The cannabis plant produces various chemicals that can be used as medicine for a variety of human diseases. However, most of these chemicals are psychoactive, or alter mental states. This means that some cannabis derivatives change a person’s mood, perception, or, again, mental state. They also affect a person’s cognition; this means that they make it more difficult for a person to think clearly. One of the primary medicinal components of the cannabis plant is known as cannabidiol (also known as CBD). It has far-reaching medical applications for a wide variety of conditions and it is not psychoactive. This means that it effectively treats a patient without adversely affecting their ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a naturally occurring part of industrial cannabis (also referred to as hemp). At its most fundamental form it is CBD oil. This oil is created by taking entire hemp plants (the stalks, leaves, and flowers) and pressurizing them. The oil that comes out is known as CBD oil. However, it is different than hemp oil, which is made specifically from hemp seeds. This CBD oil is very easily broken down by the body, particularly when the oil is taken in a tincture form.
CBD is one of the naturally occurring types of chemicals known as cannabinoids. CBD is related to, but very different from, tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC). THC is the most widely known cannabinoid and it is the main psychoactive molecule in cannabis. That essentially means that THC is the part of the cannabis molecule that makes a person feel high.
Both THC and CBD are highly praised for their various medicinal properties. They have similar applications in medical treatments, but through recent research it appears that CBD is becoming the preferred method. This is due to the fact that it does not affect a person’s everyday ability to function. Remember that CBD is not psychoactive; no matter how much a patient takes, they will not feel the mild-altering effects that a person would feel with THC.
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How Does CBD Affect the Body?
It is important to note that though CBD is related to THC, it is in fact quite different. Not only does it not make a person intoxicated, there is evidence that CBD actually reverses some forms of brain damage. It may also help the brain in forming new connections in its cells (known as neurons). As we get older, our brains lose some of their natural ability to forge these new connections. This is why it becomes harder to learn certain things later in life or to change your opinion on a deeply held belief. However, CBD probably increases what is known as neural plasticity. This is the phenomenon by which the brain becomes more able to forge these new connections and more flexible in its thinking.
Remember that CBD is a cannabinoid. These type of molecules, known as an endocannabinoids, occur naturally in our bodies. Cannabinoids mimic endocannabinoids. This means that they copy the behavior and function of endocannabinoids and essentially “trick” the human brain in to thinking that they are the same molecule. Endocannabinoids are responsible for various functions of the brain, including pain responses, formulating as well as retrieving memories, controlling appetite, moods or emotional states, and forms of communication between cells.
CBD is specifically referred to as a phytocannabinoid. This means that it is a cannabinoid that is extracted from a plant (in this case cannabis plants). It attaches to receptors in the human nervous system that are known as cannabinoid receptors. These are found all over the human body and where endocannabinoids also attach. Essentially, the body cannot tell the difference between a cannabinoid (plant-based molecule) and an endocannabinoid (a molecule from the human body). As a result, both regulate the same functions in the body.
The Human Nervous system Has Two Basic Types of Cannabinoid Receptors:
- CB1 receptors are located primarily in the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
- CB2 receptors are located primarily in the nerves (peripheral nervous system).
Benefits of CBD
Endocannabinoids control a wide variety of functions in the human body. Furthermore, the body treats cannabinoids and endocannabinoids as essentially the same. This means that CBD has wide-reaching positive effects for the human body. CBD can be used to treat:
- Pain management
- Overactive bladder
The current wave of research into CBD is discovering more and more positive effects. It has quickly become one of the most promising medicinal supplements available to patients.
Side Effects of CBD
There are, however, some minimal side effects of CBD oil. It is a chemical that is well tolerated in the majority of patients and it is essentially impossible to overdose on.
There has never been a single fatal overdose from CBD ever reported.
Furthermore, the side effects of CBD are far outweighed by the benefits of the chemical.
Some Negative Side Effects of CBD Include:
- A change in appetite
- A change in mood and/or emotional state (restlessness and/or agitation)
- Diarrhea, nausea, and/or gastrointestinal distress
- Slight dizziness and/or feeling lightheaded
- Dry mouth
One of the most appealing aspects of CBD is how few people exhibit any side effects when taking the supplement. It should be noted, however, that the side effects of CBD oil are exceedingly rare and most patients never experience a single bad effect while taking it. Furthermore, the presence of one or more of these side effects may just be a result of the body getting used to the CBD and will generally go away.