You might have heard of CBD. You might have seen it being advertised in health food shop windows or talked about on TV, for example. CBD – or cannabidiol has been growing in popularity over the last few years, with the discovery of more and more health benefits that it can offer to you.
CBD is a natural compound that is found in the cannabis plant. Researchers have found, over the past few years, such an increase in the potential positives to taking CBD that it’s now impossible to ignore and which has none of the negatives that have traditionally been associated with the plant.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is one of over 100 compounds that can be extracted from the cannabis plant. It was only discovered recently when scientists were investigating why it is that some civilisations have sworn by the medicinal properties of cannabis for thousands of years.
They found that an important part of the plant was CBD – a phytocannabinoid – which can affect the human body, bringing about a number of health benefits.
The human body has a system called the ‘endocannabinoid system’ – one which is responsible for regulating certain aspects of the body, including the central nervous system and the immune system. In basic terms, it keeps levels of certain chemicals in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – not too much, not too little, just right.
The endocannabinoid system works through the interaction between endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made in the body) and cannabinoid receptors. CBD acts in a similar way to the endocannabinoids and can, therefore, help to keep some bodily functions regulated.
What Can CBD Do for You?
Research shows that there’s a whole host of potential health benefits of CBD based on the different parts of the body which can be affected by the endocannabinoid system – as well as a ton of anecdotal evidence. CBD is great for your general health and well-being, but also in some more specific areas.
Some of the areas that CBD could help with include:
- Central nervous system
- Control of inflammation
- Immune system
- Digestive system
- Sleep issues
As a direct result of this, you might find that CBD can help with:
- Problems sleeping
- Neuropathic pain
- Neuroprotection (helping to protect the brain from illnesses such as Alzheimer’s)
- Skin issues
- Heart health
In fact, the list of potential benefits of CBD is almost endless. It essentially brings your body back into balance and helps it to help itself.
What’s the Difference Between CBD, Cannabis and is it Legal?
As we have already said, CBD is a compound found naturally in the cannabis plant and is completely legal. The illegal part of the cannabis plant is another compound called Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC). This is the compound that makes you high, and, although can also be useful for certain medical issues, cannot be bought in the UK without a medical marijuana prescription.
CBD products are made from hemp, which is a strain of cannabis that has been cultivated especially to have higher levels of CBD and very low levels of THC. In fact, for it to be legal and defined as ‘hemp’ it must have less than 0.2% THC. To put that into context, strong marijuana can have a concentration of up to about 20%.
In other words, the levels of THC in hemp are extremely low and you would have to consume massive (and nigh-on impossible) amounts of it to get high.
How to Take CBD
One of the best things about CBD is there are many different ways that you can take it. Which method you decide on depends on why you are taking it and your personal taste. Methods include:
CBD oil usually consists of the CBD extract which is mixed with a carrier oil which helps it to be absorbed into the body. It can be added to food, or, as is most common, taken in drops under the tongue. Sublingual drops can get to work very fast as the CBD is absorbed through the lining of the mouth and passes into the blood vessels near the surface.
The CBD will come into effect within about 15 minutes if taken sublingually but won’t stay in your system for very long either. The best CBD oils will come with a dropper to make dosing accurate and can be flavoured to help to disguise its grassy flavour.
Another option is CBD capsules. These will go through your digestive system and take a couple of hours to work. However, the CBD will stay in your system for up to eight hours, giving you a good base of CBD all today.
CBD capsule dosages are exactly measured out, meaning that you’ll have an absolutely accurate dose.
Whether you’re buying CBD chocolate, gummies or putting the oil in your food, CBD edibles work in the same way as the capsules. They are absorbed through the digestive system, take about two hours to work, but can stay in your system for up to eight hours.
Edibles can be an enjoyable way to take CBD and dosing is exact – of course, if you are adding your own CBD to your food, the amounts that you are putting in will be down to you.
CBD topical creams and gels are a great way of using CBD for the skin or inflamed muscles or joints. It doesn’t enter the bloodstream so you can just rub it in as and when you need it.
CBD is safe to use, non-addictive and has no long term side effects. However, if you are taking medication you should speak to your doctor before trying CBD as it can affect the way that the body metabolises certain drugs.
As an over 50 you are probably a little more conscious of your health than you used to be. CBD has the potential of being very beneficial to everyone, so why not give it a go?