For those who may not be familiar with CBD, it is a phytocannabinoid originally discovered in 1940. It is also one of the many cannabinoids native to the cannabis Sativa plant, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the chemical found in marijuana that produces a euphoric high. While THC and CBD are both derived from the same cannabis plant, this is where the similarities end. Unlike THC, CBD offers significant therapeutic value, insomuch that it is commonly used to treat a wide range of health problems, including chronic pain, inflammation, seizures, anxiety, and depression. And researchers and scientists are always on the lookout for new health benefits that may be associated with using CBD oil and other CBD products.
THE HISTORY OF CANNABIDIOL
To better understand the health benefits of CBD, commonly referred to as cannabidiol, it helps to know a little more about the history of this particular cannabinoid first. The use of cannabidiol to resolve health problems dates back to ancient China. According to historians, it was first used by Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung in 2737 BCE who consumed cannabis-infused tea as a way to resolve a variety of health problems. After witnessing the positive effects of the cannabinoid, more people began using it as an alternative to traditional Chinese medicine. However, it would still take centuries for cannabidiol to finally be taken seriously in the medical community. Even then, many were still skeptical about its health benefits. However, in 1839, Irish researcher William B. O’Shaughnessy published a study that explicitly detailed the health benefits of CBD and cannabis, which eventually garnered the attention of many researchers, scientists, and physicians.
EARLY SCIENTIFIC STUDIES OF CBD PRODUCTS
While early scientific studies detailing the health benefits of cannabidiol were not as sophisticated as those taking place today, they still revealed a lot about the misunderstood cannabinoid. Turning our attention back to William B. O’Shaughnessy, the Irish researcher recognized early on that CBD could positively affect the body; however, the extent of those positive benefits was not clear. Nonetheless, it created enough interest that other researchers became fascinated with learning more about CBD, Robert S. Chan, a British chemist, being among the first. In 1940, he observed that the cannabis Sativa plant contained not only CBD but also CBN, a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid known for its powerful sedative properties. This discovery would later pique the interest of yet another researcher, Roger Adams, an American chemist.
HOW EARLY RESEARCH LED TO UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CANNABIDIOL AND THC
During the 1940s, Roger Adams conducted several studies relative to CBD, CBN, and the cannabis Sativa plant, which ultimately led to him discovering the cannabinoid that we now associate with marijuana, THC. Although this was a monumental discovery, the American chemist still couldn’t discern which cannabinoid did what when it came to the effects that they each had on the body. Nonetheless, this discovery paved the way for even more research to be conducted by several esteemed scientists, including Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist. In 1964, Mechoulam, after exhaustive study, was able to gain further insight into the 3D chemistry that differentiated cannabidiol from THC and vice versa. To say that this was a scientific breakthrough would be a gross understatement as this discovery helped finally determine which cannabinoid contributed to improved health and which offered merely a euphoric high.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST CBD PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET TODAY?
Now that we have a better understanding of the history as well as the science behind cannabidiol, let’s turn our attention to some of the cannabidiol-infused products currently on the market today:
CBD oil and sublingual tinctures
Both of these products are highly sought-after by those who are struggling with mental health disorders.
Similar to CBD oil and sublingual tinctures, gummies are a common choice for those struggling with a mental health disorder. Many prefer them because of how much they resemble candy and the fact that they can be consumed inconspicuously throughout the day to help quell feelings of anxiety, depression, and much more. You can read this CBD gummies review for more details.
This particular CBD-based product is usually in high demand by those struggling with joint or muscle pain, particularly those who are averse to taking over-the-counter or prescription-based pain relievers.
It is worth noting that along with CBD-infused drops, many individuals will also turn to CBD-infused lotions and creams to help relieve localized pain as well.
HOW TO FIND HIGH-GRADE CBD PRODUCTS
When purchasing CBD products for your health and wellness needs, you should practice due diligence and choose the product that is right for you. Like spplements, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), meaning you stand a higher chance of coming across ineffective products or, worse yet, products that can jeopardize your health.
For example, some unscrupulous retailers may attempt to sell products that contain either synthetic or low-grade cannabidiol while claiming that they are purveyors of high-grade CBD products. To ensure you’re getting the best CBD-based product possible, you will want to buy from retailers such as Safer CBD Products who only carry products that were produced using hemp sourced from U.S.-based hemp farms, which often contain the least amount of contaminants.
It is also a good idea to only buy CBD-based products that have been tested by third-party laboratories. During these tests, a licensed lab will review these products for potency, purity, and overall quality. Products that do not meet the lab’s criteria for quality will generally never make it on to store shelves. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions as most reputable retailers are knowledgeable about the products that they carry and are usually more than willing to address any concerns that customers may have about them.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CBD-BASED PRODUCTS FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELLNESS NEEDS
Although there are several well-documented health benefits associated with CBD-based products, they are not all created equal. And depending on your health and wellness needs, some may be better than others. Certain CBD-based products, such as sublingual tinctures, contain a high concentration of CBD oil and would be ideal for someone who is either struggling with chronic pain or already has a high CBD tolerance, for example. Conversely, someone who is struggling with minor joint or muscle pain or even mild mental illness symptoms could potentially benefit from CBD-infused edibles. That aside, if you’re trying CBD-based products for the first time, it would be a good idea to start with those that contain the least amount of cannabidiol possible and gradually work your way up from there.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
For those who are not familiar with the endocannabinoid system, it is a complex cell-signaling system that is responsible for a variety of bodily functions, some of which include
- Regulating mood
- Regulating body temperature
- Motor coordination
- Feelings of pleasure and reward
- Immune function
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is comprised of CB1 and CB2 receptors, both of which play a critical role when it comes to enabling the body to achieve homeostasis. These receptors exist in different parts of the body, with CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors in the peripheral nervous system. Collectively, these receptors alert the body whenever there is a problem. For example, if you’re hungry, the ECS will signal your stomach to start growling.
HOW DO CBD PRODUCTS INTERACT WITH THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?
Because the endocannabinoid system already contains natural cannabinoids, adding more from external sources, such as CBD oil, gummies, and other CBD-infused products, puts it into overdrive. In short, you’re able to derive even more health benefits than if you relied on the endocannabinoid system alone.
To further put this into context, CBD-based cannabinoids that are present in CBD products will bind to either CB1 or CB2 endocannabinoid receptors when introduced into the body. When they bind and interact with CB1 receptors, for example, the endocannabinoid system will work to disrupt pain signals that would otherwise travel to the brain.
If these same cannabinoids bind to CB2 receptors while any part of the body is inflamed, for example, the endocannabinoid system will trigger a natural anti-inflammatory response. It is important to note that many CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC, which can bind to CB1 receptors. However, because the amount of THC is so low, typically less than 0.03 percent, it does not produce an intense euphoric high. Moreover, it has a calming effect, which can be beneficial to those struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders.
Current data shows that CBD-based products can help resolve a wide range of health problems and are safe for most people to consume. Also, in 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a medication used to treat seizures. And with the passing of the U.S. Farm Bill in the same year, it became legal to produce, sell, market, and carry CBD-based products. All in all, the once misunderstood cannabinoid derived from the cannabis Sativa plant is growing in popularity and is quickly becoming more accepted.