It’s a new year, and a good time to get interested in wellness. Plenty of people are coming out of the excesses of the festive season interested in looking and feeling better, and one of the biggest trends in wellness at the moment is CBD! CBD oils, teas, e-liquids and edibles are becoming more and more available, but it makes sense to look a bit more deeply into what this compound and how it’s useful before you decide whether or not it’s for you.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol – a compound derived from the cannabis plant. It’s legal for sale as long as it contains no more than trace elements of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD affects your body and brain, but it’s not an intoxicant, doesn’t affect your judgement and isn’t addictive. In the EU, there are special strains of cannabis or hemp, bred for high CBD levels and very low THC, and only CBD made from these approved plants is legal for sale.

What Does CBD Do?

CBD has been described as a “biochemically promiscuous molecule” which means it interacts with the body in lots of different ways, mostly via the ‘endo-cannabinoid’ system. This is a collection of receptors distributed through the central and peripheral nervous system to which cannabinoids like CBD bind to and activate, very similar to the neural receptors in your brain.

CBD can activate your endo-cannabinoid system to create lots of different effects: it can act as a local anti-inflammatory, a centralised neuropathic painkiller, it can mimic the effects of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and even help you sleep better. In higher, clinically prescribed doses, it can help with certain kinds of epilepsy and the pain from cancer and its treatments.

It should be note that a lot of these claimed effects are still the subject of research and have only early conclusions and anecdotal evidence to back them. Nonetheless, a lot of people are convinced.

Why is CBD So Popular?

For one thing, CBD products are natural, rather than chemically synthesised. This undoubtedly gives them an allure and makes them attractive as a supplement or even alternative to clinical drugs (though they should by no means take the place of a visit to your doctor if you’re concerned about your mental or physical health).

On top of that, CBD is, generally, well tolerated by the human body. This means it has a shorter list of side effects than most medications, and they aren’t as intense. For many people anti-depressants come with side effects that can be difficult to endure. If CBD products allow them to reduce their dose of these drugs while maintaining their effects, then popularity will indeed follow!