoid system, affecting pain perception, inflammation, anxiety, and many more.

What are the Potential Health Benefits of CBD?

CBD has been gaining popularity as a natural remedy for various health conditions, such as:

Chronic Pain Relief

CBD is known for its potential analgesic properties, offering relief from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia.

Neuroprotective Properties

CBD may have neuroprotective properties that can help protect the brain from damage caused by conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Anxiety and Stress Reduction

CBD has shown promise in reducing anxiety and stress, providing a sense of calmness and relaxation without the psychoactive effects of THC.

Sleep Improvement

CBD may help improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and alleviating conditions like insomnia.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

CBD has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, potentially aiding in the management of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Neuroprotective Properties

CBD has shown potential neuroprotective effects, offering promise in conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Skin Health

CBD-infused topicals are believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, potentially helping with various skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Addiction Recovery

CBD may play a role in managing addiction by reducing drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with substance abuse.

Mood Enhancement

CBD has been reported to have mood-regulating effects, potentially helping individuals with depression and mood disorders.

Nausea and Vomiting Relief

CBD has shown the potential to reduce nausea and vomiting, particularly in individuals undergoing chemotherapy or experiencing motion sickness.

Overall Wellness

Many individuals use CBD as part of their daily wellness routine to promote balance, enhance overall well-being, and support a healthy lifestyle.

While CBD has been shown to have numerous potential health benefits, it’s important to note that more research is needed to understand its effects on the body fully.

RELATED: What are the Medical Benefits of Smoking Cannabis?

Does CBD Help With Anxiety?

CBD is very effective when it comes to anxiety by helping to calm the central nervous system of the human body. Raising serotonin levels can aid in the treatment of anxiety. Basically, CBD does the same job as the antidepressant and anxiety medicine prescribed by doctors, which is to regulate serotonin levels. 

Several kinds of research have been done over the years proving that CBD works and is the approved medicine for anxiety. 

In 2019 research was conducted to help investigate the effectiveness of CBD on anxiety and sleeping disorders. This research was conducted among 72 patients with symptoms relating to insomnia and anxiety disorders. 

With 79.2% of the participants, it significantly reduced their anxiety levels, while with 66.7% of the patients with insomnia, it helped in improving their sleeping habits. They concluded that CBD was promising a future where it could be an alternative therapy for patients with anxiety disorder. (Skelley, J, 2020)

What are the Best Ways To Take CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, can be consumed in various ways, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most popular methods of taking CBD:

1. Oral Ingestion

CBD can be taken orally in the form of capsules, edibles, or drinks. This method is easy and convenient, but the effects may take longer to kick in.

2. Sublingual Consumption

CBD tinctures and oils can be placed under the tongue, allowing for faster absorption into the bloodstream than oral ingestion.

3. Topical Application

CBD can be applied topically in the form of creams, lotions, and balms. This method is ideal for localized pain relief and skin conditions.

4. Inhalation

CBD can be inhaled through smoking or vaping. This method allows for rapid absorption into the bloodstream, but it may not be suitable for everyone.

Another top recommended way of using Cannabidiol is through the use of CBD oil, where an individual administers drops under the tongue, which are absorbed through the sublingual veins found under the tongue. (Harvard Health, 2020)

Can You Get Addicted to CBD Oil? 

Consumption of CBD oil which is a product of Cannabidiol, cannot result in any kind of addiction. It helps reduce human dependency on other drugs such as THC, alcohol, heroin, and tobacco, among many others. 

Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified pure CBD products as safe to use without potential abuse.[5] In addition, they further state that according to observation and studies done on the same, that CBD has not revealed any signs of harm to the human body. 

It also does not show evidence of potential dependency and addiction to any human using it. The World Health Organization has recorded reports showing that usage of CBD does not result in habit forming. This fact is mostly facilitated by the fact that CBD is non-psychoactive. (Fitzcharles, M, 2020)

The Bottom Line

Although more research has to be done, as well as clinical assessments, CBD has quite a promising future in alternative therapy. These kinds of therapy could possibly mark a new beginning for people struggling with anxiety disorders, depression, sleeping disorders, and possibly arthritis. 

As expected, the usage of CBD is rising worldwide at a very high rate. In the absence of traditional therapy, a substantial number of responders say CBD efficiently treats their condition(s) with no serious side effects. 

With more research on cannabis, who knows? Maybe more compounds can cure rising conditions or be used for rising virus vaccinations like Covid-19. As a matter of fact, some drug manufacturing companies have come forward with claims that CBD can be used as a cure for Covid-19. As much as their claims are indefensible, there may be some facts and truth behind them.

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