You probably came across CBD oil many times, seeing cannabis shops around every corner of the street. Huge flashing signboards, marijuana plants on the door- seems a bit suspicious, right? The shelves in stores are flooded with cannabis-derived products and it feels almost overwhelming. Why is CBD oil trending right now? What’s so great about it?
I’ll start with a definition of cannabis first – it refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. After the flowers of these plants have dried, we obtain one of the most used drugs: weed. This psychoactive plant contains more than 500 components, of which 104 are cannabinoids. The main two cannabinoids identified are THC and cannabidiol (CBD). As you may already know, THC is the illegal compound that is responsible for the high or euphoric sensation. But how does THC make us high?
To explain how THC works, we need to look into a new discovery: the endocannabinoid system. Like any other system in our body, it works to create steady chemical and physical conditions. Endocannabinoids are molecules produced naturally within our cells. They bind to the receptors and help things work properly. It remains under research however, studies show that the system is involved in the secretion of hormones related to reproductive functions and response to stress. But apart from compounds found in the human body, we can also get cannabinoids that are derived from plants (phytocannabinoids). They are like twins of the natural ones, having similar effects on the brain. THC can act on our cannabinoid receptors, activating the brain’s reward system. The pleasure center then releases the flood of dopamine which contributes to the pleasurable feeling of being high. Legal hemp must contain 0.3 percent THC or less. So what about CBD? It is also similar in structure to our endocannabinoids however, it is proven that the atom arrangement of CBD makes it bad at activating the receptor associated with ‘high’ feeling. So it doesn’t interact directly with cannabinoid receptors but it stimulates the system to produce its cannabinoids and makes them last longer in our organisms.
Moving from science to real-life: what are the health benefits of CBD oil? CBD oil is created by extracting CBD from the plant and diluting it with a carrier oil. More and more studies have started to demonstrate CBD’s potential therapeutic effects for a variety of conditions. Using oil can help with numerous conditions such as anorexia, pain, inflammation, neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity. It turns out that medicinal marihuana can also improve the quality of sleep and reduce anxiousness. The product becomes more and more popular in recent years also creating questions regarding its use. I feel like there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to CBD products. Some people may think that they don’t work and it’s all a scam. Well, it depends on what product you’re getting. Surely, there are many advantages of supplementing CBD oil. CBD is produced without any chemical additives which makes it 100% organic. It is suitable for long-term use as it contains exclusively natural components that do not harm the body. Everyone has different needs, so there are different concentrations of oil that you can choose. It’s worth researching before buying the product, as there is a lot of choice on the market. CBD oil can be bought without a prescription and that is why you need to be careful. When looking for the right product, it is better to look at the quality of the oil, rather than the price. For example, try paying attention to the way of production of the oil- right now the most effective and studied method is CO2 extraction, which uses pressurized carbon dioxide to take as many desirable cannabinoids from a marijuana or hemp plant as possible. Also, try looking for a CBD oil which is described as a full-spectrum, which means that the product contains all the cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. What’s important, the absorption of a CBD oil is increased due to the process of micellization as the oil becomes solubilized in water and pass the mucous membrane to enter the bloodstream. When applying CBD oil, it is best to start with a small dosage of 1 or 2 drops consumed once or twice a day. Cannabinoid works for around 4-6 hours so it’s important to apply it regularly.
CBD is a product that can be used for various conditions improving one’s wellbeing. There is still plenty of research to be done regarding its effects, but it certainly shows to ease many symptoms. Maybe it is worth giving it a shot?
[Zuzanna Boguslawska – she/her]