What Is Cannabidiol (CBD) and How Can it Help?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids produced by cannabis, second only to THC in abundance. CBD is primarily derived from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant.

CBD Does Not Get You High

CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not create the “euphoric high” of THC. Like THC, CBD products come in all shapes and sizes. For those who prefer not to inhale anything, there are some fantastic options for edible and topical CBD. Edibles effects tend to last longer and affect the whole body, while topical ointments provide localized relief wherever they are applied.

While THC is known for producing a “high” among consumers, CBD is better known for its healing effects on the body. In fact, CBD can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. However, small amounts of THC when combined with CBD can help enhance the effects of CBD because they are working together.

CBD may not make you feel “high,” but it can potentially provide numerous medicinal benefits. 

How Does CBD Work?

When you take CBD it interacts with the naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors in your body and produces effects. This is all part of your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate your body. 

The body produces two brain receptors in the ECS with CB1 receptors being most abundant. CB1 receptors are found mostly in the brain and help coordinate movement, appetite, mood, emotions, pain, and other functions. THC attaches to CB1 receptors but CBD does not and actually inhibits activity in CB1 receptors. Instead, CBD helps our body produce its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids and influences helpful non-cannabinoid receptors.

How Can CBD Help?

Thanks in part to legalization, more and more research is being conducted on the potential medical benefits of CBD. While further study is required, the consensus thus far is that CBD could be helpful in treating those who suffer from chronic pain and inflammation, substance abuse disorders, epilepsy, cancer, anxiety, and more.

What Does CBD Feel Like?

Many consumers report that CBD makes them feel relaxed and calm, as soon as 15-30 minutes, however, there are several factors to consider. These factors include the type of CBD product, the total CBD amount, and your ECS and tolerance. For example, users of CBD topicals report that it brings relief to pain-specific areas on the skin. Or, if you are taking a tincture with CBD and THC, it might make you feel relaxed but you may also feel the psychoactive effects from the THC. Also, depending on your body's response to CBD, it may take days or weeks of consistent dosing to help mitigate symptoms such as anxiety, pain, or inflammation.

What Are the Effects of CBD?

The reported effects of CBD include anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, antinausea, and reduce craving for opioid drugs, all effects in humans supported by multiple studies. The short-term effects can be feelings of calm, relaxation, and pain-relief and as mentioned it depends on multiple factors. Mild to negative side effects have been reported when taken with other medications, such as increased drowsiness. More studies are needed to support the claims of effects from CBD.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

CBD typically stays in your body for 2-5 days but it can stay up to weeks. This depends on things like how much you took — the higher the dose the longer it will stay in your system. Also consider how often you use it, if you only use it sometimes it will clear out of your body sooner. Another factor is your body, your mass index and metabolism affect how you process CBD and also your method of use.

What Does The Science Say?

Scientists around the world are conducting preclinical and clinical trials with cannabis and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. Many researchers, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are continuing to explore the possible uses of CBD and other cannabinoids for medical treatment. Consumers are encouraged to consult with their physician to inquire about whether cannabis products may be helpful for treating their specific conditions.

Several studies have shown that the benefits of CBD include anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects that work to inhibit cancer cell migration, adhesion and invasion.

Other studies have also demonstrated that CBD may have powerful anti-anxiety properties, helping consumers reduce anxiety, cognitive impairment, and even treat some symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

After years of research into CBD's effectiveness in treating epilepsy, the FDA approved purified CBD called Epidiolex in 2018. Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gestaut syndrome are rare forms of epilepsy with seizures and CBD has been used to effectively treat people with these conditions.

CBD has also been shown to be particularly helpful when it comes to relieving aches and pains, leading some consumers to moderate or even taper off their use of opioid medications.

*LivWell makes no claims regarding the health or medical benefits of cannabis.