CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the many cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. When most people think of cannabis, they think about getting “high,” but the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. CBD, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating because it does not impact the brain the way THC does. CBD and THC are the most well known cannabinoids found in cannabis, though there are many more.
CBD can come from hemp or marijuana, both varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains 0.3 percent THC or less. This would be considered trace amounts. Marijuana is a variety of cannabis that contains more than .3 percent THC. Both varieties contain plenty of CBD.
The Legal Status of CBD
In 2018, cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Canada. In the US, 11 states have legalized cannabis for recreational use as well, with 33 states in total that permit it for medical use. In addition to that, the US government passed the Farm Bill in 2018, legalizing the production of hemp. These advancements for cannabis have led to the growing popularity of CBD. As such, massive research is underway exploring the potential health benefits of CBD. Already, the FDA has approved one CBD-based drug for the treatment of epilepsy.
More research may lead to the discovery of additional ways CBD can be used to treat various health conditions. Currently, studies show that CBD may be able to treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, skin diseases, arthritis, inflammation, glaucoma, sleep disorders, and much more. The claims remain at the anecdotal level for now until more research can categorically prove what CBD can do.
How is CBD Extracted from Cannabis?
Several methods exist to extract CBD from either hemp or marijuana that varies in safety and effectiveness. For instance, extracting CBD using neurotoxic solvents such as hexane and butane can contaminate CBD with their unsafe residues. There are several safe ways to extract CBD instead, which will be the focus here.
• CBD can be extracted with ethanol. Ethanol is a high-grade grain alcohol, so it does not contaminate the CBD. However, it does destroy the waxes in the cannabis plant. Those waxes may also have health benefits. Usually, CBD extracted with ethanol is used for vape pen cartridges.
• Using CO2 to extract CBD is another option. It works by putting carbon dioxide under very low temperatures and elevated pressure. This isolates and preserves the CBD while also keeping it around 99 percent pure, if done correctly. CO2 extraction is expensive and difficult to do, which is why this method is not always used.
• Olive oil extraction is a safe and affordable way to get CBD out of the cannabis plant. It is a less popular option because the finished product is perishable and must be stored in a cool, dark location.
How to Use CBD
There are many ways to consume CBD. You can eat it, vape it, take it in a pill, put it under your tongue, or rub it onto your skin. Most of the time, CBD comes in the form of an oil, edible, or topical. Additionally, you can find CBD in its purest forms, CBD isolate and CBD distillate.
CBD oil comes in a small bottle with a dropper. With that, you can refill your vape pen, put it on your food, or place it under your tongue directly. CBD can also be pre-packaged in cartridges filled with CBD oil for vape devices. Pre-made CBD edibles often come in gummies, lozenges, chocolates, and baked items. CBD also comes in capsules to swallow just like any other pill. Topical CBD means it is in the form of a lotion, balm, or salve. CBD isolate comes as a crystallized powder and CBD distillate comes as a yellowish honey-like substance. Many people seek out the latter two forms of CBD for making their own CBD products, like CBD oil and CBD topicals.
How you consume CBD determines how quickly and how long it affects you. Vaping CBD provides a near-immediate onset of its effects, though they are short-term. Sublingual CBD use, or placing it under the tongue, usually takes between 20 and 40 minutes to kick in and can last up to six hours. Swallowing CBD means it will go through the digestive system and can take between 30 minutes and two hours to take effect. This will produce the longest-lasting effects of CBD, up to eight hours. Typically, the more CBD consumed, the longer it will last. Topical CBD works in a slightly different way, as it never enters the bloodstream. Instead, it interacts with the skin directly to provide targeted results.