What is CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid, which is a compound found in cannabis plants. There are upwards of 100 cannabinoids within the plant, including CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC. (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

People are praising it’s medicinal-like benefits: They use it in oral drops to relax, in lotions to calm muscles, and in concentrated pill form to quell out-of-balance nerves. The list of ailments it has helped is lengthy, and includes anxiety, pain, arthritis, drug cravings, convulsions, and inflammation. It’s also being tested to treat chronic conditions, including epilepsy (the only ailment with the FDA stamp of approval), PTSD, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, Parkinson’s, and M.S.

We stress our bodies out constantly, and our bodies are trying to cope with it all. CBD can help put it back into balance. We start to feel better—calmer, a lessened inflammatory response, less neuropathic pain, a calmed nervous system.”

The human endocannabinoid system is to thank for CBD’s impact, and that system is largely misunderstood. It is part of your neurotransmitter system, which is what allows your nerves to communicate and work efficiently. That means the endocannabinoid system has a part in making sure your brain cells are working correctly, which CBD activates.

“CBD boosts your own natural cannabinoids, which improves your mood and overall wellbeing,” says Michele Ross, a neuroscientist and cannabis activist. “Because this system regulates everything—down to your dopamine levels—if it isn’t working, nothing is working. If you don’t know why you feel run-down all the time, despite feeling healthy and exercising, you might have an endocannabinoid deficiency.”

How do I take CBD?

Oil tinctures and capsules are two of the more popular ways to consume CBD, but the list of products available is long. You can smoke it in bud form, or vape it in oil form. There are CBD-infused gummies, candies, and chocolates. Some companies are infusing their coffee beans with CBD, finding that adding it can minimize jitters associated with the caffeine, as well as increase focus. CBD topical treatments make up another huge part of the industry. Bath bombs, lotions, and balms are supposed to soothe muscles and promote an anti-inflammatory response.

What’s better: Isolate or Full Spectrum?

One of the biggest differences you’ll see among CBD products is full-spectrum versus isolate. Isolate means just that—you’re taking just the CBD out of the plant. Full-spectrum means you’re extracting all of the compounds at once, including the CBD. It gets a lot of praise because it provides a reaction an isolate can’t: the “entourage effect.”

What’s the “entourage effect?”

The “entourage effect” is a big-picture, total-impact synergistic benefit from all elements of the plant working together. It creates more of an overall, balanced effect on the body—contrasted with isolated elements, which are more targeted.

With Excerpts from Christine Flammia Esquire Magazine