It’s easy to get confused about CBD oil and marijuana. If they both come from the same plant, surely they have the same effects? Marijuana makes you high, so won’t CBD oil do the same?
The short answer is no. Although they do indeed both come from the cannabis plant, there’s a huge difference between the chemical structure of marijuana and hemp.
There are over 113 different chemical compounds – known as cannabinoids – found in the cannabis plant. The two we need to understand when it comes to getting high (or not!) are THC and CBD.
THC’s proper scientific name is Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, and this is the chemical that creates a psychoactive effect, or feeling of being high or stoned.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is often referred to as “medical cannabis”. Discovered in 1940, it accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract.
The Endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system is acomplex biological structure that is a relatively new scientific discovery. It was named after the cannabis plant because the substances in it were discovered in cannabis first, and scientists soon discovered they play an important role in the body.
The word “Cannabinoid” comes from the cannabis plant, while “Endo” is short for “Endogenous”, which means the body produces it naturally.
As well as endocannabinoids, the ESC system is made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the nervous system that bond with cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and special enzymes that help to break them down in the body. This system is crucial for homeostasis; the body’s framework for making sure everything is working properly.
CB1 affects the central nervous system (brain and nerves of the spinal cord, and CB2 reacts with the peripheral nervous system, which includes extremities, digestion and immunity. When someone smokes marijuana, THC from the plant attaches to the CB1 receptor to create a high.
Our bodies naturally produce an endocannabinoid called anandamide, that attaches to the same receptor. Anandamide is named after the word “ananda”, which means “bliss” in Sanskrit, but unlike THC it doesn’t have any mind altering effects. This is because of an enzyme called FAAH which breaks down endocannabinoids. It works quickly on the natural ones our bodies already produce, but struggles to process unnatural chemicals such as THC. That’s why THC stays in the body for longer and creates a high, whereas anandamide simply makes you feel calm and relaxed.
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, but its job is to support, rather than impair, natural function. No matter how much is consumed it will never make anyone see things, burst into fits of giggles or experience any of the other side effects associated with the recreational use of marijuana.
Studies show that CBD oil is beneficial in treating a range of conditions, from anxiety and depression to inflammation, neurological conditions and even cancer. The chemical works in harmony with the body to support the immune system and cell function, fighting free radicals to remove toxins and promote a sense of well-being.
THC dominates the chemistry of marijuana, which is usually cultivated specifically to maximize that high-making potential. Marijuana growers have spent many years developing their plants to result in maximum potency.
Medical grade CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant, which contains a maximum of just 0.3% THC – which is why hemp based CBD is now legal throughout the United States of America. In Ireland, the regulations are more stringent – only CBD oil with zero traces of THC are allowed.
So, is CBD oil safe?
When purchased from a reputable supplier, CBD oil is considered to be absolutely safe to use. As with all health supplements, it’s a good idea to talk to your GP before you try CBD oil, particularly if you are taking any other medication. CBD oil is generally well tolerated but some people do experience side effects including tiredness, dry mouth or reduced appetite.
The rise of the market has led to many sellers jumping on the CBD oil bandwagon, but it’s important to know that not all producers are created equal. A recent study of 84 CBD products contained less CBD than stated on the label, while others contained high traces of THC.
To ensure the safety of your product it’s essential to buy from a trusted, well established provider such as our friendly team here at Well Lab. Each and every one of our products are subject to extensive testing in a controlled environment, and the wellbeing of our customers is our number one priority.
CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, but it doesn’t have the same ability to create a “high” or sense of euphoria that someone would achieve from marijuana use. It may make you feel calmer, more relaxed or experience deeper sleep, but CBD won’t make you high.
CBD is usually sold in oil format, but it can also be made as an extract, capsule, vaporized liquid or food product.
Before you begin using any CBD product, talk to your doctor – particularly if you are taking prescription medications such as blood thinners.
It’s essential to ensure that any CBD products you take are of a high quality and come from a trusted, reputable manufacturer. Always look for confirmation that the product has been subject to third party testing before you buy – this information should be clearly available on the label.
CBD oil doesn’t have psychoactive effects like you would experience from smoking or ingesting marijuana, but it does create a pleasant sensation which many people find relaxing. Unlike THC it won’t alter your perception or make you fail a drug test – as long as you are careful that the CBD product you are using is certified.
Here at Well Lab we are committed to being totally transparent about all our products and ensuring that our customers can be absolutely confident about their safety and quality. If you have any questions about how to get the most out of CBD oil and ensure that it’s right for you, please feel free to contact us for further information.