Given CBD’s reputation as a popular, artisanal remedy, one would think that Epidiolex would command a lot of “off label” attention. After all, physicians often prescribe pharmaceuticals off label to treat conditions that were not the actual focus of clinical trials. But the costly price tag for Epidiolex (more than $30,000 annually) precludes off label prescribing as well as affordable access for tens of millions of Americans without health insurance.
Success stories like Oliver’s are everywhere, but there’s not a lot of data to back up those results. That’s because CBD comes from cannabis and, like nearly all other parts of the plant, is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule 1 drug—the most restrictive classification. (Others on that list: heroin, Ecstasy, and peyote.) This classification, which cannabis advocates have tried for years to change, keeps cannabis-derived products, including CBD, from being properly studied in the U.S.
There are thousands of unique varieties of hemp. The cultivars used for CBD oil contain significantly higher concentrations of CBD than others. Using these uniquely potent plants, it is possible to extract cannabis oil that contains significant levels of cannabidiol, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Cannabinol results from the degradation of THC. There is little of it in the fresh plant, but decarboxylation often raises the amount of CBN in the plant as an effect. CBN is only mildly psychoactive and has a higher affinity for the CB2 receptor than the CB1 receptor, linking CBN to the body’s immune system. In hemp oil, CBN is present in levels of 0.2% or lower.
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In the United States marijuana is still listed under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. However, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized clinical trials on a CBD-based drug that treats childhood-onset epilepsy. CBD oil also shows promise in treating intestinal conditions as well as anxiety, post-workout aches, inflammation, and some types of cancers. Additional conditions are neurological inflammation, oxidative injury, and schizophrenia.
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.
‘The media has no doubt helped drive this popularity,’ says Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director at Healthspan. ‘However, the main drive is because people who take it experience the benefits very quickly, and “word of mouth” is a powerful thing. CBD oil also has such a wide range of benefits, reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, ensuring a good night’s sleep, reducing pain perception and improving general feelings of wellbeing. It therefore appeals to a wide range of people.’
Our bodies are thought to produce endocannabinoids by the billions every day. “We always thought the ‘runner’s high’ was due to the release of dopamine and endorphins. But now we know the euphoria is also from an endocannabinoid called anandamide,” its name derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss, says Joseph Maroon, M.D., clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We produce these natural chemicals all day, but they fade quickly because enzymes pop up to destroy them. That’s where CBD comes in: By blocking these enzymes, CBD allows the beneficial compounds to linger. This is why Amanda Oliver, 31, a career consultant in Charleston, SC, pops a CBD gummy bear each night before bed. “I used to lie there tossing and turning as my mind raced from work projects to whether I had set the home alarm,” Oliver says. One piece of candy with 15 mg of CBD is enough to shut off her brain and facilitate sleep. She also swears by the CBD oil she takes at the height of her period, which she says quells her debilitating cramps.
‘I recommend starting with a low dose and slowly building up over a few weeks, to find the dose that works best for you,’ agrees Dr Brewer. ‘For example, start with Healthspan High Strength CBD Oil 6.4mg Capsules, taking one to three daily. Then, if needed, move up to Super Strength CBD 15mg Capsules, taking one to two daily. CBD is not psychoactive and is not addictive. I prefer capsules, as CBD drops have a strong taste, although filter-clear peppermint flavoured drops are available.’
Under federal law, cannabis (from which both CBD and marijuana are derived) is illegal everywhere, although the laws against it aren’t generally enforced in states that have legalized marijuana. Some manufacturers claim that CBD culled from legally imported industrial hemp, which has little to no THC, is fine to ship across the U.S., but many experts disagree, noting that because hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, all CBD falls under the DEA’s Schedule 1 designation. “This creative interpretation of the law runs afoul of reality,” says the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC, think tank.

‘I recommend starting with a low dose and slowly building up over a few weeks, to find the dose that works best for you,’ agrees Dr Brewer. ‘For example, start with Healthspan High Strength CBD Oil 6.4mg Capsules, taking one to three daily. Then, if needed, move up to Super Strength CBD 15mg Capsules, taking one to two daily. CBD is not psychoactive and is not addictive. I prefer capsules, as CBD drops have a strong taste, although filter-clear peppermint flavoured drops are available.’
'If you have a health condition, or are taking any prescribed or over-the-counter medicines, always check with your doctor or a pharmacist for possible drug supplement interactions before taking CBD,' says Dr Brewer. 'This is because CBD interacts with enzymes involved in metabolising some medicines and may result in increased drug levels that could cause side effects.

In isolate form, CBD is separated from other cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis. Previously, users and researchers believed that CBD isolates were more potent than full spectrum CBD hemp edibles. But that myth was eventually proven wrong by different studies performed in recent years. Therefore, full spectrum CBD oil is more effective than CBD isolate.
Cannabinol results from the degradation of THC. There is little of it in the fresh plant, but decarboxylation often raises the amount of CBN in the plant as an effect. CBN is only mildly psychoactive and has a higher affinity for the CB2 receptor than the CB1 receptor, linking CBN to the body’s immune system. In hemp oil, CBN is present in levels of 0.2% or lower.
CBD oil took the world by storm a few years ago when Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigated the cannabinoid’s ability to treat children with epilepsy. Initially, CBD oil was viewed as a medicine for the critically ill, but its appeal to the general public is surging. With few regulations, the CBD oil market is congested with questionable products. As a consumer of CBD oils, it is essential for you to know how they are made.

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.
For applications where pure CBD isn’t required, full spectrum CBD oil is the better alternative, as it provides patients the ancillary benefits associated with the many other cannabis compounds. However, important to note, is the issue of what medical conditions are best treated by either pure or full spectrum CBD oil, given the research is in its infancy. 
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In other words, many popular claims remain unfounded – and overlook the fact that there's a difference between CBD that's studied in labs for particular conditions and CBD products that are sold to consumers for general well-being. "What happens is people say, 'Look, CBD is harmless and it doesn't get me intoxicated, so I'm going to take it for what ails me," says Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard physician and CEO of InhaleMD, a Boston-area practice specializing in cannabis therapeutics. "Then they're going to get some perceived benefit because that's the way the placebo effect works, and then they go and trumpet this."
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.
If you haven’t been bombarded with CBD marketing or raves about it from friends, get ready. This extract—which comes from either marijuana or its industrial cousin, hemp—is popping up everywhere. There are CBD capsules, tinctures, and liquids for vaping plus CBD-infused lotions, beauty products, snacks, coffee, and even vaginal suppositories. Already some 1,000 brands of CBD products are available in stores—and online in states that don’t have lenient cannabis laws. This is a tiny fraction of what’s to come: The CBD market is poised to exceed $1 billion by 2020, per the Chicago-based research firm Brightfield Group.
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Before we directly compare the both, let’s break down what each is. Full spectrum CBD oil comes with all the cannabinoids present in hemp. If you see full spectrum hemp CBD oil for sale, it’ll include many cannabis compounds such as Cannabicycol (CBL), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA) and more. It also contains a very small amount of THC, (.3%, as is legally allowed).
No one’s really sure: “It’s astonishing that there’s still no real consensus on how CBD works,” says McLaughlin. “One thing we do know is that it doesn’t work through the same receptors as THC, and, in fact, seems to have the opposite effect.” THC mainly binds to a certain type of receptor (known as CB1) in the brain. But with CBD, he says, “there seems to be a lot of complex targets”—which means CBD may affect multiple pathways throughout the body.
It is important that you understand the basics of CBD, too. CBD is just one type of cannabinoid that is found in cannabis. Cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids, and CBD is just one of them. CBD is made from the stalks, leaves, and roots of the cannabis plant, unlike other strains that are all made in different ways. It also does not have any THC oil, which many of cannabis strains do. THC oil can induce sleepiness and a high just like it does in marijuana and weed. THC is also another strain belonging to the cannabis family again much like marijuana, weed, and hemp. Hemp has similar properties as CBD and it is also very much legal around the USA.
Unfortunately, you don’t. Even though more than half of all U.S. states now allow marijuana for medicinal purposes—and nine of those, plus Washington DC, allow it for recreational use—the Drug Enforcement Agency still views CBD as a banned substance and therefore doesn’t regulate it (since, in the eyes of the law, CBD shouldn’t be on the market). “I can start a company, put oil in a jar and sell it as CBD oil,” says McLaughlin—and no one has to vouch that what’s in there is for real. You have only the manufacturers word for it.
Dr. Devinsky’s research, which was recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, is beginning to provide that much-needed data in the field of epilepsy research. In a landmark multinational randomized double-blind study for a treatment-resistant form of the condition, subjects taking an oral solution of 20 mg CBD per kilogram of body weight for 14 weeks, along with standard treatment, experienced a 42 percent reduction in drop seizures (the muscles go limp). Those taking a 10 mg CBD per kilogram of body weight saw a 37 percent decrease; patients who got a placebo saw a 17.2 percent decrease. The mechanism hasn’t quite been worked out yet, Dr. Devinsky says, though there’s some evidence that a receptor known as GPR55 may be critical for the anti-seizure effect.
Extracting CBD from the hemp plant is just one part of the process for making CBD hemp oil. Extracted CBD oil is less than palatable. If the consumer’s desire is to make CBD oil part of their everyday routine, producers try to make the oil at least a little bit tasty. Also, consumers require a choice when it comes to the product’s potency, or the strength of the CBD oil-based product. Producers then need to dilute the raw CBD oil to accommodate their needs.
After seasonal harvests of specific cultivars, these high-CBD hemp crops are put through a specialized solvent-free extraction process to yield a hemp oil that is naturally high in cannabidiol. This high CBD oil is different from hemp oil that is used in cooking. This pure hemp extract is then tested for safety, quality, and cannabinoid content before being exported to our processing facilities in the United States. Importing any cannabis or hemp product into the United States is a complicated and serious task, so we leave nothing to chance before our high-CBD hemp oil makes its journey across the Atlantic Ocean.
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