With all the talk in the last few years about the health aspects of non-psychoactive CBD on the body, We felt it would be as good a time as any to talk about cannabidiols in general and dig deeper to answer the basic questions that surround CBD. So, what is the CBD compound? Let’s find out!
What exactly is CBD Oil?
CBD is short for Cannabidiol which is an intriguing compound found abundantly in hemp plants. That’s right, the same family of plants that is responsible for marijuana’s high levels of THC can also be bred to contain trace amounts of THC and very high levels of CBD. The CBD molecular compound is one of 113 phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant. These include:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) similar to some cannabinoids that our body produces naturally
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- And a whole entourage of others!
Phytocannabinoids are from Plants
For clarity, a phytocannabinoid simply means a cannabinoid that is derived from plants. An endocannabinoid is a cannabinoid that is produced through natural processes in our bodies. You see, our body makes these cannabinoids absent the introduction of a plant-based oil or derivative. Our bodies simply make them on their own the same way they make endorphins, proteins, hormones, etc. In the next section, we will discuss the Endocannabinoid System in more detail, but suffice to say that the endocannabinoid system is a series of processes within our body that conveys information to other systems using a network of receptors and transmitters.
The entire engine is fueled by cannabinoids like CBD and others. These compounds link up with the receptors in the system and help to regulate everything from metabolism to our body’s immune response. It is a truly remarkable and holistic balance occurring in our bodies every second of every day.
Of all of these plant-based compounds, CBD has recently seen a remarkable amount of new research.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
Let’s take a brief moment to break down in layman’s terms what the Endocannabinoid System does in our body. The Endocannabinoid System was only discovered in 1988! That means that vital research about this system is still in its infancy at only 30+ years. What we have learned is staggering. This robust system, like the Endocrine System, Renal System, or Nervous System, works in tandem with all the other processes of our body to create balance or homeostasis in it and the other systems. It covers improved operations in everything from our appetite, digestion, and immune system to our mood, sleep, and pain control!
The endocannabinoids produced by our bodies are vital to these systems. Whether or not plant-based cannabinoids such as the CBD found in oils and hemp flower are truly beneficial has not been verified by the FDA. Currently, the FDA has not approved CBD as a supplement to this system and it is not allowed to be marketed as such.
Health and stress benefits that you may have read in articles about CBD are so far from studies which are anecdotal in nature. This is still a new field of research and in time, the FDA will reveal its stance on the issue. Until then, consumption of CBD products is to be done at the risk of the consumer. Since the FDA’s top priority is the overall public health, they are continuously evaluating whether plant-based cannabinoids are as safe and effective as the cannabinoids produced in our bodies naturally. You can read about the FDA’s status on CBD research here.
How is CBD Oil Made?
Remarkably, the production of CBD is relatively straight-forward once you obtain the appropriate strain of hemp plant. Once the THC level of hemp is below 0.3% (often much lower) the strain is perfect for CBD harvesting. The process itself can be performed in a small variety of methods. Here is the salient info on each method.
- Ethanol Extraction: The original and still most popular method, ethanol is used to extract the full spectrum of phytocannabinoids (aka the ‘entourage’ effect) to the oil or product.
- CO2 method: While more expensive, this method uses no chemicals and produces very pure, repeatable results.
While new technologies are being researched every day, this field is in a constant state of flux. That said, these two basic ways of extracting full-spectrum phytocannabinoids and isolates have remained essentially unchanged for the past several decades and are proven effective in terms of CBD yield in oils and flower.
The Endocannabinoid System: Powerhouse or Afterthought?
Conclusion: POWERHOUSE! The Endocannabinoid system is remarkable. Working alongside the rest of the body it manages to influence the smooth functioning of so many important aspects of our day to day living. Its inherent advantage is that it naturally self regulates. This means that it is responsible for balancing our digestive, inflammatory, and neural somatic responses throughout our body and its various systems.
While much is still being discovered about this system, the research so far is promising to say the least. While the FDA has not confirmed the benefit of plant-based cannabinoids and their effect on this system, the endocannabinoids produced by our bodies organically have been detailed. some of these compounds help reduce inflammation, which has been linked to the formation of many ailments in the body. Take a look at this study on the effects of inflammation, it’s an eye-opener.
Keep it Real
The reality is that plant-based CBD is still being studied. Anecdotally, users of the compound have shared their experiences all over the internet and on television. While the industry awaits a definitive FDA approved study to determine the supplemental status of plant-based cannabinoids, millions of people have already begun to discover for themselves the impact it can have on their own health.