Most of the focus on cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and a couple of other plants, is about how it can be medically beneficial. That the cannabinoid could be a helpful supplement to just improve overall wellbeing often goes under the radar. However, research into the endocannabinoid system, a network that scientists became properly acquainted with in the 1990s, has shown that it has a significant impact on our general health.
Endocannabinoid systems are found in humans and animals. The system’s influence on the body’s most important regions – brain, central nervous system, skin – shows just why regulating it is so necessary.
While there is a minimum of 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, it is CBD that has the most important regulatory effect on the endocannabinoid system. CBD’s job is to stimulate endocannabinoid production where necessary, and to ensure that these compounds get where they need to be via signalling.
The body’s goal is to remain in homeostasis whenever possible, a state of equilibrium where all the key physiological and psychological functions are working like clockwork.
And, of course, when we are travelling, we want to feel at our best. In this post, we’ll look at why it’s always worth keeping some CBD products in your travel bag.
The benefits of CBD
For starters, as a non-psychoactive substance, CBD is non-intoxicating and does not affect your mind as THC can do. THC is a cannabinoid that is abundant in most strains of cannabis and is responsible for the “high” that it gives. These psychoactive effects are essentially side effects for those wanting to use cannabis medicinally or to improve their sense of wellbeing.
There are two main sub-sections of CBD products: CBD-isolate and full-spectrum CBD. The former is made using only the CBD compound, while full-spectrum products consist of all of the compounds from the cannabis plant. This includes other cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes, many of which are therapeutic in their own right. Full-spectrum, hemp-based CBD oil products will have traces of THC in them, but not enough to get high from – therefore, most countries grant an exception on THC, up to 0.3 percent.
CBD is thought to help promote serotonin in the body, according to anecdotes and scientific research. While CBD is unable to create the serotonin hormone, it can work to ensure that compounds which improve mood, such as anandamide, are sent where they are needed. In a sense, CBD just gives the body a nudge so that it can return to optimal functioning without the need for disruptive medication. So, if you’re on your holidays and feeling a little miserable, CBD can be a great pick-me-up. It’s a much better choice than alcohol, which is a depressant.
When anxiety and stress take hold for too long, it can cause physical changes to the brain. For example, the hippocampus is known to shrink in patients afflicted with anxiety and depression. However, CBD and cannabichromene (CBC), another non-psychoactive cannabinoid, have neuroprotective and neurogenesis properties which help to heal the brain. Brain scans on rats have shown that CBD treatment can help to grow the hippocampus.
If you are taking CBD to make you feel better generally, then it may take a few days or weeks for the benefits to shine through fully. The effects of CBD compound over time, and the more that is introduced into the endocannabinoid system, the better it can be regulated. Taking a small dose of CBD on a daily basis can help to stimulate your endocannabinoid system until it’s actively benefitting your health.
There’s no need to be worried about taking CBD regularly, as it doesn’t have addictive properties, and won’t leave you craving more or bigger doses. There’s no euphoric rush with CBD as there can be with high-THC cannabis.
It’s crucial not to think of CBD as an instant fix to all your problems. It takes plenty of effort on your part as well if you want to feel better mentally and physically – CBD just makes that process smoother. For example, if you’re trying to be healthy, eating and drinking better is going to have an impact, as is regular exercise. Don’t make your body fight more battles than it needs to.
The best ways of taking CBD
Many people enjoy vaping CBD for the experience itself and because this is a rapid way of enjoying the benefits of this compound. In most cases, you’ll probably be fine to vape, however some countries and public spaces have laws or regulations against doing so. Thankfully, there are many other ways to consume CBD that won’t attract so much attention.
CBD tincture oils are very helpful for stress and anxiety as the sublingual absorption helps to relieve symptoms in just a few minutes. With this method, CBD is dripped and held under the tongue for a couple of minutes and then swallowed. The taste of the oil does vary from product to product – some are flavorless, while others have a pungent, earthy taste.
CBD creams and other topicals can be very effective against skin disorders – even acne and psoriasis, inflammatory-related conditions where treatments are thin on the ground. Cannabinoid receptors are found in abundance in the skin, and CBD can help to regulate the skin cell growth cycle and sebum production.
CBD edibles and CBD capsules offer ultimate discretion and a somewhat unique CBD experience. The effects of CBD differ depending on how the cannabinoids make it into the bloodstream. Vaping is very efficient as CBD is absorbed almost immediately, through the lungs. However, with edibles and capsules, the CBD cannot be absorbed until it has gone through the “first pass metabolism” – the gut and the liver. Oral consumption is beneficial for those who don’t require instant relief, but more prolonged therapeutic effects.
Where is CBD legal?
CBD is normally not subject to the same tight restrictions that THC and the cannabis plant as a whole is. In many countries, CBD products manufactured using extractions from the hemp plant are permitted because of the low or non-existent THC content. This is the case in America, which essentially legalized hemp-based CBD products with the 2014 Farm Bill. In the Netherlands, cannabis possession is decriminalized in small quantities, meaning CBD is also allowed.
However, not everywhere is fully signed up to the CBD revolution quite yet. Although Singapore is making progress, with the National Research Foundation now exploring the medicinal benefits of CBD by working with synthetic compounds.
Remember that the information provided in this article is meant for educational purposes and as a general guide to CBD – it has not been written as medical advice, and nor should it be considered as such.