A Guide to Understanding Hemp and Cannabidiol
It seems like everywhere you turn there is another CBD-laden product making bold claims. One of the many compounds found within cannabis plants, cannabidiol (CBD) works within the human endocannabinoid system. It is purported to affect mood, stress levels, pain, inflammation, and a wide range of neurological activity. Despite its commonplace appearance in everyday life, many people are still unsure exactly what hemp is and what it can be used for. Hemp is grown as an annual field crop throughout North America. Because it is highly regulated, farmers in most areas need to get special permits to plant and harvest it as a crop. Unlike its cousin marijuana, hemp is specifically grown to be low in the psychoactive compound THC. The plant is an excellent source of Cannabidiol (CBD), however. It is the source of most THC-free CBD products marketed and sold in the United States. The Many Compounds Within Hemp There are hundreds of active compounds found within cannabis plants, including hemp. They have a variety of properties and uses, including modulating the endocannabinoid system (ECS), fighting inflammation, and working to combat free radicals. Cannabinoids There are around 100 distinct cannabinoids among the more than 500 compounds found within hemp plants. These can be further broken down into subcategories depending on how they work within the body. All cannabinoids work by affecting the ECS in some way. The two that get the most attention for medical and recreational use are cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. Researchers are still working to understand the effects of cannabinoids on the body, they appear to promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation. There are several pharmaceuticals that use them. Cannabidiol (CBD) might get a lot of the press, but it makes up a small portion of the compounds found within hemp. However, hemp that is specifically grown for CBD production will be especially rich in it. CBD isolates will not have THC or terpenes in them. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high feeling. It is also a cannabinoid since it works to activate cannabinoid receptors within the brain and nervous system. Industrial hemp plants cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC to be considered legal under current legislation. Terpenes Terpenes are one type of organic compound found in hemp plants. You may already be familiar with these compounds; they are what give plants and other things within nature their distinct aroma. In fact, they are responsible for most of the effects found through aromatherapy. Full-spectrum CBD and hemp oil will have a variety of terpenes in addition to CBD. There are more than 100 distinct terpenes found within the cannabis plant. Some are more prevalent than others. Although the terpene profile will vary across varieties of hemp, the most common ones found include myrcene, limonene, pinene, and linalool. Collectively, they have strong antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and calming properties. Uses for Hemp and CBD Oil Although research is still young regarding the use of hemp and CBD oils, early results are very promising. The FDA-approved seizure medication Epidioloex helps illustrate the possible medicinal uses for CBD and other hemp compounds. Its success also encourages additional research in the area. There is also growing anecdotal evidence of CBD's efficacy for a wide range of ailments. Some common uses include: Improving focus and attention -Reducing pain and inflammation -Lowering stress levels and easing symptoms of anxiety -Reducing the frequency and intensity of certain types of seizures -Offering neuroprotective properties in patients with neurodegenerative disorders -Boosting athletic performance -Improving the rate and speed of muscle recovery -Decreasing symptoms of depression, OCD, and PTSD Individual results will vary, and there are no agreed-upon dosage recommendations for CBD use. However, as research works to uncover what it can do and how it works within the body, clearer guidelines will likely be developed. In the meantime, CBD is generally considered safe with few side effects or interactions. It is growing in popularity as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical treatments for pain, inflammation, and mood disorders for many people.