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CBD Oil: The Definitive Guide (2020)

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The rise of CBD has been so sudden and all-encompassing that many of you may still be unaware of exactly what it is and why it matters.

It’s the perfect time to be right here, then, because we’ve been doing our research for a while now, and we’re about to take you through the basics:

What is CBD Oil?

The cannabis plant contains over 100 unique compounds known as cannabinoids. Amongst these 100 cannabinoids, two are famous the world over.

One is THC, the active ingredient in cannabis and the part that gives cannabis smokers the psychoactive effects they desire, and the addictive qualities they are forced to deal with.

The other is CBD, a completely non-psychoactive compound with no potential for addiction, overdose or any other significant side effects.

But why has CBD suddenly exploded in popularity?

Well, part of the reason is that the growing legality of medical and even recreational cannabis in places like the United States and Canada has been making research into the effects of CBD a lot easier to undertake, along with the recently changed legality of CBD in many other places.

Another reason is that CBD interacts directly with our body’s endocannabinoid system to provide a variety of therapeutic benefits with no significant negative or risk involved.

The best quality CBD is extracted from organic, lab tested industrial hemp with zero GMOs, and contains only natural, plant-based ingredients.

History of CBD Use

It’s easy to think of the cannabis as the stigmatised, illegal drug that it has been treated as for the past several decades, but if we go back to before cannabis was first prohibited in the United States in the early 1900s, we find that cannabis has been used as medicine for literally millennia, with half of all medicines containing cannabis in the late 1800s.

The uses went a long way beyond that, however, with hemp being the backbone of the Royal Navy for centuries, being used to create ropes, sails, and even clothing.

Hemp was also an abundant source of food back in those days, with hemp seeds and hemp flour being incredibly nutritious and full of omega fatty acids.

For those who don’t know, hemp is a form of cannabis that grows with high CBD content and low THC content, and the very crop we use for our high-quality CBD products.

Humanity’s progress in understanding CBD abruptly came to a halt when this valuable crop that was once used for medicine, fabrics, and as a low-cost wholefood was blamed for many problems, some true, some fabricated, and rapidly became both illegal and stigmatised across the world.

Fortunately, the recent change in the wind has reopened the possibility of CBD research, and science is rapidly discovering and proving a frankly unbelievable range of benefits.

But how can one plant have so many therapeutic benefits?

The answer is a central part of the way our body works that you may not have even heard of:

The Endocannabinoid System

To make sense of how CBD offers such a wide range of therapeutic benefits, we must first look at the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is a crucial system in our bodies, just like the respiratory or digestive systems. The endocannabinoid system regulates the many other systems of our bodies in order to promote and maintain homeostasis.

The endocannabinoid controls parts of our bodies that are related to regulation and control, including the:

  • Hypothalamus
  • Thymus
  • Thyroid gland
  • Pituitary gland
  • Pineal gland
  • Parathyroid glands
  • Pancreas
  • Kidneys
  • Ovaries
  • Adrenal glands

The endocannabinoid system isn’t exclusive to humans, as all mammals have one and even amphibians have a simplified version of it.

The system is made up of cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids. It allows different parts of the body to communicate regarding things like inflammation, energy, mood and pain in order to stimulate a response and keep the different organs and systems of the body working as one, encouraging a healthy state of being.

The cannabinoid receptors are the body are as follows:

  • CB1 receptors are a part of the central nervous system
  • CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and the gastrointestinal system
  • CB3 receptors are theorised to exist elsewhere but are so far unproven

They send signals around the body and allow endocannabinoids to bind to them in order to maintain a healthy balance of all of the body’s internal systems.

While CBD is a phytocannabinoid, not an endocannabinoid, these appear to work with cannabinoid receptors in the same way, allowing them to have a beneficial effect on pain, mood, appetite and plenty of other benefits.

A single drop of CBD oil contains more cannabinoids than our body naturally produces, so it’s easy to see how this therapeutic, nutritional supplement can have some major benefits for our overall health, despite not being a medicine.

But what does this mean for you personally?

Let’s take a look:

How Can CBD Help Me?

Considering hemp was once one of the world’s most common crops alongside the likes of wheat, along with being a part of a staple diet and being treated as a medicine, it should come as no surprise that the plant has a ton of benefits for the human body.

The last century has been spent in a CBD void and our endocannabinoid systems have almost certainly suffered as a result.

This is more than likely the reason so many people experience such pronounced yet so varied benefits when using CBD oil, as the phytocannabinoids nourish and supplement our endocannabinoid system, in a similar manner to taking vitamin and mineral supplements.

In a sense, then, CBD is closer to taking these supplements, and hemp is closer to being a highly nutritious vegetable than either is to truly being medicine. The only difference is that the cannabinoids your body gets from using CBD cannot be sourced from a healthy diet alone.

Even if you regularly eat hemp, hemp flour and hemp seeds, the edible parts of the hemp plant (leaves and flowers) are much lower in CBD content than the stem which is used in CBD oil, and CBD is easily destroyed by cooking, meaning a good CBD oil product is the only truly effective way to benefit from CBD intake.

If you’re interested in taking CBD oil but are unsure about the best way to fit it into your life, we highly recommend taking a look at our guide on how to use CBD oil – as it breaks down all the most common ways to use it and details the best way to figure out your dosage.

We will be bringing you more easy to read guides on the science, research and facts behind CBD oil, so keep checking back to the Plant Life blog to stay ahead of the game!

How to Use CBD Oil

There are several ways to take CBD, but the most popular and common, are:

  • Inhalation (vaping)
  • Sublingual (drops of CBD oil under the tongue)
  • Ingestion (edibles, gummies, capsules)
  • Topical Application (creams, ointments)

Which of these will be the best option for an individual, depends on the individual’s lifestyle and their wellbeing aims.

For example, inhalation provides the best bioavailability of CBD oil and gets CBD into your blood the quickest. As a result, this may be the best option for panic attacks, insomnia and similar.

It has also been suggested that vaping CBD oil can help reduce cravings when attempting to quit smoking marijuana.

Taking CBD oil drops sublingually is the second best option in terms of rapid action and bioavailability, but by far the best in terms of allowing you to get an accurate dose. It is usually the method of taking CBD oil that people try first. Many people also stick with it in the long term because of its convenience, but some who dislike the taste may decide to go another route.

A great option for these people is ingesting CBD. This can be achieved by cooking with CBD oil, creating edibles like CBD brownies, or simply purchasing edible CBD products such as CBD gummies, or even simple capsules or tablets.

Topical application of CBD is rarely used for health and wellbeing purposes or in an attempt to help manage an illness – however, it is a common use in an attempt to treat inflammation, irritation, and CBD is often even present in skincare products.

How Much CBD to Take

This is a question around which there is much confusion, and this confusion is likely to turn some people off ever trying CBD. After all, if you aren’t aware of the differences between CBD and THC, it’s easy to imagine that taking too much CBD could cause drowsiness, or even an overdose.

You’ll be glad to know that this is extremely unlikely, and studies into CBD toxicity have found that the amount of CBD that would need to be ingested to cause harmful effects is extremely high.

However, the ideal dose of CBD to take varies a lot depending on a lot of factors, including:

  • The person’s weight and size
  • The person’s previous use of cannabis or CBD in relation to tolerance
  • The desired outcome the person is trying to achieve
  • The quality and contents of the CBD oil being used
  • The method of taking the CBD

As a result, there is no “correct” or “incorrect” dose.

In fact, the best way to find the best amount of CBD to take is to simply start by taking a drop per day, then slowly increase the dose over time.

If you find the results improve as you increase the dose, continue to do so until you stop seeing improvement. 

If you want to learn more about taking CBD oil – whether about delivery methods or doses, take a few minutes to read through our complete post on the topic.

Once you know about that, there is one thing left that could potentially cause you to hesitate around buying CBD oil – is it legal?

Let’s take a look:

Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?

Since CBD has only become known in the mainstream in recent years, and has close ties to marijuana, something that’s been illegal and stigmatised for decades, it’s no surprise that this is a common question.

CBD is legal in the UK, under the following conditions:

  • All CBD products must come from EU-approved industrial hemp strains
  • No CBD product can contain more than 0.2% THC content

When looking to buy CBD oil online, we highly recommend that you go for a trusted UK company that lab tests their products and publishes the results online.

If you fail to do this, you run the risk of buying products from other countries that are illegal in the UK, which may lead to your package disappearing at customs. The other potential risk is that you could be buying from a black market seller, with products containing high amounts of THC, or even no CBD at all.

In order to go in-depth on the laws around CBD and its use, we recommend you spend a few minutes reading through our guide to CBD legality, UK and beyond.

CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum

The two main types of CBD are CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD oil.

CBD isolate, also known as CBD extract, is CBD extracted from the hemp plant, and therefore only contains CBD. 

Full spectrum CBD oil contains everything from the hemp plant, including CBD, traces of THC as well as the full range of other cannabinoids and other beneficial ingredients such as terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals.

CBD isolate is popular among people who prefer to vape their CBD oil, because it vapes much more smoothly than full spectrum CBD oil, which isn’t suitable for e-liquids. 

However, in pretty much any other case, especially when somebody is hoping for health benefits, full spectrum CBD oil is always the better choice, and this is due to something known as the entourage effect.

This is based on the scientific idea that all the individual compounds within the hemp plant work together to create results greater than they are capable of individually.

This may sound strange, but studies have already found for example, that the CBD found in cannabis is capable of counteracting many of the negative side effects of THC.

Considering this fact, combined with the fact that full spectrum CBD oil is full of vitamins and minerals and other beneficial ingredients, along with the fact that an Israeli study comparing full spectrum CBD to CBD isolate found that full spectrum CBD oil provided more pronounced benefits every single time, suggests that the entourage effect may indeed be real.

As a result, anybody looking to buy CBD oil for the potential health benefits, should be absolutely sure that they purchase one that is full spectrum, otherwise they could well be depriving themselves of some of those benefits.

If you’re interested in taking CBD oil but are unsure about the best way to fit it into your life, we highly recommend taking a look at our guide on how to use CBD oil – as it breaks down all the most common ways to use it and details the best way to figure out your dosage.

We will be bringing you more easy to read guides on the science, research and facts behind CBD oil, so keep checking back to the Plant Life blog to stay ahead of the game!

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