What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
“So what is CBD (Cannabidiol), anyway?” is a question we are commonly asked.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a natural substance that has recently come into the spotlight for a number of reasons.
It is a relatively new food supplement that is still being researched, and while the initial results are promising, there is a lot of doubt, misinformation, and sheer confusion surrounding it.
Recently, CBD oil has become an accepted means of relaxation, and the substance’s popularity is rising fairly rapidly.
As the use of CBD oil is very new, there are still significant gaps in what we know about its effects. While we can confidently say the substance is safe and legal, its exact benefits are still an issue of hot debates and fervent research.
In this article, we are putting the most important facts surrounding Cannabidiol together to cut through some of the confusion and give you a clearer picture about this new cannabinoid known as CBD.
What Are the Benefits of CBD?
Numerous people are reporting success in using CBD to reach a desired state of calm and relaxation.
Strictly as a chemical substance, CBD also has strong antioxidant properties
, a fact that so far has been largely ignored by the broader food supplements industry.
As each person is different, and because CBD’s effects are still under study, we strongly encourage you to do your own research before incorporating CBD to your daily life.
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis, often known as hemp. Chemically, CBD is one of 85 chemical substances known as cannabinoids
, which are all found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the second most abundant compound in hemp, typically representing up to 40% of its extracts.
However, here is where the confusion starts.
Unfortunately, the most abundant constituent of cannabis is the cannabinoid known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), an intoxicating and illegal substance that is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.”
While CBD is completely separated and isolated from THC and CBD cannot get you “high,” there is still a lot of stigma as many people tend to mistake CBD for THC. These fears, though unfounded, are understandable to an extent, especially since the terminology surrounding CBD can be very confusing.
Nonetheless, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD-high hemp (that has only traces of THC), as it is also impossible to get high by consuming CBD oil products (that contain virtually no THC).
CBD is extracted in oil form and is often found mixed in hemp oil extracts in varying concentrations.
Is Cannabidiol Legal?
Yes, CBD is legal worldwide (a controlled substance in Canada alone). Congress has officially passed the 2018 Farm Bill, making hemp completely and permanently federally legal for the first time in over 40 years. As we’ve seen above, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD, partially because its chemical properties are poorly understood and partially because of its close resemblance to THC.
Until relatively recently (1980s), scientists believed that CBD was a natural precursor to the formation of THC
, and since THC was a strictly controlled substance back then (it still is), it only followed that CBD should be equally strictly regulated.
However, CBD is actually unrelated to the chemical chain that results in THC. They share some characteristics but are created via different paths. Again, unlike THC, CBD is considered a legal cannabinoid and is safe to consume in any amount and concentration.
We understand that there are some confusing terms related to Cannabidiol, so we wanted to take the time to explain them to you. Below is a list of the most important terms to understand related to Cannabidiol:
Cannabis – A type of flowering plant that includes three distinct variations: Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis sativa. Cannabis has a wide range of industrial and medical applications. It has been used since antiquity for its sturdy fiber, for oils, and for medicinal purposes. However, it has also been used as a recreational drug, a fact that renders the cultivation of cannabis strictly regulated because of some variations including high concentrations of THC.
Hemp – Hemp refers to the high-growing varieties of cannabis that are grown to be specifically used for fiber, oil, and seeds. These are then refined into numerous products including wax, resin, cloth, pulp, paper, rope, fuel, and hemp oil.
Cannabinoids – A very diverse chemical family that includes natural as well as artificially created substances. Different cannabinoids have widely varied effects, with some cannabinoids proven to have soothing and relaxing properties and others classified as illegal drugs.
CBD – A naturally occurring cannabinoid, and the second most abundant constituent of the Cannabis plant. CBD is legal and safe to consume, yet has long been in the shadow of THC.
THC – The most abundant constituent of the cannabis plant and a strongly psychoactive cannabinoid, THC is responsible for getting “high” from smoking marijuana and, as a result, its production and usage are strictly regulated.
Psychoactive – Any chemical substance that can enter the brain from the bloodstream and directly affect the central nervous system is considered psychoactive. Many psychoactive substances have medical applications (such as anesthetics, psychiatric drugs, etc.), but some of these substances are used solely for recreation, causing dangerous side effects and addiction.
Intoxicating – Any substance that can cause you to lose control of your faculties and alter your behavior is considered intoxicating. Almost all illegal drugs have intoxicating properties, although worldwide most intoxication cases are attributed to alcohol. Intoxication can be caused by substances that directly affect the brain (i.e., psychoactive) or by indirectly causing damage to your organism (i.e., through toxicity, hence the term).
Closing Words / What Makes CBD Different
In today’s world, there are countless supplements on the market. Yet, even as a newly popularized supplement, CBD stands out as a naturally calming and soothing. In addition, scientists are staying open to the possibility of wider applications of CBD in the near future.
For many people, CBD products are becoming a relaxing addition to their daily lives. However, since each person’s needs are different, we always encourage you to do your own research to see if CBD oil is right for you.
As we strive to be the most consumer-focused provider of CBD oil in the market, we will be creating more articles to point out the most recent CBD research and all related scientific breakthroughs.
Our aim is to provide a balanced and accurate view of everything and anything related to the use of CBD, so stay tuned for more objective information about CBD and always be prepared for some critical thinking and research of your own as well.
CBD vs THC: What is the Difference?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most abundant cannabinoids found naturally in hemp.
Classed as phytocannabinoids
(as opposed to endocannabinoids and cannabinoids that are manufactured artificially), both CBD and THC interact with specific cells mainly in our brains (but also in other organs).
Both CBD and THC have a wide range of applications and are similar at the molecular level. This has led the public to often confuse them, and even the scientific community believed that CBD and THC were in fact the same substance until relatively recently.
However, the chemical properties of CBD and THC vary widely enough to classify THC as a psychotropic drug strictly controlled by federal authorities, while CBD is regarded as legal and safe worldwide.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding these substances, propagated in part by interests that seek to promote one substance over the other. In this article, we will give you the lowdown on some scientific facts about both CBD and THC, explaining objectively and in simple terms the differences between CBD and THC.
CBD vs THC in Clinical Application
Both CBD and THC interact with cells within our bodies by activating the cannabinoid receptors
. Without venturing too deeply into technical terms, we can say that these receptors are responsible for transmitting signals within our bodies, causing different physiological effects.
Some cannabinoids are capable of desirable effects (they are beneficial to us). Others cause undesirable psychotropic effects in our bodies (such as getting “high,” or causing depression
, etc.), and a few of these substances
cause both desirable and undesirable effects.
Currently, there are no documented studies that show undesirable effects from CBD, which is why this particular cannabinoid is legal worldwide. However, there are many studies showing CBD to cause only desirable effects or no effects at all. (Not only that, but CBD has also been shown to protect against the negative effects of THC
It is important to point out that research is still underway for many applications of CBD.
THC was the first phytocannabinoid that was discovered and has been much more extensively researched than CBD.
We know with fairly high certainty that THC is strongly psychoactive and can be intoxicating even in small amounts. This means that THC can alter your behavior and cause you to lose control of your faculties, properties that make it a popular (illegal) recreational drug in the form of marijuana.
Nonetheless, THC has desirable medical applications and has been shown to be effective as a moderate-strength analgesic
(a type of drug that offers relief from pain) and an effective form of treatment for the symptoms of “serious” diseases including AIDS and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
These invaluable properties of THC have given rise to the use of marijuana for legal medical purposes. Medical marijuana is safe when prescribed by a doctor and can significantly improve the quality of life for many people suffering from serious and/or chronic diseases.
What Do Scientists Say?
Overall, it is generally accepted that CBD is safer than THC for a number of reasons. There have been certain studies that found statistically significant correlations between long-term use of THC and certain psychiatric disorders
, including schizophrenia, depression, and psychosis.
However, we must note here that in scientific studies such as these, correlation does not imply causation; that is, the usage of THC might be linked to psychiatric disorders without necessarily being that root cause of them. (Much like lighters are linked to smoking, but possession of a lighter does not necessarily mean you are a smoker.)
As we have also seen above, CBD is considered to have wider applications than THC. Since CBD has been much less studied than THC, scientists assume that there are many new applications of CBD that haven’t yet been discovered. On the other hand, THC’s applications are more or less completely explored by now due to all the research on medical marijuana over the past decade.
So What’s Better, CBD or THC?
The CBD vs THC debate is something that often crops up in the circles of cannabis users, and it mainly stems from misinformation that surrounds these substances.
Based on what we’ve seen above, we can answer the question by saying that CBD and THC are so different that it’s difficult to compare them directly. But while THC can be abused as a drug, CBD is safe and has no recreational applications. In fact, many misinformed people, along with many recreational marijuana users, often brand CBD as “useless” because it cannot get them “high.”
Like most things in life, the usage and properties of CBD and THC aren’t black and white. It’s hard to label THC useless when it has so many documented medical benefits, and you cannot just blindly trust CBD as it is still possible (though unlikely) for scientists to find some side effects with its long-term use.
However, there is so much more to both CBD and THC than just THC’s psychoactive properties that it is a shame not to explore their applications and learn the truth about them, especially since they are both being used nowadays to better the lives of countless people on a daily basis. Science is an evolving process and it pays to stay up to date, especially on new industries like CBD.
How Does CBD Work?
At SedonaHerb.com, we are frequently asked, “How does CBD work?” It’s no surprise that it does work — but many people want to know “how,” and the real reason might surprise you.
What is a Cannabinoid?
Simply put, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are dozens of compounds including Cannabidiol (CBD), THC, and a host of other cannabinoids. Together they are responsible for the benefits and drawbacks to medical marijuana and industrial hemp-based products.
Technically, CBD and its sister cannabinoid compounds are classified as phytocannabinoids, which means that they’re derived from plants. But there are also several other types of cannabinoids you should know about too.
For example, the cannabinoids produced within the body’s endocannabinoid system are known as endocannabinoids (such as arachidonoylethanolamine, virodhamine, and many others). There are also cannabinoids manufactured via chemical reactions in laboratories, known as synthetic cannabinoids.
Our Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System
Here’s the second half of the equation. You see, your body actually has areas that are made specifically for cannabinoids — they are called cannabinoid receptor sites
These sites make up the endocannabinoid system
, which is responsible for numerous physiological and mental processes that occur naturally within the body.
As we just stated, the endocannabinoid system includes a number of specialized cell receptors in the brain and in various other organs throughout the body.
These receptors fall into two types: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain (but also in the liver, kidneys, and lungs), while CB2 receptors are found mainly in the immune system.
Here’s the fun part — cannabinoid substances actually bind with these receptors to coordinate various functions across the body.
What Kinds of Effects Can Cannabinoids Have on the Body?
As we discussed above, there are several types of cannabinoids. Even within phytocannabinoids, there are wide ranges of compounds and effects that we are still learning about.
Some of these cannabinoids interact strongly with one or both CB receptors, causing various effects, from regulating mood and helping us concentrate, to causing euphoric effects and feeling “high” (like THC). Other cannabinoids, like CBD, have fewer direct effects on the endocannabinoid system (keep this in mind as you read the next section).
To recap: Cannabinoids represent a diverse class of chemical compounds that can be very different from each other. Their only common feature is that they all act on the body’s cannabinoid receptors, either directly or indirectly.
External vs. Internal Cannabinoids
The endocannabinoid system works mainly with our the body’s own cannabinoids, which are produced internally. For example, arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) is produced within the body and is thought to regulate several functions.
However, when cannabinoids are taken externally, it’s difficult to distinguish between the clinically desirable effects and the therapeutically undesirable effects of various phytocannabinoids. This is because cannabinoid receptors send a variety of signals
that often interconnect to coordinate the body’s functions, so it’s hard to tell them apart.
For example, CB1 receptors send signals that regulate senses, while cannabinoids that interact with CB2 receptors can at the same time affect gastrointestinal response and peripheral nervous system sensitivity.
See why external cannabinoids (like CBD) can be a little more complicated?
Also, since people often take numerous different cannabinoids together (for example, using medical marijuana), it is hard to attribute specific effects to specific cannabinoids. That’s because unprocessed cannabis includes more than 60 different types of cannabinoids, including CBD and THC.
In addition, some cannabinoids interact synergistically, producing unique effects that are not found when using them individually. For example, CBD inhibits THC’s psychotropic effects when the two are taken together. However, CBD does this (and produces many other effects) without directly interacting with the cannabinoid receptors. At first, scientists thought there was a third type of CB receptor just for Cannabidiol, but the answer was far more interesting and revealing.
How Does CBD Work?
We just stated that CBD is fairly unique as far as cannabinoids go, because it does not seem to interact directly
with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. So what does it do if it’s not interacting directly with our receptors?
Cannabidiol has a particularly low potential for binding with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but instead acts as an antagonist of the receptors’ agonists. That’s a mouthful.
In layman’s terms, this means that CBD keeps the receptors working at optimal capacity and helps the function of all other cannabinoids, including the body’s own endocannabinoids.
Still with me? If you want to know more about the effects, read below, but if you’re often put off by scientific words, you might want to skip down to the conclusion…
What Effects Does CBD Have?
Now to understand CBD’s function within the body, we need to examine how receptors like CB1 and CB2 interact with other chemical compounds.
- Agonists – chemicals that bind to a receptor and activate it to produce a biological response.
- Inverse agonists – chemicals that bind to the same receptor as agonists but produce the exact opposite result.
- Antagonists – the complete opposite of agonists as they inhibit or dampen the functions of a receptor.
The indirect interactions of CBD with the endocannabinoid system has many effects, some of which surprised scientists and are still being researched. Some of CBD’s functions include:
- Effectively increases CB1 density, amplifying the effects of all cannabinoids that bind to CB1 receptors.
- Acts as a 5-HT1a receptor agonist in the brain.. This means that CBD has calming and soothing effects such as some potent analgesics, but without the side effects.
Acts as inverse agonist of CB2 receptors, effectively reducing the effects of cannabinoids that make CB2 receptors less responsive.
- Acts as an antagonist for the putative GPR55 receptor, an element of the endocannabinoid system that is still being researched. (It is suggested thatGPR55 may be a third type of cannabinoid receptor altogether.)
Between the above functions, most of CBD’s observed effects are well explained. However, scientists are still unclear about how some effects of Cannabidiol are actually occurring. The most possible explanation is via the hypothetical GPR55 receptor, or through more indirect and synergistic effects that still await discovery.
Contrary to how most cannabinoids function, CBD interacts very mildly with the cannabinoid receptors themselves and instead either helps other cannabinoids to be better absorbed or stops the effects of whatever makes the receptors work less effectively.
The indirect nature of CBD’s effects have made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint its exact effects up to now, but many positive effects of this unusual phytocannabinoid are still being studied.
The endocannabinoid system is closely interconnected with the nervous and immune system. Since CBD has been shown to boost just about every function of our cannabinoid receptors, it is proven to have far-reaching soothing and relaxing effects.
Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference?
You may have heard some people say that marijuana and hemp are exactly the same, while others swear they are different. The debate of hemp vs marijuana is fueled by the confusion and misinformation that surround the cannabis plant.
In this article, we will dispel several myths and shed light on the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana. To help us answer the question in our article’s title, we will need to peek into botany, genetics, linguistics, and even law, as this is a tangled subject.
As you may know, industrial hemp and marijuana come from the same genus of flowering plant– cannabis. The term “genus” essentially refers to a sub-family of plants and not a single species. This means that there may be multiple types of the cannabis plant, which are all cannabis but have remarkable differences. So, in terms of scientific classification, multiple species can exist within a single genus, and that’s exactly the case with cannabis.
The Different Growing Varieties of Cannabis
The genus of cannabis is thought to include three distinct species of the cannabis plant
, namely Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Cannabis sativa is the most common strain of cannabis. It has been cultivated throughout history for a number of purposes, including the production of seed oil, food, hemp fiber (for clothes and rope), medicine, and even recreation.
Cannabis ruderalis is a species native to Russia that flowers earlier and is able to withstand harsher conditions than Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is the hardiest of the three, but it is relatively poor in terms of cannabinoids as ruderalis has a lower THC content than either sativa or indica.
Cannabis indica was first discovered in India and is a cannabis species that is described as shorter and bushier than sativa. Problems with botanical taxonomy have led some scientists to still doubt the existence of Cannabis indica as a distinct species of cannabis.
In nature, Cannabis ruderalis typically has the lowest levels of THC, Cannabis sativa has a higher level of THC than it has CBD, and Cannabis indica has a higher level of CBD than it has THC. However, since man has been cultivating cannabis (and especially Cannabis sativa) for thousands of years, the effects of artificial selections have led to several different types of cannabis even within the same species, depending on the purpose the cannabis was cultivated for.
The Power of Artificial Selection
Cannabis has been cultivated by humans, for a variety of purposes, since antiquity. So it comes as no surprise that there are several different species and even different varieties within the species, depending on the purpose the plants were bred for. Through artificial selection, different species of cannabis have different properties–some have been used for medicinal purposes, others as food, and others to create clothes, ropes, and other items.
Industrial hemp is produced by strains of Cannabis sativa that have been cultivated to produce minimal levels of THC and are instead artificially selected and bred to grow taller and sturdier. This is done to enable the plant to be used effectively in the production of hemp oil, wax, resin, hemp seed food, animal feed, fuel, cloth, rope, and more. Industrial hemp is exclusively made from Cannabis sativa.
Medical marijuana is produced mainly from variants of Cannabis sativa that have been selectively bred to maximize their concentration in cannabinoids. Cannabis ruderalis is almost exclusively grown due to its naturally occurring very small quantities of THC .
Hemp vs Marijuana: So What’s Really the Difference?
The major (and arguably the only) difference between industrial hemp and medical marijuana is that industrial hemp is exclusively made from Cannabis sativa that was specifically bred to produce the lowest concentrations of THC possible.
Hemp-producing cannabis has tall, fibrous stalks that are very strong and have very few flowering buds. On the on the other hand, marijuana strains are short, bushy, and have high amounts of THC. In fact, industrial hemp and medical marijuana are so distinctively different that most lay people wouldn’t be able to tell that they belong to the same genus of plants if they encountered them in the wild!
While marijuana is bred with the only purpose of maximizing its THC concentration, industrial hemp always has trace amounts of THC and naturally occurring high amounts of CBD (it has the highest CBD/THC ratio of all cannabis strains, even Cannabis ruderalis) This means that industrial hemp’s chemical profile makes it incapable of inducing intoxicating effects and getting you “high” from ingesting it.
Industrial Hemp Supplements
Since industrial hemp is naturally rich in CBD and has been bred to have only trace amounts of THC, many people today are turning to industrial hemp products as an alternative to medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is not legal in all states in the US and many countries worldwide, while products made from industrial hemp can be a safe and legal alternative. You can get many of the same beneficial effects of medical marijuana from industrial hemp products without getting “high."
Industrial hemp products are completely safe, as they are made according to federal standards and are produced in FDA-registered facilities within the US.
What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana and CBD Oil from Industrial Hemp Oil?
Most of our readers know you can get Cannabidiol (CBD) products made from industrial hemp. Many of you also know that you can get CBD products from medical marijuana.
So what’s the difference? Yes, medical marijuana can contain any level of THC whereas CBD products from industrial hemp contain negligible amounts. But what about the CBD?
Is the CBD from industrial hemp the same as the CBD from medical marijuana? In this article we’ll explore what we know about these substances.
Cannabidiol is Still Cannabidiol
Here’s the main concept to understand. In regards to its chemical composition, which is precisely known to scientists, CBD remains unchanged regardless of which plant produces it.
To further expand on this, the term “Cannabidiol” refers by definition to a chemical substance
There is no room for different interpretations and the substance is just that. Any single difference in the molecular composition would mean it’s no longer Cannabidiol but another substance (again, by definition). This is pure chemistry and allows no room for ambiguity.
However, the main question people have is not just about the CBD compound, which is constant from plant to plant, but the actual difference in CBD oil from various plants.
What Goes into Cannabidiol Oil?
We’ve established the fact that naturally occurring CBD is the same CBD regardless of the plant it came from. However, CBD and CBD oil are not in fact the same thing. As we’ve seen above, CBD is a chemical compound with sharply defined characteristics, while CBD oil is a mixture of various natural substances as they are derived from the plant of cannabis.
The production of hemp oil involves extracting the fatty acids from the stalks of the cannabis plant. Within these fatty acids fat-soluble substances can be found, and as cannabinoids are fat-soluble, they come out of the plant, dissolved in the oil.
To make this more concrete, let’s use an example here. This is a high-CBD hemp oil product made from industrial hemp. It has a concentration of CBD between 18% and 24%. This means that it has 18%–24% parts CBD dissolved in the actual oil, which is composed by other substances. So 18%–24% is pure CBD, and the rest are hemp oil extracts and other fatty acid substances.
Medical Marijuana vs. Industrial Hemp CBD Oil
The main point we want to make here is that CBD is always CBD, but CBD oil from hemp is not the same as the oil that is extracted from medical marijuana.
The main difference between the two remains that CBD oil from medical marijuana can contain any varying amount of THC. As a result, this type of CBD oil is considered a Schedule I drug and is not legal in many states in the US and countries worldwide.
As industrial hemp is naturally high in CBD and contains only traces of THC, the hemp oil produced from it is safe and non-psychotropic. This CBD oil is actually a lot different than the oil produced by extracting the fatty acids of the cannabis plants that are bred for soothing purposes.
Besides the difference in THC concentration, the CBD oils will also have differing amounts of other cannabinoids. But those make up a much smaller percentage of the overall volume and are not as pronounced in their effects as CBD or THC are.
So, if you are looking for a safe and legal CBD oil product, CBD oil produced from industrial hemp is a great choice, because it’s naturally rich in CBD and has almost no THC.