So What Is CBD, Even?

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Cannabidiol is the full name of CBD, the Rihanna of cannabinoids, if you will. And she’s got so much to offer us. When everyone from Martha Stewart to your mom is dosing with CBD, getting the basics down is critical if you want to get the most out of this, or any other type of cannabis product. So what is CBD?

CBD is but one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, which interacts with a network of receptors system in our body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These compounds or cannabinoids are created by our bodies and are referred to as endocannabinoids. But plants, like cannabis, create similar compounds known as phytocannabinoids which can be used to supplement the endocannabinoid system when the body is deficient. Anandamide is an example of one of the more infamous endocannabinoids, known for giving you that runner's high.

“[The endocannabinoid system] is present everywhere in the body that scientists have looked: the heart, liver, pancreas, skin, reproductive tract, you name it," according to The Scientist. "And disrupted endocannabinoid signaling has been associated with many disorders, including diabetes, hypertension, infertility, liver disease, and more.”

Cannabidiol is of growing importance to the medical community and general public after growers worked tirelessly to breed cannabis plants rich in CBD, primarily to address severe seizures in children with Dravet’s syndrome and epilepsy. A few years and Dr. Oz segments later, and CBD is in coffee, creams, and just about anything that gets onto or into our bodies.

CBD can be extracted from most parts of the cannabis plant, but not the seeds. And you can get your dose from oils, tinctures, from consuming flower, and from juicing the fresh leaves. While it can be isolated, most suggest using
full spectrum CBD oil over something with only pure CBD concentrate, because it invokes the almighty “entourage effect” which allows the compounds and plant matter to work synergistically to create a different, often more effective, result. 

According to the World Health Organization, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-to-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications. Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product." 

Thanks to this new allowance, CBD is now used for a huge range of products and problems, and some are (finally) being studied. For things like anxiety and sleep issues, many find CBD to be a godsend, but the benefits don’t stop with the brain. Skin issues, inflammatory diseases, stomach concerns, and an ever-growing list of uses are bringing CBD further into the spotlight.

While you might be tempted to think CBD won’t get you high, it’s worth noting that CBD is still
kinda psychoactive, but it’s not psychedelic or psychotropic like THC and other cannabinoids can be. Meaning no, it won’t get you high, but it’s definitely doing some work in your body. And yes, it's okay to drive and carry on your daily activities without your colleagues thinking twice about your shifted way.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system but does not bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, as the THC compound is known to do. When we smoke cannabis flower with THC, we’re generally trying to get as much of a cannabinoid reaction to these receptors as possible. Instead, CBD affects these receptors indirectly by activating elsewhere. In fact, CBD can serve as a great antidote when you're too high from THC, because it dampens the effect of the THC.

When taken regularly, CBD can help balance the cannabinoid system, which promotes overall health. “Through direct and indirect actions, intrinsic endocannabinoids and plant-based phytocannabinoids modulate and influence a variety of physiological systems influenced by the ECS,” states a 2018 medical review article for Surgical Neurology International.

In other words, this humble molecule is a prospective health revolution, but it’s not a cure-all.

Until we have widespread standardization and clear science, trust in your CBD retailer or brand of choice is key. And don’t worry: Miss Grass heavily vets all CBD products so you don’t have to. Now go forth, and experiment!

Danielle is an New York City-based writer. Off-duty, she enjoys a good cup of coffee, a clean house, cooking gourmet meals, and studying botany, cosmetic chemistry, and natural healing.