What Exactly is CBD Extract?

by Jay Hartenbach

June 10, 2021

Reviewed by:
Matthew Halpert PhD

Since bursting onto the scene a couple years ago, CBD extract has managed to stay popular. 

There’s a reason for that. Unlike so many of the trendy supplements that came before it, CBD actually works. World-renowned scientists say it promotes full-body balance unlike virtually anything else…everyday customers say it helped them when nothing else would.

And because CBD is so popular, there’s already tons of info out there. But sometimes going back to the basics is better, which is why this blog will be a complete beginner’s guide to CBD oil. 

  • What Is CBD Extract?
  • How Is CBD Extract Made?
  • 3 Science-Backed Benefits of CBD Extract
    • Stress
    • Sleep
    • Sports
  • How You Can Start Taking CBD

What Is CBD Extract?

CBD is a naturally-occurring compound derived from the hemp plant. Its full name is cannabidiol, but for obvious reasons the abbreviated version stuck. 

CBD is just one of the cannabinoids that hemp contains, but it’s the most common one by far. CBD is so critical to both the plant that produces it and to us humans, some scientists theorize that hemp was mankind’s first cultivated crop. Our bodies have biological systems that ‘receive’ CBD built-in. [1]

How Is CBD Extract Made?

Nature’s best source of CBD is hemp, so most CBD extracts are made from a chemical extraction of mature hemp flowers. This process is similar (but not the same) to how essential oils are made. Most CBD oils make use of a CO2 extraction to capture the ‘essence’ of the hemp plant. 

The CO2 is evaporated off post-extraction, resulting in a concentrated extract rich in CBD and many other compounds. It’s estimated that hemp contains over 300 beneficial compounds, in fact…high-quality CBD oil contains many of them. [2]

Finally, hemp extracts are purified, filtered, and diluted with a carrier oil to just the right strength and consistency. 

3 Science-Backed Benefits of CBD Oil

Stress

At its heart, CBD is probably an anti-stress compound. While some natural substances target the immune system and others target the cardiovascular system, CBD operates upstream of it all by targeting an equally critical system made of endocannabinoids. [3]

This endocannabinoid system (ECS, for short) has a clear main role: to help your body identify and successfully deal with stress. And when stress is kept low, all sorts of good things happen! 

Sleep

Anecdotally speaking, CBD’s impact on sleep is among its most obvious qualities. New customers often report sleeping better the very same day they begin taking CBD. What gives?

It turns out the endocannabinoid system CBD ‘activates’ is highly intune with daytime and nighttime rhythms. [5] When a person takes CBD, their ECS may be able to promote wakefulness during the day and sleepiness at night. Of course, good sleep is part mental, and CBD’s effects on stress and anxiety don’t hurt.

Sports

If you add all CBD’s known benefits up, you might reach an interesting conclusion. The same things that make it so good for stress and sleep make CBD great for athletes! 

Indeed, leading athletes and their coaches are starting to realize how CBD may help the hard-training athlete stay in balance. And there’s something for everybody. Pro strongman Eddy Hall credits CBD with improving his recovery…MMA fighters have expressed interest in using CBD to protect against head trauma…endurance athletes use CBD in hopes of increasing endurance. [6][7]

How You Can Start Taking CBD

The benefits of CBD oil are readily available to all. 

If you’re ready to experience them for yourself, though, two things are needed: the right dose, and consistency.

CBD oil works best when it’s taken diligently everyday. And dosing works best when one starts low and slowly builds up to the point of tangible change. Bonus points for those who use a full spectrum CBD oil! 

References

  • Lu, H. (2016, April 1). An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26698193/
  • Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. (2012). PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/
  • Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. (2018, March 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877694/
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