CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in hemp plants. CBD’s benefits are numerous, making it a popular supplement. Cannabidiol is just one of over 85 cannabinoids presently identified in the cannabis plant. THC is only present in trace amounts, while CBD dominates the plant’s makeup. This allows users to experience the balancing effects of CBD, without the psychoactive “high” of THC.
CBD interacts with the body through the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) or endocannabinoid system. First discovered in the late 1980’s, the endocannabinoid system regulates the body’s homeostasis, or general state of balance, impacting such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response. Like an acrobat on a highwire, as the environment around us impacts our normal balance, the endocannabinoid system “corrects” by mediating our body’s reaction to keep us level.
The endocannabinoid system is found in all mammals and is made up of millions of cannabinoid receptor sites located primarily throughout the brain and central nervous system (CB1 receptors) and immune system (CB2 receptors) that act in neural communication. The endocannabinoid system is one of the most important regulatory systems in the human body, but most people do very little to support the health of this system, because cannabinoids have not been part of the average diet. CBD and THC both interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system, a vital signaling system responsible for regulating a wide array of functions, some of which include:
- Immune response
- Cycles of cellular life and death
First and foremost, CBD will not cause you to experience a euphoric effect, or “high.” It is completely non-psychoactive. This means that unlike THC, supplementing with CBD oil will not adversely affect your sensory awareness, perception, consciousness, reaction time or behavior. There have been some reports of CBD oil effects like dry mouth, low blood pressure, and drowsiness. A research review investigating CBD and CBD oil side effects and safety found that it had no adverse physiological effect on the following:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Glucose levels
- pH levels
- Red blood cell volume
- Vomiting action
- Body temperature
- Potassium and sodium levels
- Exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and bloodstream
- Time it takes for food to leave stomach and travel through the intestines
Studies have shown that cannabis has neuroprotective effects, and in turn supports the health of the brain and spinal cord and helps in the treatment of a variety of central nervous system disorders. The cannabinoids found in cannabis, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have shown they effectively protect neurons and astrocytes from damage, modulate inflammatory reaction and assist in neuroregeneration (Kubajewska & Constantinescu, 2010) (Croxford, et al., 2008).
Cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) of the endocannabinoid system, which plays a significant regulatory role in health and disease (Di Marzo, Bifulco & De Petrocellis, 2004). The upregulation of the endocannabinoid system has shown to reduce the severity of symptoms like neuropathic pain and muscle spasms and slow the progression of central nervous system disorders like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and others (Di Marzo, Bifulco & De Petrocellis, 2004).
Alzheimer’s Disease: Cannabinoids slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting the production of beta-amyloid proteins, considered the key contributor to the disease’s progression. They also protect brain cells from the deleterious effects of amyloid-beta, reduces inflammation, and supports the brain’s repair process by enhancing the birth of new cells (Currias, et al., 2016).
Antipsychotic effects: Studies suggest that CBD may help people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders by reducing psychotic symptoms.
Anti-tumor effects: In test-tube and animal studies, CBD has demonstrated anti-tumor effects. In animals, it has been shown to prevent the spread of breast, prostate, brain, colon and lung cancer.
Anxiety & Depression: common mental health disorders that can have devastating impacts on health and well-being. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders are ranked sixth. Anxiety and depression are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause a number of side effects including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and headache. What’s more, medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive and may lead to substance abuse.
In one study, 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test. The group that received the CBD had significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, compared to the placebo group. CBD oil has even been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder. CBD has also shown antidepressant-like effects in several animal studies. These qualities are linked to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
Cancer Relief: may help reduce symptoms related to cancer and side effects related to cancer treatment, like nausea, vomiting and pain. One study looked at the effects of CBD and THC in 177 people with cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from pain medication. Those treated with an extract containing both compounds experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those who received only THC extract.
CBD may also help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for those with cancer. Though there are drugs that help with these distressing symptoms, they are sometimes ineffective, leading some people to seek alternatives. A study of 16 people undergoing chemotherapy found that a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered via mouth spray reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than standard treatment alone.
Some test-tube and animal studies have even shown that CBD may have anticancer properties. For example, one test-tube study found that concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells. Another study showed that CBD inhibited the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice. However, these are test-tube and animal studies, so they can only suggest what might work in people. More studies in humans are needed before conclusions can be made.
Diabetes prevention: In diabetic mice, treatment with CBD reduced the incidence of diabetes by 56% and significantly reduced inflammation.
Dystonia: Cannabinoids reduces the involuntary muscle contractions, indicating they could be beneficial for symptoms associated with dystonia (Baker, et al., 2000).
Epilepsy: Cannabinoids have been shown to effectively and significantly decrease the frequency of seizures (Wallace, Martin & DeLorenzo, 2002).
Fibromyalgia: Studies have found that cannabis is effective at improving sleep disruption, pain, depression, joint stiffness, anxiety, physical function and quality of life in individuals with fibromyalgia (de Souza Nascimento, et al., 2013).
Hypertension: Recent research has linked CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of a number of health conditions, including stroke, heart attack and metabolic syndrome.
Studies indicate that CBD may be a natural and effective treatment for high blood pressure. One recent study treated 10 healthy men with one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil and found it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to a placebo. The same study also gave the men stress tests that normally increase blood pressure. Interestingly, the single dose of CBD led the men to experience a smaller blood pressure increase than normal in response to these tests.
Lupus: Cannabis reduces inflammation, thus potentially offering therapeutic benefit to those with lupus, and can reduce pain associated with the disorder (Clayton, Marshall, Bountra & O’Shaughnessy, 2002).
Migraines: Through activation of the cannabinoid receptors, cannabis inhibits the pain response caused by migraines (Akerman, Holland, Lasalandra & Goardsby, 2013) (Greco, et al., 2014).
Multiple Sclerosis: Cannabis reduces pain and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and helps slow the disease’s progression (Baker, et al., 2000). One animal study found that cannabinoids reduced damage to myelin caused from inflammation, thereby providing neuroprotection (Pryce, et al., 2003).
Pain Relief: Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters. CBD, especially in combination with THC, may be effective in reducing pain associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Parkinson’s Disease: Cannabis’ neuroprotective effects and ability to encourage cell health reduces the progression of Parkinson’s disease (Zeissler, et al., 2016). It has also shown to help manage the tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, motor disability and impairments, sleep problems and pain associated with the disorder (Lotan, Treves, Roditi & Djaldetti, 2014).
Substance abuse treatment: CBD has been shown to modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction. In rats, CBD has been shown to reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior.
Tourette Syndrome: Cannabis safely reduces the frequency of tics caused by Tourette syndrome (Muller-Vahl, 2013).
Starting CBD Supplements
Although CBD is generally considered safe, it can cause adverse reactions like diarrhea and fatigue in some people. It may also interfere with certain medications. Consult with your physician or pharmacist prior to supplementing CBD. When starting any new supplement routine, it is suggested you start low and go slow. Once you determine the CBD levels you’d like to achieve each day, start below that number and work your way up, increasing your serving size every few days. When you hit your predetermined daily serving size, you can decide if you’d like to continue increasing or stay where you are. This will help you dial in the daily CBD serving that works best for you. There is no one ideal CBD dosage, and with time, you will learn how your body reacts to a CBD supplement.
It can take a couple of minutes to a couple of hours after use for the effects of CBD to fully appear, depending on serving size and method of application, among other factors that affect the rate of absorption by the body. This can make taking CBD oil and answering, “How much CBD should I take” a difficult task without a blanket answer. CBD, like all cannabinoids, can also build up in the body and cause an increase in cannabinoid receptors, making the endocannabinoid system more active and more sensitive to stimulation by cannabinoids. This is one more reason to make sure you are supplementing your system with CBD daily.
CBD is safe and non-toxic for humans, even at high amounts. The research review suggests that controlled CBD administration is safe and non-toxic in humans and in animals. According to the research team, “high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans.” This level of daily CBD intake is far greater than what is present in the suggested servings for our products. CBD also doesn’t affect regions of the brain that control critical functions like breathing or heartbeat, so there is no danger of CBD overdose, even with very large servings.
Microdosing CBD is a consumption technique that involves taking small servings of CBD supplements throughout the day. Rather than consuming a full day’s serving of CBD at one time, that serving is broken into smaller sizes and taken several times. Let’s say that you have been taking a single serving of 25 mg of CBD one time in the morning with breakfast. With microdosing, you might break up that one 25 mg of CBD into five separate 5 mg CBD servings that you take when you wake, during lunch, in the afternoon, with dinner, and before you go to bed.
The technique of microdosing can be applied to nearly all types of CBD supplements. Many consumers have found that CBD tinctures and oils work well for microdosing because they make it easier to measure out exact serving sizes. Because it’s convenient, portable, and discreet, vaping CBD is also commonly used for microdosing. This small serving CBD consumption strategy has grown in popularity in recent years, as many consumers have found greater natural benefits by maintaining stable CBD levels in their systems. The optimal dose of CBD for microdosing is different for everyone. Everyone responds differently to CBD oil supplements, and how CBD affects you is influenced by liver metabolism, body fat percentage, genetics, personal tolerance levels, and more.
When figuring out the right serving size of CBD for you, the key is to start low and go slow. It is recommended that you begin with a small serving size, monitor how you feel, and increase your intake gradually as needed. Discovering your personal ideal CBD microdose may take a bit of self-experimentation. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you figure out your optimal microdosing dose:
- Begin by taking 1 milligram of CBD.
- Over the next hour, monitor how you feel. While hemp CBD oil is non-intoxicating, we’ve heard from some of our CBD oil users that they feel a sensation of “increased relaxation” or “soothing calmness.” Others have reported experiencing slight “awakening” or “energizing” effects.
- If after an hour you’ve felt no effect at all, you may want to increase your serving by 1 milligram. Again, monitor how you feel.
- Stick with the same microdosing routine for three to five days, monitoring your overall wellbeing during the day and your sleep habits at night. Some of our customers have said they don’t particularly feel any type of sensation immediately after taking their CBD oil supplements but notice that with regular use they experience an “overall sense of better energy every day” and “improved sleep patterns at night.”
Through this process, you’ll be able to determine the ideal CBD microdose for you. Generally, consumers have found that their ideal dose falls somewhere between 1 and 10 milligrams of CBD.
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