What Exactly is CBD Oil and What is it Used for?
What Exactly is CBD Oil and What is it Used for?
Unlike other herbal medicines, CBD oil did not take long to become popular. This is in part due to the fact that cannabis is one of the most widely consumed plants in the world. There is also rapidly growing interest in its medicinal properties. This is a simple guide to what CBD oil is, how it is made, and its potential health benefits.
What Is the Difference between Hemp and Cannabis?
To understand where CBD oil comes from, it is important to distinguish between hemp and cannabis. They are, essentially, the same plant species.
Hemp is a type of cannabis. Specifically, it is a subspecies of the cannabis plant that contains lesser amounts of THC compared to other types. THC is the substance responsible for the "high" that people experience when they smoke or consume cannabis or marijuana.
So, Where Does CBD Oil Come From?
Hemp is the primary source of CBD oil, "the mother plant," so to speak. This plant contains hundreds of chemicals called cannabinoids and one of them is cannabidiol, which is commonly referred to as CBD. Manufacturers then isolate or extract CBD from hemp using a variety of methods.
Hemp is first grown and then harvested. If you grow it for commercial or industrial reasons, a sample from the harvest is taken to be tested by authorities. This is to make sure that it contains less than 0.3% of THC, a common restriction in many countries.
From there, the plant is usually air-dried or cured, a process that takes several weeks. Because the flowers of the hemp plants have high concentrations of cannabinoids, they are removed and set aside for CBD extraction.
Extracting CBD from Hemp
One of the most common ways CBD is extracted from dry hemp is by soaking the plant in ethanol or alcohol. Carbon dioxide extraction is another popular technique among manufacturers. This is when carbon dioxide is cooled to extremely low temperatures and condensed to produce a more potent extract.
Those who grow hemp at home for personal use can also extract CBD from hemp using common oils. Once harvested and dried, the hemp can be heated in coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed, or other carrier oils.
Unfortunately, the extraction process is not perfect. The extracted CBD will often contain other cannabinoids and plant materials. Therefore, a process called "winterization" or distillation is required to remove chlorophyll, waxes, and lipids from the extract.
The purer extract can then be combined with oils, flavors, and a range of ingredients to produce the final product. Because CBD oil can be applied topically or ingested, the extract -- and final product -- is tested in labs to ensure quality and safety for consumers.
What Are the CBD Oil Products Available?
CBD oil is available as a topical ointment, capsules, gummies, drops, vaping flavours, food supplements that you can mix into foods and drinks, as well as sprays you can administer under the tongue. The list of products that contain CBD oil is growing, and you will likely see it coming in many other forms in the future.
What Are the Health Benefits of CBD Oil?
When it comes to the health benefits of CBD oil, it is wise to be cautious. Claims about the healing potential of cannabis, in general, are often exaggerated and under-researched. For this reason, only the benefits that are proven through studies and clinical trials will be discussed here.
Although the research is ongoing, CBD oil is believed to have potential for treating pain. Studies are seeing somewhat positive results from patients who suffer from osteoarthritis, muscle pain, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and pain from certain injuries.
A study involving animals showed that CBD can be helpful in reducing stress, which can partially alleviate anxiety. Using CBD oil as prescribed can also assist those who suffer from insomnia to sleep, as well as improve some symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In addition to CBD oil's potential to reduce anxiety and stress, a study found that it may change the way smokers react to drug cues. Recovering addicts often have cues or habitual behaviors or events that remind them of their past addiction, which could easily trigger a relapse.
In this study, those who administered CBD had a reduced response to drug cues and found their significance to be much less than before. A more promising study involved former opioid-addicted individuals who exhibited a similar response, affirming the possibility of CBD oil as potentially effective for reducing withdrawal symptoms from addictive substances.
A neurodegenerative disease is a health condition where the cells of the central nervous system either stop functioning or die. There are no known cures, and the symptoms of these disorders tend to get worse over time. Common examples are Parkinson's disease, epilepsy (which mimics neurodegenerative disorders), and Alzheimer's disease.
One of the biggest factors to CBD oil's growing popularity was a study that showed it could reduce the frequency of seizures in epileptic children. The excitement was further fueled when CBD showed the potential to improve symptoms associated with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
Other Potential Applications of CBD
The efficacy of CBD oil is currently being tested as a potential treatment for cancer and diabetes. It is also being studied for its possible ability to inhibit and prevent certain conditions. Hopefully, more clinical trials will provide a clearer picture of what CBD oil can do.
Is CBD Oil Safe to Use?
Some of the above-mentioned studies suggest that people find CBD oil to be tolerable. In other words, it may cause little to no side effects. If you are interested in trying CBD products, please purchase from reputable manufacturers and vendors who follow safety and quality regulations. You should also consult with a medical doctor.
Can CBD Oil Make Me High?
The short answer is that CBD, in available forms, does not make you high. The substance responsible for this is THC. When CBD oil is made from hemp, it should contain less than 0.3% of THC. This is, of course, if you buy it from a licensed manufacturer.
What Are the Common Side Effects of CBD Oil?
The most common side effects are loss in appetite, dry mouth, and diarrhea. Others include lightheadedness, drowsiness, and fatigue. If you are on medication, please ask your doctor if CBD oil and other related products are safe to use to avoid drug-to-drug interactions.
Is It Legal to Make CBD Oil at Home?
First of all, in most countries, you cannot make CBD oil at home without permission from government authorities to grow cannabis or to purchase it for personal use. Because making the oil can be both an art and a science, it is not recommended to make it at home. It is far safer and convenient to purchase it from a vendor.
Homemade CBD oils are also likely to contain higher amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. These can induce not only a high but undesirable and possibly dangerous psychotic episodes and physiological effects.
The laws around cannabis are still hotly debated in many countries around the world. In the U.S., the rules on growing and using cannabis differ from state to state. However, laws are constantly reviewed and updated, and it's important to be up to date on whatever laws apply in your state or country.
If Legal, How Do You Make CBD Oil at Home?
Again, producing cannabis products can be tricky. While some claim it is as easy as soaking or boiling the plant in edible oils, the type of cannabis you use can significantly affect your reaction to it. Please stay safe and purchase it from a qualified manufacturer instead.
Cannabis has opened an entire realm of possibilities as an herb with potential health benefits. Although much research is still required, there is a solid indication that CBD and its products have a lot to offer. Please ensure that you only buy quality products from registered makers and consult with a health professional before use.
Studies on CBD Oil for Pain Management
Studies on CBD Oil for Treating Anxiety
Studies on CBD Oil for Quitting Smoking and Addiction
Studies on CBD for Neurodegenerative Conditions