November 8, 2021

Who hasn’t heard of CBD oil? While it’s clear that many have experienced health benefits and positive outcomes from utilizing CBD products, the world of CBD can be a confusing one, full of conflicting information and opinions. Even in practice, it took me years to embrace CBD products for my patients, until I had the time to understand the benefits and find high quality products. If you’ve been curious as to what CBD is and how it could benefit you, read on!

What is CBD?

CBD (or cannabidiol) is just one compound (out of MANY) found in the cannabis plant. These ingredients are called cannabinoids, and we will break down several of them in future blog posts. Until recently, you may have heard of THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), which got most of the attention out of the cannabinoids because of its intoxicating effects it can have on the body.

Cannabinoids (chemical compounds found in cannabis) affect the endocannabinoid system (ECS) indirectly by causing endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made within the body) to bind more efficiently with receptors. CBD also blocks the enzyme that breaks down our endocannabinoids, meaning their concentration can remain higher in our system for a longer period of time. The receptor sites that benefit from cannabinoids in the body are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

CB1 receptors are found all throughout the body but have a large impact on the brain. They can dramatically affect cognition, emotion, memory, coordination, movement, perception, and more. CB2 receptors are also widely distributed, but to keep things simple, they have a large impact on the immune system. These cannabinoids have an innate balancing system, helping one’s body come to a greater sense of harmony and homeostasis.

While there are many positive effects for consuming CBD products, here at Fringe we like to focus on CBD and its impact on pain, sleep, and mental health. When I started introducing CBD products to my patients I noticed a large impact on those struggling with anxiety and sleep. They came back reporting feeling more calm, falling asleep faster, and feeling more rested. Patients who struggled with chronic pain also noticed their pain was less severe or less frequent. By modulating the ECS through cannabinoid supplementation, the ECS as a whole is able to act in harmony to help reduce pain, improve sleep quality, and lower our natural stress responses.

Since a growing body of research is showing a slew of benefits to consuming cannabis products, many are seeing the benefit but do not want the psychoactive effects of THC…enter in CBD products! Most CBD products are derived from the hemp plant, which contains very little THC, so you can reap the benefit of this healing plant without altering your state.

Ways to Consume CBD

There are many ways to utilize CBD, and in this blog we will just focus on the most popular forms of consumption.

  1. CBD oils/tinctures: CBD oils and tincture are made by taking the oil from the cannabis plant to form a tincture to be ingested orally. Extraction can take place via several methods such as: solvent extraction, steam distillation, CO2 extraction, and oil based extraction. Most oils and tinctures use full-spectrum CBD, so you reap the benefit of multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found naturally in the plant. Tincture based solutions are typically extracted with alcohol or carrier oil. Both of these products are sold with a dropper and taken under the tongue.
  2. Topical Products: lotions, serums, and salves are a very popular way to consume CBD products. Touted for their benefits to decrease pain and inflammation, it’s a great way to utilize CBD for local aches and pains. It’s important to note that the CBD does not get deep into the system this way, so one would get the most benefit from topical CBD for pain and conditions near the skin’s surface.
  3. Water Soluble Emulsions: Powder based emulsions can be an easy way to add CBD to your daily routine. Water based high quality emulsions are tasteless, odorless, and can be added to things like: water, juice, smoothies, and more. With emulsions, you are also getting a very specific dose, and can be one cannabinoid (ie, pure CBD)or a combination of several. If cannabis’ taste or smell is off-putting to you, this should be your consumption method of choice!

It’s important to note, while deciding which method of CBD is best for you, quality must also be addressed. When choosing your CBD provider, make sure to research into where the cannabis plant is grown, what are the farming practices, how is the product tested (we advise tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and microbials by a third party), how is it extracted, handled, and stored! We will dive deeper into quality control in future posts, but all CBD products are not created equal and unfortunately, some may cause more harm than good.

About the Author Dr. Abby Kramer

Dr. Abby’s mission is to empower others to feel and function as their most vibrant selves. Through her personal history of medical struggles, she realized that her symptoms were her bodies’ way of communicating deep physical, mental, and emotional imbalances. Dr. Abby has been inspired to bring that same type of healing transformation to her patients – becoming one of the foremost voices for progressive, holistic medicine in the Greater Chicago area. Dr. Abby can also be found talking with other thoughtful healthcare leaders on her podcast, “Coffee with the Docs”, or spearheading Medical Education and business development for Fringe Inc, a company committed to helping others regain their health through the power of natural medicines.

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