By now, everyone has at least heard of CBD. Even if you are completely in the dark as to what it is, the general public is now quite aware of its existence. Shops and pharmacies now stock CBD, including familiar brands such as Holland & Barrett and even Boots. Other little stores and apothecaries may have these three letters plastered in the windows.
If you stop to look, you might see all manner of suggestions about the capabilities of CBD. It is claimed to be some sort of panacea, although the small print of these adverts often reminds you that this isn’t quite the case.
Nevertheless, chances are you know someone who has tried CBD now. Users often claim that it has helped them to sleep, made it easier to manage their anxiety, lessened muscular aches, or just made them feel “better.” Is it all just placebo? Why are so many people turning to this compound?
In order to understand why it is that CBD is becoming a popular supplement, it is important to understand what it is.
What Actually is Cannabidiol?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is a compound that comes from the cannabis plant. It is a cannabinoid, meaning that it is one of the active compounds found in such plants. There are estimated to be 80-100 distinct cannabinoids.
Since cannabis has a precarious legal status, the CBD food supplements you see actually come from the hemp plant. Although many people are unaware, hemp is actually just a species of the Cannabis sativa plant family. Most people immediately think of marijuana when the word ‘cannabis’ is mentioned, but clearly it is not the only variety.
Marijuana actually contains CBD, too, but obviously it is completely illegal. But usually, marijuana contains a very low level of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, is mostly made up of CBD. It contains very little THC, which is the cannabinoid known to cause a psychoactive “high”. In other words, hemp plants cannot get you high because they don’t contain enough THC.
Usually, CBD is taken in the form of an oil. Manufacturers extract cannabidiol and other cannabinoids from the hemp plant and infuse the extract into a carrier oil, which is dropped under the tongue. You can also purchase capsules, e-liquids, and a huge number of skincare products. This variety is putting CBD up there as one of the most versatile food supplements around.
While the range of consumption methods probably assists with its popularity, the main draw of CBD is obviously the effects that it has on the body. So, what are these effects? And how do they come about?
How CBD Works with the Body
All cannabinoids are able to have an effect on the body due to something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a biological system which runs throughout the entire body; its job is to maintain homeostasis.
The ECS is an incredibly important system for our health. Its existence in all areas of our body means that it could play a large role in a huge number of physiological functions. Due to its fairly recent discovery, however, we cannot truly know just how extensive this system is.
What we do know is that the ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors scattered throughout the body. When any changes are made that the body must adapt to, we create molecules called endocannabinoids, which travel to the sites of cannabinoid receptors and fit into them – like a lock and key. This binding process causes neurons to fire, passing information around the body. As such, we are able to adapt to things and stay healthy.
As it turns out, CBD can interact with this system, too. When it is ingested, CBD stimulates the production of extra cannabinoids. It may be common to experience a deficiency of endocannabinoids, meaning that the ECS is unable to properly support itself. This could lead to a number of undesirable symptoms. However, if taking CBD can encourage production of endocannabinoids, then it could help the ECS to function properly.
By doing this, CBD may be able to support our general health. In 2017, a review was conducted which looked at many of the claims regarding the abilities of CBD – check it out for more information on what CBD could do.
The Benefits of CBD
There is a number of reasons why CBD is becoming such a popular supplement. Of course, the promise of a supplement that can reach all areas of the body and improved your general health is a large advantage. However, there are a few other advantages of CBD that are probably contributing to its surge in popularity:
A lot of the research regarding CBD looks at treating symptoms that are also said to be helped by medical marijuana. This is illegal in the United Kingdom, and it is also a controversial topic. Some believe that marijuana is a drug which causes impairment, and that it should never be prescribed. No matter your feelings on marijuana, CBD seems to provide similar effects without any sort of high. It has been shown to produce no psychoactive effects whatsoever, so users of CBD can enjoy it safely without suffering from impairment.
As the popularity of CBD was growing, government bodies quickly sought to carry out tests to determine whether it was safe. The World Health Organisation – the leading body in global health – published a report on CBD in 2017. This report indicated that CBD was non-toxic, safe to use, and was not addictive. As such, users can take CBD without fear of becoming addicted.
What’s more, there are very few reported side effects. Some popular food supplements can actually cause side effects like constipation, nausea, and more – Vitamin D can actually lead to kidney stones. But CBD appears to be well-tolerated in most people. The first couple of doses might cause lethargy and dizziness, but these are not serious and often do not persist. As a result, part of the attraction of CBD is that it is definitely safe for you to try.
Of course, a huge plus is that it is legal. CBD can be purchased, sold and consumed legally in Great Britain, as long as the product contains less than 0.2% THC. Almost all products are hemp-derived, which means they will definitely be within the legal limit. If you are an individual who supports medical cannabis and laments its illegal status, then you can always look to CBD for a legal alternative.
It’s a Natural Supplement
A huge draw towards CBD is that it is completely natural. Many food supplements go through a lot of processing and manufacturing, but CBD comes straight from nature. It is extracted from hemp plants, which are incredibly hardy and require no chemical fertilizers or pesticides – as a result, you can trust that CBD products are organic.
Furthermore, the way that CBD interacts with the body is incredibly natural. Since all it does is encourage production of your own endocannabinoids, it is less like introducing a foreign substance to your body and more like giving yourself a completely natural boost.
Why is CBD So Popular?
There will always be health trends that cause a stir. Avocado toast made a huge boom at one point, and celery juice has seen a recent upward trend as of late. CBD’s popularity has been steadily growing for some time now, and in the last year or two it has seen a pretty big explosion.
Really, it’s not hard to see why CBD is becoming popular. It is safe, legal, natural, and a great way to give your body a little nudge in the right direction. There is also a consumption method to suit absolutely every lifestyle, whether you prefer bath bombs, massage oils, capsules, oils, or gummy bears. The growing market is only going to keep drawing in more customers, and we can’t see the CBD industry faltering any time soon.
It is really important, though, that consumers know what they are actually buying. Buying CBD oil online can be a tricky business, and it is important to look for things like lab reports. Moreover, consumers need to realise that CBD is not actually a panacea, and it is not the answer to the world’s health problems.
Jason DeLand, an advertising exec from the CBD company Dosist, told the New York Times that “CBD obviously done have some benefits, but it’s certainly not a catchall for all the world’s health problems.” He added, “The future of the industry is going to be based on fact, not fiction.”
CBD definitely has solid reasons for being popular, and if you are a health-conscious individual intent on living a healthy lifestyle, then it could be the ideal supplement for you. However, you should make sure you have realistic expectations for the compound.
Do you already use CBD? How have you found that it helps you? Let us know in the comments below!