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What is CBD?

CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, in the cannabis plant. Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, but the two are very different. Hemp contains most of the CBD that people use medicinally. THC creates a mind-altering “high” when a person smokes it or uses it in cooking. This is because THC breaks down when we apply heat and introduce it into the body. CBD is different. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it. However, CBD does appear to produce significant changes in the body, and some research suggests that it has medical benefits.

How does CBD Work?

All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors. The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It also has two receptors for cannabinoids, called the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but many are in the brain. The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, and other functions. THC attaches to these receptors. CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.

What are Some Benefits?

Although testing is continuing, CBD offers a possible natural alternative to pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties, quitting smoking, drug withdrawals, epilepsy, other neurological symptoms and disorders, fighting cancer, anxiety disorders, type 1 diabetes, acne, and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

What are Some Side Effects and Risks?

Many small-scale studies have looked into the safety of CBD in adults. They concluded that adults tend to tolerate a wide range of doses well. Researchers have found no significant side effects on the central nervous system, the vital signs, or mood, even among people who used high dosages. The most common side effect was tiredness. Also, some people reported diarrhea and changes in appetite or weight. There is still a lack of available long-term safety data. Also, to date, researchers have not performed studies involving children.

How do You Use It?

CBD-based products come in many forms. Some can be mixed into different foods or drinks or taken with a pipette or dropper. Others are available in capsules or as a thick paste to be massaged into the skin. Some products are available as sprays to be administered under the tongue. Recommended dosages vary between individuals, and depend on factors such as body weight, the concentration of the product, and the health issue.