What is CBD (and do I need it)?

Why is everyone so excited about CBD? Well, it’s an amazingly versatile medicine, almost unbelievably so, as people are using it to address conditions including:

  • Epilepsy
  • PTSD
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation  

And many other diseases. For many of us, hearing these claims can activate our built-in bullshit detector. Because really, how can one medicine address so many conditions in a safe and effective manner? That's not how medicine really works, right?

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Click here to listen, it's a 3:37 segment of our Cannabis Basics for Boomers. It's a mini-potcast! 

Here’s the deal with CBD

CBD is a compound found in cannabis, and in industrial hemp (the cousin of cannabis that is not bred for THC). CBD has been called ‘non-psychoactive' because it does not get you high, but it actually has a relaxing effect. I first learned of it when I was writing copy for a company that supplies CBD; I learned that it stops seizures in little kids with Dravet's syndrome — these kids suffer hundreds of seizures per day and it’s horrible. The success of CBD at stopping Dravet's is well-documented. From there Google makes it easy to find out that CBD is safe and effective medicine for the variety of conditions we’ve mentioned, and many others.

CBD’s mainstream media breakthrough

In 2015, CBD appeared on the radar of CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2015. He produced a three-part special about CBD that got a lot of attention: You can watch the documentary here.

How does CBD work in the body?

CBD interacts with receptors in our bodies (in our central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system) to help govern processes including sleep, pain, mood and appetite. On our own, we produce endocannabinoids that fit those receptors. Since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, we know now that we can supplement those endogenous cannabinoids with phyto- or plant-based cannabinoids, which are produced by plants, including black pepper, echinacea and others, in addition to cannabis and hemp.

Oil extracted from industrial hemp — or from cannabis — is rich in CBD. This CBD-rich hemp oil is what people are taking to stop seizures, alleviate pain and inflammation, sleep better and so on. CBD oil is often administered in the form of a tincture, which, when taken sublingually under the tongue absorbs quickly, bringing fast relief. CBD oil can also be taken:

  • In capsule form
  • Through a pre-loaded vape pen
  • By way of a vaporizer with a tank
  • As  concentrate, which can be taken orally, or vaped
  • As a topical balm
  • By smoking CBD-rich strains of hemp or cannabis

See what I mean by versatile? When you consider the many conditions for which CBD has medicinal value, and the many ways it can be administered, you can see why pharma companies are nervous, right? But as it finds its way into the medicine cabinets of baby boomers — and pain sufferers of all generations — there are many questions:

  • Is there THC in CBD (trace amounts if it’s derived from hemp)
  • Does CBD trigger a positive drug test (it depends)
  • What’s better, isolates or full-spectrum CBD
  • There’s lost of CBD out there; how do I find a brand I can trust?

These are all good questions, and I’ll be addressing them in all Cannabis Basics for Boomers. Catch all the episodes on your favorite podcast player, or read the entire series here.



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