CBD In Action
My first encounter with CBD was in college. Not at a frat party or in a stranger’s basement, but in a psychology class.
There were two types of psych professors in my program: woo-woo and stat. Woo-woo teachers opened our minds to the healing powers of spirituality and discussed the necessity of love. Stat teachers taught statistics and showed us what sadism looks like up close.
My favorite woo-woo professor, a bundle of chunky amber bracelets and frizzy hair, loved bringing her dog, Rocco, with her to class.
While this sounds like it should have lifted the students’ spirits, it didn’t.
Rocco was a decrepit toupee on legs and seemed aware enough of this fact to be filled with constant rage.
He would often become detached from the teacher. As the teacher was at the front of the class encouraging us all to do mushrooms, Rocco would aimlessly wander beneath desks, growling at our ankles and making us wonder whether we would have the heart to sue our teacher in the event of a bite.
But one day, things were different.
The professor and Rocco entered the class late as usual, but a feeling entered with them, like the less-often-discussed calm after a storm. Minutes into a lecture on beads, I raised the question to the professor: What’s with Rocco?
Admittedly, I was a little concerned that the negativity I felt towards the dog was having an adverse effect on him – an idea my professor would have certainly endorsed.
“CBD,” she answered casually. “For his arthritis.”
I looked into Rocco’s smoggy, half-lit eyes. They seemed to say, “I am at peace.”
I was intrigued.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound unique to cannabis plants. Unlike its hip cousin THC, CBD doesn’t get you high.
So if you’ve been avoiding cannabis products for fear of falling in love with Phish, there is hope.
Though the laws are still hazy possession of CBD is widely considered legal in all 50 states (this is true of hemp-derived CBD, at least – marijuana-derived CBD is capable of higher THC content, and is legal in far fewer states).
How Does It Work?
Though the effects are different, CBD basically works the same way THC does. It can be ingested in a variety of ways (more on that later) and interacts with our endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors in our bodies (and other mammalian bodies, such as Rocco’s) that react to cannabinoid compounds. Endo means “within” and cannabinoid means, well, “cannabinoid.”
The endocannabinoid system allows certain cannabinoid compounds to pass through the blood-brain barrier, and thus have an effect on us. Much like a famous actor can easily get into an exclusive club, our brains recognize the star power of cannabinoids.
If It Doesn’t Send You to Mars, Why Do People Use CBD?
That’s the point!
You can watch movies, carry on conversations, and even write articles about CBD without struggling to remember what happened five minutes ago or feeling like you might have a great idea for a rock opera.
Furthermore, in addition to helping prevent epileptic seizures, CBD is also very useful in relieving pain and reducing inflammation.
Pain relief and inflammation reduction are particularly useful for people suffering from the most common types of arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis (which causes swelling in the joints) and osteoarthritis (which affects joint cartilage and bones).
Research in the field has been limited, but clinical studies in both rodents and humans have shown positive effects of CBD for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Among these:
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced pain
- Increased mobility
- Elevated quality of sleep
And unlike opiate painkillers, there are no withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping the use of CBD.
Moving beyond the stuffy confines of the lab, CBD is widely acknowledged as therapeutic by those familiar with it.
One need only scroll through message boards and product reviews for CBD oils, topical creams, and tinctures to know they are seen as godsends by many individuals suffering from arthritis and other sources of chronic pain.
Though words like “miraculous” may be thrown around with joyous abandon by some, it should be noted that many also struggle to find a dosage or method that works for them. And while some people may never get what they want from CBD, it’s worth saying that not everyone finds the right dosage/strain their first time out!
This Sounds Nice, But I’ll Stick With Vitamin THC
No need to pick teams!
Many cannabis strains have at least some CBD in them, and most CBD products have at least some THC. Thus, cannabis connoisseurs will sometimes talk about “the ratio” of CBD to THC.
Strains higher in CBD are believed to reduce the risk of potential adverse effects of THC such as increased heart rate, anxiety, and believing everyone but you is a robot.
Though everyone responds differently, here are some generally held beliefs about ratios:
- 1:2: A mellower effect than THC on its own
- 1:1: An optimal blend of mood elevation, psychoactive effects, and pain relief
- 2:1: Much of the mind-altering effect of THC is gone, leaving one relatively clear-headed, but with mild euphoria
If you don’t like smoking, there are many other ways to get CBD into your system, including:
- Dog Treats (this one is for dogs)
- Bath Bombs
- Topical Creams
CBD bath bombs exist and range in price from about $13 to $30. If there was ever a product that screamed “Treat yo self,” this is it. This is an especially good option for those suffering from arthritis pain, as hot baths increase circulation and decrease pain and swelling.
Second, it should be said that while oral ingestion is great for THC (it actually enhances the effect), a process called “first pass metabolization” reduces the amount of CBD that eventually gets absorbed into one’s system when eating it. Buzzkill. But, another great reason I’m buying a CBD bath bomb as soon as I finish writing this.
A quick note about isolates: They are the purest form of CBD, and using isolate, you can make many of the other products yourself relatively easily at home!
For those of us who DO like smoking, there is a wide variety of CBD strains to choose from. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
- OG Kush: Sativa-dominant hybrid with a 1:1 ratio
- Sour Tsunami: Another sativa-dominant hybrid with a 1:1 ratio
- Cannatonic: Hybrid with a 1:1 ratio
- Harlequin: Sativa-dominant hybrid with 5:2 ratio
- ACDC: Sativa-dominant hybrid with a remarkable 20:1 ratio
I had tried a few CBD strains before knowing much about CBD, and I was rather disappointed. I had expected the psychoactive effects of THC with an added benefit of pain relief, but it often felt like not much at all was happening. This isn’t uncommon.
One day, after taking a long break from cannabis, I purchased and smoked an ACDC pre-roll and finally got it. The strain was working for me. I was fully lucid, but sitting at the kitchen table. I felt like I was soaking in a jacuzzi filled with egg nog (which sounds gross, but I bet you it would feel good).
My eyes were opened. I’m a regular user of ACDC now and still notice the joy of having my body aches gently washed away. It’s my hope that with the information in this article, you’ll be on your way there too.