CBD is short for cannabidiol, a naturally occurring substance found in the hemp and marijuana plants.
It is most prevalent in the flower of the plant but small amounts of it can be found in the leaves, stems and stalks.
CBD is one of over 100 beneficial compounds (also known as cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. When the cannabis plant has a low amount (less than 0.3%) of THC, the psychoactive compound mostly associated with the marijuana plant, it is defined as Hemp. When the THC levels are over 0.3%, the cannabis plant is defined as Marijuana.
CBD was discovered in 1992 in the marijuana plant and was later patented by the US government in 2001. Since 2012 when marijuana was legalized in Colorado, growers started to grow high CBD/low THC strains of the cannabis plant under the protection of the new Colorado laws.
The Federal Farm Bill of 2014 legalized the cultivation, processing and marketing of hemp and products made from hemp. The Farm Bill of 2018 provided greater clarity that hemp and CBD is legal under all aspects of federal law.
The Farm Bill of 2018 validated the rapidly growing CBD wellness revolution and allowed the launch of multiple brands in the health and wellness, fitness, beauty, and pet care categories.
There are many other cannabinoids present in the hemp plant, which may have a similar effect on the human body as CBD. Some of these compounds are CBC, CBDV, CBG and CBN, even THC is a cannabinoid. These compounds are known to work best as a team, producing what is known as the “entourage effect.”
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
The endogenous cannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, plays a crucial role in the way that the human body adjusts under stress, discomfort, and other conditions. It is a network of receptors that are present throughout the body that deliver self-made cannabinoid-like cells to various organs and nerves throughout the system to relieve discomfort, control body temperature, invoke appetite, and other critical operations that a living being needs in order to survive.
During the process of numerous studies of the human body and how cannabinoids interact with it, a group of scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system. Although at the time it did not have a name, as the years went by and more evidence that proved its existence began to surface, the endocannabinoid system began to take shape. It turns out that living beings, including mammals, fish, and reptiles have cells in their bodies that are a lot like cannabinoids.
The mysterious endocannabinoid system is actually a crossway between the human body and the human mind.
Endocannabinoids, which are also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by the body. They are akin to cannabinoids, however, they are produced by the body and are not from a foreign source.
Experts have identified two key endocannabinoids so far:
- Anandamide - AEA
- 2-arachidonoylglycerol - 2-AG
Although these have been identified, the future may have more secrets about endocannabinoids to reveal over the next coming years.
What’s important about the relationship between CBD and the endocannabinoid system is that the way that CBD interacts with the receptors could be the gateway that opens up to the scientific evidence that CBD enthusiasts are waiting for in order to get full approval from the FDA.
There are two basic cannabinoid receptors in the body, the cannabinoid receptor 1, (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2.) Although they are both receptors, they play different roles within the body. The CB1 receptor is found mostly linked to the central nervous system and throughout the brain. The CB2 receptor is virtually nonexistent in the central nervous system, but it is found predominantly in the immune system.
The endocannabinoid system acts as a tightly knit communication system that has lightning-fast conversations between millions of cells throughout the body. It is within this crucial communication that the body can remain in a stable state of homeostasis. Homeostasis is a condition of complete and sustained balance throughout the entire body and mind. Although the state of homeostasis is not perfectly tuned within every person, the endocannabinoid system helps to keep it as close as possible in order to maintain whole health and wellness.
CBD and THC Are Closely Related
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, but they are much different from each other. THC is known to cause psychoactive effects within the brain and initiates the feeling of intoxication, also known as “high.” Although CBD does not give the user a conventional “high” scientific studies suggest that it does have an effect on the human body. Since CBD may have the ability to change the mood of a person and the way that they behave because of the change, there is substantial evidence that CBD has a “high-like” effect. However, the exact nature of this effect, and how it is brought upon the user is still a mystery.
Where THC directly attaches itself to the CB1 or CB2 scientists believe that CBD acts as an inhibitor and slows down the process, or completely stops the receptor from doing its job. The exact way that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system is still unclear today, but scientists and doctors still continue to explore the relationship between this remarkable system, and the even more remarkable CBD.
Because of the way that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and has the potential to direct the receptors towards the act of relieving pain, calming the anxious mind, and relieving inflammation, many researchers believe that CBD can possibly aid in pain relief, relaxation, and other beneficial activities. However, to this day, none of this has been proven by solid scientific research.
Marijuana, Hemp, and CBD
Both marijuana and hemp are descendants of the cannabis plant. There is evidence that the hemp plant was used to make rope, articles of clothing, and other goods over 5,000 years ago. Although ancient people used hemp a millennium of years ago, the idea that there may be something more to it than what the eyes could see didn’t happen until thousands of years later. It wasn’t until the 1940s that pharmacologists discovered that CBD, THC, and over 60 other cannabinoids were in existence in the cannabis plant. Not long after this discovery scientists began to explore the possibility of these cannabinoids being beneficial to human and animal health.
It didn’t take long for scientists to figure out the THC affected the brain in a way that was different from the rest of the cannabinoids. As we mentioned above, THC directly binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This means that it actually changes the way that a person thinks, reacts, and behaves. It can also cause mild hallucinations in some users. The way that THC affects people can vary from one person to the next. One person may feel happy, euphoric, and care-free. The next person can feel perplexed, fearful, and even paranoid. Back in the 1940s, it was easy to label anything that contained THC as evil and dangerous.
The Fall of Hemp
In the meantime, while all of the arguments about whether or not hemp was safe, or dangerous, the faithful botanists continued to breed and crossbreed different strains of cannabis. As the years passed, through many trials and errors breeders were able to successfully breed into existence a hemp plant that was low in THC yet high in CBD. Although hemp was criminalized and considered a dangerous and evil substance, CBD was legal to use in various pharmaceuticals throughout the years, until it was completely banned in the 1970s during the war on drugs.
The Farm Bill Sets Hemp Free
Since the recent presentation of the 2018 Farm Bill many hemp lovers, farmers, and enthusiasts have been busy creating tons of CBD products. It is perfectly legal to grow and harvest industrial hemp in the United States as long as the hemp plants do not contain any more than 0.3% THC content.
In many states, where marijuana is still considered a dangerous drug, hemp farmers have to make sure that their hemp plants stay below 0.03% THC content or the plants will be considered marijuana and will have to be removed and destroyed. This can be difficult because hemp plants can naturally produce more THC when they are under too much duress for long periods of time.
Hemp Farmers Have to be Diligent
Hemp farmers that are educated and wise about how hemp behaves under certain conditions will watch over their crops like parents over children and make sure that the environment that they are growing in will not cause them to produce any more THC than allowed by law. These farmers will also know the perfect time to harvest the crops when each plant will have the most CBD available while containing the least amount of THC.
The reason why THC is such an important factor in the production of CBD is that the hemp plant produces both of these cannabinoids in order to survive. Without THC, there would be no CBD. The way that the hemp plant is cared for while it is growing can greatly affect the amount of CBD and THC that naturally form as the plant matures.
The Art and Science of Hemp Farming
There is an art and a science behind the way that hemp is planted, grown, cared for, harvested, then processed. At High Falls Hemp, the moment the seed is planted into the ground it is cared for and nurtured so that the hemp oil that it produces, in the end, will be as wholesome and effective as it possibly can for the person, or pet, that uses it. In order to produce high-quality CBD products, the plants themselves have to be high-quality.
As the harvesters go out and collect the plants they do so with the intent to provide customers with safe, reliable CBD. They use machetes to cut the plants from the ground and carefully stack them onto the cart. There is a balance in the way that the plants are handled that keeps the crop from being damaged, and from being exposed to molds & other pests.
Most of the CBD that gets produced in the hemp plant will reside in the flowers or the buds of the flowers. This means that when the crops are harvested, the harvesters will pay special attention and care to the plants in order to retrieve healthy, undamaged buds and collect them so that they can go through the extraction process.
Soon after the plants are harvested they are put into a drying area that is fully ventilated and will allow them to dry in a way that promotes the high-grade health of the extract that is about to take place. If any contaminants are brought into the extraction process, it can compromise the whole batch and render the CBD useless, or even dangerous. Every bit of caution and care is taken in the crucial harvesting, and drying processes.