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It seems like no matter where you go nowadays, we’re inundated with offers for CBD products. It’s virtually everywhere. What started as a smattering of products sold in small specialty stores has grown into a huge industry with a variety of products available through major retailers and seemingly unrelated niche merchants all trying to get a piece of this booming industry. Similar to kratom products, the only thing that’s spread faster than CBD goods is misinformation about what CBD is and what it does. Let’s take a look at this exciting new plant-based supplement, and how it can potentially help you find a path to better health and wellness.
Cannabidiol, better known by its abbreviation, CBD, is one of over 100 active compounds found in all strains of the cannabis plant. This family of plants includes both marijuana (which is still federally illegal) and industrial hemp (which humans have used for millennia as a source of fiber, oil, and medicinal plant). After the 2018 Farm Bill, which recognized it as a separate and distinct plant from its illicit cannabis cousin, industrial hemp has become federally legal to grow and process in the United States.
Industrial hemp is so exciting because it provides many of the potential medical benefits of cannabis without the high THC levels that lead to intoxication. One of the most promising compounds it offers is CBD which helps support your body’s natural endocannabinoid system function. The endocannabinoid system is an important regulatory system in your body, controlling the release of hormones and other neurotransmitters to promote your overall health.
How CBD Products Are Processed
Industrial hemp plants are harvested for their leaves, stalks, and flowers. These are the parts of the plant that are richest in CBD. The raw plant material is then shipped to a processing facility where the CBD is extracted and purified into a thick oil. This oil is then formulated into a variety of products ranging from gummies to capsules and pure oil forms, and packaged and shipped to retailers or sold directly to customers. Depending on the brand you purchase from and their quality standards, CBD products are tested multiple times along the way by the manufacturer and 3rd party labs to ensure that products are pure, uncontaminated, and contain 0.3% THC by weight or less — the legal threshold for industrial hemp and its derivative products.
What CBD Is Used For?
If you listen to the hype online, CBD almost sounds like a miracle cure for everything from arthritis to acne. It’s important to note, however, that while scientific studies have indicated that CBD has some incredible benefits, due to its past criminalization, the research into CBD has been stunted. While there is an increasing amount of new studies into the effects of CBD, much of the information online about its benefits come from word-of-mouth, anecdotal evidence.
From the studies that have been produced, however, are some of the most cited benefits:
Pain Relief – Many CBD users turn to hemp as a way to ease pain and inflammation from a variety of sources. Some studies have shown that CBD’s influence on the endocannabinoid system can change the way these receptors manage pain, leading to an overall reduction of perceived pain and inflammation, often a cause of the pain itself.
Relief From Some Cancer Symptoms – Cancer is a devastating disease that comes in many forms. The symptoms can be both harsh and hard to manage, leading many sufferers to look for any relief they can find. CBD has shown the potential to ease the pain related to tumors and may help slow their spread. For those treating their cancer with chemotherapy, CBD may also help relieve nausea symptoms allowing patients to better nourish their bodies while fighting the disease.
Anxiety and Depression – Mental health has the ability to affect every aspect of your life, and it’s an area where many of us will struggle, at some point, as we deal with the ups and downs of life. CBD has been shown to help with some anxiety disorders by promoting a calmer mindset. In addition, it has also been linked to a reduction in depression. This is due in part to CBD’s effects on the endocannabinoid system which helps regulate mood, but also its ability to work as an analog to serotonin in some receptors, improving the mood of the user.
Reduced Acne Symptoms – Acne affects a large portion of the population, and sufferers struggle to find a way to promote clear, healthy skin. Topical CBD products using oil from the hemp plant are naturally nourishing, containing healthy Omega fatty acids that promote better skin wellness. Additionally, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties also help control acne outbreaks by moderating sebum production and cytokine activation.
Relief From Muscle Spasms and Seizures – Seizure relief has long been attributed to cannabis use, with the first prescription-strength CBD product, Epidiolex, recently being approved to treat some seizure conditions. Studies have proven that it may be effective in helping control some forms of epilepsy, even in specialized disorders involving children. Meanwhile, muscle spasms, such as those prevalent with Parkinson’s disease, have also shown symptomatic improvement with the use of CBD.
Improved Heart Health – Cardiac issues are becoming more prevalent in America as our large population ages and suffer from the consequences of a high national obesity rate. CBD has the potential to help with this by reducing and maintaining blood pressure. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and heart attacks; therefore, controlling blood pressure is an important part of heart health.
Other Potential Benefits
The list above is in no way an exhaustive overlook of all CBD has to offer. As research continues and more people choose CBD for their holistic health, expect even more exciting news. To ensure you’re getting the most from your CBD products, make sure you’re getting your CBD from a reliable manufacturer and supplier. Pay close attention to the Certificates of Analysis (COA) that ensure you’re getting a potent and safe product, and choose topicals, oils, or edibles that give you the dosage you need in the form that delivers your dose efficiently.
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