One can’t get through a day without hearing about cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the many chemical components found in cannabis plants. Found in everything from smoothies to hand lotion, CBD is touted as a cure-all for just about everything. Let’s take a look at what we know, and why purchasing CBD products from licensed dispensaries is important.
Where does CBD come from?
CBD is one of dozens of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which are found in marijuana plants. For decades, cannabis enthusiasts and growers focused on producing plants that contained high amounts of one specific cannabinoid: THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the euphoric “high” associated with marijuana. THC is also known to have many beneficial medical uses, such as relieving nausea for those undergoing chemotherapy, or reducing seizures for those with Parkinson’s Disease.
Over time, scientists have discovered that along with THC, CBD has a number of promising applications that help contribute to wellness. To provide the market with this new product, cannabis farmers began breeding plants containing higher percentages of CBD. Today, because of the recent passage of the federal Farm Bill, CBD is also being extracted from hemp plants- a genetic “sister” to marijuana that produces only a minute fraction of THC cannabinoids, and thus can be grown in states where marijuana is still illegal.
How does CBD work?
CBD works with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which has receptors located throughout our bodies, but primarily in our gut and brain. These receptors help the body to maintain homeostasis. CBD works hand-in-hand with our body’s own endocannabinoids, modifying our existing receptors. This results in beneficial changes to our bodies, such as less inflammation, or a better night’s sleep. Research points to the need to build up a supply of CBD in your system to maximize its effects.
What do people use CBD for?
Although more research has been conducted on THC, science has determined that CBD holds promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders, pain, cancer treatment, epilepsy and diabetes. What scientists do know is that CBD acts in the body as an anti-inflammatory, making this cannabinoid a go-to alternative for athletes and those suffering with arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. Some users of CBD attest to being able to reduce their dependence on pain medication, and others use CBD to address depression, PTSD and other types of anxiety.
How is CBD produced?
CBD is found in the sticky resins on the flowers and leaves of cannabis and hemp plants. The resins are put through a variety of extraction processes, which result in the creation of an oil or sometimes a powder, which is then used to manufacture the items found on dispensary shelves.
CBD can be extracted as a “whole plant” product or an “isolate,” where, literally, the CBD molecules are isolated from all other aspects of the plant. Whole plant extractions, which contain many other helpful cannabinoids and chemical compounds are considered the gold standard for CBD and other cannabis products.
How do I use CBD?
For those new to cannabis, you may be surprised at the many ways CBD can be ingested. Gone are the days when the only option was to smoke a joint or load up a pipe. For people using CBD for arthritis or muscle strain, topical applications such as salves, rubs or lotions are an excellent choice. CBD is found in edible products such as cookies and beverages, but most clinicians familiar with CBD recommend that it be consumed orally in a tincture, in a capsule or in pill or sublingual form, to bypass the digestive tract. For those using CBD to address anxiety, smoking a high-CBD strain of cannabis or vaping CBD oil is considered the fastest delivery route.
Can I buy CBD at a chain store?
For those lucky enough to reside in or visit Mendocino County, tested, regulated and dose-specific CBD products are always available at our local dispensaries.
The exponential growth of CBD products has created a “wild west” situation, where manufacturers have been importing unregulated CBD oil and using it in their products, which can be found online, in grocery or even convenience stores. Currently, the federal government is playing catch-up with the CBD industry. For this reason, these unregulated products should be used with caution.
Fortunately, in legal cannabis states like California, CBD derived from cannabis plants is subject to extremely strict regulatory controls. This means that a CBD tincture or salve sold in a licensed dispensary has been tested for the presence of molds, pesticides and contaminants. It means that the percentage of CBD in each product has been verified by an independent laboratory. And it means that the packaging clearly states the dosage size and instructions for use. For now, the safest, cleanest and most reliable source of CBD is located in California dispensaries and other cannabis-legal states- in other words, right here in Mendocino County!
Purchasing from a dispensary
All that is needed to purchase CBD products is a valid Driver’s License or other accepted identification. Dispensaries usually display CBD products in a specific area, and staff are very informed about the products they sell. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about your specific needs and what products would be suitable for you, and always check with your physician before adding any supplemental products to your health program.
The future of CBD.
As time goes on, cannabis scientists are discovering even more uses for other little-known cannabinoids such as CBN, which has been shown to be highly effective for insomnia. Many CBD products resemble something you would keep in your medicine cabinet, and more and more people are turning to cannabis as a complement to their traditional medical routine. The NFL is rethinking its ban on CBD products because so many players are using it. Pet owners are using CBD to help improve the mobility of aging dogs or cats. Nearly everyone in the cannabis community has a story of a patient, friend or loved one whose life was significantly improved by the inclusion of CBD in their wellness program. Here in Mendocino County, we are fortunate to have experts on the cultivation and use of CBD—right in our own backyard.