CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of the many cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant, and the one that’s been found to have the most therapeutic effects so far.
Where Does CBD Come From?
Cannabis is a plant native to East Asia that has had a role in human medicine for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations began cultivating it for many purposes, including extracting its oil for food, using its stem to develop textile fibers and specifically, consuming it to take advantage of its therapeutic properties.
The cannabis plant is composed of a special class of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. At least 144 cannabinoids have been discovered so far, and new ones keep on being revealed by scientists every year. The two most most widely-discussed cannabinoids are THC and CBD, which are also the two most present in the cannabis plant. THC is known for producing marijuana’s intoxicating “high,” as well as having many medicinal properties. CBD, on the other hand, has no mind-altering effects, and has been praised for having a wide array of medical applications, which is why it is used daily in the treatment of conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis and anxiety.
There are many ways CBD can be obtained. It can be derived from hemp, which is a strain of cannabis with a very low THC content, and it can also be extracted from THC-rich strains. CBD can be presented on its own, as a synthesized version, or accompanied by other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in what is referred to a full-plant medicine. Given CBD’s ability to alter the effects of other cannabinoids like the psychotropic THC, many people choose to consume them together or apart.
How Does CBD Work?
Like many other cannabinoids, CBD is a naturally occurring compound of the cannabis plant that has the ability to bind to our body’s own endocannabinoid system. Our bodies have a built-in set of neurotransmitters that work as cannabinoid receptors. The human body produces its own cannabinoids. They interact with our endocannabinoid system to regulate things like mood, appetite and sleep. But cannabinoids like CBD can also come from external sources like the cannabis plant. When these are consumed properly, they interact which our endocannabinoid system allowing them to perform many therapeutic and homeostatic functions.
How is CBD Consumed?
There are many methods by which you can take CBD. It can be inhaled, through smoke or vaporization. It can be ingested in the form of drops that can be taken on their own, or with food. CBD also comes in the form of topicals which can be applied to the skin as ointments and balms.
Is CBD Legal?
Hemp-derived CBD is legal in many countries which include the United States, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and most places in Europe. Although every country has its own set of regulations and availability may vary for different reasons, CBD is gaining a growing acceptance in most countries’ legal framework because of its medical and non-psychoactive properties.