Have you noticed how recently everyone is talking about CBD? That’s because over the last 5 years, CBD has become a natural health sensation. Not only are celebrities proclaiming its benefits, but people of all ages are taking CBD to boost their well-being and maintain optimum health.
Despite all the column inches CBD may be getting, many people starting out on their CBD journey find themselves with many unanswered questions. That’s why we’ve created this CBD #101 to leave you in no doubt that CBD is the health supplement for you.
What is CBD?
CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring molecule found in cannabis sativa known as a cannabinoid. But before you start panicking about taking marijuana, cannabis sativa is the general term that includes both recreational weed (marijuana) and hemp.
For thousands of years hemp has been grown for its strong fibers and nutritious seeds. While we now know that hemp is also abundant in CBD, it only has trace amounts (less than 0.3%) of the compound responsible for the high in marijuana (THC). This means that hemp is legal to grow because it is not considered a drug. As a result, most of the CBD oil for sale in the United States is made from hemp.
As hemp contains such low amounts of THC, CBD oil does not have any intoxicating effect on the brain. In fact, quite the reverse, CBD can actually ease anxiety and even counteract the high feeling caused by THC. That’s because CBD does not activate the same receptors in the brain stimulated by recreational marijuana, and instead boosts serotonin production, the neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation.
Most CBD is sold as CBD oil. So, you will often see the terms CBD and CBD oil used interchangeably. CBD, when extracted from hemp flowers, is sticky in texture. So, mixing CBD with a carrier oil such as hemp seed or coconut MCT oil makes it easier for the body to absorb, hence the name CBD oil.
CBD made from hemp is sold as a nutritional supplement, just like any other vitamin or mineral you buy from the health store. This also means that we cannot make any health claims about CBD benefits because so far very few clinical trials have taken place proving that CBD has any therapeutic benefit.
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been any research into CBD. It’s just until now, most has been at a preclinical level, meaning either on cell cultures or animal models. A handful of trials on humans have taken place into the use of CBD for childhood epilepsy, and some other pilot studies are currently examining the use of CBD in conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, and inflammatory bowel disease.
CBD has an excellent safety record, something recognized by the World Health Organization in their recent report. The WHO found CBD to be non-toxic, free from serious side effects, and with no risk of abuse or addiction.
What Does CBD Do?
When CBD was first discovered, scientists assumed it was an inactive molecule due to the lack of any intoxicating effect. Since then it has been clear that CBD is far more complex than originally thought, showing tremendous potential for health conditions as varied as epilepsy, chronic pain, migraines, neurodegenerative diseases, and anxiety.
That’s because CBD is classified as a pleiotropic molecule, meaning it activates several cell receptors at once, creating a cascade of different physiological reactions in the body.
Not only that, CBD suppresses inflammation by reducing cytokine levels (cell signaling proteins), which are often elevated in autoimmune disease.
Many people benefit from using CBD for anxiety. This is no surprise when one considers that CBD both activates the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor and lowers cortisol levels, the hormone involved in the stress response.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
A key way CBD affects the body is by strengthening the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Don’t worry if this is the first time you’ve heard of the ECS. It was only discovered in the 1990s when scientists were trying to understand how THC affects the brain.
What they found was a vast network of receptors (CB1) throughout the brain and central nervous system. Soon after a second type of receptor (CB2) was discovered in the immune system, gut, and tissues. The researchers were left with the question: if the body has all these receptors, surely it must make some endogenous chemicals similar to THC?
And with the discovery of the first ‘endocannabinoid,’ anandamide, they had their answer. Named after the Sanskrit word for bliss, anandamide is essentially a neurotransmitter involved in reducing inflammation and increasing feelings of wellbeing. Anandamide was eventually joined by another endocannabinoid, 2-AG, and with this, the term endocannabinoid system was coined.
The ECS performs the incredibly important task of maintaining homeostasis or balance in our systems. Think of it as the conductor to our body’s orchestra, ensuring that all the instruments and sections are playing in harmony. Scientists now know that the ECS regulates all our key biological functions: sleep, appetite, reproduction, the immune response, cell proliferation, mood – you name it, and the ECS regulates it.
Unfortunately, due to the stresses of modern living, our ECS can become depleted. This is known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency, and is thought to be responsible to many modern day malaises such as IBS, migraines and fibromyalgia.
Discovered by American neurologist, Ethan Russo, he suggests boosting our ECS with phytocannabinoids from cannabis or hemp to counter endocannabinoid deficiency.
And for those without access to a medical cannabis program, CBD hemp oil is an excellent way to boost what’s known as endocannabinoid tone. Unlike THC, CBD does not directly bind with any of the ECS receptors. Instead it allows for the bliss molecule, anandamide, to remain for longer in the body by blocking the enzyme that breaks it down.
CBD And the Entourage Effect
With all this talk of CBD’s amazing, multi-targeted effects, it would be easy to think that buying pure CBD (CBD Isolate) is the best option for our health.
However, in hemp there’s a unique synergy between the hundreds of active molecules that magically work together to boost CBD’s overall effect. We’re talking here minor cannabinoids like CBDA, CBN, CBG, as well terpenes such as pinene and linalool, plus a host of flavonoids responsible for hemp’s color.
This synergy is known as the ‘entourage effect’ and explains why Full Spectrum CBD Oil has far superior results compared to CBD isolate.
At Zuna we offer a full spectrum CBD oil that contains zero THC, meaning there is no chance of ever failing a drug test.
How to Use CBD
For anyone embarking on their CBD maiden voyage, choosing a CBD oil product can be a daunting task. Should you choose CBD oil or CBD capsules? Is vaping CBD a good option? What strength CBD oil should you buy?
As a rule, it is recommended to choose a CBD product extracted from US grown, organic certified hemp. The hemp plant as well as providing strong fiber, seeds, and cannabinoids like CBD, also absorbs impurities from contaminated soil. The only way to guarantee you are buying CBD oil that is free from hidden chemical nasties is by choosing CBD oil extracted from organic certified hemp. To be doubly sure, opt for a CBD company that provides third party lab reports (like Zuna), proving not only CBD content, but also their products are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
Next step consider delivery methods.
CBD oil taken in drops is a popular choice thanks to the ease of use (under the tongue) and superior absorption rates. When swallowed in capsule form or as CBD edibles, much of the CBD is lost through the digestive process.
Many people choose CBD Vape Oil for its fasting acting effects, but care should be taken to avoid CBD vape juice mixed with artificial flavorings or Propylene Glycol, which is thought to cause respiratory problems.
When it comes medication, how many of us blindly follow the instructions on the side of the bottle without ever noticing the effect it has on our body? With CBD oil, we are encouraged to find our own dosing regimen using what’s known as the up-titration method. This means starting low at what may feel like a sub-therapeutic dose and working up until we find our own personal ‘sweet spot.’
The amount of CBD varies per person, considering factors such as their gender, weight, age, and how they metabolize CBD in their body. It’s also good to remember that with CBD, less is often more. A good tip is to start a CBD diary taking note of your dosage and the affects you feel in your body.
We’ve loved sharing our knowledge about CBD and the amazing potential it has to create increased well-being and vitality. If you still have any questions, our customer service team is at hand to guide you along your CBD journey, ensuring you find the CBD Oil product that is perfect for you.