Healthy folks vaguely looking to add a little spring in their step (via better sleep, reducing anxiety, or easing muscle soreness) drizzle a little oil into their smoothie or latte. They might also spot-treat with a dab of oil in problematic areas. In the past several years, published papers have suggested that the compound can help with a spectrum of medical conditions, including anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, addiction, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, fractures, migraines, psoriasis, and pain. In an animal study, purified extracts of CBD and THC appeared to slow the growth of a type of brain tumor.
CBD is one of over 110 active cannabinoids inside marijuana plants and is most predominant inside the resin glands (trichomes) of the female cannabis plant. Your body contains cell receptors known as cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids, found in cannabis, are agonists that bind to these receptors. Cannabinoid receptors can be found all over the body including, but not limited to, the:
There is a strong sedative quality to CBD hemp oil, making it a popular remedy for people with insomnia, sleeplessness, interrupted sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder, restless leg disorder, and other night-time issues. Dr. Scott Shannon, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA, published a report in the Permanete Journal, in which he recommended either inhaling a small amount of CBD oil, applying it to one’s chest, or even putting a few drops on one’s pillow to help get a good night’s sleep.
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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.
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.
CBD isolate is pure CBD, extracted and purified until none of the plant’s other constituent compounds remain. It has been isolated down to just the CBD molecule. This purity and potency is why it’s the preferred treatment for patients needing unadulterated doses of CBD and nothing else. It has no other active ingredients and its purpose is simply to deliver therapeutic doses of CBD. CBD isolate products often come as a white powder or a mix with a oil.
In another, a specific combination of CBD and other secondary cannabinoids were found to work together to slow tumor grown in cases of colon cancer. These sorts of synergistic effects are fairly common in whole plant extracts, and aren’t unique to cannabis. However, the sheer volume of active compounds in cannabis extracts, and their wide-ranging effects certainly distinguish them from other plants.
Although it may be better to consume CBD alone than nothing at all, it may not offer you the same range of positive effects as full spectrum CBD oil. With full spectrum CBD, not only will you get adequate CBD, but you’ll also consume dozens of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. As a result, your body will receive more than enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
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.
Another concern is about medications with which CBD might interact. This won’t be an issue with most drugs, says Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, M.D., Ph.D., a palliative medicine physician and scientist who studies cannabis and integrates it into his Seattle medical practice. The exceptions are blood thinners, IV antibiotics, and other drugs whose exact dosing is crucial and must be monitored closely, he says. (Of course, if you have a health problem, talk to your doctor before using CBD, and never take it instead of seeing your physician for a serious condition.)
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.
Zuardi, A. W., Crippa, J. A., Hallak, J. E., Bhattacharyya, S., Atakan, Z., Martin-Santos, R., … & Guimarães, F. S. (2012). A critical review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of a translational investigation [Abstract]. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 18(32), 5,131–5,140. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716160