Cannabidiol (CBD), what is it and how does it work: A beginners guide


Well, you may have noticed a lot of hype in the news recently in relation to Cannabidiol, CBD or hemp oil. I’ve even seen one article referring to 2018 as the year of CBD! So, what’s it all about, is it good for me or is it dangerous? Will I get high or even addicted? Just to set the record straight I have had many patients including my own father taking this supplement for several years now and all the results I hear have been positive. With over 5000 references to CBD in Pubmed  it is definitely a hot topic and something that is being researched at a pronominal rate. In an attempt to clear the mist and myth around this natural product I have compiled the following CBD beginners guide which should help clear up some of your questions.

What is cannabidiol CBD?

CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant. This particular compound is what’s referred to as a cannabinoid and is one of over 80 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that we currently know of.

Cannabinoids are compounds that humans, animals and plants all produce. These compounds interact with specific cannabinoid cell receptors that both humans and animals have, called CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Up until now, researchers have isolated two different kinds of cannabinoids

  1. Phytocannabinoids–cannabinoids made by plants
  2. Endocannabinoids– cannabinoids made by all humans and vertebrate animals.

Inside all of us we have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This important physiological system is made up of cell receptors, called cannabinoid receptors (CBs), and their natural binding molecules, endocannabinoids, which we all naturally produce. By adding CBD into your diet in the form of hemp, which produces phytocannabinoids that are similar to our own, can help to keep those cannabinoid levels in check. Most people have heard of a cannabinoid called THC, which has been highlighted in the media and is the ingredient in cannabis that gets users high. However, unlike THC, CBD & CBDa (cannabidiol) is non-psychoactive cannabinoid and does not cause a high. CBD has antipsychotic effects which means CBD works completely the opposite way of THC. Numerous studies suggest that CBD also acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC.

How does CBD work?

When CBD was identified in the 1940s, scientists assumed it had little or no effect on the body. The main focus back then was researching THC and its pharmacology. Fast forward to the 1990s and a research team led by Professor Raphael Mechoulam, commonly acknowledged as the grandfather of cannabis research, discovered what has come to be known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and this changed everything.

The ECS is a vast communication network of cannabis-like chemicals, called endocannabinoids, and receptor sites found across all cells in our bodies. It is known as a homeostatic regulator, meaning that its main action is to bring balance to our bodies and minds.

Think of it as being like a dimmer switch, turning up or turning down activity to ensure equilibrium is reached, which after all is the perfect environment for optimum health. THC was seen to activate this system, because it is an almost perfect fit for the receptors in our brain and central nervous system, as well as partially activating those in our immune system and gut.

But when it comes to cannabinoids, one cannot assume they all act in the same way and this is certainly true of CBD. This is because CBD doesn’t activate either of the known types of endocannabinoid receptors. However, scientists believe that CBD does influence the endocannabinoid system, but in an indirect way. They have observed that CBD blocks an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, a key endocannabinoid otherwise known as the bliss molecule. This means that taking CBD may allow more anandamide to be present in our bodies for longer, which is thought to potentially support and strengthen the endocannabinoid system.

What is CBDa and THCa?

The most common naturally occurring forms of CBD and THC are their acid forms, CBDa and THCa. Raw THCa is not psychoactive. It must be heated to form THC in order to become psychoactive. Raw cannabis is an historical component of the human diet. It is now believed that oils containing CBDa are more effective than those that contain CBD alone.

How is CBD oil taken?

Most people agree that you should take your CBD oil on an empty stomach, starting with 1 drop, 3 times a day of our 3% CBD oil, and increasing by 1 drop every 3-7 days. This is the best way to introduce CBD oil into your system.

How soon you increase the amount of drops you are consuming depends completely on you and how you feel on CBD. Perhaps after 3 days you feel fantastic and ready to increase your dose; then by all means! If by day 3 or 4 you are feeling a bit tired or too relaxed, try slowing down. Or if you are just the kind of person that just prefers to take it slow, feel free to increase at day 5 or even day 7, or if you don’t want to increase your dose at all, then stay right where you are! The most important thing is that you are comfortable with your progress and are listening to your body.

When and if you decide to increase your dose, you may add an extra drop morning, noon and night.

Are there any side effects?

CBD is non-toxic and usually tolerated in fairly high doses for the average person. The good news is that the vast majority of research into the subject has found that CBD treatments show little to no risk of side-effects. But we are all different and we have learned that possible side effects from CBD oil in some cases increase the sensation of dry-mouth, drowsiness, diarrhoea and nervousness. There are no studies showing the that there are any drug interactions using CBD and other drugs. However, it is always wise to consult with a professional doctor prior to making any dietary or food supplement changes.

Where can I get more information?

For further information, or to source trusted and quality guaranteed CBD products go to


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