The appeal? Proponents claim CBD can help ease pain, anxiety, depression and stress, boost focus and productivity, improve the immune system, reduce inflammation and more. And – unlike its psychoactive cousin THC – CBD, they say, is harmless, legal and can't get you high. "The known is it's good for you, it helps a lot of people and a lot of things, and you can't hurt yourself," says Phil Asquith, a farmer and producer of extra-virgin olive oil in California, who founded one of the first companies in the CBD space. "The unknown is all the details."
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.
In isolate form, CBD is separated from other cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis. Previously, users and researchers believed that CBD isolates were more potent than full spectrum CBD hemp edibles. But that myth was eventually proven wrong by different studies performed in recent years. Therefore, full spectrum CBD oil is more effective than CBD isolate.
If you live in a state where CBD is legal for your condition, it’s best to buy it from a state-regulated dispensary. But even there, oversight is uneven. “I feel safe being a cannabis consumer in Colorado, since the state tracks everything from seed to sale, but I didn’t the first few years after cannabis became legal,” when the rules were still taking shape, says Robyn Griggs Lawrence, the Boulder author of The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, which features recipes for cannabis edibles.
Full spectrum CBD, like hemp oil, contains every cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. This means cannabidiol, cannabicyclol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, and cannbichromevinaric acid, to name a few. In full spectrum CBD oil, there is nothing held back or left out. These mixed together compliment each other and produce an entourage effect. This effect is good for the health of the user because the individual is taking all of the properties of all the terpenes and cannabinoid mixed together. All of these combined properties make the user absorbent of more effective effect and treatment. The treatment is very much beneficial for the health of the user hence that is why many users consider the full spectrum CBD far better than Isolate is CBD. Most products of CBD are from full-spectrum CBD.
When extracting a pure botanical oil from hemp, a solvent is passed through the plant material, pulling the compound rich oil from the plant. The solvent is then removed in a purging process, leaving behind a concentrated oil. When extracting from hemp, the oil can next be formulated into finished products or further refined and purified into a number of forms, including a golden dewaxed concentrate or crystallized CBD isolate.
Whole plant CBD oils can be made in a variety of ways. The “original” CBD oil was created by Rick Simpson. This method requires you to soak the plant material in a solvent, such as grain alcohol. Once the material soaks, the remaining liquid is full of CBD (and other cannabinoids), you evaporate the solvent and the remaining oil is ready for consumption.
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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:
Full spectrum (or “whole plant”) products contain CBD as well as terpenes and other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN and trace amounts of THC. Usually these will be in ratios that were naturally-occurring and extracted from the plant and specific strain. Terpenes and cannabinoids are occasionally added back into products as an isolated form to raise the potency of the product.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the most abundant cannabinoid in most medical and recreational marijuana strains. However, in hemp THC is a minor constituent and appears only in trace amounts under 0.3% by dry weight, as required by the U.S. government for hemp products. THC mimics the action of anandamide, a neurotransmitter naturally produced in the human body, and binds to CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system found mostly in the brain. The extremely low levels of THC in hemp make hemp oil non-psychoactive and safe for all ages to use.
It is important that you understand the basics of CBD, too. CBD is just one type of cannabinoid that is found in cannabis. Cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids, and CBD is just one of them. CBD is made from the stalks, leaves, and roots of the cannabis plant, unlike other strains that are all made in different ways. It also does not have any THC oil, which many of cannabis strains do. THC oil can induce sleepiness and a high just like it does in marijuana and weed. THC is also another strain belonging to the cannabis family again much like marijuana, weed, and hemp. Hemp has similar properties as CBD and it is also very much legal around the USA.
Our bodies are thought to produce endocannabinoids by the billions every day. “We always thought the ‘runner’s high’ was due to the release of dopamine and endorphins. But now we know the euphoria is also from an endocannabinoid called anandamide,” its name derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss, says Joseph Maroon, M.D., clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We produce these natural chemicals all day, but they fade quickly because enzymes pop up to destroy them. That’s where CBD comes in: By blocking these enzymes, CBD allows the beneficial compounds to linger. This is why Amanda Oliver, 31, a career consultant in Charleston, SC, pops a CBD gummy bear each night before bed. “I used to lie there tossing and turning as my mind raced from work projects to whether I had set the home alarm,” Oliver says. One piece of candy with 15 mg of CBD is enough to shut off her brain and facilitate sleep. She also swears by the CBD oil she takes at the height of her period, which she says quells her debilitating cramps.
If this is not sufficient for calming your symptoms, a gradual increase of another 25 mg per day, over the course of 3-4 weeks, is recommended. While there have been no reports of more serious side effects when this oil is taken in larger concentrations, it is best to slowly increase your dose to find a comfortable and effective level, given your individual characteristics and needs.
CBD isolate is pure CBD, extracted and purified until none of the plant’s other constituent compounds remain. It has been isolated down to just the CBD molecule. This purity and potency is why it’s the preferred treatment for patients needing unadulterated doses of CBD and nothing else. It has no other active ingredients and its purpose is simply to deliver therapeutic doses of CBD. CBD isolate products often come as a white powder or a mix with a oil.
In another, a specific combination of CBD and other secondary cannabinoids were found to work together to slow tumor grown in cases of colon cancer. These sorts of synergistic effects are fairly common in whole plant extracts, and aren’t unique to cannabis. However, the sheer volume of active compounds in cannabis extracts, and their wide-ranging effects certainly distinguish them from other plants.
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).
ISA HERRERA HEARD IT from her patients first. "I have less pain." "I'm having less anxiety." "My menstrual cramps are less intense," they told the New York City physical therapist about taking CBD oil, a product containing cannabidiol, one of many chemicals found in the cannabis plant. "I was like, 'I need to find out more about this,'" recalls Herrera, who specializes in integrative pelvic floor therapies.