CBD has exploded onto the market, leaving many people somewhat confused in its wake. There is growing interest in CBD not just in Canada but across the world. CBD as a compound is the same regardless of where you are. However, regulations vary broadly among countries and even between provinces. To help you quickly understand what CBD is and how it works, let us answer some of the key questions about this cannabis extract.
1. What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 108 different kinds of cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound responsible for the intoxicating effects in marijuana, CBD will not get you high and does not have a strong influence on your cognitive brain activities.
2. How Does CBD Work in the Body?
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a regulatory system in your body composed of naturally occurring cannabis-like molecules. Endocannabinoids function like neurotransmitters, sending messages throughout the body to help maintain the bodily homeostasis (biological harmony) that is essential for survival. CBD, like other cannabinoids, interacts with the ECS at two known receptors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are one of the most common receptors in the entire central nervous system and are necessary for the brain’s healthy functioning. Depending on their location in the brain, they can work as moderators of your mood, memory, motor function, or perception of pain. CB1 receptors can also be found at lower densities in other parts of the body and have roles in digestion, cardiovascular health, hormone production, and even pregnancy.
Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are commonly found on the immune system cells to combat inflammation and regulate the body’s immune response to pathogens.
Most cannabinoids can bind to both receptors. Although CBD does not trigger either type directly, it affects the receptors’ capability to attach to cannabinoids.
3. What Are the Potential Health Benefits of CBD?
THC is probably the most popular cannabinoid thanks to its mind-altering effects, but CBD is gaining ground fast because of its broad therapeutic value. Although studies about CBD are still limited, preliminary findings reveal that it can help improve sleep; ease anxiety; reduce inflammation; relieve chronic pain; and even treat epilepsy, schizophrenia, and cancer.
4. Is CBD Legal in Canada?
Yes, but there are restrictions. The cannabis plant contains hundreds of chemical compounds. More than 100 of these are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids that naturally occur in cannabis plants are sometimes called phytocannabinoids. Under the Cannabis Act in Canada, which came into force in October 2018, products that contain phytocannabinoids (including CBD) are illegal in the country unless authorized. This means that as a controlled substance, CBD and CBD-infused products are subject to all the terms that apply to cannabis as specified in the act.
CBD products are strictly regulated and only considered legal when possessed, produced, distributed, and sold in compliance with the act and its regulations.
5. How Is CBD Used?
CBD can be consumed in various ways depending on your lifestyle and personal needs. Each delivery method differs in its effects and how quickly it works in your body. Here are the ways you can use CBD:
- Pills. Like vitamins or any other pill, CBD pills are ingested orally. They can come in different strengths, so the need to consume more is not necessary. CBD pills are also available in various forms, such as solid tablets, powder capsules, and soft gels that contain CBD oil or CBD isolate. Other people say that CBD pills could take longer to kick in, but once it happens, the effects often last longer.
- Edibles. These are a broad range of cannabis-infused products that may be available in the form of gummies, cookies, candies, and drinks, to name a few. The effects may kick in between 20 minutes to four hours after consuming.
- Vaping. This is an easier way to consume CBD than some other methods. As with electronic cigarettes, vaping involves inhaling vaporized liquid infused with CBD oil. Unlike edibles that need to be digested, vaping has a more immediate effect since it directly enters your bloodstream. There are different kinds of vaporizers to consume CBD. These include oil-based or wax-based vape pens, portable flower vapes, and table-top vaporizers.
- Topicals. CBD-infused topicals are a wonderful way to get relief from inflammation, pain, and even stress. Since the skin is absorbent, the use of CBD topical products in the form of creams, balms, and skincare oils can be effective because they interact with your localized CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD topicals usually also contain different vitamins that have antioxidant properties. Although each CBD topical product is different and may affect users in different ways, it normally takes about 15 to 30 minutes to feel its effects.
- Oils and tinctures. Both are processed and concentrated forms of CBD. CBD oils and tinctures undergo the same process of alcohol extraction and are usually packaged the same way. The main difference between a CBD oil and a CBD tincture is that the latter consists of other ingredients, such as dissolving solutions and flavours to improve its taste. Both oils and tinctures are generally administered by placing them under your tongue and then letting them stay there for 30 seconds or so before swallowing.
6. What Are the Risks Associated with Taking CBD?
According to a 2017 report from the World Health Organization, CBD in its pure state is considered to be safe and generally well-tolerated by both humans and animals. Taking CBD is also not likely to induce physical dependence or substance abuse. Nevertheless, there remain a few risks to consider when using CBD.
As mentioned earlier, there is limited research involving CBD. While the results are generally promising, there is still a lot to know about the specific conditions that the substance can help treat. Besides, some users report adverse effects of using CBD, such as dry mouth, dizziness, and low blood pressure.
Aside from that, not much is known about how CBD interacts with other drugs. But experts say CBD affects how quickly the body breaks down a wide array of medications, which can aggravate the side effects.
Lastly, no sufficient evidence shows whether it’s safe to consume CBD during pregnancy or while you are nursing. Therefore, experts recommend avoiding it completely while pregnant or breastfeeding.