The Medicinal Uses of CBD Oil

Learn about the proven health benefits of hemp-derived cannabidiol oil — and the way it differs from marijuana — may surprise you.

| July / August 2018

  • Unlike marijuana, hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil, do not contain enough THC to alter mental abilities.
  • Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal on a prescription basis in 46 states.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Elroi
  • The longer you let a tincture of CBD sit under your tongue before swallowing, the stronger the benefits.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/carlos Restrepo
  • Lotions, salves, serums, and balms can all contain CBD oil for topical use.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Africa Studio

Ask 10 people today about their thoughts on cannabis, and then prepare to listen to 10 different answers. Despite being part of a national dialogue for decades, the controversy over this plant still leaves many of us with more questions than answers.

Hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil is an increasingly prevalent ingredient in supplements and wellness products on the market, but there’s plenty of confusion about what this compound really is. How is CBD connected to marijuana, and will it improve your health? Most importantly, is it legal?

What is CBD Oil?

One of humanity’s oldest crops, hemp (Cannabis sativa) was first cultivated as a textile fiber around 8000 B.C. in Iran and Iraq. Part of the plant’s appeal is how easy it is to grow, as hemp requires little water and few (if any) pesticides. Today, it’s raised on an industrial scale and used for manufacturing biofuels, health foods, organic body care products, and plastic composites.

Contrary to popular opinion, hemp and marijuana aren’t the same. While both originate from Cannabis sativa, centuries of selective breeding have produced dramatically different crops. To be considered marijuana, a cannabis plant must contain at least 0.3 percent of the mind-altering tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound. More typically, marijuana contains a THC concentration of 5 to 30 percent. In contrast, hemp plants legally must contain 0.3 percent THC or less, and it is from hemp that most CBD oil is derived.

THC and CBD are two of the more than 70 named chemical compounds found in cannabis that — along with other more obscure compounds — are collectively known as cannabinoids. CBD alone can constitute up to 40 percent of hemp plant extracts. Specialized extraction methods can pull a pure or highly concentrated form of CBD oil that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, terpenes, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. For this reason, CBD oil is often taken orally through nutritional supplements, capsules, and even chewing gum, and it has also developed into a variety of wellness products that allow it to be absorbed through the skin.

THC, CBD, and the Role of Cannabinoids

How did CBD oil earn its reputation as a wonder product for health? The secret lies in the cannabinoids. These chemical compounds are naturally found in your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and are consumed as phytocannabinoids through plants we eat, such as flax, chocolate, and carrots. These compounds help manage regulatory processes, including sleep cycle, mood, and appetite.

2/6/2019 7:15:31 PM

This was very informative. Thank you.

6/19/2018 8:56:22 AM

I think the term "mind altering" could have been omitted and replaced with something more accurate. Mind altering suggests a high similar to tripping on acid which is certainly not the case. In fact, getting high on reefer generally makes one more cognitive and capable because of its ability to help one focus, relax, and become more aware. I also understand that CBD oil doesn't work for some people though isn't that the way with prescribed drugs from a doctor? CBD oil, and marijuana for that matter, should not be looked upon as being a taboo plant. In my opinion, I would much rather see more people smoking reefer than drink alcohol. We all know what alcohol can and does do. It is destructive in so many ways even to the point of death whereas CBD oil and marijuana has NEVER been such a threat. The legalities behind the use of CBD oil here in the USA is so ridiculous and laughable if it weren't sad. I've seen what it can do for Parkenson's Disease and I KNOW first hand that it can help epilepsy as I am epileptic and my own mother would seek out marijuana for me when I'd be in the first stages of a seizure coming on. To have our own government restrict its availability for those in need just because they need to get their grimy hands in it for their own personal reasons or because a politician is sanctimoniously religious or is totally ignorant about it is not acceptable. Yet they'll go out and have a few cocktails which is hands down more lethal than marijuana ever thought of being.

6/19/2018 7:36:11 AM

Well prepared article!!

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