Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and probably even then), you’ll have heard of CBD. The “rockstar” of the cannabis plant, it’s a gateway to the wonderful benefits of cannabinoids and cannabis medicine. This is because it’s perhaps the most accessible element of cannabis when considering functional medicine, since it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects (e.g. it doesn’t make you feel funny and eat your own bodyweight in chocolate).
Let’s dive in!
WHAT DOES CBD STAND FOR?
It’s an abbreviation – CBD stands for “cannabidiol”. However, here in Australia, it also means “Central Business District”, similar to how people use the terms “city centre” or “downtown” in other countries. Which is why it can cause a certain amount of confusion when people ask “what does CBD mean?”, as it’s not clear whether they’re talking about a part of the cannabis plant, or a part of the city!
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of at least 113 cannabinoids which have been identified within the cannabis plant, and (like all cannabinoids) it has particular benefits for different ailments.
Cannabidiol is particularly interesting as it can be derived from all varieties of cannabis – both the psychoactive variety commonly known as marijuana, and the non-psychoactive variety commonly known as hemp. This means that people who do not wish to use THC (the cannabinoid found in marijuana which makes people feel “high” or “stoned”) can also enjoy the benefits of cannabis without the impact of the elements which make them feel funny. CBD does not have any psychoactive effects, so it doesn’t change how you think or feel.
CBD is also noteworthy due to its antipsychotic effects. Research has not yet shown why it has these effects, though studies have shown that it interacts with a brain chemical which affects mental processes related to pain and mood. This appears to help people suffering from schizophrenia, which may also be related to the manner in which CBD interacts with THC. This is interesting in relation to common myths around cannabis and it’s relation to schizophrenia, with studies showing that this may be due to intensively grown cannabis strains which are very high in THC but very low or entirely absent in CBD; without it being present, the psychoactivity of THC can go overboard.
Some users report feeling drowsy after consuming CBD, and other reported side effects include dry mouth, low blood pressure and light headedness. Cannabidiol is most commonly used by those suffering from:
- cancer-related symptoms
- inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- mental disorders
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD Oil (often wrongly referred to as “cannabis oil”, “canabis oil” and “marijuana oil”) is the most common way that people consume this cannabinoid. This often gets mixed up with “hemp oil” or “hemp seed oil”, which is the oil made from hemp seeds which is very low in CBD content. It’s generally found in the following two forms:
These are molecules which have been isolated from other molecules in the cannabis plant so that it’s just purely CBD. It’s sometimes called “CBD Crystals” as when you view it under a microscope, the form is similar to a diamond. These crystals are then powdered for consumption. CBD Isolate is made by filtering hemp plant extracts which are the result of supercritical CO2 extraction, and this is what’s typically used in vape oil, gummies, sprays etc. This method is currently seen as the most efficient extraction method, though it does still result in trace elements of other molecules being present (cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes). CBD Isolate can be made from Industrial Hemp, meaning it’s theoretically easier to create in a less stringent legal environment.
Full Spectrum CBD
This is a “whole plant extract”, meaning that it also contains other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. In most countries it is illegal for products to contain more than 0.2% THC, meaning that Full Spectrum CBD Oils generally tend to be low in THC and high in CBD. This is important, since the “entourage effect” of cannabis is the subject of many cutting edge studies demonstrating how different cannabinoids work in synergy to create a greater effect together than they do alone. The THC helps it achieve a stronger effect. With a typically low THC content, it’s practically impossible that users of Full Spectrum CBD will experience any psychoactive effects.
While the vast majority of clinical trials and studies show that Full Spectrum is superior in terms of benefits, it still tends to be less popular than CBD Isolate. This may be due to peoples’ desire to avoid THC due to fear of psychoactive effects, or for some users it may be due to a concern over drug testing at work or while driving, as even trace elements of THC may contribute to a failed drug test. If this is you – best stick with Isolate.
So there you have it – if you have queries around the topic, please leave a comment below and we’ll do all we can to answer your questions.