CBD is everywhere. Indeed, in 2017, Americans spent well over $360 million dollars on CBD products. But what exactly is CBD? Cannabidiol - or CBD as it is more commonly known - is one of the key active ingredients found in the cannabis plant. The other being THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). More on this later.
CBD has become extremely popular recently because of changes in its legality. Although it is found in cannabis which gets you, well, high, CBD does not have any psychoactive properties and so will not have this effect upon you. In fact, under the current law CBD is only legal if it is derived from the hemp plant which contains 0.3% THC.
As a result of this absence of psychoactive effects, CBD makes you feel very different from THC. This is because these two cannabinoids interact very differently with your endocannabinoid system in your body. While THC is felt in the brain, CBD interacts with the wider receptors within the endocannabinoid system to make you feel more calm and relaxed.
But what does CBD actually feel like? Are there any negative side effects? Is it all it is cracked up to be? In order to answer these questions surrounding the effects of CBD, we have looked at these opinions across social media and expert advice.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
CBD oil products are made from extracting cannabidiol from the cannabis or hemp plant and diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
The logic behind the extraction process from a hemp plant involves passing a solvent over the dried plant, so that the active components can be separated from the other stuff.
This process yields pure CBD. It is a dark, crude oil that contains cannabinoids, terpenes,fatty acids and chlorophyll. At this stage of the production process, forms of CBD can be extracted under the desired product.
The Different Types of CBD Oil
There are two categories of plants that produce CBD. They are hemp and marijuana. Industrial hemp is cultivated to make a range of products, such as rope, clothing and paper. Whereas marijunana plants are cultivated for recreational drug use. How this relates to CBD is that CBD derived from hemp will not make you feel high.
Whereas CBD marijuana derived can have intoxicating effects. Under US law, hemp plants and hemp derived products must contain less than 0.3% THC. If you are looking for hemp derived oil, consider that something called hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil since it is harvested from seeds and typically does not contain any cannabidiol.
The effects of CBD oil products are not just dependent on hemp versus CBD oil. Cannabis compounds and ingredients are hugely influential on CBD oil. There are two types of oils: full spectrum and broad spectrum. Each has many differences and as a result the feelings you get from them vary considerably.
Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD oil is taken from hemp, as opposed to the marijuana plant. It contains within it an extensive cross section of cannabinoids, cannabidiol, terpenes, fatty acids and trace amounts of THC. Typically around 0.3% of less. This is because nothing has been filtered out during the production process.
Broad Spectrum CBD
This one is very similar to full spectrum CBD. Like the above, it is also derived from the hemp plant. However, there is an additional process that is used to filter out all of the THC. Every last drop of the stuff. It still has within it all the other cannabinoids, cannabidiol and fatty acids, only there is no THC. This variant of CBD is for people who want the CBD feel, without any risk of getting high. Even if that is ever so slightly.
Finally, there is CBD isolate. A credible option for anyone considering taking CBD, CBD isolate starts life as an oil and is subsequently refined into a white powder or a crystalline solid. Unlike the previous two variants, it is stripped of all its cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids and flavonoids. Indeed, it is the most refined form of CBD.
Nevertheless, CBD isolates have had their heyday. Scientific research is increasingly demonstrating that these extra ingredients are essential for CBD to work. This is known as the entourage effect whereby terpenes and fatty acids actually catalyze and ensure each dose of CBD is effective.
Before you read further, it is important to note that how CBD makes you feel is entirely contingent on your individual reaction. Each one of us has a different endocannabinoid system (ecs). As a result, the CBD experience will be personalized. The effects will depend a lot on how much you take and how often you take it.
Does CBD Really Do Anything?
The first and most basic question surrounds skepticism that CBD actually works. A short answer to this question is yes it does. CBD offers relaxation and soothing throughout your body. It is a fantastic alternative to mainstream medicines, such as opioids. Users report feeling relaxed without feeling stoned. If one type of CBD does not work for you, try another.
Another crucial element of this question is what form you take CBD in. In today's market, there are a plethora of CBD products all professing different health benefits. Some of these include gummies, edibles, lotions, creams, topical solutions and, of course, vapes.
Speaking of which, people who vape report that vaping CBD makes them feel more relaxed and they notice that feelings of anxiety decrease. Indeed, taking CBD in this method allows you to feel its effects more instantly. Although this must be reconciled with the fact that vaping poses a number of side effects, especially for the lungs.
What About Healthcare?
Perhaps some of the best promised benefits of CBD surround health and physical well-being. CBD can help you combat anxiety disorders and depression. This is because CBD alters the way in which your brain's stress receptors respond to serotonin and it can also help reduce stress.
CBD oil is also used as a form of pain relief, especially for chronic pain. Indeed, it can be a cheaper and less habit forming alternative to prescription medication. Again this is because CBD has an effect on your brain's receipts that are responsible for managing pain.
Several studies have indicated that CBD can also alleviate cancer-related symptoms by reducing the side-effects related to cancer treatment, such as nausea, pain and vomiting. It is also known to be anti-inflammatory.
Advisory note: CBD is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness. Still, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has only approved one product that contains CBD. This is a powerful drug used to treat severe and rare forms of epilepsy.
CBD Side Effects
As with everything that are negative aspects to CBD. As per a 2017 study one of the most common effects of CBD was lingering fatigue - or in plain English, tiredness - and changes in appetite and weight. Other side effects were seen to be dry mouth and diarrhea.
Let's talk about the first of those side effects: fatigue. For starters, it is vital to bear in mind that CBD is not a sedative. Instead, it has more of a calming effect, which can relax your receptors that communicate with cortisol (the body's stress hormone). This can make users falsely conflate CBD with drowsiness when it is in fact relaxation.
If you are just starting out with CBD it is advisable to take only a small dosage at first. As time progresses you can achieve a sense of balance with your body, rather than overwhelming fatigue. One key danger of CBD is its interaction with other medicines.
Such drug interactions can be very harmful. Depending on what the medicine is, certain patients should exercise extreme caution and perform routine blood tests and to check on liver function.
Why is this so? This is where it gets technical. Your body metabolizes CBD through a pathway in your liver, known as CYP 450. Here enzymes in the liver break up potentially harmful compounds. However, this also happens to be the same pathway that metabolizes the most common prescription meds and over the counter drugs.
The good news is that in all likelihood you are not taking a high enough dose of CBD that it will cause an adverse reaction with other medicines you may or may not be taking. But still check.
One thing you can do to lower your risk is take a full-spectrum CBD, as opposed to an isolate. You will get all the same benefits at a lower dose. Furthermore you can also opt for a product that is not taken orally and so processed by the liver. Why not try tinctures or other products?
What The Experts Say
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that CBD is generally safe for most people and shows no abuse or dependence potential or evidence of other public health-related problems. Indeed, in a critical review report on CBD, the WHO argued that CBD may be helpful in managing a variety of chronic illnesses, including arthritis.
One of the most promising areas of CBD treatment is for epilepsy, particularly when it is found in children. Indeed, in 2018, the FDA approved the US's first CBD drug. It is called Epidiolex. Coming as an oral solution, Epidiolex is used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare forms of epilepsy.
In a paper published in the academic journal molecules, Serena Silvestro et al. have argued that CBD in clinical applications could represent hope for patients who are resistant to all conventional anti-epileptic drugs.
Chief Science Officer and co-founder for Ananda Hemp, Alex Capano is highly confident that CBD can be added to your medicine cabinet. She's said in an interview that for maximum benefit, CBD should be taken on a daily basis. "You cannot overdose on CBD, she says, and it is lipophilic (of fat soluble), which means it compounds in your body over time, adding to potential health benefits."
Nevertheless, "less is more," Capano adds, “because CBD is metabolized through the same pathway in your liver as many common prescription drugs and over the counter medicines.” As a result, Capano recommends sticking to full-spectrum products (which are jam packed with oils, vitamins and more natural compounds) instead of isolated products, which are pure CBD. "With full spectrum products you need a lower dose - and that might prevent drug interactions."
One area Capano focuses on is vaping CBD. With a vape pen, she argues that you might obtain very quick pain relief. "Some people use CBD daily for prevention of a migraine, but if they feel one coming on, vaping might be a good way to get an almost immediate CBD delivery to abort a migraine quickly," she says.
However, there is a caveat. Capano points out that most vapes use either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, which act as carrier oils for the CBD. Unfortunately, research into the risks and dangers of vaping these chemicals is still in its infancy, she warns. They might prove to be harmful.
What Patients Say CBD Feels Like
Angie Kynaston from Utah suffers from hand pain due to osteoarthritis. She claims that CBD made a big difference to her condition. "It was keeping me awake at night and I would wake up so stiff that if anyone bumped my fingers I would cry out." Yet, since Angie only had one kidney many conventional medications were not possible.
Due to a friend's recommendation, Angie brought a small bottle of CBD lotion, which also contained THC, and she applied it to her hands. "The effect was almost immediate she recalled." Although the lotion contains THC, she said "It does not make me feel high in any way. It only makes my hands less inflamed and less painful."
But other testimonies are not so rosy. Jason Johnson of Minnesota said that anxiety prompted him into trying CBD. "I was going through a really tough time in my life, a lot of stress at home and at work."
A colleague offered Jason a vaporiser containing CBD oil. "At first I did not feel much of anything", he recalled. "So I tried increasing the dose. The first thing I noticed was that the pain was gone. But I think I went overboard because it made me feel nauseous and dizzy, similar to how I feel when I am drunk."
The thing is how CBD feels like for you. There are no hard and fast rules.If you do decide to experiment with CBD oils, be sure to seek medical advice first. Try keeping a journal and documenting how you feel day by day, or at least over a certain period of time.
This can help you become aware of how CBD is affecting you and your feelings, while keeping track of changes. If you start to have an adverse reaction, trust your body. It is telling you something for a reason.