For several years now, 3 letters seem to dominate the nutritional supplements market: CBD. What is CBD? And what does this abbreviation actually stand for? We will discuss this in detail in this article.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, the molecular name for a substance extracted from the flowers of the female cannabis plant. CBD belongs to a group of molecules called “cannabinoids” of which more than 120 different have been discovered. A very well-known cannabinoid is THC. This is the mind-altering substance that produces the cannabis high so familiar. CBD has a completely different effect on our system. In addition to the many processes that CBD activates or influences in our body, CBD can inhibit or suppress the psychoactive effect of THC. In the unlikely event that you have become so high that it is no longer pleasant for you, the CBD will help you to regain your composure. CBD is also believed to have numerous health benefits, for both body and mind. In addition, there are few or no known side effects of CBD.
The basis for CBD is the cannabis plant. Cannabis actually has 3 different varieties: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. Sometimes a fourth strain is added: Cannabis Afghanica. Each of these breeds is characterized by differences in appearance as well as internally. For example, Sativas are plants that can grow up to 3-4 meters high. In ideal conditions, this variety even grows to about 6 meters high. These plants are often grown as agricultural crops because they provide a high yield of fiber that can be put to good use for a variety of industrial purposes. The Indicas are more like shrubs, they grow low and wide. The leaf of Cannabis Indica is also a lot wider than that of Cannabis Sativa. Indica strains are widely used to grow recreational or medicinal cannabis. The ruderalis variety is very small, but very resistant. This variety can grow under the most appalling conditions. For that reason, Cannabis ruderalis is mainly used to cultivate new strains.
Each variety has both male and female plants. Hybrid forms, plants with both male and female characteristics, are also not uncommon. A resinous substance is produced in the flowers of the female plants. It is full of substances such as cannabinoids. Each variety (sativa, indica, ruderalis, afghanica) has many different varieties. These distinguish between the amount of cannabinoids and other substances. For example, there are varieties of the Cannabis Sativa variety that are very high in CBD, while the psychoactive THC is virtually non-existent. Each variety, which is nicely called a 'chemovar', is therefore characterized by its own unique profile of ingredients.
CBD is extracted from the flowers of the female cannabis plant. More specifically, this is from the flowers of the Cannabis Sativa variety. It is these species that are used as an agricultural crop, also called fiber hemp. The male plants bear racemose sacs filled with pollen. When these have matured, they open and the wind carries the pollen to the flowers of the female plants. After pollination, seeds are formed in the flower. Hemp seed is a real superfood and can also provide a valuable raw material for many industrial purposes. After pollination, however, the flower will no longer produce as much resin. After all, the desired result (pollination, taking care of offspring) has been achieved. For this reason, medicinal (and certainly recreational) cannabis is grown indoors in a room that is completely closed off from the outside air. This is different with fiber hemp: it grows outdoors in open, open ground.
In a still growing plant you will find no or very little CBD. This is because the acidic preform of CBD, cannabidiol acid (CBDa) has not yet been transformed. This transformation occurs through a chemical process called decarboxylation. This occurs naturally in the plant during drought and/or heating. If a CBD product also contains CBDa, then little heating has taken place during the extraction process and it has been processed as little (synthetically) as possible. Every cannabinoid has such an acidic form, including THC. These preforms each have a very different effect in our body than the final shape. If you were to eat raw cannabis, you would not notice a high effect, even if the plant in dried form would be extremely high in THC. Cannabinoid acids have long been thought to have little to no therapeutic value. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are indeed of considerable importance, and also support the action of other cannabinoids.
CBD oil is sometimes referred to as CBD for short. “Have you ever used CBD?” is then asked, for example. In fact, that is not entirely correct. By now you know that CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, and that this is the name of a molecule that is made in the flowers of the female cannabis plant. The CBD in food supplements comes from Cannabis Sativa, or fiber hemp. An extract is made from the flowers, which is rich in CBD. Actually, the word 'CBD oil' is not entirely correct, after all, no extract is made from CBD itself, but from the flowers. There are many different forms of CBD oil. For example, the oil can be completely decarboxylated, so that no cannabinoid acids are present in it. The number of mg of CBD can also differ. In the Netherlands, a percentage is often used, which refers to the number of mg CBD in a solution (often a hemp seed, coconut or olive oil). For example, 400mg CBD in a solution of 10 ml gives a percentage of about 4%.