CBD seems to be popping up everywhere. Google searches about CBD have increased 25x over the last 5 years, and it seems like every potential product now has a CBD version. The substance has massive potential as a medical product and lifestyle supplement, but many consumers do not know much about what CBD is or where it comes from.
What is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol and is a substance found in cannabis plants. It is classified as a cannabinoid and can interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body to help regulate a number of bodily functions. Cannabis varieties, including hemp and marijuana, contain over 80 different cannabinoids, of which CBD and THC are two.
Due to CBD’s ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system, it is able to help with a variety of symptoms including those related to pain, inflammation, immunity and diet. The endocannabinoid system has a number of receptors, including CB1 and CB2. While CBD connects more to CBD2, it has effects on CB1 as well. CB1 is often linked to mental conditions, such as stress and anxiety. CB2 is typically linked to pain and inflammation.
Some of the conditions that CBD is attributed with treating include chronic aches and pains, swelling and muscle fatigue. Additionally, the FDA has approved a prescription form of CBD for treating seizures. CBD is also believed to be useful in treating depression, anxiety, stress and other mental issues.
Where does CBD come from?
As noted above, CBD is a compound found in cannabis plants; however, it is most commonly harvested from industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is legally required to have less than 0.3% THC and is rich in CBD, whereas marijuana usually has 20-25% THC and 0-3% CBD. CBD usually makes up about 40% of the extracts from hemp.
There are several ways to extract CBD from the hemp plant. One of the oldest methods is called alcohol extraction. This requires soaking the hemp plant in grain alcohol so the liquid can absorb the CBD from the plant. After a number of hours, the plant is removed and the solvent is evaporated, leaving CBD oil behind.
Newer processes include “Roto-vap,” in which a machine is used to evaporate the alcohol, capturing the alcohol for later use and providing a purer CBD oil. Additionally, CO2 can be used to extract CBD. This method requires a number of different machines, but essentially it pressurizes a container of hemp and blows CO2 through the leaves. A separate container collects the CBD, which can then be put into capsules or infused into other products.
Finally, there is “whole plant extraction,” in which the entire plant is used during the extraction process. This captures all of the cannabinoids in the plant, not just pure CBD. Some medical researchers believe that an “entourage effect” is important for CBD. This states that all of the cannabinoids need to work together to achieve maximum performance, and that pure CBD is not as effective by itself.
Which products use CBD?
Once farmers collect CBD from their plants, they have a variety of options for packaging the substance. One of the most common is to sell CBD oils. This simply takes the oil from the extraction process and bottles it for consumption. CBD oil can also utilize olive oil or orange oil to provide a better taste profile for consumers.
A new trend has been to infuse CBD oil in groceries. This has opened up a huge selection of products for consumers, including CBD water, chocolates, gummies and kombucha. Whatever your favorite food or drink is, there is probably a CBD version that would allow easy consumption.
There are now topical treatments containing CBD. For example, CBD lotion is a great option to alleviate muscle fatigue after a workout. Actress Kristen Bell has stated that she incorporates CBD oil in her routine to help her stay in better shape and avoid body aches. Other topical treatments include oils, bath bombs and face masks.
Lastly, CBD can be put into capsules for oral consumption. This is a common technique for people who want easy medicinal usage and precise dosing. Some edibles and topical treatments can lead to variable consumption, so capsules are an effective option for some. Capsules also allow consumers more control over what they are ingesting, since some CBD oils and edibles contain other compounds and cannabinoids.
CBD has the potential to help a wide range of people live better lives. The history of anti-marijuana legislation around the world is slowly beginning to shift, and CBD is becoming better understood and more widely accepted by society. This changing of the tide is opening up a world of new products that consumers need to learn about.