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What is CBD, and why should I care?

May 19, 2018

Ganja, weed, Mary Jane, pot, marijuana, herb; we all have our own term for it. When referencing cannabis, we've heard these nicknames used for decades. But really, what is cannabis? What can it do for me and why should I care?

With cannabis consumption now legal in 30 U.S. States, it's become quite the hot topic of late. So, have we just become a nation of stoners? Quite the opposite, in fact.


To better understand why American's are progressively turning away from traditional pharmaceutical solutions and towards plant-based medicine as old as time, there are a few terms that must be understood.


CBD or cannabidiol, is one of at least 113 active cannabinoid compounds in a cannabis plant. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the part of the cannabis plant that will induce the psychoactive response, or get you “high”. Of all the known cannabinoid compounds in cannabis plants, THC is the only one that is mind altering.


Known to relieve pain and inflammation, CBD is also recognized as having positive effects in reducing anxiety, improving sleep, fighting cancer, stopping spasms, alleviating nausea and helping with the spastic muscle movements brought on by epilepsy. It's presented promise in alleviating symptoms associated with diabetes, lupus, Parkinsons, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, motor disorders, Osteoporosis and various pediatric conditions. Ironically, CBD reduces the psychoactive high from THC.


Because of a set of archaic laws that have prohibited the cannabis plant the last few decades and due to the complex nature of the plant and the fact it can effect multiple parts of the body at once, it has been quite difficult to study. Despite this, the therapeutic plant has shown in countless situations to provide relief, and in some cases remission, from innumerable chronic conditions and diseases.


The effects of CBD in the body are comprehensive and far-reaching, however there is still much to learn about CBD. What we do now, however, is that the cannabinoid is known to either directly or indirectly affect the receptors in our bodies responsible for pain modulation, sleep-wake cycle and mood and stress management.


It is significant to note that while CBD is a powerful medicine on its own, the compounds effect is amplified when combined with other cannabinoids, namely THC. This synergistic cooperation between marijuana compounds has been dubbed the “entourage effect”. The push towards whole plant medicine is certainly appropriate in certain cases as it provides another path towards healing, as some patients may respond well to CBD and others to a combination of CBD and THC.


Finding a reliable, pure and potent source of CBD, however, can be frustrating and confusing as the shifting laws surrounding the legality of the plant. As of this writing there are only a little more than a handful of states where a consumer can be certain that the CBD content claimed on the label is accurate. In adult-use recreational cannabis states all CBD products are tested for purity and potency.


Some of the most popular and effective high-CBD strains include ACDC, Cannatonic, Canna-Tsu, Harlequin, Ringo's Gift, Stephen Hawking Kush, Sweet and Sour Widow, Pennywise, Harle-Tsu and Sour Tsunami. For a comprehensive breakdown of these strains, Leafly cannot be beat.

HelloMD, the nations largest online community of medical cannabis patients, experts, brands and trusted retailers, recently completed a massive study on CBD in partnership with Brightfield Group, a strategic market research firm focused on the cannabis industry. The findings help to shed light on rates of CBD usage, CBD user profiles, medical conditions being treated by CBD and CBD consumer satisfaction levels.

Key findings include:


  • Top medical conditions treated by CBD are anxiety, depression, insomnia and joint pain

  • 80% use at least once per week and 41% use daily

  • Vaping is the preferred method of consumption

  • 58% of CBD-only users are women

  • 42% of CBD users have stopped using traditional medications and use cannabis instead

  • 90% of respondents would be likely to buy marijuana-derived CBD-only products


Thus I submit that we are not a nation of stoners, but rather a nation filled with chronic illness and pain. More than 40% of the entire population, or over 133 million American's are affected by generally incurable and ongoing chronic disease. By 2020, that number is projected to grow to an estimated 157 million, with 81 million people having multiple conditions, National Health Council. Chronic pain is fast becoming an epidemic with over 100 million American's or one in ten, experiencing pain every day for three months or more. The most common types of pain reported are headache/migraine, lower back pain, neck pain and facial pain.


We are also a nation in the throes of a severe drug addition crisis, attributed mostly to opioids procured from the pharmaceutical industry. American's consume over 80% of the global opioid supply, a number that is absurd and almost incomprehensible.


Common opioid side effects include sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence and addiction, tolerance and respiratory depression.


The most commonly reported side effects of CBD are dry mouth and drowsiness, which is probably what most are looking for in this natural anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory plant. CBD users do not build up a tolerance and the cannbinoid is non-habit forming.

When faced with the question, what can CBD do for me, the answers are so numerous they are nearly incalculable, but the results remain the same.

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