Cannabidiol 101

cbd-101

CBD vs Hemp

Cannabidiol or more commonly known as CBD is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis sativa is a broad name of plant genus that includes the hemp variety. Hemp is clearly defined as cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.

THC and CBD are the primary cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant and both molecules are present in the varieties of cannabis genetics whether it’s recreational ( marijuana), medicinal or industrial ( hemp ) variety of cannabis sativa. There are over 100 cannabinoids present in the cannabis sativa plant CBD is a predominately present in the hemp variety the genus. This is the reason many companies are using hemp to process and extract the cannabinoid CBD.

 

What is CBD?

We already know that CBD is a cannabinoid present in the cannabis sativa genus of plant, especially the industrial hemp variety that contains little or no THC. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects but has many claimed medical and therapeutic benefits when consumed. The reason it has so many benefits for us is it is designed to specifically connect to an intricate system of receptors located throughout our bodies. Our endocannabinoid system ( ECS ) is comprised of both our immune and central nervous system and includes organs such as our brain and skin. Our ECS is responsible for bodily functions such as movement, mood, appetite and memory, to name a few.

ECS-graphic-1

Throughout the ECS there are cannabinoid receptors ( CB1 and CB2 ) that allow both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids to interact with our bodies central nervous and immune systems. It essentially helps to regulate communication and production of cells helping the body keep in balance. This is known as homoeostasis and is the balance of the bodies internal systems allowing optimal functioning of the bodies organs through the use of cannabinoids.

The body produces its own endocannabinoids ( e.g anandamide ) naturally and consuming phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis sativa is just like taking nutritional supplements. Phytocannabinoids like CBD are used by the body exactly like endocannabinoids are used and also helps the body in the regulation and production of hormones and nervous system communication.

What are the benefits of CBD?

There are many people making wild claims about the benefits of CBD and the great news is that many of these claims are being backed by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. There have been thousands of studies done on both animals and humans to research into whether CBD is all it is claimed to be and although the evidence is not 100% conclusive, however, it’s looking positively promising.

CBD has been claimed to treat patients suffering from diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and treatment for conditions such as insomnia, depression, pain and inflammation. Just last year the US Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) announced their approval of a CBD based medicine known as Epidiolex. Epidiolex is used in the very effective treatment of rare epileptic conditions and reduces the seizures patients suffer on a daily or even hourly basis. This is the first CBD medicine or even cannabis medicine the FDA has approved and is a great foot forward in the right direction for thousands of patients in the USA.

Although legally sold through the United States and the rest of the world as a nutritional supplement there seems to be much merit in the use of CBD based products for many common diseases as mentioned above. Below we will look at a couple studies that have shown the potential of CBD to treat common medical issues people face on a daily basis.

Photo by Jared Rice

Pain – CBD stimulated descending pathways of antinociception and caused analgesia by interacting with several target proteins involved in nociceptive control. These compounds might represent useful therapeutic agents with multiple mechanisms of action. Source

Inflammation – This review discusses recent studies suggesting that cannabidiol may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders now known to involve activation of the immune system and associated oxidative stress, as a contributor to their etiology and progression. These include rheumatoid arthritis, types 1 and 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, ischemia-reperfusion injury, depression, and neuropathic pain. Source

Stress – CBD exerts therapeutically promising effects on human mental health such as inhibition of psychosis, anxiety and depression. However, the mechanistic bases of CBD action are unclear. Source

Depression – Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent non-psychotomimetic of Cannabis sativa with great psychiatric potential, including uses as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound. The aim of this study is to review studies of animal models using CBD as an anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like compound. Source

Cancer – Our study revealed an intricate interplay between apoptosis and autophagy in CBD-treated breast cancer cells and highlighted the value of continued investigation into the potential use of CBD as an antineoplastic agent. Source

How do I take CBD?

dropper-capsules

One does not need to smoke CBD to get the therapeutic benefits from it, and you certainly cannot get high from the many products made using CBD. CBD is extracted into a raw oil or isolate and then recombined into many products that see you on the shelves today. You might come across CBD edibles, CBD concentrates or CBD gel capsules. There are CBD beauty product ranges that cover you from head to toe and CBD tinctures in the form of oral sprays, droppers or pumps. CBD is not only good for you but there are also many pet-friendly products on the market that will make your furry friends benefit from CBD too.

There is no recommended daily intake ( RDI ) of CBD products. However, it is suggested to start “low and slow”, while building your tolerance and feeling the effects of CBD. Figuring out your optimal dose may involve trial and error but don’t worry you cannot overdose from CBD and may just feel a little bit dizzy with a dry mouth. An industry generally agreed upon standard of tinctures is 10mg per day when starting out on a course of CBD and this may differ depending on many variables such as your sex, weight, metabolism or environment.