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What, actually, is CBD?

What, actually, is CBD?


Everybody is talking about "CBD," the marijuana-like substance derived from hemp oil. What actually is CBD, and why all the fuss?

CBD is shorthand for "cannabidiol." It is one of the cannabinoid ingredients found in marijuana (Cannabis sativa). It is not, however, the one that has psychoactive properties. In other words, CBD is not the constituent that makes you "high." That effect is associated with a different cannabinoid, "THC," or tetrahydrocannabinol.

This is, as you no doubt realize, an important distinction. An herbal product high in THC is psychoactive, and should not be confused with herbal supplements high in CBD and low in THC.

Supplements that are high in CBD are currently obtained from hemp, or hemp oil. Hemp is a distinct variety of Cannabis sativa, historically  cultivated for its fiber and seeds. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains less than 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

You might wonder, "if cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa, why does anyone care about it." They care because it may be helpful in treating a number of other health problems. Orally, for example, cannabidiol (CBD) is used by those with conditions such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, dystonia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia. Inhaled, cannabidiol is used for smoking cessation.

Research is ongoing to confirm the effectiveness, appropriate dosage and safety of CBD supplements.

In the meantime, popular enthusiasm for CBD products seem to be overwhelmingly positive. As if often the case for products like this, deciding which product to buy can be challenging. At this time, the best advice is to look for products that actually list the amount of CBD. Remember that "cannabinoids" refers to a complex group of related substances, not CBD itself. In general, you would expect to find more CBD in "hemp extract" rather than "hemp oil."

It is also preferable to take the CBD supplement with meals, especially one that contains oil, or fat. This will enhance the absorption of the CBD.

The pharmacists and nutritionists at Willner Chemists will be happy to assist you in determining which CBD supplement is most appropriate for your needs.

Don Goldberg, RPh.

Product Recommendations:
CBD products are available in many different dosages and dosage forms. Willner Chemists provides drops, cappsules, gummies and patches.