CBD for People — Your Definitive Guide to Understanding Cannabidiol
Updated: Mar 30
At Gaia Provides, we focus primarily on the benefits of CBD for your pets. But the CBD wellness craze actually began with pet owners first.
Before CBD pet products were even trending, many people tried hemp extracts for themselves and found them to be so beneficial they wondered if they could be used to help their beloved furry friends as well. Now, there are CBD products specifically created for the unique physiology and dosing needs of pets.
In this article, instead of focusing on your animal companions though, we will be talking about cannabidiol for YOU! We will explain in detail what CBD is, how it works in the human body, and a few of its therapeutic applications in people. After all, if CBD is good enough for the furry members of your family, it might just benefit you as well, right?
What Is CBD Oil?
You've likely heard quite a bit about CBD oil over the past year or so. If that is the case, you may already know what it's all about. For those who would like a primer, we will start by explaining what CBD actually is and isn't.
CBD is a shortened form of the word "cannabidiol." It is a cannabinoid found in cannabis sativa and is one of over 100 naturally occurring chemicals present in the plant. Cannabinoids are found in abundance in all strains of cannabis, but CBD is found in high amounts in the hemp species.
Cannabinoids are also made in the human body and brain. When they are made in the body, they are called endocannabinoids. When they are found in nature, they are called phytocannabinoids. This synchronistic coincidence between humans and plants is one of the main things that makes hemp so fascinating. In a world that is so out of touch with nature, the discovery that we share this vital and interchangeable bond between humans, animals, and plant life is somewhat revolutionary.
While this relationship has always existed, it seems the time has come for it to be revitalized, and we are delighted to be a part of it.
What Is The Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?
CBD has gained traction in recent years as a viable therapeutic option to treat a variety of conditions, which we will talk about further on. Despite its incredible popularity, there are still many misconceptions surrounding the compound. This is mainly because of its strong associations with marijuana.
While CBD can be found in some strains of marijuana, the primary cannabinoid in weed is Tetrahydrocannabinol—more commonly referred to as THC. This is what most people are referring to when they talk about being stoned or high. THC is a psychoactive compound that is used both medicinally and recreationally. However, it remains illegal at the federal level.
Hemp, on the other hand, is legal at the federal level—provided that it contains less than 0.3% THC by volume. This trace amount is not enough to cause any mind-altering effects. CBD is generally sourced from industrial hemp plants grown specifically for making CBD products. Once the plant has matured, the oil is extracted using sophisticated methods, and it is formulated into a variety of CBD products available for both people and animals.
Why Do People Use CBD?
There are many reasons for using CBD. Like medical cannabis, it is believed to have multiple therapeutic benefits that can assist in treating a wide range of illnesses and diseases. Up until a few years ago, most of the information we had about CBD was mostly anecdotal.
Then, with the passage of the first Farm Bill of 2014, universities and research facilities got the green light to begin studying the hemp plant in depth. We now have more information than ever before with multiple studies backing up the science behind CBD and how it works.
Pain and Inflammation
A primary reason people use CBD is to relieve pain and inflammation. Cannabis has been used since 2900 BC to treat pain, and up until a few decades ago, it was even widely used in the U.S. among physicians for many common complaints. The most recent research confirms that not only is it useful in reducing pain but that it may be a vital component to helping those with opiate addiction.
Recent studies also illustrate that CBD is capable of reducing pain levels and the number of spasms in those with MS, neuropathy, arthritis, and more. It is believed that by binding to a receptor in the body and brain called the CB1 receptor, pain signals are dampened.
Of course, inflammation goes hand-in-hand with pain and is often the primary cause of it. It turns out that CBD is not just a powerful analgesic but a potent anti-inflammatory as well. Because inflammation is related to so many debilitating conditions, the potential of CBD in treating inflammation is enormous.
Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorders ranging from mild nervousness to post-traumatic stress syndrome. It is one of the most widely treated conditions of modern times, with some 20% of adults taking some form of prescription medication for a mental health complaint.
It is a rare physician that suggests holistic remedies, stress reduction techniques, or even changes in diet to deal with the crippling symptoms of anxiety. However, there are some very promising studies showing CBD many reduce discomfort in those who have acute anxiety and panic disorders.
One of the first reasons many people try CBD is to help them calm down. While thousands can attest that it does, we now have science-backed evidence to support these claims. A dose of CBD oil may be all it takes to experience some much needed calm and relaxation.
Other people take CBD to help them get out of the torturous loop of sleeplessness and get a night of rest.
Insomnia is now a chief complaint among many adults and even children. A growing body of research suggests CBD could have an essential role in helping people not only fall asleep— but have a better overall quality of sleep as well.
Four prominent researchers recently published the results of a 2019 study to back this up. During the study, the participants who took CBD had a nearly 80% increase in their sleep scores in the first month of taking it. Many say that CBD has changed their lives when it comes to sleep issues.
It would be impossible to list the number of conditions CBD is purported to help with. Multiple studies are taking place simultaneously to look into the potential of CBD in aiding with:
How Does CBD Work for so Many Conditions?
One of the first questions people have when they hear about the amount of research going on with cannabidiol is "how does one thing work for all of these problems?" The answer lies in the human endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been around for millions of years and exists in all mammals with a vertebra. It is even present in some crustaceans. However, unlike the other central systems of the body, it is unlikely you learned about this one in school. The ECS was only discovered a few years back by researchers who were trying to understand how cannabis works.
As it turns out, our endocannabinoid system is more important than we could have ever imagined. The ECS has the responsibility of keeping many of the body’s functions in a state of balance, or homeostasis. It regulates temperature, pain, inflammation, mood, appetite, memory, and so much more.
The ECS is complex, in that its receptors and their corresponding chemicals can be found in nearly every part of the body, including the brain and skin. It is vast and is comprised of a communication network that outnumbers all the others in the body.
It is precisely because the ECS is responsible for so many functions that scientists believe it can affect such a wide swath of issues. It is theorized that when the body is out of sync, what may be happening is an endocannabinoid deficiency, and so far, this theory makes sense. By supplementing with phytocannabinoids like CBD, the ECS is brought back into homeostasis safely and gently.
Legalities, Drug Testing, and Safety
CBD is legal at the federal level thanks to the passage of the updated Farm Bill in late 2018. The cultivation and sale of industrial hemp is now permissible in the United States. However, individual states still retain the authority to interpret the new federal guidelines in a way they choose is best. If you live in a state where there are stringent cannabis laws, it is wise to do some research before purchasing CBD, so you are aware of any important roadblocks or legislation at the local level where you reside.
CBD is required by law to contain less than 0.3% THC—an amount that does not generally trigger a positive result on a test for marijuana use. However, there have been isolated instances where this has occurred. Often, this is due to an individual taking too high of a dose. Other times, it is due to the tests themselves. If your career is dependent on routine drug tests, you can still use CBD, but you will likely want to opt for an isolate or broad-spectrum formulation that contains no THC whatsoever.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has publicly stated that CBD is safe for use in both humans and animals and that it poses no public health risks—nor is it addictive. However, it is essential to talk to your physician if you are taking other prescriptions, as certain medications—blood thinners in particular—may be contraindicated.
For most people, CBD oil is the first CBD product they try. It is the most common as well as the most widely studied. However, there are many other wonderful hemp-based products being created that contain CBD. Topicals are an ideal example of this. Because the endocannabinoid system is present at the cellular level in the skin as well, topical products like CBD body Butter or cannabinoid-infused bath bombs can provide immense relief for everyday aches and pains.
The potential for CBD to help people and their pets is far-reaching and immensely promising. Researchers have only reached the tip of the iceberg on how CBD may help in the treatment of future diseases and conditions. Until then, it remains a safe and proven option. The inclusion of cannabidiol into your regular routine could potentially be life-changing for both you and your canine or feline companions.
If you have any questions, we invite you to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.