The 411 on 420: What's the Deal With CBD Health Products?
By Donna Stark
CBD has been a main topic of discussion in the health and wellness industry for quite some time now. And with good reason. More people than ever before are turning to it for the potential health benefits it can deliver and its ability to alleviate pain and discomfort. But what exactly is CBD? Is it legal? And who should consider trying it? These are all great questions to ask so let’s go ahead and dive into the subject.
What Is CBD? How Is It Different From THC?
CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are both natural compounds found in the cannabis plant. THC is the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, and the one with the “bad reputation.” CBD, on the other hand, is its “well-behaved” non-psychoactive sibling, which means it’s not addictive or habit-forming, and you can’t get high from using it.
A big misconception about CBD is that it’s the same as medical marijuana. It’s not. Unlike medical marijuana, which contains high levels of THC, CBD products can't contain more than 0.3% THC. If they did, they would be considered a controlled substance, and depending on the law in each state, may then require a valid prescription to be consumed. The value of CBD products is that it’s legal and no prescription is required.
Is CBD Safe for You to Take?
CBD is generally well-tolerated by most people. It is often regarded as a safer alternative to prescribed medications because it doesn’t carry the undesirable and risky side effects associated with them. However, one still must consider all aspects of their health before taking CBD.
As with any type of supplement or medication, CBD does have the potential to cause harm, and that harm can happen without notice. Here are a few of the most common health issues that CBD users should be aware of.
- Liver toxicity or damage
- Interference with prescription drugs, which may lead to injury and serious health issues
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Pregnancy risks
You should always consult with your primary care physician before embarking on any new treatment plan, especially if you are taking other supplements and medications or are undergoing major treatments.
What Are the Benefits of Using CBD?
The exact ways that CBD oil affects the human body are not completely understood yet. Research on the subject continues and will be ongoing for many years, but proponents of CBD claim it can do wonders for the body. Here are just a few of the benefits CBD has been shown to deliver.
- Pain relief - CBD has been shown to help regulate joint pain, lower pain perception, and to decrease inflammation. This is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain issues, such as arthritis, neuropathy, and multiple sclerosis.
- Anxiety and depression - By interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain, CBD plays a major role in regulating mood and anxiety. CBD also helps the body relax and promotes a sense of calm, which can help regulate the body’s stress response. For those struggling with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, CBD may be a lifesaver.
- Seizures - A CBD-based medication has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of two different forms of epilepsy. This medication has been shown to significantly reduce the severity and frequency of seizures.
- Cardiovascular health - CBD has been shown to lower blood pressure and inflammation levels, which can help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular events.
- Sleep - Research has shown that CBD oil can help people fall asleep and stay asleep longer. It has also been shown to increase the amount of time one spends in deep, restorative sleep.
- Addiction - For those who have struggled with addiction, taking prescription medications like opioids, antidepressants, and stimulants is risky. CBD can be used in place of those medications to help prevent any relapse.
Obviously, there are plenty of positive takeaways from CBD products.
What Types of CBD Should You Use?
After seeing how powerful of an impact CBD may have on your overall well-being, you may be wondering what the next step should be. Unfortunately, this is where the CBD market can get a little bit tricky because not all CBD oils are created the same. To start, you’ll want to ensure you are getting the best and most pure version possible. Look for oils that are third-party tested. Third-party testing is particularly important in the CBD industry because quality can vary greatly from product to product.
The purpose of third-party testing is simple; it’s to provide an unbiased report on the quality, purity, and potency of the CBD sample. Third-party testing is something you should always consider if you want to make informed decisions regarding your purchase and its effect on the state of your health. Think of it as quality control.
After you verify the CBD has been tested to these high standards, it’s time to decide what type of product you would like to buy. When it comes to incorporating CBD into your daily routine, there are multiple options to choose from. Here are a few you should know about.
- Full spectrum CBD oil - Full spectrum CBD oil has CBD and all the other cannabinoids, including legal amounts of THC. Common oil carriers are coconut oil, hemp seed oil, MCT oil, and olive oil.
- Broad spectrum CBD oil - Broad spectrum CBD oil has all the cannabinoids and other chemical compounds except for THC. It often uses the same oil carriers as the full spectrum does.
- Topicals - CBD topicals are creams, lotions, or salves infused with CBD. These should be applied directly to the skin on the affected area.
- Tinctures - A CBD tincture is a CBD liquid that uses alcohol as the carrier base rather than oil. Tinctures are created by steeping cannabis in a high-proof grain alcohol.
- CBD gummies - CBD Gummies are little bites of candy that contain CBD oil. They come in a variety of flavors, colors, and shapes.
- CBD capsules - CBD oil can also be encased in a soft gel capsule or a hard-shell pill. These make it very handy to take on the go.
- CBD eye drops - CBD-infused eye drops can help improve certain eye conditions. If you suffer from dry eyes or glaucoma, ask your optometrist if it will help.
It’s important to note that the number of companies selling CBD products has skyrocketed over the past few years. As a result, some CBD health products are being marketed with unsubstantiated medical claims and are not being third-party tested. Additionally, many CBD products are not FDA-approved. Although CBD can potentially offer a natural solution for a wide array of health concerns, you must do your due diligence before purchasing and consuming.
Is CBD the Answer You Are Looking For?
Whether you're looking to reduce pain, manage stress, or improve a specific health condition, CBD can offer a safe and effective alternative worth considering. The potential health benefits associated with CBD are significant, and the growing popularity it has accrued is a testament to the positive impact it can have on those who use it regularly. It certainly doesn’t appear to be a product that’s going to become less visible anytime soon.
According to Vantage Market Research, the CBD industry is growing like a weed. It was valued at $4.9 billion in 2021, and is projected to grow to $47.22 billion by 2028. With those kinds of numbers and that kind of prevalence within the health landscape, it’s a good idea to know exactly what it is.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.