Like we mentioned a moment ago, it used to be the belief that “pure CBD,” or CBD isolate, packed the most potent punch in terms of cannabis therapy. And that would make sense too, right? If we know that CBD is primarily the active compound in the plant that provides the medical relief and therapy, then wouldn’t it make sense to make a 100% pure powder out of it?
CBD has proven neuroprotective effects and its anti-cancer properties are being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere. A 2010 brain cancer study by California scientists found that CBD “enhances the inhibitory effects of THC on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival.” This means that CBD makes THC even more potent as an anticancer substance. Also in 2010, German researchers reported that CBD stimulates neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells, in adult mammals.
With that being said, let’s discuss the wonderful thing we call CBD oil. CBD, cannabidiol, is one of over 85 active cannabinoids identified in hemp and other cannabis plants. CBD oil is derived from hemp, due to its abundance naturally occurring in the plant. CBD oil is extracted using the whole plant, stalks or flowers. Since hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, CBD oil products are non-intoxicating.
‘CBD has proven anti-anxiety effects and may be helpful in depression, based on anecdotal reports,’ says Dr Gordon. ‘I use high CBD prescription cannabis medicine products as part of a mental health protocol with my patients suffering with anxiety and depression. The antidepressant effects of CBD have been shown in animal models, but we now need large, depression-specific studies in humans as the next step.’
Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication.
And without high-quality trials, experts don’t know how much is best for a given purpose. The staff at Roth’s dispensary told her, “Try some once or twice a day and see what happens.” (Half a dropper’s worth was a good amount for her.) One thing scientists feel confident about is that CBD is not dangerous. It won’t damage vital organs even at doses as high as 5,000 mg a day, Marcu says, and nobody has died from simply overdosing on a cannabis product.
Basically, cannabis is an umbrella term that includes both hemp and marijuana plants. Cannabis sativa is actually the scientific name of the cannabis plant (Cannabis = genus; sativa = species), and hemp and marijuana are just two different “varieties” of it (i.e. you could refer to both marijuana and hemp plants as “cannabis” plants, but you would not, for instance, refer to a “marijuana” plant as a “hemp” plant). Hopefully that’s not too confusing.
Quality is a particular concern, because cannabis plants easily soak up heavy metals from pesticides and other contaminants, Marcu says. If you are buying online, look for a company that documents how it tests its products. (If the website doesn’t indicate this, call and ask.) “Buying from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, because it matters how the plant is cultivated and processed,” Dr. Maroon says. One clue that a company is cutting corners: too low a cost. Good CBD is pricey—a bottle of high-quality capsules is sold in Cohen’s office for $140. But for many, it’s worth the money. Roth spent $60 on her tiny bottle. But when her energy returned the day she started taking CBD, she decided that was a small price to pay.
Although CBD oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, purchasing products stateside from one of the nine states where recreational and medical cannabis use is legal will likely result in a higher-quality product than buying one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research into CBD.
That being said, though, CBD isolate still has a very relevant place in the cannabis market. A lot of people, for instance, use it to concoct their own personal daily CBD remedies – they mix the pure powder with oil, or they add it into their coffee, or they make edibles out of it. Since it comes in an easily-measurable powder, it’s a great option for those individuals who are trying to calculate exact personal dosages of CBD medication by the milligram.
First you need to realize that there are more than 70 different cannabinoids that have been identified so far and over 500 constituents of cannabis including various terpenoids and flavonoids. In fact, the US government holds multiple patents on various cannabinoids. They also hold patents defining these cannabinoids many medical benefits. One of these cannabinoids which has shown a huge amount of potential is CBD or Cannabidiol and while its potential could not possibly be understated there is another cannabinoid making headlines as well. Tetrahydrocannabidiol otherwise known as THC.
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So, many of CBD's popularized benefits aren't well-proven. But are there any harms in trying CBD-containing products? In a word, yes. While any reported side effects from CBD alone are minor (think dry mouth and dizziness), they can be serious if the CBD products interact with other medications, experts say. Since CBD is metabolized by the same enzyme in the liver that metabolizes many conventional medicines and supplements, the chemical can cause the levels of other drugs in the system to rise; in some cases – like for those taking a drug to prevent their bodies from rejecting a donor organ – to a deadly level, Tishler says.
That leaves those touting CBD’s effectiveness pointing primarily to research in mice and petri dishes. There, CBD (sometimes combined with small amounts of THC) has shown promise for helping pain, neurological conditions like anxiety and PTSD, and the immune system—and therefore potentially arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and more.
In response to the FDA’s historic decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in September 2018 that it had removed Epidiolex from Schedule I classification, a category reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. Henceforth, Epidiolex would be considered a Schedule V drug, the least dangerous designation under the Controlled Substances Act.