Being raised in the 70’s brings back many, many fond memories. Those were the days of peace, love, rock-n-roll, and, well, cannabis. Lots of it! Until recently, getting caught with the plant in any form meant a good chance of a long jail term. Now, in many states, there are numerous ‘weed’ shops that you can just walk in to and LEGALLY buy cannabis in various forms, either for medical or recreational purposes. Ya gotta love that term, ‘recreational’.
Cannabis has been around much longer than most of us might imagine; since the beginning of recorded history, really. And, it has been used for way more than just recreation. Thousands of years ago, the Chinese used cannabis for medicine; and the seeds and oil were used as food some years later. Hemp cord used in pottery has been identified at a 10,000+ year old ancient village site in modern day Taiwan. There’s a long list of early uses for hemp and cannabis here and an interesting, short video well worth a watch.
Cannabis and hemp are different but similar in that they are from the same species:
- Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica refer to the forms of marijuana that contain the psychoactive cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). With cannabis use, you will experience the ‘high’ that those using it for recreational purposes desire. Cannabis, or marijuana, remains illegal in most states, other than those that have medical marijuana liberties. Medical cannabis will contain varying amounts of THC. It also grows differently than the hemp plant.
- Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa strain and is non-psychoactive, containing less than 0.3% of THC. There is no ‘high’ associated with hemp, so, according to the 2014 Farm Bill, it is legal, regulated like any other supplement, and can be sold and shipped throughout the United States. The hemp plant is very strong and widely used for industrial purposes, such as fabrics, cords, paper, animal feed, and plastic. It is understood to be a superfood in various forms, and hemp oil is commonly used in food products and beauty products, such as lotions and soaps.
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a heck of an amazing thing! CBD is one of numerous cannabinoids found in the cannabis and hemp plants. A cannabinoid, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “any of a group of closely related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis”. There are currently 110 known cannabinoids, each of them serving their own purpose. There is a heap of verifiable, scientific research detailing many amazing health benefits of CBD. National Institutes of Health is a great resource for investigating and verifying facts, and new research is added practically daily.
About twenty-five years ago, the endogenous cannabinoid system, or endocannabinoid system (ECS), was discovered. Scientists have learned that all humans and all animals have an ECS, and its purpose is vital: to repair and maintain the immune system by restoring homeostasis. The cannabinoids discovered in the cannabis and hemp plants have been found to work symbiotically with our internal body systems and has been shown to help with a myriad of health issues. For an in-depth explanation of the ECS, see this NIH article.
CBD oil is extracted from the stalks, leaves and buds of the hemp plant via one of these extraction methods:
- The oil-based method is the safest known. Soaking the plant in (typically) hemp or olive oil separates the components.
- CO2 is a low heat method that preserves the cannabinoid profiles and safely produces the purest high-end product. Using heat breaks down cannabinoids thereby producing a weaker, less effective product.
- Chemical extraction involves forcing butane, alcohol, or hexane through the leaves. This is neither safe nor healthy! Stick with the CO2 or oil-based production for pure, safe products.
With properly grown and purely and safely processed CBD oil, there is the advantage of getting all of the positive benefits of marijuana without the psychoactive effects. It doesn’t get any better than that! Right?
Did you know that the verified medical benefits of cannabis have been known for decades? Back in the 30’s, the government removed all of the then-legal CBD products that had been available for many years off the shelf and made it illegal to purchase or possess any form of the cannabis plant. This resulted in a halt on all research and produced the outlandish, albeit interesting, Reefer Madness! If you would like to delve into this issue further and have not yet viewed any of these docu-series, I highly recommend that you do.
Why use CBD? While I cannot diagnose an ailment or prescribe a product or dosage, I can say that most people use CBD for seizures, pain, depression, inflammation, improved bone strength, sleep problems, better focus, digestive issues, increase in appetite, and overall well-being. People also use it for their dogs, cats, cows, horses, bunnies, and any other animals and have seen some amazing results. Many veterinarians have begun recommending and carrying it, and some animal shelters use it to help calm pets making them more adoptable. As I mentioned, all animals have an ECS, just like we do! Even chickens and some fish. However, insects have not been found to have one, at least not yet.
When researching CBD products, be sure to look at those that are full-spectrum, containing the most potent cannabinoids and terpenes, which together provide the entourage effect. The entourage effect occurs when the natural components within a plant interact with the body, thereby producing better results. Think of it like this: It’s the difference in eating an orange and taking a vitamin C supplement. With the supplement, you get one compound, whereas by eating the whole orange, you get that compound plus a whole lot more, all working together to enhance the effect of each other. Make sense? Pretty cool stuff. Check this out…our bodies are actually built for cannabis and are hard-wired for it!
Cannabis is truly an incredible gift, having been around for so many years and serving such a multitude of purposes. Scientists and many doctors agree that we have only begun to uncover all of its benefits. So, do your research, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.