Did you know that our bodies have an entire system of naturally-occurring, cannabis-like substances inside of them? This system is called the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS), and it's named after cannabis because a) it regulates how our bodies interact with cannabis and b) it was discovered after research was done on how our bodies interact with cannabis. The prefix "endo" is short for "endogenous," which means "naturally produced inside of the body"... It turns out the ECS plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis (the body's way of making sure the environment inside remains stable regardless of the outside environment) and correcting imbalances within (such as internal temperature, hormone levels, pain regulation and hunger, among many more). The ECS works via two main types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 (located in the CNS) and CB2 (located in the immune system, the digestive system and peripheral nervous system- or the nerves in your extremities). The great thing about the ECS is that it only affects what's needed at the time, without affecting any of the body's processes that aren't out of balance.
So how does all of this relate to CBD use?
CBD (or cannabidol) is the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that is only activated by the ECS where needed. In other words, it won't "alter your consciousness"- that happens when the body is flooded with THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), which it can't break down as easily as CBD. Because it works where needed to help restore balance throughout many of the body's systems, CBD can provide a variety of benefits, such as pain management, management of inflammatory diseases, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, certain sleep disorders, premature perimenopause, asthma, arthritis and a host of other conditions. CBD is already being used by conventional medicine to help manage these conditions, and now that cannabis products are legal in the state of California, CBD is less stigmatized and more accessible than ever. In fact, our office now carries CBD oil! Don't be shy, ask us about it! CBD oil can, just like essential oils, be used in a number of ways, depending on the grade of the oil (make sure you know what the oil can and can't be used for). CBD oil can be ingested orally (alone, in foods/beverages, in tinctures or in capsules), applied topically (alone or as a cream or salve) and inhaled as vapor (in a vape pen). Dosing isn't one-size-fits-all and often requires a bit of experimentation, but a physician might be able to better guide you toward an optimal dose.
As with any supplement or addition to your health regimen that might be new to you, consult with a physician before beginning to use CBD products. CBD products have not been proven to cure any diseases or conditions and are only meant to supplement your existing healthcare. A physician will be able to tell you what you might be able to expect as far as potential side effects go (based on your individual body and medical history). Like many supplements, CBD products are not recommended for pregnant and breast-feeding people.