If I were speaking this post into existence it would be in the tone of a whisper. Why? Because “cannabis,” “CBD oil,” and “marijuana” are words that make people feel uncomfortable, gasp, break out in a cold sweat, and pretend like they suddenly don’t know you. If you’re taking CBD oil, then it’s typically assumed that you’re hitting the streets to get some, you’re totally getting high, or you’re a criminal. None of this is true of course.
There are many misconceptions about CBD oil and I’m guilty of having them too. As someone who doesn’t utilize any substance to get high, I had put CBD oil in all its glory in some off-limits category without realizing that it is derived from plants that (like anything else) can be used for both good and bad. Please forgive me.
So what exactly is CBD oil? Where does it come from, what is it used for, is it really dangerous, will it make you high, is it illegal, and is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Allow me to enlighten you.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil (also known as cannabidiol) is derived from the cannabinoids of hemp and marijuana. A cannabinoid is just one of many chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in the body. Makers of CBD extract the cannabidiol, just like the medicinal properties of other plants are extracted and turned into what we know as “essential oils.” It’s this oil that is then used to address whatever it is that ails you: obesity, anorexia, pain, multiple sclerosis, neurological disorders, inflammation, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and any other illness known to be affected by the cannabinoid system.
Are Hemp and Marijuana the Same Thing?
Hemp and Marijuana are different varieties of the same plant (cannabis). They have the same genus (Cannabis) and species (Cannabis Sativa.) What differentiates them is how they’re grown, their genetics, their cannabinoids, and the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) they contain. (THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the “high.”) Industrial hemp typically contains less than 0.3% THC and has no psychoactive effects. It is used for oils, skin products, fiber, paper, construction, and food. Marijuana has higher concentrations of certain cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG. Its THC levels can range between 15% and 25%.
How Does CBD Oil Work and Will It Make You High?
Your body has an endocanabinoid system and CBD helps your body use its own endocannabinoids more effectively. It also activates other receptors and compounds, like the metabotropic receptors, nuclear receptors, ion channels, and neurotransmitters like serotonin, and adenosine.
Despite what you may have been led to believe, not all cannabinoids are bad and CBD oil will not get you high. This is because CBD doesn’t affect your cannabinoid receptors the same way THC does. People think that because marijuana makes you high, then isolating certain properties in it would make you high also, but this simply isn’t the case.
Hemp contains higher amounts of CBD and little to no THC. Marijuana contains higher amounts of THC and lower amounts of CBD. CBD oil from either plant contains … CBD.
Most CBD oil comes from industrialized hemp or cannabis that isn’t grown for recreational purposes (meaning its THC levels are lower). CBD oil derived from marijuana may contain trace amounts of THC only because the cannabis plant it is derived from naturally does and extraction isn’t always a perfect process.
What the Research Shows
If you check WebMD or any mainstream medical or government-funded site, you’ll find that CBD oil has no medicinal benefits whatsoever. As is often the case, they’re wrong. The CDC, FDA, and these medical websites are bought to you by pharmaceutical companies whose profits suffer every time someone chooses something natural over a drug. We can’t have sick people thinking they don’t need drugs to get well, so the logical thing to do is suppress access to truthful information and natural alternatives like CBD.
Might I advise taking a stroll through PubMed instead? If you do, here’s what you’ll find:
- CBD Oil is a viable, long-lasting, and therapeutic treatment for pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. (European Journal for Pain)
- It could be a potential anti-cancer drug. (British Journal of Pharmacology)
- CBD may be a viable treatment for anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. (Neurotherapeutics)
- CBD Oil may inhibit cancer cell growth and improve neurological disorders. (Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience and Pharmacology and Therapeutics).
- Studies show CBD Oil may be beneficial in treating CNS disorders and epilepsy. (Open Neurology Journal and Lancet Neurology)
- CBD oil improves cardiovascular health and reduces blood pressure. (American Society of Clinical Investigation, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology,
- CBD Oil may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia, REM sleep disorders, and daytime sleepiness. (Current Psychiatry Reports)
- Cannabidiol targets oxidative stress and may have utility in treating a number of health conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, types 1 and 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, depression, and neuropathic pain. (Free Radical and Biology Medicine)
- CBD is more effective than vitamin C and E as a neuroprotective antioxidant and can improve skin conditions like acne. (Proc National Academy of Science and Journal of Clinical Investigation)
I could go on. Study after study after study shows that CBD oil (when used at the right dosage and in the right preparation) is therapeutic for all sorts of conditions.
Does CBD Oil Have Side-Effects?
The safety profile of CBD Oil has been farily well-established. According to the Cannibis and Cannabinoid Research Publication (“a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the scientific, medical, and psychosocial exploration of clinical cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system”), the most common reported side-effects are: tiredness, diarrhea, and changes to appetite and weight. In comparison to the safety profile of other drugs? There is no comparison. If you are in a state that allows for the medicinal use of marijuana and your CBD oil contains THC, you might experience more side-effects.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Marijuana/Cannabis is a Schedule I drug and the DEA/Federal Government’s position is that cannabidiol and products derived from it are illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, whether the CBD is derived from the marijuana plant or hemp plant. Yet, thirty states have legalized marijuana for certain medicinal or recreational purposes.
Of those, 16 states allow for the use of CBD oil for medical research and in the treatment of various conditions. Marijuana is prohibited in all forms in four states: Idaho, Kansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Before buying CBD oil, it’s important to check the laws in your state and if possible, source something that doesn’t have to cross state lines to get to you. For the super cautious, it might be important to work under the care of a provider that can tell you which type of CBD oil you need, can verify its properties, and can oversee its distribution.
Does CBD Oil Really Work?
I have to be honest, I was a skeptic, but I’ve seen the light. I’m not sure how anyone can ignore the medicinal benefits of CBD oil when used correctly. To me, there are far more important things we could be focusing our police efforts on, like restricting access to sidewalks, re-painting the yellow dividing lines on the road, making sure that each piece of gum has its own wrapper, or cracking down on pharmaceutical companies and legislative officials who are fueling an opiate crisis killing more than 64,000 people a year.