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What Is CBD?

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of over 80 compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana but has much higher concentrations in hemp. Like other cannabinoids, CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system.

Hemp, also known as Cannabis Sativa, is a plant in the cannabis family. While nearly identical-looking to marijuana (Cannabis Indica) it differs mainly in that it contains very low concentrations of THC and high concentrations of CBD. The hemp plant has many, many uses and has been a staple in human life for centuries. The recently passed Farm Bill once again allows farmers to cultivate hemp in the United States which has led to the latest revival of hemp and hemp-derived products. For a more in-depth look at the history of hemp, read this article here.

 

While hemp (Cannabis Sativa) and marijuana (Cannabis Indica) are varieties of the cannabis plant and are nearly indistinguishable to the naked eye, they differ in many ways. One of the main differences is their chemical make-up. Marijuana has high concentrations of THC - the compound that gives users the “high” associated with marijuana. Hemp, however, has extremely low concentrations of THC. In fact, industrial hemp must have THC concentrations lower than .03% in order to be considered legal for cultivation. Both plants have an incredibly long history of human use. Marijuana, has mainly been used for its medicinal properties while hemp has been used for thousands of years, not only for its medicinal properties but also for its fibers which can make paper, cloth, and even bio plastic.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a chemical derived mainly from the marijuana (Cannabis Indica) plant which is the compound associated with the ‘high” you feel when ingesting, vaping, or smoking cannabis. While hemp may contain some THC, Industrial Hemp must contain less than .03% THC in order to comply with federal regulations.

Cannabis contains hundreds of compounds, 80 of which have been identified as cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the two most popular cannabinoids found in cannabis, as they’re usually available in the highest concentrations. Interestingly, the cannabis plant doesn’t directly make many of the cannabinoids that are sought after but instead produce a cannabinoid acid that when “activated,” usually by heat, create the compounds -  including THC and CBD. 

Each of the different cannabinoids have different effects on the human body. THC, for example, is the only cannabinoid (available in high concentrations) that produces intoxicating effects.

CBD does NOT get you high.

To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

— World Health Organization

Cannabis has been used as a medicine and grown as a crop for thousands of years.

Hemp planting reduces deforestation and improves the soil in which it is planted.

CBD supports the endocannabinoid system in the body.

Hemp seed oil is derived from (obviously) hemp seeds while hemp oil is derived from the whole (or parts) of the hemp plant. One of the main differences between the two is the presence of cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp seed oil contains no CBD while Hemp Oil does. Hemp seed oil is, however, rich in healthful oils and fatty acids.

Broad Spectrum Hemp Oil is an extract derived from hemp which contains most of the plant’s original compounds including other, non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, terpenes and plant waxes to create a broad spectrum, whole plant formula with no THC. Many manufacturers use what is called isolate – where the CBD molecules are isolated without other parts of the plant. 

Broad spectrum hemp oil extracts make CBD readily absorbed and bioavailable. Because of the way the various cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils extracted from the plant interact with and compliment each other, Broad Spectrum Hemp Oil is often preferred and is more effective in its ability to provide the therapeutic benefits sought. This is commonly referred to as the “entourage effect“. We have developed our Element Apothec formulas to harness the Entourage Effect using the finest sourced ingredients in what we believe are the most effective products available on the market today.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an  important role in regulating various functions throughout your body. The ECS itself is made up of three parts:

  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors in the nervous system and around your body that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with
  • Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids

When something inside your body is operating outside of the acceptable range, your body activates the ECS to help correct it. When you exercise and your body starts to sweat, that’s the ECS helping to regulate your body temperature. When you’re hungry and your stomach growls, that’s your ECS reminding you to fuel up. 

The ECS accomplishes this regulation via cannabinoid receptors found in tissues throughout your body. We have (at least) two types of cannabinoid receptors:

  • CB1 which is in the central nervous system (brain and nerves of the spinal cord)
  • CB2 which is in the peripheral nervous system (nerves in your extremities), the digestive system, and specialized cells in the immune system

Cannabinoid receptors are believed to be among the most plentiful in our central nervous system, and some researchers hypothesize that we could have a third, undiscovered one, as well.

The lifecycle of the ECS works as follows...When your body senses an imbalance, the specific endocannabinoid is released and interacts with the specific receptor to create a response - e.g. sweating when you’re hot or hungry when you need fuel. Once the endocannabinoid has done its job, enzymes are released to break down the endocannabinoid to stop the process from going too far and causing an imbalance in the opposite direction.

 

Some of the important functions regulated by the Endocannabinoid System include:

  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Immune function
  • Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Reproduction/fertility
  • Motor control
  • Temperature regulation
  • Memory
  • Pain
  • Pleasure/reward

Hemp/CBD has been used as a wellness tool for thousands of years and its safety has been validated by numerous scientific studies. One should always consult their physician prior to starting any new wellness product, including CBD.

There is never a universal “correct” amount of CBD for everyone. Dosage is very individualized and depends on many factors including body type, tolerance, and desired effects. However, typically, a dose of less than 15mg has proven to be mostly ineffective. We recommend starting with a smaller dosage and building up until the desired effects are reached.

We always recommend speaking with your primary care physician before starting any new wellness product, including CBD.