THE SOCIAL REPUTATION of cannabis has had both highs (get it?) and lows, but recent research is confirming the benefits of CBD and it’s major, natural healing potential. We’re seeing more and more CBD-infused products enter the mainstream: from supplements to face serums to chocolates and even vapes that won’t slow your flow.
This shift is exciting for many — but confusing for many as well. To help clear the smoke, we are going to break down the basics and benefits of CBD…
Let’s start with some basics. Cannabidiol, aka “CBD,” is a compound that comes from the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. There are a lot of misconceptions about cannabis but the first one worth clearing up is that both marijuana and hemp are plants that are part of the Cannabis plant species and both contain compounds called “cannabinoids.” Medical and recreational marijuana legalization has been approved by voters and legislatures of 29 states across the US — or EU countries. While the legalization efforts are a big part of the reason why so many people are talking about cannabis these days, the most exciting reason from a health and wellness standpoint is that people are finally paying attention to the research that shows the plant’s immense health benefits.
How Does It Work?
One thing people are always shocked to learn is that CBD is similar to a compound that our bodies produce naturally, and from birth, called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids aren’t just found in the cannabis plant, they’re also naturally occurring in nature (in kale and broccoli!) but they are the most potent in cannabis.
When we consume cannabinoids, they stimulate the endocannabinoid system, a system of receptors throughout our central nervous system and almost every organ of our bodies (our skin, digestive tracts, etc.). Cannabinoids are the keys that unlock these receptors and this system is incredibly important to our health because they can help with our immune systems, protect our brains, help us manage stress and even keep our bodies in balance (“homeostasis”).
We like to think of CBD like a vitamin. For example, we’re born with calcium in our bones and as we age, our natural reserves of calcium deplete. Much in the same way that we’re encouraged to start taking calcium supplements to keep our bones strong, we also need to supplement our natural reserves of CBD as we get older to help keep our bodies in balance.
What Can You Use CBD For?
As with any supplement, the effects (and the amount you need to experience those effects) can vary based on your own body chemistry, but here are some of the researched effects of CBD:
+ analgesic/pain relief
Why Can Women In Particular Benefit From CBD?
Here are some of the researched effects of CBD that can help women with the issues distracting us from living our fullest lives:
PMS: Hormonal imbalance is one of the reasons why many of us experience a variety of unpleasant sensations during that time of the month. CBD, and even hempseed oil in general, contains essential fatty acids that can help get our hormones back into balance. Sagely Naturals’ Relief & Recovery Cream contains essential peppermint oil and menthol, so it can be applied directly onto your abdomen to get an instant feeling of cooling relief.
Headaches: Headaches can, of course, occur when we’re not taking the best care of ourselves (i.e. we’re dehydrated or hungover), but the more common cause of headaches is when we have over-activity or problems associated with our blood vessels, muscles and nerves of the head and neck. CBD can desensitize pain receptors at the nerve level, bringing relief to that throbbing pain that’s keeping you from going about your day.
Stress: As mentioned above, cannabinoid receptors can be found in the parts of the brain that regulate stress, fear and our moods. Maintaining a healthy endocannabinoid system through regular consumption of CBD can result in improved resilience to stress and reduce existing feelings of anxiety and stress.
Pain: Pain (whether it’s because your last spinning class really did you in or you’re dealing with something more chronic) affects one in three Americans. Inflammation is often at the root cause of pain and since CBD is a known anti-inflammatory and analgesic, it can assuage a broad range of pain symptoms. Sagely Naturals’ CBD + Turmeric Capsules can be taken daily to combat inflammation and discomfort before it even begins.
What’s The Best Way To Take CBD?
There are many ways you can consume CBD and while the form is partly a matter of personal preference, it’s important to understand that our bodies process and absorb CBD differently depending on how we consume it. The technical term for this concept of absorption is “bioavailability.” The more bioavailable a substance is, the more easily our bodies are able to absorb it.
What all of these methods share is that CBD is not psychoactive — meaning, no matter what form you try CBD in, the CBD itself won’t make you feel high.
Sublingual (tinctures): Some tinctures are oil based while others are alcohol based. Tinctures allow for consistent dosing of CBD since they come with measured droppers. You squeeze a few drops (or more, depending on how much you’re looking to consume) under your tongue and you hold it there for 30 seconds. Under the tongue is an effective way to consume CBD because it absorbs more directly into your bloodstream so your body doesn’t waste much of it. CW Hemp is a reputable brand that makes CBD tinctures that are sold online.
Oral (capsules): Surprisingly, taking CBD orally often has the lowest bioavailability, or, the lowest absorption by your body. If you think about the digestion process, you’ll start to understand why: Your food passes through a lot of enzymes that break it down as it goes through your digestive tract. In general, not much of the CBD taken in capsule form is absorbed (only 20%!). With that said, if you look out for “water soluble” formulas, like Sagely Naturals’ CBD + Turmeric Capsules, the CBD is more soluble in the digestive tract, meaning significantly higher bioavailability and potency (up to 95%!).
Inhalation (vape pens): The lungs are highly permeable and so this is another good method in terms of higher bioavailability and it can work faster than other methods since the vapor goes straight into your circulation.
Topical (creams and salves): Our skin is our largest organ and we absorb a lot more through our skin than you would think. CBD not only absorbs through our skin, it also can be more bioavailable than most other methods. While CBD used topically has the same effects as CBD used in the other methods above, many of these products contain added ingredients that can provide additional therapeutic value. Sagely Naturals’ Relief & Recovery Cream contains essential peppermint oil and menthol, so it’s great for pain relief because you feel the analgesic effects almost immediately.
As you can see, there are a lot of options out there. If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, you can find CBD products in medical marijuana dispensaries (just make sure to pay attention to the THC content in the products, or else you might end up with an inadvertent high!). If you’d like to try CBD and ensure that there is no psychoactive effect, look for the hemp-derived products you can buy online from some of the sources I mentioned above. With more and more research coming out about the health benefits of the cannabis plant, it’s an amazing time to add CBD to your health and wellness routine!