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Although you may only be familiar with a few of them, there are actually at least 113 types of cannabinoids. Plus, they are present in a number of plants — from black pepper to cacao. These chemical compounds activate cannabinoid receptors throughout your body, precipitating a certain response in the brain. Each cannabinoid has a different effect.

When Were Cannabinoids Discovered?

The first discovery of a cannabinoid happened in 1940, when chemist Robert S. Cahn found cannabinol (or CBN). In 1942, chemist Roger Adams discovered another: cannabidiol (or CBD). Today, CBD is one of the most well-known cannabinoids and it is the active ingredient in cannabidiol oil.

The Most Talked-About Cannabinoids

Just two cannabinoids receive almost all the attention. These are CBD (mentioned above) and tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. There is some confusion as to what makes them different, especially since they both offer a number of health benefits.

To make matters more confusing, THC and CBD have a very similar chemical structure and both bind to CB2 receptors. However, the two cannabinoids are actually quite different due to how they interact with CB1 receptors.

Properties of THC

THC induces the psychoactive high that users gain from recreational marijuana, but it also has several medical benefits. For instance, it helps with relaxation, increasing appetite, and reducing aggression. Some types of cannabis contain significant quantities of THC, but industrial hemp has only low to very low concentrations of the cannabinoid.

Properties of CBD

CBD is present in all types of hemp, including medical cannabis. However, there is so far no evidence to show that it occurs in any other plant. Unlike THC, it induces no psychoactive effects. In fact, when a plant has a high concentration of CBD it can decrease or even nullify the effect of THC. For this reason, CBD is useful for treating pain and other conditions without having any impact on cognition.

Who Uses CBD?

People use CBD to treat a wide range of conditions, as well as just to gain the benefits of the cannabinoid. Many studies have shown that CBD can lead to tangible improvements in health.

1. Pain
People have been using cannabis for pain relief for centuries, if not millennia. Only recently, however, has research revealed that CBD is a natural analgesic in cannabis. Today, users take CBD to treat pain caused by multiple sclerosis, other neuropathic conditions, and arthritis as well as muscle and joint pain and headaches.

2. Anxiety and Depression
CBD produces a calming effect that can ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Unlike the conventional medications that usually treat these disorders, CBD leads to no side effects and poses no risk of substance abuse. For this reason, it is an excellent choice for PTSD, panic attacks, and chronic depression.

3. Addiction
Not only is CBD a good alternative to drugs that can lead to substance abuse, it can also help combat current addictions. By changing the circuits in the brain, CBD can end or decrease dependence on substances and helps stop related behaviors.

4. Cancer Medication Side Effects
Cancer medication can lead to pain, nausea, and vomiting. Not only can CBD possibly reduce these unpleasant side effects, there are also reasons to believe that the cannabinoid may also be an effective complementary therapy for fighting cancer cells, inhibiting their growth, and improving the function of natural killer cells in the body.

5. Skin Conditions
Applying CBD to the skin may also help treat a range of conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Since it is both an anti-inflammatory and it is able to prevent the sebaceous glands from overproducing oily sebum, some evidence suggests that CBD may reduce acne.

6. Inflammation
CBD is widely used for many types of inflammation. Users find it helpful for treating the symptoms of arthritis pain and inflammation.

7. Heart Health
You may be able to improve your heart health by taking CBD on a regular basis. The cannabinoid works to promote a healthy heart in two ways. First, it seems to reduce blood pressure, which reduces your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Second, it helps to alleviate anxiety, potentially keeping your blood pressure in check in stressful situations.

Forms of CBD

There are various ways to take CBD. The form you pick will depend, in part, on what health benefits you are looking to gain.

CBD Oils

The most popular way to take CBD is as an oil or tincture. The oil is extracted industrial hemp high in CBD.

Producers can extract CBD oils from cannabis using various solvents. It is important to choose a CBD oil not extracted using butane or another neurotoxic solvent, as this can be dangerous for your health. Safe extraction methods include using carbon dioxide (which results in a pure product), ethanol, or coconut oil.

Consumers usually buy CBD oil in the form of tinctures. To administer the oil, you simply fill the dropper that comes with the bottle with tincture, put the correct dosage under your tongue, and hold it there for between 30 and 90 seconds. Alternatively, you can put drops into food or drink.

Capsules

CBD capsules are made from the same oil as tinctures. They have the same properties — the only difference is that you swallow the CBD as a pill.

Edibles

Yet another option to consume CBD is to purchase ready-made edibles. It is common to find CBD edibles in the form of hard candy or gummies. Edibles can be a good option for smaller dosing amounts.

Topicals

A final form of CBD is topicals. This is best for treating physical ailments like muscle pain, skin conditions, and inflammation.

Whatever form of CBD you choose, make sure that you purchase from a reputable supplier. Some brands market their products as containing CBD when they actually use an artificial substitute. These lack many of the qualities of CBD. Your best option is an organic product with only trace amounts of THC.

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