What is CBD?
What is CBD?
If you are new to CBD, this is where your new and exciting journey starts…
Firstly, you should know that CBD is currently being researched as a remedy for many different diseases and ailments. The effectiveness has yet to be scientifically proven and most trials are still in pre-clinical stages.
So, as each person is different, and as the effects of CBD are still being studied, we strongly encourage you to do your own research before introducing CBD to your life as a daily supplement.
For more information on what to consider when buying CBD, we recommend reading the CBD Buying Guide.
So, with all that aside, let’s begin with the basics…
Cannabis is one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, all civilisations have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medicinal uses.
The Cannabis plant contains over 60 naturally occurring chemical substances known as cannabinoids. The two most abundant are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
THC is the most abundant constituent of the cannabis plant, and the most well known. THC is the intoxicating and psychoactive substance that is responsible for causing the marijuana high.
THC is considered a controlled substance, and is therefore illegal.
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
The second most abundant compound is Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD. This is a non-psychoactive substance, typically representing about 40% of the Cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. CBD is what is currently being researched in many studies all over the world as remedies for a wide range of different diseases and ailments.
CBD is not considered a controlled substance, and is therefore 100% legal.
According to many scientists, physicians and researchers, CBD is the single most important cannabinoid ever discovered. It was first isolated in the 1930s and 1940s. Its structure and configuration were fully described in the 1960s by Professor Raphael Mechoulam and his team of researchers in Israel. The results of this research was so promising that the demand for access to CBD for research, clinical trials, and drug development has increased significantly. Hundreds of scientists from pharmaceutical companies—including GW pharma, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, and Allergan—are already regularly attending meetings of the International Cannabinoid Research Society.
This strain of the cannabis plant is grown for industrial uses such as foods, oils, textiles and ropes etc. It is a much taller and sturdier version of the plant. It is generally much thinner with smaller and fewer attention-grabbing flowers. It has been bred for many generations with other plants with similar characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.
Hemp contains no to very little THC, the psychoactive chemical.
Marijuana on the other hand contains high levels of the psychoactive chemical. This single difference is what most of us rely on to distinguish between hemp and marijuana - About what’s legal and what is not.
The lawmakers don’t care about how tall the plant is, or even how many flowers it produces. They only care about whether the public can get high from smoking it or not. For more information about CBD’s legal status, read the CBD legality section.
This strain of the cannabis plant is grown for medicinal and recreational purposes. It has flowering buds and is smaller than hemp. It is high in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical responsible for causing the Marijuana high, and is therefore illegal under current UK legislation.
Is CBD Legal?
The short answer is that Cannabidiol (CBD) is not considered a controlled substance and is therefore 100% legal. For more information about CBD’s legal status, read the CBD legality section.
Hemp Oil vs Hemp Seed Oil
People sometimes confuse Hemp Oil with Hemp Seed Oil. Although the names are very similar, the difference between them is like night and day.
- Hemp Oil
Any oil that has been extracted from the leaves, the flowers or the fibers of the cannabis plant is referred to as hemp oil. Depending on the plant material you start off with, you’ll end up with different concentration of CBD. Some will be high in CBD but low in THC, while others will be high in THC but low in CBD. However, irrespectively of the concentration or the proportions, it is still Hemp Oil. Although Hemp Oil is the correct term, our oppinion is that the term CBD Hemp Oil or even CBD Rich Hemp Oil is a more accurate description.
- Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil on the other hand is derived from hemp seeds. It is regarded as one of the most versatile and healthy products known to man. It is often referred to as a ‘superfood’ due to its high essential fatty acid content. Although a great product on its own, it contains no CBD.
To extract Cannabidiol (CBD), one must start with CBD-rich hemp plant material. There are many ways to extract oil from the cannabis plant, each has its pros and cons.
CBD oil is extracted using the following methods:
- Co2 Extraction
The super critical CO² method is considered the most scientific method and is also among the cleanest techniques of extraction. It uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to extract the CBD in its purest form. CBD oil extracted in this way has a cleaner taste, but is also the most expensive method. The advantage of this technique is that the end product is the purest form of CBD oil which is highly potent and free of chlorophyll.
High grade grain alcohol can be used to create high quality hemp oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other CBD products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favoured by some product-makers.
- Olive Oil
This method of how to make CBD oil is growing in popularity. The method involves extraction using a carrier oil. Olive oil is most commonly used in this process. The rise in popularity of this method is due to the added benefits of the nutrients in the oil used and the fact that it is safe and free of unwanted residues.
The extraction method used to extract CBD is one of the most important factors to considerate when choosing your CBD Oil. Read the CBD Buying Guide for further advice about what factors to consider when buying CBD oil.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Any guide to CBD would not be complete without mentioning the Endocannabinoid system. This system is known as the body’s own endogenous (internal) Cannabinoid system. If you study it, one thing will become apparent: CBD has a profound influence on the human body.
There are two main receptor types involved in the Endocannabinoid system. They are:
- Cannabidiod 1 (CB1)
These receptors are primary found in the brain and the reproductive organs.
- Cannabidiod 2 (CB2)
These receptors are primarily found in the immune system.
The Endocannabinoid System is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in maintaining and restoring good health. Although all individual receptors have different purposes, their main purpose is always Homeostasis; the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
The human body produces its own Cannabinoids. These are called Endocannabinoids. This is the substance our bodies naturally produces to stimulate the CB receptors.
Endocannabinoids is our body’s internal source of cannabinoids.
Photocannabinoids (plant-based) like CBD Oil on the other hand would be an external source of cannabinoids, which can be taken as a supplement if and when needed
To find out which type of cannabinoid supplement that best suit your need, read the CBD Buying Guide here.