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.
Scott Shannon, M.D., assistant clinical professor at the University of Colorado, recently sifted through patient charts from his four-doctor practice to document CBD’s effects on anxiety. His study, as yet unpublished, found “a fairly rapid decrease in anxiety scores that appears to persist for months,” he says. But he says he can’t discount a placebo effect, especially since “there’s a lot of hype right now.”
When extracting a pure botanical oil from hemp, a solvent is passed through the plant material, pulling the compound rich oil from the plant. The solvent is then removed in a purging process, leaving behind a concentrated oil. When extracting from hemp, the oil can next be formulated into finished products or further refined and purified into a number of forms, including a golden dewaxed concentrate or crystallized 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.
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.
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."
Instead, the human body manages cannabinoids through its endocannabinoid system, also known as ECS, which can process CBD and hemp oil through the body and is managed by the human brain, which uses cannabinoids to regulate the body's physiological reactions to the herb, and help better manage key human elements like eating, sleeping, dealing with pains and illnesses, and improving mood.
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.
We also grow our hemp in close rows, limiting the ability of weeds to establish themselves among our fields. Since we sow our hemp seeds close together, the shade from the fast growing hemp plants inhibit the growth of common weeds, negating the need to use herbicides that could cause contamination. Like with pesticides, we avoid using herbicides because they can affect local biological communities or be absorbed by our hemp plants and transferred residually to our customers.
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.
CBD Isolate is the purest supplement available. It’s a 99% pure CBD supplement derived from hemp oil. Despite its concentration, CBD isolate effects are similar to other CBD concentrates, and it can be used in a variety of ways. It can be consumed itself, added to foods and beverages, or vaporized. You can also add it to other CBD products to increase their potency.