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We have all seen the recent news articles showcasing CBD oil and many of us would like to get involved... but where do you start? In the event you didn’t already know, there are two sources for CBD oil and other CBD/Cannabidiol products: 1.) Hemp CBD products made from industrial hemp and 2.) Medical marijuana CBD products derived from medical marijuana. One is available widely online from sites like DiscoverCBD.com and the other is available at medical marijuana dispensaries across the US in states where medical marijuana is legal.
With the rapid rise in the popularity of CBD in everything from vape juice to lattes, many people are asking- “what is CBD oil?”. To answer that question, let’s first answer the question- what is CBD? CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in hemp plants. CBD’s benefits are numerous, making it a popular supplement. We’ll explore the effects of CBD oil in more depth below, but in short, it interacts with receptors that keep the body balanced and running normally.
The aforementioned entourage effect is the main reason behind the efficacy of whole plant extracts. There are over 100 ‘identified’ compounds in the cannabis plant. While most of these compounds have their own therapeutic benefit, they combine synergistically to provide far better performance than any single compound alone, and that includes CBD. Here are a couple of examples of conditions that benefit from the entourage effect:
Anyway, the research showed that in mice, CBD was much more effective when used along with other compounds of the cannabis plant, than when it was used by itself. While they haven’t yet figured out why exactly this is the case, it’s now generally accepted that full-spectrum CBD oil is more effective at treating the majority of medical conditions, than is CBD isolate.
For the large majority of average users though, a high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil will be the better, more efficient option. These concentrated oils have delivered incredible results so far, and have been observed to effectively treat everything from anxiety, to diabetes, to severe chronic pain. And with the inevitable continued research that’s to come, it’s expected that the quality of full-spectrum products will only continue to get better and better. (And of course, given that hemp products are legal in all 50 states, you don’t even need a medical marijuana card to purchase it).
Full spectrum CBD also contains a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids, and fiber. When referring to CBD in the hemp plant, it’s important to understand that hemp contains a large number of cannabinoids (in trace amounts), but the main compound is cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). As CBDa is more abundant in the hemp plant, firms must decarboxylate the oil. This process heats the oil and changes CBDa into CBD.
CBD—or cannabidiol—is a type of cannabinoid, a family of molecules typically associated with marijuana, but in fact, also found in other plants and even humans (in us, they’re called endocannabinoids). There are hundreds of different cannabinoids in marijuana. The best known is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical in marijuana that targets and binds to certain receptors in the brain to give you a high. CBD is non-psychoactive and non-addictive, and it seems to bind to multiple target sites, thereby affecting a range of systems throughout the body.
Under federal law, cannabis (from which both CBD and marijuana are derived) is illegal everywhere, although the laws against it aren’t generally enforced in states that have legalized marijuana. Some manufacturers claim that CBD culled from legally imported industrial hemp, which has little to no THC, is fine to ship across the U.S., but many experts disagree, noting that because hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, all CBD falls under the DEA’s Schedule 1 designation. “This creative interpretation of the law runs afoul of reality,” says the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC, think tank.
'If the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medication says to avoid grapefruit juice, for instance, then do not take CBD, as the same type of interaction can affect circulating blood levels of your medicine. Even if the leaflet does not mention grapefruit juice, you should still check with your doctor before taking CBD. You should also not take CBD if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.’
Answering the question “what is CBD oil” would be incomplete without mentioning the many CBD oil benefits. In addition to positively affecting the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain to name few. You can even find CBD for pets that is specially formulated to safely allow your pets to experience the natural benefits of CBD. For a more comprehensive look at these and other studies, visit our medical research and education page. Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in CBD and cannabis in our medical marijuana news section.