With increased popularity and attention around CBD comes both documented research and troubling misconceptions. The onslaught of information, whether fact or fiction, adds a level of complexity when attempting to learn more about CBD and its potential health benefits. At CBD Snapshot, we hope to provide clarity to those misconceptions and provide you with an accurate picture of what this age-old cannabis compound is all about.
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a compound produced by the variety of the cannabis plant often referred to as hemp. You will find CBD in a variety of products including tinctures, drops, edibles, topicals and pet care items.
So why is there is so much confusion surrounding CBD? Until recently, it was categorized as a controlled substance, which rendered it illegal. Like marijuana, CBD comes from the cannabis plant. However, unlike marijuana, the hemp strain of the cannabis plant contains little to no THC (the psychoactive property that contributes to the feeling of being high).
Another confusing distinction to understand is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil. Hemp oil is the oil extracted from hemp seeds and is generally used for cooking and as a dietary supplement. Hemp oil does not contain CBD or other cannabinoids. CBD oil, on the other hand, is made by extracting the essential oils from the plant’s flower clusters. It contains cannabinoids, terpenes and other active compounds.
To further distill these two facts… CBD will not get you high and hemp oil does not have the same potential healing properties of CBD.
CBD in History
Although CBD may be considered an emerging trend, it has a rich history dating back to ancient China around 6000 B.C. with medical applications appearing around 2700 B.C. Throughout the ages, cannabis appears as a remedy utilized by many civilizations including those of Ancient Greece, Egypt and the Roman Empire.
By the 16th century, cannabis was being cultivated throughout Europe and arrived to the North American colonies in the 1600s. During the 18th century, hemp’s medicinal uses were documented in The New England Dispensatory and Edinburgh New Dispensatory—two highly respected pharmacopeias of the day.
In the early 20th century, medicines such as opioids began to be developed, which resulted in the decline of cannabis-based preparations used for pain relief. The 1930s ushered in the war on cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis became illegal. In 1970, cannabis cultivation was banned by the Controlled Substances Act, which listed cannabis—both hemp and marijuana—as Schedule I substances with “no medicinal benefits” and a “high risk of dependence.”
However, as the 1970s progressed, cannabis extracts were once again being used for healing. A quarter of a century later, in 1996, the state of California legalized the medicinal use of cannabis for a list of serious medical conditions.
CBD has been rapidly gaining acceptance in the U.S. as a result of media coverage by respected health experts such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and medical reporter. Modern technology has provided methods of refining and isolating CBD, and even increasing the bioavailability (the amount of a substance which enters the circulation to enable an active effect) of CBD oil through technologies such as nanoemulsions, which make CBD water-soluble and increases its potency. In December of 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp as crop, consequently boosting the sales and distribution of CBD in both natural and mainstream retail stores. National drugstore chains such as Walgreens and CVS are currently selling CBD in select markets.
How CBD Works
Cannabinoids are active compounds produced by all cannabis plants. They account for most of the intended health benefits of cannabis. Cannabinoids found in plants are technically called phytocannabinoids and they mimic compounds, which we call endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are created by the body from foods such as fatty acids (i.e. salmon, nuts, seeds, etc.).
The Entourage EffectThe combination of cannabinoids and terpenes is known as the entourage effect. In the case of cannabis, these cannabinoids and terpenes work together to increase the healing benefits of the plants individual components. More research is needed to determine the specific role that terpenes play in the overall effects of CBD oil, but it appears that terpenes work in concert with cannabinoids to deliver a more robust effect than CBD alone.
TerpenesTerpenes are a class of volatile hydrocarbon compounds produced by the cannabis plant as well as most other plants. Terpenes are significant because they perform synergistically with the phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant and have their own unique healing benefits as well. There are 200 unique terpenes in cannabis with the four most common being limonene, B-caryophyllene, linalool and B-myrcene. An example of this synergist relationship can be illustrated by limonene, which is believed to work with CBD to alleviate depression and anxiety.
Other Cannabidiol FunctionsAlthough cannabinoids are mainly known for the role they play in the human endocannabinoid system, they also function in other ways. For example, cannabinoids are said to have antioxidant effects. Antioxidants are molecules in cells that prevent free radicals from doing damage. Vitamin C is an example of an antioxidant. This is why it’s suggested that CBD can help support overall health and wellness.
The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS)The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) has two components: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system and, to some extent, other tissues. CB2 receptors can be found in immune cells, the gastrointestinal track and the peripheral nervous system. Consider Cannabinoids and human receptors to have a lock-and-key relationship. Endocannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors and send a message to the body to do specific things. This could potentially aid in a variety of human function including appetite, sleep, mood, pain, metabolism, immune response, the lifespan of cells and much more. This is the reason that CBD, both through documented research and anecdotal evidence, points to an effect on such a wide range of conditions.
Types of CBD
Not all CBD is created equal and therefore it’s important to understand the terminology and product descriptions as you prepare to purchase. Outlined below are some of the various types of CBD:
One Size Does Not Fit All
There are several important factors that come into play when determining the onset time of various methods of administration of CBD oil. Some of these variables are related to CBD itself, and others are related to how the human body reacts to CBD. Because of unique genetics, no two people react to CBD oil in the same way. Furthermore, factors such as age, health, weight, circulation and metabolism can all affect the onset time of the effects of CBD oil.
A factor that can be influenced by all of the above is the number of cannabinoid receptors in the body, how they are expressed, and the ability of the body to produce endocannabinoids. An individual who expresses more receptors or produces fewer endocannabinoids may be more sensitive to CBD than someone with an abundance of endocannabinoids or a lack of receptors.
There are also numerous other factors involved, such as the type of product being used, how it’s being used and how much is being used. For example, the onset of edibles will typically be longer than that of tinctures. The onset time of inhaled CBD is virtually instantaneous. The onset time of edibles and capsules can range anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour. And the onset time of tinctures can take up to 20 minutes.
CBD Delivery Methods
Consider the following when deciding which CBD application is best suited for your needs:
Oils and TincturesTinctures generally come in a glass bottle with a dropper. They have a relatively quick onset time and higher bioavailability than edibles. These can be a better choice if you suffer from conditions such as anxiety. The downside of tinctures and oils is that they don’t travel well.
CBD Oil CapsulesCBD oil capsules are generally delivered orally and convenient to use on-the-go. Capsules are made with gelatin, which melts within minutes in your stomach and delivers the entire serving of CBD oil. Depending on whether you take them with food, very little is likely to make its way through the rest of your digestive system. Another downside of capsules is that they have a longer onset time.
Inhalation MethodsThere are two devices used to prepare CBD for inhalation: vaporizers and nebulizers. Vaporizers essentially heat a CBD oil preparation to a temperature where it evaporates into a gas. These are very popular and easy to find. Nebulizers simply convert a solution containing CBD into a mist or cloud. The faster onset time and higher bioavailability are obvious benefits of inhalation methods. A potential downside of vaporizers is that some ingredients are believed to be harmful when vaporized. For example, many vape oil solutions contain a petroleum-based chemical known as polyethylene glycol (PEG) — the same thing that’s used as a coolant and antifreeze in car radiators. Although this product has been approved by the FDA for use in foods, some studies have suggested that vaporized PEG can be harmful to the lungs.
CBD-Infused TopicalsCBD-infused topicals include skin creams, balms, salves and oils. These products can be infused with pure CBD, or they can contain a full-spectrum CBD oil, which contain other potentially beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. Topicals often have a variety of intended beneficial ingredients meant to contribute to the overall therapeutic effects. For example, skin creams may contain moisturizers, vitamin E, collagen and so on. Pain creams may contain ingredients meant to help the product penetrate deeper into tissues and aid in pain relief. Salves may contain other soothing and healing ingredients such as aloe. Topicals are great for use on a particular area of skin or underlying muscles and joints. They deliver the CBD and other beneficial ingredients directly where they can target relief. CBD-rich oils are great for moisturizing. They provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to protect skin from damage. CBD oils often contain vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which are produced naturally along with the oil.
What’s the Right Serving Size for Me?
The most effective or appropriate serving of CBD depends on a number of factors including the product being used, the concentration of the CBD in the product, genetic makeup, sex, weight and other variables.
Some CBD products list a recommended serving size. However, without taking into account all of the variables, the recommended serving size may be too low or too high. Additionally, the serving size will vary greatly depending on how it is consumed. For example, oils taken from a dropper are more difficult to measure.
Important factors to consider are that both serving size and duration of use depend on the reason the individual is using it. One person may use CBD as a supplement to support health and wellness, while another might use CBD for a specific condition. Another factor to be considered is whether the product being used contains a full-spectrum CBD with terpenes.
Given the range of considerations, determining your ideal serving size requires some consideration. Taking too little will not produce the desired effect and will be a waste of time and money. Alternatively, taking more than you need may not provide additional benefits. It will take some research and experimentation to determine an ideal serving size for a particular person.
Below are some general guidelines for determining a serving size of CBD oil, but make sure to speak with your doctor before introducing CBD into your wellness plan:
It’s important to note that CBD is non-toxic. Research into CBD’s effects on the human body has shown that CBD is well-tolerated in humans. You would have to consume quite a bit of CBD oil before it results in any truly adverse health effects. There is no known record of anyone ever being poisoned by or overdosing on CBD. However, taking more CBD than needed might cause some unwanted effects so determining the right serving size is important.
Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD oil has been studied for its possible role in treating a number of conditions such as depression, anxiety, heart disease and acne. Research is ongoing and new therapeutic uses are expected over time. In spite of the fact that there is more to learn regarding the safety and efficacy of CBD, recent studies suggest that it may provide a safe and natural treatment for many health issues. The following is a list of some of the conditions upon which CBD’s effects have been, or are being, studied:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Spinal cord injuries
The current state of CBD as an industry is sometimes referred to as the “Wild West” due to both its recent ascent onto the health scene and the lack of defined regulation on behalf of the FDA. For these reasons and others, CBD Snapshot endeavors to shine a light on this often misunderstood and stimagized compound.
The best approach to exploring the potential benefits of CBD is to do your research through trusted resources, discuss it with your physician, monitor your results and modify when necessary. The signing of the 2018 Farm Bill will open doors to more documented research further defining the benefits of, what is considered by many to be, the most significant health trend of recent times.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that we inform you that the efficacy of CBD oil products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research as a treatment for any medical condition. The information in this document is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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