Q: Help me understand what CBD oil is. I hear so much about it, but isn’t it marijuana?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in different species of the cannabis family such as marijuana and hemp. These compounds — there are over 100 of them — are known collectively as cannabinoids. One of the best known cannabinoids is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), better known as the compound that’s responsible for getting marijuana users stoned.
And lest you confuse cannabis with marijuana, let’s clear up a couple of things. Marijuana, or Cannabis sativa, is a species of the cannabis plant. Industrial hemp — which also is a species of cannabis — has an entirely different makeup. It has virtually nonexistent THC content, but a lot of CBD. For those who want the benefits of CBD without the high, hemp oil is the way to go.
CBD receptors are a part of the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (the ECS). The ECS is getting a lot of research attention now because it regulates all kinds of good things including sleeping, relaxation, eating, the immune system, inflammation and recovery. CBD, for example, even attaches to receptors in the brain that are related to serotonin production.
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A fair amount of research is accumulating on the benefits of CBD for inflammatory conditions as well as for depression, anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiac dysfunction. The anecdotal evidence is even more impressive. But there were problems with consistency and availability as most CBD products had previously been extracted from marijuana, which remains a controlled substance in many states. That’s why the emergence of hemp oil as a source for CBD is exciting.
CBD may soon be coming to a city near you. At the recent natural products trade show known as Expo West, a major supplement company — Barlean’s Organic Oils — announced its first ever hemp-based CBD oil, which will be distributed nationally.
Full disclosure: I scored a sample bottle and have been using it for ten days as of this writing. As a tennis player, I often have shoulder soreness. Though the pain isn’t completely gone, it’s been reduced by a significant amount, and it’s only been 10 days. Remember, that’s just my personal experience and hardly constitutes scientific proof. But when so many people have the same experience, it’s worth talking about.