The Basics: What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, cannabis, cannabinoid, phytocannabinoids... there are a lot of terms associated with our favorite three letter abbreviation. For CBD beginners, even the basics can be a little overwhelming. Luckily, the Standard Dose team members were beginners at one point, too. Since then, we’ve been spending our time researching, reading books, and answering our questions about CBD including what it is, where it comes from, and how we can use it to elevate our daily wellness.

Discovered in 1940 by Roger Adams, cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 natural chemical compounds called cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two phytocannabinoids (or plant-derived cannabinoids) that have been most widely researched, with others like CBN and CBG quickly gaining recognition.

To understand CBD, we have to look at the cannabis plant family as a whole. Marijuana and hemp are both plants within the cannabis family. But while THC, the cannabinoid that produces psychotropic effects, is most prevalent in marijuana, it is almost undetectable in industrial grade hemp. This ultimately means that CBD products derived from hemp will not produce a high and we can remain balanced and benefit from its medicinal effects throughout the day.

If you’re like us and enjoy options at every turn, you’ll be happy to know that CBD comes in various forms including full spectrum and isolate. In addition to CBD, full spectrum formulas include other phytocannabinoids and terpenes that create what’s called an entourage effect, while a CBD isolate contains only CBD. While we will not reap the benefits that CBN, CBG, or even small amounts of THC offer when paired with cannabidiol, CBD isolate is still an effective option.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Each of us has a biological endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating bodily and cognitive functions. Picture a lock and key system where phytocannabinoid CBD binds to our internal receptors CB1 (found primarily in the brain) and CB2 (found primarily in our body). We have natural endocannabinoids and receptors in varying amounts within our systems, which means that our individual needs for CBD will vary from one person to the next. (We’ll get to dosing in subsequent articles, so stay tuned!)

The great news is that CBD is an adaptogen, which means it adapts to our bodies’ needs and will become more efficient with increased use. CBD naturally has the ability to fight inflammation, soothe sore muscles, relieve menstrual cramping and intestinal pain, reduce stress, aid in sleep, and provide mental clarity. When combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes, these benefits can be maximized for an entourage effect.

There you have it: a very high-level overview of CBD basics! In future articles, we’ll be discussing dosing, terpenes, cannabinoids, and sharing insights from leading professionals in the CBD space. In the meantime, shop some of our favorite products from CBD beginners.