Cannabis CBD oil extracts in jars herb and leaves. Concept medical marijuana.

Marijuana has always been used throughout the ages as a treatment for various ailments. One of the earliest known use of marijuana as medicine was around 2700 BCE (Before Common Era) when China’s Emperor, Shen Neng, prescribed marijuana for various maladies, like gout, rheumatism, malaria, and others.

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are among the two compounds, or cannabinoids, found in marijuana. The compound responsible for getting you high is THC since it has psychoactive properties. CBD, on the other hand, isn’t psychotropic, which means that it won’t affect your mind, and it has medical benefits. Hence, if you’re concerned about getting high on CBD, don’t be. By law, CBD products’ THC content mustn’t exceed 0.3%.

For someone who’s just beginning to use CBD, it’s important to know a little background on what CBD is and how it came to be.

The Rise Of CBD 

In 1940, the first individual cannabinoid, cannabinol (CBN), was discovered by Robert Cahn, a British chemist. In the same year, American chemist, Roger Adams, identified CBD and then successfully extracted it from marijuana. But it was Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who was then at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, who conducted a further scientific study on CBD and finally identified CBD’s chemical structure. He was also responsible for identifying THC.

Dr. Mechoulam’s discoveries led to the understanding of THC’s psychoactive effects and the classification of CBD as non-psychoactive. The research about cannabis’s medical possibilities, however, was ignored, due to the plant being demonized and finally classified in 1970 as a Schedule I drug–dangerous and having no medical value, like heroin.

Marijuana’s image as a dangerous drug finally eased. In 1996, medical marijuana was declared legal in California, which is the first state to have done so. But it was only around 2008-2009 that CBD was commercialized by a few companies.

The market for CBD has exploded in recent years, mainly because a lot of states have finally legalized marijuana. This legalization led to more and more researchers finally able to study the medical benefits of the plant. In turn, more people, especially health officials, finally acknowledged CBD’s potential medical benefits.

Now, the market for CBD products has grown exponentially. From around half a billion dollars in 2018, the market reached an estimated USD$2.8 billion in 2020. This year, 2021, the market is expected to balloon to USD$3.5 billion. The cause for this rise is due to the fact that CBD is found in many types of products, ranging from gums and toothpicks to skincare products. Some shops even carry women’s CBD.

The Benefits Of CBD

Results of clinical trials show the efficacy of CBD, but some of these studies are limited, as far as human trials are concerned. Nevertheless, there are now four FDA-approved drugs that are marijuana-based, namely Marinol, Epidiolex, Syndros, and Cesamet.

With the glut of information out there regarding CBD, it can be difficult to separate facts from the chaff. Unproven claims notwithstanding, health professionals and many patients have attested that CBD may be helpful for a variety of conditions.

These conditions are the following:

  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • Addiction
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Glaucoma
  • Severe nausea
  • Chronic or severe pain

Health professionals and researchers agree that studies so far on CBD’s benefits are promising. At present, CBD is classified by the FDA mainly as a food supplement, so you have to manage your expectations when buying your first CBD starter kit. CBD, however, has been declared by the World Health Organization as safe.

Various scientific research and numerous anecdotal accounts from doctors and patients show the potential of the plant as a treatment for many medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and heart conditions. More research, however, is still needed before a conclusive verdict is reached.

Findings of CBD’s effects on epilepsy were actually published almost forty years ago, but they were unfortunately ignored for thirty years. The National Institute on Drug Abuse had also published a report in 1976 that discusses the potential medical benefits of cannabis. Unfortunately, marijuana was and still is heavily politicized not only in the US but in many countries around the world as well.

Pouring CBD tincture in a coffee cup, natural medicine made with marihuana. Woman using cannabis oil with a dropper in a table with marihuana bud.

Ways To Take CBD

There are many CBD products to choose from, and it can be a little overwhelming for someone just starting. You can take CBD in four different ways: topical creams, oil tinctures, vapes, or edibles.

  • Topical application via lotion, cream, or ointment is effective when you’re using CBD to treat a skin condition, such as inflammation, eczema, etc. You can apply the product directly onto the affected area. Topical application can also be effective in dealing with stiffness or localized pain. You can apply CBD on muscles, ligaments, or joints.    
  • Oil tinctures are found in vials that typically have a dropper that you can use to deliver a few drops sublingually. CBD is absorbed by the mucus membranes under your tongue, bypassing your digestive system, and goes directly into your bloodstream. Just let the CBD oil sit in your mouth for about a minute to give it time to be absorbed.
  • Vaporizers, or vapes, are inhaled, so CBD goes through your lungs first before being absorbed through the bloodstream. It only takes a few minutes for CBD to take effect if used this way. But the effect lasts only for about two hours before it wears off.
  • Edibles are ingested through food or drink infused with CBD. These can range from cookies or any baked goodies–from gummies and honey to beverages and sports drinks. Effects of CBD through ingestion can take about an hour as the products have to be processed by the digestive system. The effects, however, can remain for about six hours, depending on how fast your metabolism works.

Dosage

Dosage ultimately depends on the person’s digestive, biological, and metabolic condition and how the CBD is consumed. CDB at higher dosages may be safe, but you should still start at a lower dosage; you can adjust your dosage later to get the desired effect.

Keep in mind that some CBD users on higher dosage experienced sleepiness, reduced appetite, dry mouth, and diarrhea. The product could also interfere with warfarin, an anticoagulant, and other medications. So, it’s best if you consult first with your health professional before using CBD products.

You should know, though, that CBD products aren’t created equal. Remember that there aren’t any FDA-approved CBD products available over-the-counter, so make sure to do a little research on which brands are trustworthy. Moreover, each person’s response to CBD may be different, so take note of your body’s reaction to the products.

Conclusion

Marijuana has a long history of being used as medicine, but it was only later that studies have been conducted regarding its medicinal benefits. Although many of the studies have been promising, more clinical trials have to be conducted. Moreover, the WHO declared that CBD is safe; the FDA, however, still classifies CBD as a food supplement.

There are different ways of consuming CBD, but whatever method you prefer, make sure to check first with your health professional as there are some medications that may be affected by CBD.