Cannabidiol (CBD) supplements are one of the newer products offered in the health marketplace, both online and in retail stores. Because the active chemical in CBD comes from the same plants (cannabis sativa and cannabis indica) that produce marijuana, there has been a massive amount of misinformation, myth and misunderstanding about CBC use, legality and efficacy.
Without getting into a highly technical scientific discussion, it should be known that CBD supplements purchased online or at retail outlets are legal for U.S. consumers, have been approved for sale by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and have been shown in some lab studies to help ease symptoms of arthritis and to decrease generalized anxiety.
As for the wide-ranging list of other maladies that CBDs are said to treat, the scientific jury is still out, as the substance is still in the early stages of large-scale testing. Within a year or two, look for reams of scientific data to be published on CBD uses, possible side effects (so far there are no known problems with the supplement), and long-term potential.
For consumers who want to learn about CBD, it is best to start out by dispelling some of the “urban legend”-type myths that are currently floating around. Next, it’s wise to learn about the many different forms of the substance (capsules, oil, etc.), the various concentrations, and what the state of the current research is.
Myths and Facts
- CBC supplements do not even contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In fact, both hemp oil and CBD come from the same plant as marijuana, but hemp and CBD are sourced from the stem of the cannabis plant, not its leaves.
- Because of a legal loophole, U.S.-based manufacturers are not allowed to produce or sell CBD, which is why all the products currently available are sold by non-U.S. companies. U.S. law requires that hemp growers be licensed, but in actual fact the licensing process is so full of red tape that very few bother. The ones that do can only sell non-dietary, non-food products from the plant.
- There is zero chance of “getting high” or having any similar experience from taking CBD supplements. To the contrary, the natural form of CBD in the cannabis plant acts to decrease effects of THC. Growers of medical marijuana have to make sure that the leaves of their plants don’t have too much CBD in them; otherwise, the medical effect of the marijuana would be nullified almost completely.
- A few CBD sellers recently got into trouble with the FDA, but the dust-up had nothing at all to do with marijuana or THC content. A few of the retailers were making unsubstantiated claims about the supplement, and others were selling “CBD” products that contained no CBD at all. The truth is that 99 percent of CBD sellers are ethical and have had no trouble with the FDA.
- Some makers of CBD supplements and their botanical “cousin,” hemp oil, claim that the stuff is a wonder-drug that treats or cures practically anything. The ethical sellers are careful to state that they make no guarantees about the product, but that research has indicated benefits of taking CBD on a regular basis. (See “Benefits” below).
- There is a half-truth about CBD, hemp and marijuana that confuses many people. It is this: “Hemp and CBD come from the male variety of the cannabis plant, while marijuana comes from the female variety.” In fact, hemp and CBD can come from either the male or female cannabis plant, while marijuana can only come from the female plant. Botanists call the cannabis plant a “genus” that has at least three species or sub-species: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. Hemp and CBD come mostly from the sativa version, while marijuana comes from both sativa and indica. Ruderalis is such a short, weed-like variety that has almost no commercial use due to its low CBD and THC content.
- Cannabis sativa simply refers to “common cannabis,” because its covers more acreage than the other two combined. Cannabis indica means “cannabis from India,” that plant’s original source. Cannabis ruderalis means “short/lumpy/rubble-like cannabis.” The word cannabis itself is of Greek origin and probably meant something like “canvas” or “canvas made of hemp.”
How to Purchase CBD:
Concentration: Consumers need to read CBD supplement labels carefully to make sure they are getting the right amount of the substance. CBD often comes in the form of hemp oil, in varying concentrations. Always look at the amount of CBD, not the amount of hemp oil, in the supplement. Hemp oil has its own range of benefits, which is another subject for another day, but for those interested in buying CBD, don’t be misled by a label that shows X mg of hemp oil and only a trace amount of CBD.
Dosage: There are no “FDA-approved” dosages of CBD, but a very common starting point for arthritis sufferers is between 1 and 5 mg per day. In order to get the full benefits of CBD supplements, it is generally recommended to take them every day, as one would a multivitamin.
Forms: CBD comes in all kinds of forms. There are gums, tinctures, capsules, vaporizer systems, topical creams, and oils. Many arthritis sufferers use the topical creams directly on the point of muscle soreness or stiffness. While creams take a bit longer to be absorbed through the skin, they are an efficient way to get the CBD right to the source of the pain. (Creams also tend to be among the more expensive forms of CBD products).
For those who wish to calibrate their daily dosage, oils are probably the most convenient type of CBD product. Oils can be mixed directly into drinks, vaporized, or even added to a salad. Gums and capsules are convenient and commonly sold, but tend to come in rather high doses for those just starting out with CBD, and can’t be calibrated for dose level as easily as oil products can.
Benefits of CBD Supplements
There is much ongoing research in the field of cannabidiol benefits and side effects, though it has been very well established that the substance is not harmful. The main question, that all the research is focused on, is how CBD helps the human body.
In addition to the anti-anxiety and arthritis relief already mentioned above, some researchers think that CBD can play a role in cancer prevention and treatment, as well as provide relief for diabetics, epileptics, and people who suffer from some symptoms of psychosis. There are also claims that CBC helps with generalized body pain and nausea.
With supplements that are still in the early stages of availability, as CBD is, it pays to compare prices and shop around before choosing a source. Prices vary widely and there are a few unscrupulous sellers out there who distribute so-called CBD products that contain almost no CBD at all. As with all dietary supplements, it is best to speak with your own health care professional before adding anything to your daily intake regimen.
Do research, get the facts, and decide whether CBD is right for you. And because this product is relatively new to the health supplement scene, be on the lookout for fresh research as it becomes available. If early indications mean anything, CBC could be poised to be a useful and popular addition to the many healthful dietary supplements that are already on the market.
So what do you think, will you consider CBD for medicinal uses, or is it still the ‘devil weed’ to you?
Let us know in the comments…
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