What is CBD? - Meet the New Superfood
You've probably heard that cannabis (pot, marijuana, weed…) has medicinal or medical benefits, that it has been legalized in many parts of the world and maybe even that it has been used as part of the treatment for some cancer patients. But, did you know that there are different parts of the cannabis plant that have different effects on our body? These parts or compounds are called 'cannabinoids'. So what is CBD?
The compound in the cannabis plant that produces the psychoactive effects, or gets you 'high' is Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This is the part that is used for recreational purposes and that has as many detractors as it has admirers. Cannabidiol or CBD, one of the most prevalent of the 113 compounds of the cannabis plant, doesn't have the psychoactive or 'high' effects THC has. In fact, it counteracts the effects of THC. So, if you consume marijuana for recreational purposes it may be advisable to have some CBD on hand to mellow out your high if you get a little too stoned! However, it has many other great effects.
There have recently been many interesting scientific findings about CBD, leading to it now being more widely accepted and used in science and medicine around the world. A lot is being researched, and when looking at the results, you wonder why it hasn't had more publicity? CBD is present and produced naturally in our body, in our cells, and is called endocannabidiol. You can also find CBD naturally present in foods such as cocoa, black pepper, echinacea, turmeric, carrots, among others; this type of CBD is called phytocannabidiol. And there is now also a synthetic CBD being produced.
CBD has proven medical value and more and more is being discovered about it. Just to give you a quick summary, here is just a handful of conditions in which CBD has proven to be beneficial: epilepsy, diabetes, inflammation, pain, depression, nausea, anxiety, high cholesterol, and psychosis.
CBD is still being researched but has already proven to have direct and indirect effects in our body. It works on receptors (cells that bind to other cells) that are important in pain management, the sleep cycle, stress management and mood control.
Another interesting aspect of CBD is its powerful effect on a group of endocannabinoids in our body called 'anandamides' or so-called 'bliss molecules'. The name is taken from the Sanskrit word 'ananda', which means "joy, bliss, delight". This molecule helps regulate functions such as pleasure, enhanced memory, pain control, sleep, and appetite.
CBD is also said to help our body’s ability to keeps its balance, its resiliency, known as our 'homeostatic response'. It can also be added to topical creams to treat pains and nerve tingling in the hands and feet. Besides improving certain health conditions, CBD is also being commercially promoted for many other applications. The killing or slowing down of bacterial growth, the treatment of vomiting and nausea, helping in cases of epilepsy, reducing seizures and convulsions, as an anti-inflammatory, for reducing the risk of artery blockage, for the treatment of psoriasis, as an antispasmodic to reduce muscle spasms, to promote bone growth and to protect the nervous system from degeneration have all been touted as amazing benefits of CBD.
So, where to find CBD? Aside from the foods that contain CBD naturally. It is mostly added as a supplement to foods or found as an oil or tincture. So, it's no surprise then, that with all the increasing scientific evidence on the amazing effects of CBD, which is incidentally cheap and easy to produce that it's been named a super-food. Foods that have been enhanced with CBD could also be considered super-foods.
It seems to be such a magical compound, and it has so many positive effects, that I wonder how come it's not better known? There are many vested interests in avoiding the legalization of CBD in certain parts of the world. It is also easy to produce, so much so that it could displace other products. Could this be the reason why it's not well known?
Sure, nowadays, we can easily go onto the internet and find all the key information on CBD and marijuana because the facts aren't that hard to hide. However, the question still remains; why not make it more publicly known? Is it just wishful thinking that it could be a miracle food or medicine? Or is there some hidden agenda? Or is it just skepticism? Is it too soon to say it's okay to be on the market the same as it is for a beer, a bottle of wine or a piece of chocolate? When I consider all the information that is available on CBD, I believe that we are closer to science soon proving that the benefits of CBD are worth communicating and that it will become mainstream and available to all of us.