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CBD or Melatonin: Which is the better choice for you?

CBD (cannabidiol) and melatonin are often viewed as similar things, however, it is not particularly true. CBD and melatonin are both naturally found and may give some of the same effects. But they are also quite different. In the article we will attempt to navigate you through to answer the question, which is the better choice for you? Because these two compounds are not as comparable as one might think, we will start with a definition of each. 

What is CBD?  

CBD is one of the 113 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The Cannabis sativa plant is naturally found and comes in a variety of different variations. This particular cannabinoid is often confused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although these cannabinoids are both found in the Cannabis sativa plant, they are quite different. THC is the cannabinoid that most are familiar with because it creates psychoactive effects or a ‘high’ associated with marijuana use. Because of this, the variation of the Cannabis sativa plant, marijuana is not federally legal, but has been legalized in a handful of states for recreational use as well as medical use. Another variation of the Cannabis sativa plant is the hemp plant. As of 2018 with the Farm Bill this variation has been legalized throughout the United States. Why is this? The hemp plant contains at or less than 0.3% of THC and therefore cannot cause inebriated effects. The other cannabinoids it contains (including CBD), however may have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing, etc.  

What is Melatonin? 

Melatonin is a hormone that is found naturally in your body. This hormone helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. So, why are we talking about this and CBD? CBD is not naturally found in your body! This is correct. Melatonin has been synthetically made into a pill form as well as gummies and other types of products. Melatonin is used to help you fall asleep as it is found in your body naturally for that same reason. Therefore, those who need a little more help falling asleep and getting a good night’s sleep may benefit from a bit more melatonin.  

Which is best for you? 

Though CBD has been used for increasing calmness, that is just one of the many reasons that people use CBD. If you are only seeking something to help you fall and stay asleep, Melatonin may be a better option. However, CBD may be able to help you with that and a bit more. So, what else can CBD do?  

  • Skin health: Although CBD topicals never reach the bloodstream this does not mean that they cannot assist in skin health. In this study they concluded that those with and without skin conditions had improved skin health after the use of CBD topicals. They used several tests to test before and after the use of a CBD topical. Their evidence was enhanced by photographic evidence.  
  • Promote a sense of calm: We touched on this a bit before but here is a bit more explanation as to what we mean. Promoting a sense of calm in those who have feelings of anxiousness may be quite helpful to some. In this study, they used brain imaging to test subjects who have SAD (social anxiety disorder). Those who were given the CBD showed a decrease in their social anxiety disorder via brain scans. Those who did not receive the CBD did not have any decrease.  
  • FDA approved medications: There are several FDA approved medications that contain CBD. Epidiolex is the most well-known. This medication helps those with two severe types of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. There are also a handful of others that assist those going through anti-cancer treatments and the nausea it may cause. These are called Marinol (dronabinol), Syndros (dronabinol), and Cesamet (nabilone). These medications can only be prescribed by a healthcare professional.  
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: CBD has been researched for the possibility of joint health benefits. Panacea Life Sciences has done our own research regarding this aspect. We looked at dogs who are older and have joint health issues. During this study, we asked pet owners to administer CBD to their dogs two times a day for four consecutive weeks. The owners were to take a weekly test to show if anything had improved. At the end of the four weeks pet owners described their dogs to be more mobile. Therefore, the CBD may have helped with their joint health!   
  • Antibacterial properties: There has been information coming to the forefront of the potential antibacterial properties of CBD. And this information may be true. In this study they concluded that CBD had the capability to kill certain types of bacteria.

What products are available?  

Now that you know all the reasons that people use CBD, what products are available? 

  • Softgels: A soft gel is a capsule that is full of CBD. Once the capsule is swallowed it goes through the digestive tract and then lands in the stomach. Once there the CBD is absorbed as the capsule is broken down. The CBD is absorbed by the stomach and small intestine and enters the bloodstream from there.  
  • Tablets: A tablet is placed in the mouth and dissolves there. It enters the bloodstream from the mouth as the tincture does. You can add or subtract amounts of CBD with a dropper, but tablets are made with the same mg every time making it easier to know how much you are getting.  
  • Tinctures: This type of CBD gets into the bloodstream quickly. When the dropper full of CBD is placed in the mouth it is absorbed into the bloodstream from there. A tincture is an oil like substance that is added to carrier oil. Some tinctures come flavored to mask the earthy hemp taste that some do not enjoy. Although tinctures give the CBD effects quite quickly, they have been described to last not as long as other products. These are similar to tablets in their bioavailability.   
  • Topicals: CBD topicals are a bit different than the others as they usually never reach the bloodstream. This way your skin can reap the benefits of CBD. These are best used frequently and in the same area. CBD topicals come in lotions, salves, creams, and even hand sanitizer for antibacterial purposes.  
  • Vapes: Panacea Life Sciences does not advocate the use of vapes, it is an option for CBD use. This way of using CBD has a high rate of absorption as it directly enters the bloodstream via inhalation. That being said it is important to note that the effects may be shorter lived and inhaling CBD may have negative health associations.

Why extraction is important when it comes to CBD: 

This is an important part of CBD: extraction. Extraction is how CBD is taken out of the Hemp plant. This is important because some methods are better than others and therefore some products are better than others. So, what methods are there? Here are three popular ones: 

  • Carbon dioxide extraction:  Carbon dioxide is used to extract the CBD from the plant by using “supercritical” which, in simple terms means, using both carbon dioxide liquid and gas properties to extract. This is why carbon dioxide extraction is often known as Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE). In the beginning of the extraction, two different pressurized chambers are used. One, with the carbon dioxide, while the other contains the hemp plant. Then the chamber filled with carbon dioxide is pressurized and cooled to create liquid CO2.  This is then pumped into the second chamber containing the hemp, where it infuses the hemp plant to solubilize the hemp oil allowing separation of the oil from the plant matter.  The CO2 hemp oil mixture is then pumped into a third chamber where the carbon dioxide is evaporated, leaving behind pure CBD oil.  
  • Solvent extraction (hydrocarbons and natural solvents):  This process is similar to the Steam Distillation extraction method. But, in this process one would use a type of solvent rather than water. The solvent and CBD oil are combined and then the solvent is extracted leaving the CBD behind. There are two types of solvents used: hydrocarbons and natural solvents. Some solvents that can be used include naphtha, petroleum, butane, or propane for hydrocarbon extraction.  Natural extraction will use food-grade ethanol to extract the hemp oil.  Following extraction, the ethanol is removed by heat leaving a rich solvent- free hemp oil.  
  • Steam distillation: In this process, the steam separates the CBD oil from the plant itself. The hemp is placed in a separate container while a boiler is full of water beneath the hemp. Once boiling, the steam from the water travels upward to extract the CBD oil as a vapor from the hemp plant. The vapor from the plant is then trapped in a tube and added to oil or water. After this is collected, the oil is extracted from the water to make an oil. This process works well but requires a lot of the hemp plant and if the steam gets too hot it may damage the CBD oil extract. 

There are different reasons to use different products, perhaps CBD will be the option for you. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at [email protected]