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What is CBD?

by Prity Kumari
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CBD is time and again seen in media. In the modern day, it might still seem new but it has been around for centuries. One can find it publicized as an add-in booster in after-workout smoothies or morning coffee, see it in skin care, and even pet treats. Some women even go for CBD-infused sports bras. Celebrities are very crazy about it. But, what is CBD, and why is it in demand? Here’s everything about CBD that one must know. [1, 4]

What is CBD?

CBD, an abbreviation for Cannabidiol, is one of the 113 different naturally-occurring chemical compounds or cannabinoids, derived from the Cannabis sativa plant (hemp or marijuana). It is the second most recognized chemical which was discovered during the 1940s. Another famous ingredient of cannabis is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is psychoactive and can be sourced from marijuana. It must not be confused with CBD which is non-psychoactive (won’t get one high!) and is typically obtained from hemp. [3, 5]

How Can CBD be Taken?

Cannabidiol comes in different forms- oral and topical. There are many CBD-based health products available around the world. These include capsules, extracts, lotions, beverages containing CBD oil, foods, oils, patches, and vapes.

The best way for one to administer CBD depends upon the reasons for one using it. People may select one of the CBD forms like tinctures (liquid sprays designed to be placed under the skin), vape pens, and edibles (like gummies, baked items, and capsules) based on their speed of delivery and the longevity of results. It has been found that edibles and tinctures take time to give desired results as it gets into the bloodstream but last for about 4-5 hours while vape pen can deliver CBD in just 10 minutes, hence providing faster relief and lasting for about 2 hours. [1, 2]

What are the Potential Health Benefits of CBD?

Although research is still carried out on the potential uses of CBD in the healthcare sector, there are shreds of evidence that cannabidiol may help in some conditions. These includes:

  • Chronic pain and inflammation- The use of cannabis oil (cannabidiol) is a novel, non-addictive approach to managing long-term pain
  • HIV/ AIDS- CBD might help prevent unintentional weight loss and increase appetite in HIV patients. It can help increase immunity in such patients or provide relief from HIV symptoms like anxiety and inflammation
  • Blueberries
  • Insomnia (includes either falling or staying asleep)
  • Epilepsy syndromes or seizure disorders such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome that fail to respond to anti-seizure medications- Epidolex is the first FDA-approved medication, an oil containing CBD for these conditions
  • Anxiety or Depression in people suffering from psychosis or schizophrenia, or who have opioid dependence
  • Lessening addiction to opiates, cannabis, alcohol, and stimulants
  • Glaucoma- CBD can help reduce intraocular pressure (IOP)
  • Inflammatory or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Muscle disorders like Dystonia
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)- A prescription-only nasal product or a spray to be used under the tongue is available to reduce pain, muscle tightness or spasms, and frequency of urination in patients with MS
  • The use of cannabidiol for pain treatment is also popular
  • Acne- CBD is known to help in reducing inflammatory acne breakouts
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders  [1, 4, 5]

Is it Safe to Use-or Even Legal?

CBD is not safe for everyone. There are special precautions and warnings that one must keep in mind before using CBD. Cannabidiol is not meant for:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women (as CBD products can be mixed with other ingredients that may be harmful to the infant or fetus
  • Children who are aged below 1 year. If they are at least 1-year-old, they can take a specific prescribed CBD product orally in appropriate doses up to 25 mg/kg daily.
  • For people suffering from Liver disease or Parkinson’s disease- high doses of CBD products can worsen their condition.

If CBD is not appropriately used, some side effects are possible. These include signs of liver abnormalities, fatigue, nausea, irritability, dry mouth, and low blood pressure.

The legality of CBD depends upon the law of the location of the user and from which plant CBD is obtained-hemp or marijuana. Some places have legalized the recreational use of marijuana while others have legalized its medical use. Still, others have introduced CBD-specific legislation. [1, 3, 4]

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome:

The long-term usage of cannabis (marijuana) results in severe vomiting (hyperemesis)- a condition called Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. It is a side effect of marijuana-derived CBD. Those who suffer from such a condition are likely to experience recurrent episodes of vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, and dehydration or may have to rush to the emergency department frequently. If left untreated, the condition can become serious resulting in many health complications.

Usually, people who chronically make use of marijuana or use it at least for one week are at risk of developing cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome occurs in three phases with varying symptoms:

  • Prodromal phase- Mostly seen in adults who have been using cannabis since their adolescence. This stage is characterized by morning nausea and abdominal pain. There is a constant feeling to throw up but there is no vomiting.
  • Hyperemetic phase- During this phase people have frequent vomiting and nausea. They start making restrictions on food and begin compulsive bathing. It lasts for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Recovery phase- In this phase, people discontinue the use of cannabis (even in small amounts). The symptoms lessen over a few days or months and eventually they disappear.

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Treatment:

The only possible treatment or cure for cannabinoid hyperemesis is to quit the usage of cannabis. To get temporary relief from nausea, the patient can go for hot baths. The discomfort that appears in the recovery phase after stopping the use of cannabis can be alleviated by some home treatments. Healthcare providers may recommend the patients for capsaicin cream to relieve pain, antihistamine, antipsychotic medications, pain killers, and intravenous hydration to keep the body hydrated if severely dehydrated from extensive vomiting.


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  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476
  2. https://www.health.com/condition/chronic-pain/what-is-cbd
  3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1439/cannabidiol-cbd
  4. https://www.today.com/health/what-cbd-oil-everything-know-about-latest-health-trend-t118055
  5. https://www.verywellmind.com/cbd-vs-thc-differences-benefits-side-effects-legality-5071416
  6. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21665-cannabis-hyperemesis-syndrome#:~:text=Cannabis%20hyperemesis%20syndrome%20(CHS)%20is,

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