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.
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.
Yes: CBD extracts can’t always be trusted. A 2017 JAMA paper reported that almost 70 percent of all CBD products sold online do not contain the amount of CBD stated on the label. Of the 84 products bought from 31 different companies, 42 percent contained a higher concentration of CBD oil than the label claimed, and 26 percent of the products contained less than the label claimed. The remainder of products contained the labeled amount—give or take 10 percent.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
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And, if you do luck out and get a tincture truly containing CBD, you'll likely dish out $200 or so to take 10 to 40 milligrams daily. Since research participants take closer to 1,000 milligrams a day, it's hard to imagine a benefit without drinking the whole (expensive, calorie-dense) bottle, Tishler says. "Most people will adjust their doses based on what they're comfortable spending," Asquith says.
‘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.’
The appeal? Proponents claim CBD can help ease pain, anxiety, depression and stress, boost focus and productivity, improve the immune system, reduce inflammation and more. And – unlike its psychoactive cousin THC – CBD, they say, is harmless, legal and can't get you high. "The known is it's good for you, it helps a lot of people and a lot of things, and you can't hurt yourself," says Phil Asquith, a farmer and producer of extra-virgin olive oil in California, who founded one of the first companies in the CBD space. "The unknown is all the details."
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."
There are a number of potential solvents that can be used to extract CBD oil from the hemp plant. Some companies choose to use dangerous chemical solvents in their extraction process. However, this opens the end user to residual contamination from any solvent that is left unpurged from the oil. To extract our CBD oil from our hemp crops, we use supercritical CO2.
First, ethanol is a polar solvent. This means that it will readily mix with water and dissolve water-soluble molecules. This creates a great challenge for companies using the ethanol extraction method because chlorophyll is one of the compounds that will easily co-extract. Chlorophyll in the concentrate will result in a dark green coloring and an unpleasant bitter, grassy flavor.
From anecdotal evidence in humans and from animal studies, CBD appears to affect the way we experience pain, inflammation, and anxiety. “Scientists have identified a number of receptors in the nervous system where CBD acts,” says Orrin Devinsky, MD, professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry at NYU Langone. “It’s established that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can increase activity at some serotonin [the feel-good neurotransmitter] receptors.”
CBD hemp oil is the product derived from the hemp plant, which is high in CBD (cannabidiol) and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This oil has received a large amount of attention in recent years, due to the growing wave of marijuana legislation and debate in many countries, including the United States. While cannabis and smoking marijuana (which often has a high level of the psychotropic compound THC) is still illegal in many places, as more is being learned about CBD, and its potential effects on health, it is becoming more and more accepted as a legal and safe remedy for a wide variety of health conditions. Since it has a minimal amount of the psychotropic compound THC, use of this oil does not result in a traditional “high”, so its effects are generally considered therapeutic, not mind-altering.
Full spectrum CBD, like hemp oil, contains every cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. This means cannabidiol, cannabicyclol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, and cannbichromevinaric acid, to name a few. In full spectrum CBD oil, there is nothing held back or left out. These mixed together compliment each other and produce an entourage effect. This effect is good for the health of the user because the individual is taking all of the properties of all the terpenes and cannabinoid mixed together. All of these combined properties make the user absorbent of more effective effect and treatment. The treatment is very much beneficial for the health of the user hence that is why many users consider the full spectrum CBD far better than Isolate is CBD. Most products of CBD are from full-spectrum CBD.
When looking at isolate, it is important to verify the purity. While many are in the 99.9+% range with no identifiable amounts of THC, there are lower purity ones (such as 99.5% or lower) that may still have trace amounts that show up on the labs. This small amount is typically negligible, and is nowhere near the amount usually found in full spectrum products. But it’s still something to be aware of for those seeking the purest they can find.
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.
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.
Lab techs use state of the art equipment to create phase changes in carbon dioxide by utilizing temperature and pressure. The carbon dioxide is cooled and compressed to upwards of 10,000 psi – by comparison your car tire is pressurized to about 300 psi. When compressed to these extremes, CO2 becomes ‘supercritical’, which simply means that it converts to liquid when placed under extreme pressure.
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.
It probably depends on each individual’s preference, but many researchers support the effects of the full spectrum CBD. They say that the full spectrum’s healing factors through the “entourage effect” are very useful for the treatment of any of the chronic condition. This is why the full spectrum CBD has to be part of the ingredients, not the isolate non-pure one.
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.
There's also the question of CBD's legality – something that's a lot grayer than the black-and-white picture most companies paint. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers CBD, like all cannabinoids, a schedule 1 drug. That means it's just as illegal as heroin and ecstasy. Meanwhile, hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – is legal , so long as its THC content is negligibly low. But because the agriculture department doesn't test for CBD – only THC – in hemp, more companies are getting away with selling products they say contain CBD, says Sara Jane Ward, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine who's been studying CBD in rodent models for more than 10 years. Needless to say, the legality of CBD is "very confusing and very gray," she says.