What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, which is a type of compound found exclusively in the cannabis plant. Most cannabinoids interact directly with cannabinoid receptors, which occur naturally in the central nervous system, but CBD interacts with the body in an as yet undetermined mode of action.
Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD is not psychoactive, which means that ingesting CBD does not alter your perception of reality. However, CBD is deeply soothing and relaxing due to its bodily effects. CBD is extracted from Cannabis sativa as an oil, and it can be mixed with a number of different ingredients to make a viable topical solution.
The Benefits of CBD for SkinWhile CBD has accrued most of its fame for its incredible ability to put epilepsy in check, fight cancer, and treat diabetes, this hemp-based compound also has a number of potential benefits when applied topically. Some of the ways in which cannabidiol might be able to improve the health of your skin include:
1. Anti-Inflammatory Action
One of the qualities of CBD that has brought it the most attention within the medical community is its anti-inflammatory qualities. Some medical scientists subscribe to a supposition called the "inflammation theory of disease," which stipulates that all of the diseases that plague the human body can be alleviated by reducing inflammation.
Whether or not the all-encompassing aspects of this theory are strictly true, it's certainly the case that many skin conditions are caused or worsened by inflammation. Inflamed skin also ages faster, and it has a harder time removing old cells and growing new ones. If skin inflammation gets bad enough, it can even make your skin look red and puffy, and topical CBD has the potential to stop dermal inflammation in its tracks.
One of the best things about CBD is its rapidity of effect. If you apply a CBD topical that has an effective delivery system, you should expect to notice anti-inflammatory results within a matter of minutes. This quick turnaround time of CBD treatment should serve as a huge relief to people who have struggled for years with expensive and dangerous medications that never seem to work.
Even if you don't have any skin conditions, applying CBD topically can help you keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. In addition, if the inflammation theory of disease has any merit, using a topical CBD product could even help prevent the onset of skin disease later in life.
2. Incredible Pain Relief
One of the most exciting potential benefits of CBD is its ability to treat pain. Scientists aren't exactly sure how CBD reduces pain, but the testimonials of thousands of cannabidiol users pain a very clear picture of CBD as a potent pain-relief tool.
While CBD is more effective orally in most cases, topical administration of this substance may be more potent in the case of acute and localized pain. When you take CBD orally, the effect is spread throughout your body, but the effect of CBD that's applied topically stays local to the area of application.
In addition, orally ingested CBD can take anywhere between 30-90 minutes to take effect, but transdermally applied CBD generally takes effect within 5-15 minutes. Therefore, if you want a CBD pain solution that works quickly right where it hurts, a topical product might be your best bet.
3. Acne-Fighting PowerhouseCBD also appears to be a potent treatment for acne since this stress-inducing and appearance-altering skin disease seems to have its roots in inflammation. When your pores become inflamed, they no longer serve as the efficient conduits of sebum that they are designed to be. Sebum that gets trapped in pores leads to acne breakouts, so using CBD to reduce inflammation in your skin could stop acne before it starts.
Even if you do end up experiencing a breakout, CBD can still serve as a potent remedy. The reason that pimples appear red and bumpy is that they are inflamed, so applying CBD to an existing breakout can reduce the redness of your acne and make it less visible.
4. Potential Sleep Aid
People who ingest CBD orally routinely report that this cannabinoid helps them sleep better for longer. When you have a healthy sleep schedule, your body is better able to repair itself, and good sleep also makes you feel better both bodily and emotionally.
While applying CBD orally is probably the best way to use this substance as a sleep aid, topical CBD can help too. If you're kept up at night by pain, for instance, a topical CBD treatment can do a lot more good than an oral product. In addition, applying a topical CBD product to your face can reduce stress and anxiety, and you'll then be able to fall asleep without any worries.
Is CBD Safe?The primary danger of using CBD lies in the fact that cannabidiol production is an unregulated industry. The FDA provides no oversight over the production of CBD, which makes users of this substance entirely reliant on the goodwill and ethical practices of CBD manufacturers.
In addition, not all CBD extraction methods are made equal, and some methods leave behind solvents that defeat the purpose of the anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory benefits of this substance. For instance, some less-than-reputable CBD skincare product manufacturers use substances like hexane or butane to extract their CBD. Some manufacturers even go so far as to use nail polish remover in the extraction process, which results in incredibly toxic substances being present in their end products.
In most cases, larger and better-established companies are more likely to use safe and ethical practices when producing their CBD products. While these large companies are still unregulated, their increased customer load leads to a necessary degree of transparency that can be lacking in smaller CBD businesses.
In general, topical CBD products contain more ingredients than CBD products that are designed for oral administration. In order to keep topicals like lotions smooth and creamy, manufacturers often use artificial emulsifiers. In addition, it's hard to find a topical CBD product that doesn't contain chemical preservatives.
Oil-based CBD topicals generally have less artificial ingredients, but oil isn't an effective carrier for transdermal CBD administration. Therefore, you might have the most success finding a clean, organic CBD oil and mixing it into a lotion that you know doesn't have any dangerous ingredients.
Lastly, it should be noted that CBD isn't technically a hemp product. Most CBD manufacturers state that their CBD oil is derived from hemp, but there is more to this simple assertion than meets the eye. Since marijuana is still federally illegal in the United States, American CBD manufacturers make use of a legal loophole that was provided in Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill.
This legislation states that marijuana plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC are "industrial hemp." Marijuana breeders have subsequently produced strains of cannabis that contain less than this threshold amount, and these marijuana plants are designated as "hemp" by CBD manufacturers. However, real hemp contains practically no CBD, which makes it inviable for CBD production.
Therefore, any manufacturer who claims that their CBD is made from hemp is actually using CBD-rich strains of marijuana. Since this marijuana-derived CBD still doesn't have more than 0.3 percent THC, it's legal and safe, but prospective CBD users should still be apprised of this subtle industry tactic.
Does CBD Have Any Side-Effects?One of the best things about CBD is that it doesn't have any serious side-effects. Prescription medications that treat inflammation often cause more problems than they solve, which is part of the reason why CBD is being viewed as such a threat to the major drug companies. Rather than becoming reliant on expensive medications that generate enormous corporate cash flow, many people who suffer from inflammation-related conditions are choosing to supplement with CBD instead.
However, CBD isn't without its detractors. High doses of CBD can cause intense sleepiness, which can impair your ability to drive or get through day-to-day tasks. CBD may also cause diarrhea or changes in your weight. In addition, it's been indicated that CBD may suppress the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system, which is used by doctors to determine how fast drugs will metabolize in your system.
As a final note, you should consult with a doctor before you use CBD during pregnancy. It's been indicated that using THC while pregnant can harm your baby, but little research has been done to establish whether or not CBD can cause any gestation issues or birth defects.
An Explosive Industry
It certainly appears that CBD is a safe substance that might serve as a novel alternative to expensive and dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. However, the open market doesn't seem to care very much about CBD's scientific reputation. The cannabidiol industry is growing at a breakneck pace, and it's been estimated that CBD sales could contribute up to $2.1 billion to the American economy by 2020. When you take into account that the total sales of CBD products in 2015 only accounted for $90 million, it's easy to see that CBD is a market with a nearly vertical trajectory.
As CBD has become more popular, prices have also dropped dramatically. In 2012, customers paid an average of $1.25 for a milligram of CBD. In 2016, however, customers only paid $0.03 per milligram for CBD, and cannabidiol prices have only continued to drop. Entrepreneurs have been undeterred by these incredible price decreases, and new CBD companies continue to spring up across the country.
Cannabidiol businesses are also seemingly unintimidated the confusing legal climate that surrounds their product. There is no indication that the federal government will make a definitive ruling on CBD anytime soon, which has emboldened businesses who may have been somewhat perturbed by the DEA's 2016 final rule that seemingly made CBD extracts federally illegal.
CBD customers, however, can rest easy knowing that no individual owner of CBD products has ever run afoul of the law. Once CBD is in your possession, federal law enforcement agencies seem to lose whatever contradictory interest they had in the sale of this substance, and state law enforcement entities seem equally uninterested in prosecuting individual users of CBD.
Save for the vague federal position on cannabidiol, the only significant threat to the seemingly endless expansion of the CBD industry is the interference of chagrined pharmaceutical interests. For instance, the FDA recently approved a pharmaceutical version of CBD called Epidiolex. This drug can be prescribed by a doctor, and it can be picked up at any pharmacy in the country.
Most cannabidiol users have become disenchanted by a pharmaceutical industry that has failed them in their times of need, so it's unlikely that any existing CBD users will gravitate toward a pharmaceutical option unless they're subjected to legal pressure. However, people who are new to CBD can now be prescribed this substance when they visit their general practitioner, which means that the gray market CBD industry may suffer from a reduced influx of new customers.
Whatever the future holds for the CBD industry, more and more people are learning about the incredible potential of cannabidiol every day, and this healing substance is gradually making its way into the mainstream of medical science. For people who are looking for a safe and effective alternative to anti-inflammatory medications, that's very good news.