What is cannabidiol (CBD)?
Since legalization, non-medical cannabis products that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) have been creating a buzz. But what exactly is CBD?
CBD is one of more than 100 chemical compounds in cannabis that are collectively known as cannabinoids. CBD does not cause intoxication, and may mitigate some of the intoxicating effects of THC on the mind, when it is consumed in cannabis that has a higher ratio of CBD to THC (at least 2:1)
How does CBD work?
CBD works with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is an important internal system that helps to regulate a number of key biological functions including appetite, mood, pain sensations, balance, memory, fertility, and movement.
Our body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which are chemicals that interact with receptors called CB1 and CB2. Receptors are located on cells throughout our body, mainly in the brain, immune system, blood vessels, digestive tract, and most major organs. The interactions that occur between endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) and receptors (CB1 and CB2) influence a variety of different mental and physical responses, with the intent of returning the body to a state of balance (homeostasis).
Cannabinoids mimic the natural endocannabinoids that our bodies produce—in fact the endocannabinoid system was named after the cannabinoid compounds in cannabis, as these were discovered first. When introduced to our system, cannabinoids interact with the same CB1 and CB2 receptors found on cells throughout our bodies, creating sensations that affect the body and mind.
THC binds with CB1 receptors, which exist in greater concentrations in our brains. This may explain why consuming THC can result in feelings of intoxication or being high.
CBD has been shown to affect the activity of receptors and increase levels of anandamide. Named after the Sanskrit word for joy (ananda), anandamide is an endocannabinoid known as the ‘bliss chemical’, and is responsible for natural feelings of euphoria. Naturally produced endocannibinoids are responsible for the ‘runner’s high’ that some people experience when running long distances.
How can CBD be consumed?
Opting for low-THC products can help lower risks associated with cannabis consumption. High-CBD or CBD-dominant products can be found in most cannabis formats, including dried flower, pre-roll, oils, capsules, edibles, and concentrates.
Dried flower and pre-rolls
BC Cannabis Stores offers several dried flower strains that are CBD-dominant, meaning they are higher in CBD than the intoxicating cannabinoid, THC. In most cases, these strains can be purchased in 1, 3.5, and 7 gram increments, as well as in pre-rolls. Other strains that contain equal amounts of CBD and THC will be less impairing than THC-dominant strains, but may still cause side effects for those who are looking to avoid getting “high”.
Cannabis oils are smokeless and odourless and can be ingested by dropping or spraying them under the tongue (sublingually), or by adding them to food or drink. BC Cannabis Stores carries a select number of oils that contain a greater ratio of the non-intoxicating compound, CBD. CBD-dominant products have a ratio of at least 2:1 CBD to THC and some products contain zero THC.
CBD oil includes a high-CBD cannabis extract in a carrier oil base. MCT oil is coconut-derived, and is popular amongst licensed producers, but olive oil, palm oil, and sunflower oil are also sometimes used as a carrier oil base.
Since Health Canada has not placed a potency limit on CBD, some oil-based products at BC Cannabis Stores contain as much as 55 mg/ml of CBD (which is generally considered high-CBD by most licensed producers). Many CBD-dominant oils are in the range of 20 to 30 mg/ml (which is generally considered mid-CBD by most licensed producers), while others contain between three and 10 mg/ml (which is generally considered low-CBD by most licensed producers).
Cannabis oil capsules can be taken orally. BC Cannabis Stores carries cannabis capsules that contain only CBD mixed with a carrier oil such as MCT or palm oil. Others contain as little as four milligrams per capsule, with mid-range CBD-dominant capsules containing around 10 milligrams each. Our high-CBD capsules contain up to 25 milligrams of CBD per capsule.
Start low, go slow
When ingesting cannabis in oil or capsules, effects may be felt within 30 minutes to two hours, and these effects might last up to 24 hours. Effects from smoking or vaporizing dried cannabis flower can be felt within seconds or minutes and might last up to 24 hours. Start low, go slow and remember; what works for others may not work for you. Educating yourself and cautious experimentation will help you find your way.