CBD – WHAT IS IT, AND WHAT DOES IT DO?

July 04, 2019

CBD – WHAT IS IT, AND WHAT DOES IT DO?

Legalization of marijuana in Canada, and the rapidly changing legal status of cannabis products in many American states have had the surprise effect of making CBD – marijuana’s tame cousin – of creating supply shortages across Canada. Apparently, despite concerns from opponents, many people are truly looking for medicinal uses rather than a high.

Now the popular oil is being sold in tinctures, lotions, powders, candies, and even showing up in coffee shops as an add-on “shot” to your favorite beverage and on restaurant menus.

If you’re not familiar with cannabis products, you might be imagining an increasingly stoned population. Before investing in snack food companies, push aside the stereotypes for a moment and read on. CBD might just surprise you.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant that is considered to have a number of therapeutic uses. It is extracted from cannabis and then is usually combined with a base oil, olive or coconut for example. It is technically a cannabinoid. You’ve probably heard of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC), the compound in marijuana that has psychoactive properties. While both CBD and THC come from the cannabis plant, CBD has no psychoactive properties and will not produce a “high” when consumed.  In other words, CBD gives therapeutic effects without the mind-altering effects.

What is it used for?

While research is ongoing and more is necessary, fans of CBD promote a variety of uses including:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Acne
  • Glaucoma
  • The tremors of Parkinson’s disease

Many people claim to find significant help with very difficult problems by taking CBD and this is creating a vibrant market for the product.  People see it as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical sleep aids, antianxiety meds, anti-inflammatory drugs and much more. 

How does CBD work?

Simply put, our body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps regulate complicated body functions and systems like pain, sleep, and our immune system response. Our bodies actually produce endocannabinoids and it is thought that CBD works with our bodies to help us use our own endocannabinoids better.

How safe is CBD?

In general, CBD has low toxicity, few side effects, and is considered very safe. In fact, it often has fewer side effects than the pharmaceutical solutions treating the same issues. However, there aren’t many studies yet tracking potential effects of long-term use. Current studies have raised some concerns about interactions between CBD and medications or supplements and others have also suggested possible liver damage. Much more research is needed to say for sure.

The most commonly reported side effects are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth

Is it legal to buy CBD?

That’s the big question. The answer(s) might surprise you.

Even though hemp-derived CBD does not have psychoactive properties, it still falls under the marijuana laws in Canada and some American states.

In Canada, even though marijuana is legal, cannabis (including CBD) is strictly regulated. It may only be produced legally by licensed producers and sold by registered retailers. In practice, there is a lot of confusion about the legality, mostly centering around the fact that CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties like THC. Many assume that makes it legal. Many retailers are confused about what they may offer, and in fact some retailers unknowingly sell CBD products illegally.

In the USA, CBD oil is legal if it contains no more than 0.3% THC. But confusion abounds in the States as well. Many state and local laws have yet to catch up with the federal laws. CBD products are widely available, but not always legal at the local level. For example, it is a felony to possess CBD products in some areas of Texas.

Know the rules

If you use CBD products in either country, it’s important for you to be aware of any possible legal ramifications.  The important takeaway is to educate yourself on the local laws and be careful.

The popularity of CBD products doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, especially as more and more anecdotal evidence supports CBDs therapeutic effects. The research is trying to catch up, but more time is definitely needed.  Cannabis is no longer the butt of stoner jokes but becoming a major player in the growing move towards more natural healthcare.  


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