CBD Glossary: Everything You Need To Know About CBD

CBD Glossary: Everything You Need To Know About CBD
Listening to people talk about CBD can be daunting. Reading about it online can leave you with more questions than answers. What is bioavailability? Is cannabis the same as marijuana? Is full-spectrum CBD better than broad-spectrum CBD?

Here is a helpful glossary to help you navigate the strange new waters of CBD and avoid confusion.

2-AG

One of the two endocannabinoids present in the human body, alongside anandamide. 2-AG is quite similar to the phytocannabinoid (i.e. plant-produced) CBD and is mainly responsible for regulating appetite and fighting inflammations. 2-AG is particularly active in the gut and has been shown to balance our immune system.

Anandamide

One of the two endocannabinoids present in the human body, alongside 2-AG. Anandamide is found in abundance in the human brain and is important in creating a feeling of joy and bliss. Its action is similar to the phytocannabinoid THC. Anandamide is responsible for enhancing our mood and is also critical in fighting inflammation.

You can read more on anandamide and the endocannabinoid system here.

Bioavailability

The human body has some powerful barriers preventing substances from entering it.

Bioavailability refers to the proportion of medicine or substance that is ultimately absorbed by the body through the circulatory system.

The human body has some powerful barriers preventing substances from entering it. For instance, the skin is the biggest human barrier. Creams with CBD have to penetrate the skin barrier to reach the bloodstream. This makes them better-suited for skin conditions.

Equally, the human gut breaks down substances. This means that ingested pills and medicine lose some of their strength when going through the human gut, thus diminishing their bioavailability in the human body.

Broad-spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD refers to the extraction method whereby the CBD oil obtained from the hemp flowers is cleared of any THC—even traces of it. For CBD to be legal in the UK, the content of THC must be less than 0.2%.

In the case of broad-spectrum CBD, the content of THC is 0%. Usually, broad-spectrum CBD contains CBD alongside some other phytocannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, and CBC but without THC.

Some argue that broad-spectrum CBD is not as effective as full-spectrum CBD because of the entourage effect.

Cannabis

Cannabis is a genus of plants containing many sub-categories. Hemp and marijuana belong to the cannabis Sativa varieties and are slightly different plants. Hemp plants differentiate from marijuana plants in their content of THC, the difference between the two being their chemical composition.

Cannabis can be considered the family of plants. Inside this family there is, among others, marijuana and hemp.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are hundreds of cannabinoids that the medical community is still investigating for their potential healing effects. The main cannabinoids that are of interest are CBD, THC, CBC, CBG, and CBN.

CB1 Receptor

The CB1 receptor is one of the two endocannabinoid receptors in the human body. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and the central and peripheral nervous systems.

When taking CBD, it attaches itself to the receptor and triggers responses from the body; in the case of CB1, the responses triggered are found in the brain and nervous system. Anandamide, one of the two endocannabinoids, mostly activates the CB1 receptors.

You can read more on the CB1 receptor and the endocannabinoid system here.

CB2 Receptor

The CB2 receptor is one of the two endocannabinoid receptors in the human body. CB2 receptors are mainly found in the gut and our immune cells (white blood cells, lymph cells, bones, tonsils, and spleen).

When taking CBD, it attaches itself to the receptor and triggers responses from the body; in the case of CB2, the responses triggered are mainly found in the immune system. 2-AG, one of the two endocannabinoids mostly activates the CB2 receptors.

You can read more on the CB2 receptor and the endocannabinoid system here.

CBD

CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant.

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is a compound with no psychoactive qualities, therefore it does not make people ‘high’. CBD has been investigated and researched for its potential in treating various diseases such as anxiety, depression, inflammation and chronic pain among other things.

You can read more about CBD’s reported benefits here.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. The processing method removes all other cannabinoids, including THC, CBN, CBG, and others. The end product is CBD isolate. This isolate seems to lack the ‘entourage effect’ of broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD, as the lack of other cannabinoids and terpenes diminishes the therapeutic effects of CBD.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is the end product of the extraction process of the hemp flowers. Hemp flowers are processed following diverse extraction methods such as CO2 or ethanol extraction. The end product is a highly concentrated oily substance, hence CBD oil.

CBD oil differs from hemp oil, which is produced differently and contains little or no CBD.

CO2 Extraction

One extraction method used to extract CBD from the hemp flowers. Under high temperatures and high pressure, CO2 acquires a density similar to a liquid. This liquid is used to extract CBD from hemp. When the high pressure is decreased, CO2 returns to its gas state and is removed, leaving behind nothing but pure CBD oil.

CBD Dosage

For now, it is always hard to calculate the right dosage of CBD to take.

Dosage refers to the quantity of CBD necessary to potentially alleviate a condition.

There are no official dosage requirements for CBD as the NHS has not issued any recommendations.

Depending on the person, weight, condition to be treated, age, activity levels, and metabolism, the CBD dosage varies. The general consensus is to start at a low dosage and increase it slowly.

There is no known CBD overdose although high quantities of CBD can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting and low blood pressure.  

You can read how to determine the right CBD dosage for you here.

Endocannabinoid System

When our body is in full balance, then the endocannabinoid system has reached homeostasis. The human body contains an endocannabinoid system, designed to maintain and restore homeostasis.

The human endocannabinoid system is responsible for keeping our bodies in balance. It regulates appetite, mood, motor control, inflammation, the functioning of our immune system, memory, stress, metabolism, and reproduction among other things.

There is still a lot to learn regarding the endocannabinoid system, especially with regards to how it reacts in the presence of plant-derived cannabinoids such as CBD.

The endocannabinoid system includes endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. The two main ones are 2-AG and anandamide. These endocannabinoids bind to receptors—CB1 and CB2—to trigger appropriate responses in the human body.

You can read more on the endocannabinoid system here.

Endocannabinoid Receptors

Let's think about these receptors as small ants that take their food and supplies from one place to another.

The endocannabinoid receptors are the vehicles that carry the neurotransmitters 2-AG and anandamide through the human body. Receptors find the signals and send them to the relevant organs so that the organs can do their work. The endocannabinoid receptors are 2: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors receive the messages from anandamide and CB2 receptors get the messages from 2-AG.

You can read more on endocannabinoid receptors here.

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect refers to the phytocannabinoids ability to work together. While each phytocannabinoid in isolation has some particular effect, when working in conjuncture with other phytocannabinoid, their potential beneficial effects are combined and increased. It is therefore thought to be more effective to take more phytocannabinoid together, rather than separately. 

Ethanol Extraction

There are two main extraction methods for obtaining the CBD from the hemp flowers: CO2 and ethanol. Ethanol is a solvent that can isolate the compounds from the hemp flowers and extract them.

Epidyolex

The first FDA approved medicine containing CBD is called Epidiolex.

Epidiolex is the first FDA approved medicine containing CBD that treats some rare forms of epilepsy. Epidyolex is the European equivalent that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved across the EU.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended Epidyolex to the NHS so that the NHS covers its cost for the specific forms of epilepsy that Epidyolex seems to alleviate.

Full-spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD contains CBD alongside all the other terpenes and cannabinoids found in the hemp flower, including CBN, CBC, CBG, and THC. For full-spectrum CBD to be legal in the UK, it needs to contain less than 0.2% of THC.

Full-spectrum CBD is thought to be more efficient due to the entourage effect, whereby the combination of all the phytocannabinoids is believed to act in tandem to offer a better result than if taken in isolation.

Hemp

Hemp is a plant that belongs to the cannabis family. People have grown hemp for thousands of years for its fibres: its fibres were used for paper, rope, textiles, clothing, etc.

Hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains very little THC compared to marijuana.

Hemp Oil

This oil is different from CBD oil. Hemp oil is made from the seeds of the hemp flower, which contain no cannabinoids (either CBD or THC).

Hemp seed oil is useful for skin problems and can be added in food but its lack of cannabinoids makes it significantly different from CBD oil. CBD oil is made from hemp flowers which contain the cannabinoids present in the hemp plant.

Homeostasis

The complete balance and harmony of the body and all its systems is called homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the state of the body in balance.

It is maintained and restored by our endocannabinoid system, the internal system that keeps many body functions in balance. Appetite, mood, reproduction, inflammation, motor movement, immune system, memory, and stress are controlled by our endocannabinoid system.

When all these are in balance, then our body is in homeostasis, meaning that the various processes in our body are in equilibrium.

You can read more on homeostasis and the endocannabinoid system here.

Marijuana

This is a strain of the cannabis plant that contains both CBD and THC, alongside other cannabinoids. Marijuana remains illegal for recreational use in the UK due to its content of THC, which is psychoactive. It is distinctive from hemp because of its content of THC.

THC

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of many cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It is the chemical compound responsible for the ‘high’ that people experience when using marijuana.

THC attaches to the receptors that control mood, memory and the perception of time, thus creating the psychoactive sensation in people.

Marijuana plants contain THC in varying percentages, according to the strain. Hemp plants contain very little THC.

For CBD to be legal in the UK, it has to be extracted from hemp plants and needs to contain less than 0.2% of THC. 

You can read more about the differences between CBD and THC here.

Phytocannabinoid

Phytocannabinoids can be found in plants.

Phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids that are found in plants, as opposed to the cannabinoids that exist in our bodies. CBD and THC are two of many phytocannabinoids.

 Psychoactive

Psychoactive is anything that affects the mind. CBD is considered non-psychoactive while THC is psychoactive, meaning that it alters our perception of time and ourselves, along with our mood and our psychology.

Sublingual

Taking CBD sublingually means putting it under the tongue where many salivary glands exist.

It is thought that taking CBD sublingually improves its bioavailability in the body: CBD is absorbed through the glands and enters the blood system faster than if it entered through the mouth and then got digested in the stomach.

The human stomach and gut break down CBD, which means that fewer of its potential benefits are available to enter the bloodstream.   

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids are the ones made in laboratories, rather than obtained from plants such as hemp or marijuana. Some CBD users question the efficiency of synthetic cannabinoids, as they lack potentially valuable compounds.

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