CBD: Everything you need to know about CBD cannabis

How can you enjoy the relaxing effect of cannabis legally and without the harm associated with THC? By consuming CBD, of course! If this cannabinoid, also extracted from hemp, is becoming more and more successful, it is because it has a large number of beneficial properties for the body, without having significant or harmful side effects. Discover the many virtues of CBD, or cannabidiol, which can be consumed in a thousand and one ways for your greater well-being and relaxation.

What is CBD?

Hemp, or Cannabis Sativa L., has over a hundred different cannabinoids. The two most active hemp cannabinoids in the human body are THC and CBD. The most famous of the active organic molecules in cannabis is THC. Known for its psychotropic effects, it is due to the presence of THC that hemp is classified as a narcotic. Another molecule, CBD, also known as cannabidiol, has also become popular and is increasingly being talked about. Cannabidiol is a molecule that was discovered in 1963 and, ever since, has been and continues to be the subject of numerous studies and research. CBD has many virtues. The success of CBD is essentially due to its relaxing effects and its absence of toxicity and harmfulness. Unlike THC, CBD is not actually a mind-altering drug. Cannabidiol, devoid of psychoactive action, therefore provides the consumer with a feeling of relaxation and well-being without getting high. With the CBD molecule, for example, there is no risk of anxiety attacks or paranoia, the famous "bad trip" associated with THC. CBD does not pose a risk of addiction and dependence, either. CBD is also devoid of any toxicity and has few contraindications. Last but not least, this cannabinoid, which is extracted from the resin or the head of the cannabis plant, exists in a huge variety of forms:

This wide choice allows it to be consumed in a lot of different ways: by making herbal teas and CBD infusions, mixing it into your food, in the form of CBD gum sweets or directly, in capsules containing a dose of CBD. There are so many opportunities to enjoy the many benefits of CBD!

Interactions between CBD and THC

CBD and THC are the two most active substances in hemp. The effects they have on the body are very different, however. THC is the molecule that, when present in large quantities in hemp, makes it a narcotic that enables you to get a "high". CBD, on the other hand, has a calming action on the nervous system, without being a psychotropic. Indeed, cannabidiol acts like a sedative on certain pain receptors present in the nervous system. Unlike other cannabinoids like THC, CBD does not bind to the CB1 receptors found in the central nervous system or the CB2 receptors found in the immune system. CBD is even believed to counteract certain effects of THC, by virtue of its antagonism with the CB1 receptor. The activation of CB1 receptors by THC is in fact at the origin of the feeling of euphoria one gets by consuming it. When CBD is consumed together with THC, the CBD decreases the impact of the THC. By attenuating the effects of THC on cannabinoid receptors, CBD minimizes the risk of a "bad trip", which results in attacks of paranoia, panic or anxiety due to the anxiogenic and psychotic effects of the psychotropic active substance of cannabis. There is also ongoing research into the use of CBD to fight against addictions to certain drugs.

How does CBD work?

The effects of CBD are not limited to its antagonism with THC. Whilst the mechanisms through which CBD acts are still largely unknown, the molecule has a proven and targeted action on certain receptors, such as serotonin, anandamide and adenosine receptors. By attaching itself to serotonin receptors, nicknamed the "happiness hormone", in order to activate them, CBD thus provokes a feeling of well-being and assuagement. Researchers have shown, for instance, that a high concentration of CBD activates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, which are involved in the mechanisms of pain perception but also the perception of appetite, anxiety and sleep. 
The mechanism of action of CBD on the receptors for anandamide, an endocannabinoid produced by the body, is different. By curbing the enzyme that regulates the concentration of anandamide, CBD promotes the presence of this neurotransmitter in the body, and this induces feelings of euphoria. Finally, CBD acts as an anxiolytic by activating the adenosine receptors, which are involved in regulating cardiovascular functions and in regulating dopamine and glutamate concentrations in the brain.

Contraindications of CBD

Even though the benefits of CBD are undeniable and increasingly recognized, it is nevertheless necessary to remain vigilant and avoid consuming excessive quantities. Cannabidiol has the particularity of being lipophilic and therefore of binding easily to fatty tissues. As it is slowly eliminated, it is likely to accumulate in fatty tissue, particularly in the nervous system and the brain, which are rich in cannabinoid receptors. CBD can also interact with certain medicines by slowing the elimination of them. Side effects have thus been observed after the consumption of CBD, such as overdoses of medicine or problems with alertness, and drowsiness. It is therefore recommended that you should not drive after consuming CBD. Finally, there are a number of contraindications to the use of CBD. The consumption of cannabidiol is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It appears to be the case that cannabidiol would hinder brain development in young children. CBD is not recommended for people with heart problems or arterial problems, either. As with any active substance, it is in all cases recommended that, when you consume CBD, you should be very attentive to your body’s reactions, so that you adapt the quantities that you require. The effects of CBD are indeed very variable from one person to another. For some consumers, ingesting too much CBD can lead, for instance, to a stomach upset, nausea or even vomiting.

CBD and the treatment of anxiety

CBD helps fight stress and anxiety, by providing a sense of well-being and relaxation. There are two prongs to the use of CBD as a food supplement in order to relieve anxiety and depressive states. It acts on both the psychological sphere and the physical one. The anxiolytic and relaxing effect of CBD first of all relieves feelings of unease linked to stress or depressive states. With its regulating action on mood, it is also an effective tool for fighting against anxiety or anxiety attacks. It also makes it possible, thanks to its relaxing and calming action, to relieve the physical symptoms linked to anxiety, such as the acceleration of the heart rate, feelings of oppression, etc. Consuming CBD when you are experiencing significant anxiety or stress will have an impact on your overall quality of life. The relaxing action of cannabidiol makes it possible, for example, to fight indirectly against insomnia or loss of sleep, problems that are very often linked to stress or depression. 
Some studies that are still in progress are finally paving the way for new uses of CBD for the treatment of disorders such as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which result in anxiety. Researchers are also interested in CBD on account of its antipsychotic action, which could help people suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorders.

CBD and pain treatment

By acting on the CB1 and CB2 receptors involved in the perception of pain, CBD is also a food supplement that is used for its analgesic action in the context of supporting patients with certain pathologies, in particular chronic inflammatory pathologies. The pain-relieving property of CBD is further complemented by an anti-inflammatory effect, through its action on adenosine receptors. Cannabidiol thus makes it possible to relieve the inflammatory symptoms linked to chronic pain in conditions such as rheumatoid osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia. CBD is increasingly recognized as an adjunct treatment for the treatment of muscle pain or even neuropathic pain. 
Similarly, the calming and analgesic effects of CBD can help combat the side effects of certain medical treatments, such as the pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy. 

CBD in dermatology

CBD creams, balms, shampoo, shower gel... You have probably noticed that a large number of cosmetic treatments contain hemp or CBD. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are indeed effective at relieving irritated skin. You will therefore find CBD in a host of skin care products to soothe itching and insect bites, to soothe burns, to heal small wounds and scrapes, and so on. CBD oil can also be incorporated into treatments for very dry skin. 
Cannabidiol also helps in the fight against certain skin infections and inflammations. Its anti-inflammatory and sebostatic action make it an effective anti-acne treatment. CBD curbs the excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands and helps cleanse the skin. This results in the reduction of acne pimples and the skin inflammation that they cause. CBD is also used in skincare creams to fight other skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Finally, thanks to its analgesic action, CBD can be one of the ingredients used in creams or lotions for the local treatment of pain, such as body aches or muscle pain following sporting effort.

Other uses of CBD…

To fight against anxiety, anxieties, pain, nausea, skin problems...The benefits of CBD are very numerous and we regularly discover new fields of application for this molecule derived from hemp. 
Studies and research on the effects of CBD are indeed only in their infancy. In the medical field, CBD is increasingly being used to improve the lives of certain patients. For example, CBD has shown its usefulness in terms of reducing pain, especially when it is of a neurological origin, where traditional treatments have shown their limitations. The most promising lines of research also point to the benefits of using CBD in the treatment of certain cancers. In particular, research suggests that cannabinoids have the ability to contribute to the reduction of certain tumours and to the inhibiting of the proliferation of cancer cells. Studies are also underway in relation to the use of CBD in the fight against addiction to certain drugs, or in the treatment of certain pathologies such as epilepsy, diabetes and asthma. All of these studies regarding the use of CBD for medical purposes, however, require the consumption of cannabinoids to an extent that goes well beyond what you will find over the counter. The CBD that is integrated into medicines and over-the-counter CBD obey very different legislative frameworks. CBD that you have purchased over-the-counter should be consumed for recreational use, or to help relieve minor ailments. Over-the-counter CBD should under no circumstances be used as a therapeutic treatment, as self-medication for serious pathologies.

CBD is not a medicine!

The CBD that you will find over the counter cannot be considered a medicine. In France, there are legal guidelines governing communication around CBD. It is forbidden to highlight the therapeutic properties of a product containing CBD over the counter, under penalty of being found guilty of the illegal practising of medicine or pharmacy. Only products authorized by the ANSM (the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines) or the European Commission can make therapeutic claims. In France, CBD is therefore classified as a food supplement. You will never see, on the packaging of CBD, the word medicine, medicinal treatments or notices concerning the conditions that can be treated, even though there are a lot of scientific studies on this subject. 
Finally, it is prohibited to carry out advertising campaigns regarding products containing CBD that could lead to confusion with cannabis and could therefore constitute the criminal offence of incitement to use narcotics.

What is the European legislation around CBD?

There is no law regarding the production, sale and consumption of CBD as such. The legislative framework for cannabidiol is set indirectly by the laws concerning hemp and THC. The hemp regulations govern the maximum level of active ingredient that is authorized and the use that can be made of this raw material. 
The European legislation authorizes the sale of hemp, and therefore of CBD, with a maximum rate of 0.3% THC. The sale and purchase of CBD is therefore authorized in most of the countries in Europe, with local variations in the regulations in force. 
Switzerland, for example, played a pioneering role in the sale of CBD when it authorized the sale of products containing less than 1% THC in 2011. 
Belgium, which has adopted the maximum level of THC authorized in Europe (0.2%), recently decided, as of April 11, 2019, to classify CBD cannabis in the category of "other types of tobacco for smoking". CBD is therefore completely legal in Belgium and will be taxed like all products containing tobacco.

What is the legal framework for CBD in France?

In France, it is the marketing and consumption of THC that are regulated by the law. According to article R.5132-86 of the public health code, which regulates substances classified as narcotics - such as THC - "the production, manufacture, and transportation...of cannabis, its plant and its resin, products containing it or products obtained from cannabis, its plant or its resin, are prohibited". CBD, which is not classified as a narcotic substance, therefore escapes this regulation. 
As a raw material used in a medical, food or industrial context (for the manufacture of fabrics, for example), hemp also benefits from a legal dispensation in France. The production, sale and consumption of CBD in France are in fact governed by the legislation concerning the plant from which it comes, namely hemp. 
The use of hemp, and therefore of the CBD derived from it, is authorized in France when the plant does not have reprehensible narcotic properties. In addition, only certain varieties of cannabis, featuring in an official list drawn up by the health authorities, can be produced, sold and consumed. Each variety of hemp is characterized by different levels of active ingredients. These levels are measured on the raw plant. The THC content of the plant before processing must be less than 0.3%.

Check the quality of your CBD

Whether you use CBD for recreational purposes or as a dietary supplement to accompany medical treatment, it is particularly important to check the origin and quality of the cannabinoids you buy. It is preferable to choose a CBD with a certified origin and a known composition, so as to have the benefit of good traceability and guaranteed quality. CBD is a booming market, so you will find on sale both premium quality products and products that are of uncertain origin, or are cut with raw materials that are questionable to say the least. It is important, for instance, to know the exact composition of the CBD product you are buying. A product containing CBD must therefore indicate the level of cannabidiol present. You must also check that the THC level complies with the regulations in force in your country. 
Choosing a product containing CBD whose origin and composition are fully known to you is also the best way to get the most out of your cannabinoid consumption, and adapt it to your needs. Even though the internet is full of advice when it comes to using CBD, don’t forget to take into account your own sensitivity and consumption habits, to get the best out of it! That way, you will have no difficulty in adapting the quantities consumed and the mode of ingestion or inhalation of the CBD to your desires or your needs. Especially since the very wide selection of CBD products available enables you to enjoy the ever-increasing benefits of this food supplement with complete peace of mind, and legally.