What is CBD?

I wanted to write a little something on CBD, or cannabidoil. Let me just say, I am no expert on this stuff. CBD is relatively new, and quickly gaining popularity. Because CBD is harvested from the Cannabis sativa plant, there is some controversy around it. CBD derived from hemp plants is legal in all 50 states, and contains no tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (which is responsible for the high sensation associated with marijuana). Some CBD products do also contain THC, in varying amounts, but those are only sold in states where cannabis is legal for adult use (New Hampshire is medical use only).  

Like most health trends, CBD can sound too good to be true. It is being researched for a number of different conditions including: anxiety, depression, seizures, pain relief, acne, cancer and heart disease, just to name a few. 

As a Registered Dietitian, it makes me put my critical thinking cap on, as I am constantly asked about “super foods.” Foods that have too-good-to-be-true claims attached to them. Usually “super foods” need to be eaten in ridiculous amounts to see these benefits, or they are simply false claims that are not at all scientifically backed. Okay let’s get back to CBD. 

So how does CBD work? The body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to receptors in the nervous system. There are two types of receptors-- CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and are involved in emotions, mood, pain, appetite, memories, coordination, just to name a few. THC attaches to these receptors and are responsible for the “high” known with cannabis. CB2 receptors affect inflammation and the immune system. Originally it was thought that CBD would attach to CB2 receptors, but that is not the case.  There is a lot more science that goes into this, but the basic explanation is that CBD actually assists the body to use more of its own endocannabinoids

I decided to give it a try because of its studies shown to reduce inflammation, which could assist with my chronic allergy symptoms. I don’t love having to pop a Claritin on the daily, so I was hoping this would be a more natural route. What I found was using CBD on days my allergies were bad would make them more manageable, but did not eliminate the symptoms. 

Some time passed, and suddenly the dark, dismal, seemingly-never-ending winter was upon us. I decided to give CBD another shot, but more this time looking for better sleep quality, anxiety reduction, and anti-depressant effects. I decided to make it part of my daily routine, 2 doses sublingually per day, in the morning and night. 

I did not notice any real effects for the first couple of weeks. Once I did begin to notice the effects of CBD (let me point out, it was subtle differences) I noted more restful sleep, a reduction in headaches, and less all-or-nothing type negative thoughts. 

After about a year of use I did more research from my own promising results and found that many people had more immediate and calming benefits from vaporized CBD. I now continue with my two daily doses of Hemp derived CBD oil, as well as some occasional vaporized CBD when feeling some uneasiness or stress. It helps keep me centered, and gives me an overall sense of calm. A lot like a good yoga sesh! 

I can’t say that CBD has been life altering for me, but I do enjoy it and hope to see more research as there are very few double-blind randomized human control studies at this point in time. I have attached links to some more CBD research if you would like to learn more: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161644/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/

 

I would love to hear about your experiences with CBD. Love it? Hate it? Ready to try it? I would suggest doing your research before buying CBD. It is considered a dietary supplement, and therefore has little regulation. It can interact with certain medications,so please talk with your doctor before trying CBD. 

This is in no way an advertisement but the CBD that I use is:

Elixinol- CInnamint flavor CBD tincture & thoughtCloud full spectrum CBD vape.