CBD Made Simple: What You Need to know About Hemp-Derived CBD

By First Crop

“CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a natural, non-intoxicating compound that is predominately found in hemp extract. Although one of many phytocannabinoids found in hemp, CBD is the most well-known and has been the focus of both a growing body of research and media attention due to its potential health benefits.” ~ First Crop

hemp plant held by group of people

Whether you are seeking mental or physical relief, hemp-derived CBD is known to be an effective and popular pathway to promote and maintain improved health and wellness for those in or seeking recovery from a myriad of life experiences. Hemp-derived CBD has been shown to support your body’s ability to mitigate the effects of inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, as well as to promote overall wellness.

But what is CBD? How does it work?

In an attempt to demystify and separate fact from fiction, this article explains what CBD is, where it comes from, and how it works in your body. In the end, you will be able to decide for yourself if CBD is an appropriate option for your recovery and wellness journey.

What is Hemp-Derived CBD?

CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a natural, non-intoxicating compound that is predominately found in hemp extract. Although one of many phytocannabinoids found in hemp, CBD is the most well-known and has been the focus of both a growing body of research and media attention due to its potential health benefits.

Hemp extract is made by extracting the oil from the hemp flowers. An important distinction is that hemp extract is not the same as hemp seed oil which is extracted from hemp seeds and contains little if any CBD and is consumed raw as a nutritious dressing or used in cooking recipes (1).

The difference between CBD and THC

The biggest misconception surrounding hemp-derived CBD is the confusion with its fellow cannabinoid THC. As noted above, CBD stands for cannabidiol, and THC is short for tetrahydrocannabidiol. They are two of the over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Botanically both hemp and marijuana are from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa, but from different varieties or cultivars but have vastly different cannabinoid profiles. Put simply, marijuana plants are grown for their large amount of THC and contain very little CBD and hemp, conversely, is grown for its high concentration of CBD and has only a small trace of THC. In fact, in order to meet the requirements of federal law, CBD products can not contain more than 0.3% THC.

So, to recap:

  • Marijuana contains large amounts of THC which produces the psychoactive feeling of “being high” or euphoria but only a small amount of CBD.
  • Hemp plants contain a large amount of CBD and only a small trace amount of THC. The amount of THC produced by a hemp plant is not enough to create a psychoactive effect.

How does CBD work?

It all starts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a newly discovered major body system that was first identified in the 1990s. The ECS, now known as part of the nervous system, is a set of receptors that is present throughout your whole body and is involved in the regulation, communication, and ultimately balance of multiple brain and bodily functions (3).

The ECS works to keep your internal environment stable and optimal no matter what’s going on in the environment around you and, when your body strays away from its “normal” state, your ECS will signal for action to be taken. Endocannabinoids, naturally produced by your body, work with your body to stimulate the ECS and activate its functions. But we can also modulate this system by introducing the phytocannabinoids such as CBD.

CBD has become a popular natural alternative remedy for many people who have experienced the desirable effects of taking CBD without experiencing any significant side effects. When CBD binds to ECS receptors, it initiates a physiological response throughout the body. For example, when you are too hot, your ECS will open your skin’s pores allowing you to perspire. This sweat cools your body when exposed to the air. Once your body is no longer hot, your ECS closes your pores and you stop sweating.

We currently know of two major cannabinoid receptors found in the ECS, CB1 & CB2, that influence and help regulate biological processes and key bodily functions (7).

  • CB1: Located in the brain and central nervous system, CB1 is known to impact your metabolism, coordination, sleep, sensation of pain, mood, memories, emotions, etc.
  • CB2: Located in the peripheral nervous system, lymph tissue, immune system cells, bone, heart, and gastrointestinal tract, CB2 receptors assist in regulating inflammation and immune function.

Types of CBD

As a consumer of CBD products, you may encounter the following types of CBD:
  • Full-spectrum CBD: It is an extract of hemp with all of its naturally occurring components. You get dozens of cannabinoids and terpenes which determine the smell and flavor of the extract. The combined effect of the different compounds found in full-spectrum CBD, known as “the entourage effect”, is believed to work together as a whole to magnify the potential therapeutic benefits.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: This is a processed hemp extract where the THC is eliminated through distillation or other remediation processes. However, in the process of remediating the THC, many of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other natural substances found in the hemp plant may also be removed or diminished.
  • CBD Isolate: As the name implies, this type of CBD has been stripped of its other components and is 90%+ CBD. It is not meant to be consumed directly. It comes in a powdered form and is often used in food and beverage products due to its lack of aroma and taste.

What are the potential benefits of hemp-derived CBD?

Through a combination of receptor activation and deactivation, CBD has been shown to promote a variety of potential health benefits. Testimonials touting its benefits are easy to find and are even associated with performance improvements for athletes. The most often mentioned potential benefits of CBD are: (3):
  • Aid recovery from exercise-induced inflammation
  • Help support a sense of calm and increase focus
  • ·Promotes a good night sleep
  • Help manage everyday stress
To learn more about the benefits of CBD as a holistic recovery ally please tune into the SHE RECOVERS #MentalHealthMonday educational session.

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