HEALTH EFFECTS OF CBD
A wealth of research shows that the cannabis plant, which includes hemp, is useful as a medicinal plant, largely due to its cannabidiol (CBD) content. CBD is a phytocannabinoid, and cannabinoids interact with your body by way of naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors embedded in cell membranes throughout your body. There are cannabinoid receptors in your brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, immune system, and more. The therapeutic properties of hemp oil occur when the cannabinoid CBD activates a cannabinoid receptor.
The health effects of CBD will vary depending on which health condition is being treated, and of course on the individual circumstances of the patient. Unfortunately the research on cannabidiol is sparse due to it being a constituent in marijuana and to the recency of the discovery of the endocannibinoid system and its interactions with the body's functioning.
HOW TO USE HEMP CBD OIL
Hemp CBD (cannabidiol) oil is available in a number of different forms, the most common being oil in liquid tinctures and oil in capsules. Each have their own unique uses, which we will explore below.
Tinctures - Hemp CBD oil is often mixed with alcohol, glycerin, and water and sold in a bottle with a dropper top. Tinctures are generally taken sublingually. The taste of a hemp CBD tincture can vary widely, from somewhat sweet to downright unpleasant (like a traditional herbal tincture). By carefully counting drops one can vary the dosage amount.
Capsules - CBD taken in capsule form will generally take longer for the effects to begin, but it will also remain in your system longer than if taken sublingually. Ideally you will want a delayed release capsule that delivers the CBD oil in the small intestine, rather than a traditional capsule which breaks down in the stomach, where some of the nutrient value will be degraded by stomach acid.
How to take
There are two ways to take hemp CBD oil - sublingually (held under the toungue for a short period) or orally (swallowed). Taken sublingually the CBD will generally enter your system and begin working faster, but the effects will generally wear off faster as well. Taken orally some of the potency of the oil will be lost as it passes through the stomach, but the effects will last longer. As mentioned above, using a delayed release capsule that releases the oil in the small instestine rather than the stomach (where traditional capsules break down) will help maximize the nutrient absorption of oral administration.
Since hemp CBD oil is not water soluble and is absorbed in the small intestine, if taken orally it is preferable to take it with a meal - and the higher the fat content of the meal, the better. The CBD oil will mix with other fats in the food and the absorption of the beneficial nutrients will be improved. A great way to take hemp CBD oil orally is with a spoonful of coconut oil or another fat (some hemp CBD oil capsules will add another oil to the capsule with the hemp oil to accomplish the same purpose).
The appropriate dosage amount will depend on the reason you are taking CBD. Like all medicine, the amount will vary depending on the patient's individual circumstances. A chronic disease with serious health effects may require a higher dosage, whereas taking CBD as a routine daily nutritional supplement to support overall health would require less.
Unfortunately there is very little research available to help guide appopriate dosing. Most research on cannabidiol has been conducted on animals, and only a few studies have been performed with human trials. Consulting a health care practitioner with experience in treating patients using CBD or medical marijuana is ideal. You may be able to get some general ideas for specific health conditions based on existing research in the Health Effects section of this article.
It is important to know that more is not always better, as research has demonstrated that CBD has biphasic properties, meaning a higher dose may not provide a better result, and may even provide a worse result, than a lower dose. Therefore it is necessary to evaluate the research, discuss it with your health care practitioner, and even experiment with different dosages yourself to determine the appropriate amount for your situation.
Often 10 mg of CBD daily is considered adequate as an every day nutritional supplement to support overall health, whereas significantly more may be needed for treatment of a chronic health condition. If you are treating a chronic health condition, please read our section on Health Effects for information on the research for various conditions.
The good news is that CBD is generally safe to consume, has no psychactive properties (does not make you high), and has not generally demonstrated negative health effects at higher dosages. Nonetheless, it is always adviseable to start slow with a low dosage and work your way up, and ideally seek the advice of a medical professional who has experience treating patients using CBD and/or medical marijuana.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP & NON-HEMP CBD
What is the difference between CBD derived from hemp versus CBD derived from medical marijuana cannabis? In a word - nothing. Although of course it is a bit more complicated than that.
The cannabidiol (CBD) molecule is the same whether it is extracted from hemp or marijuana. Both are plants in the cannabis family, and so the CBD derived from both have the same properties and the same health effects. Hemp plants are cultivated for seeds, oil, and fiber, while marijuana plants are generally cultivated for their buds, which contain high content of THC, a psychoactive compound that produces the "high" sought after by recreational users.
The primary difference between oil extracted from hemp and that from marijuana is the other cannabinoids that are found in the oil. Cannabidiol (CBD) is only one of many cannabinoids found in cannabis, the other primary one being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). As mentioned, THC is the psychoactive constituent in marijuana - the part that makes you high. Hemp oil contains only a trace amount of THC - below .3% - so it does not make you high. Marijuana oil contains up to 30% THC (or more, depending on how it is processed), and the higher the concentration the higher the psychoactive effects.
Both CBD and THC have health benefits, some unique to each and some overlapping. In addition, there are other cannabinoids found in cannabis (CBN and CBC, for example), as well as constituents like terpenes and flavonoids. Many of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are thought to have varying benefits for various health conditions (some supported by research, others hypothesized based on experience).
The essential difference in the health effects of hemp oil versus medical marijuana oil results from the combination of the cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids in each. Depending on the health condition being treated, there are synergistic health benefits when these constituents are combined (frequently referred to as the entourage effect). CBD and THC are especially thought to reinforce the health effects of each other for some health conditions. Oil derived from marijuana will generally have a broader spectrum of these constituents present than oil derived from hemp, the primary difference being the presence of THC.
As a result, for some health conditions that respond well to THC as well as CBD, medical marijuana oil with a high CBD content may have more powerful health effects than a similar amount of hemp oil. The difference, of course, is that with medical marijuana you also experience the psychoactive effects of the THC. Another major difference - and not a small one - is that medical marijuana is only available in certain states, and usually requires a license or prescription.
Thus hemp CBD oil provides patients with a means to access the health benefits of CBD without psychoactive side effects, and in any state in the country. The health effects of the CBD are the same whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana. When evaluating research on CBD, it is important to note whether it was conducted using pure CBD or CBD combined with other constituents from cannabis, such as THC. (Most research on CBD is conducted with pure, synthetic CBD in an effort to isolate its effects.)
As a final note, it is important to know that even in states where medical marijuana is legal, finding strains and especially oil with high CBD content is often difficult. Historically marijuana was grown for its psychoactive effects, thus the emphasis was on breeding plants with high THC, not CBD. If medical marijuna is available to you, but it does not have high CBD content, it is perfectly acceptable to use hemp CBD oil to complement the health effects of the THC and other constituents in the medical marijuana.
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