What is CBD oil and how does it work?
Everywhere you look, CBD, cannabidiol is in the spotlight. Why all the sudden hype surrounding this particular cannabinoid? Past research on cannabis concentrated on the effects of THC (delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive cannabinoid.
CBD Oil Doesn’t Get You High
CBD, one of the two predominant cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, does not get you high. It, therefore, lacks the stigma attached to THC and may provide similar benefits without the distracting effects. Currently, CBD oil’s efficacy is mostly anecdotal, although there are solid scientific grounds for its proposed efficacy. Meta-analyses and randomized control trials are currently underway, as laboratory research races to catch up to overwhelmingly positive reviews that are hard to ignore.
CBD Oil Comes From Hemp
Extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant, CBD oil is made from hemp, rather than marijuana. The difference between the two has to do with their THC content. If a Cannabis sativa plant exhibits less than <0.3% THC, it is classified as hemp. It is classified as marijuana if THC levels exceed >0.3% THC.
Is CBD Legal?
The US Federal government legalized the production of hemp at the end of 2018 with the passing of the Farm Bill. The FDA’s approval of Epidiolex11, an ethanol-extracted form of cannabidiol also lead to widespread media attention. CBD has since been legally segregated and separately classified from THC.
What Is CBD Oil Used to Treat?
Many now associate the use of CBD oil and other CBD products with pain relief. This cannabinoid has been used to treat an even wider range of health issues. These include, but are not limited to Inflammation, Anxiety, Stress, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Generalized pain, Nausea, Insomnia, Depression, Epilepsy, PTSD, muscle spasms, and more.
Who Recommends CBD Oil?
As most of the salient information on CBD oil’s effectiveness is anecdotal, many medical practitioners find themselves awaiting further studies to back up these findings. If you find that a medical practitioner is hesitant to recommend CBD oil for treatment, it is likely for this reason.
In the meantime, CBD oil has many vocal supporters in the media. Dr. Oz and Sanjay Gupta report on it with confidence and regularity4. Pro-golfer Bubba Watson is very forthcoming about CBD’s influence on his game3. And even Carl’s Jr. did a little cooking with CBD.7
While we wait for science to catch up to anecdotes, how do we know that CBD oil actually works? It just so happens that we all have an internal system that cannabis has the keys to.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
ECS 101: What Does It Do?
Dr. Ruth Ross, who has studied the ECS for almost 30 years, jokes that even if you haven’t smoked cannabis, you still have an Endocannabinoid System.9 Its vital actions begin in utero before we are even born.
“Lock and Key” Mechanism
The ECS plays an essential role in homeostasis across systems. In general, our bodies are designed to respond to the environment, react accordingly, and return to a balanced state. The ECS is involved in the mobilization of emotions and actions, much like the fight or flight response triggered by your brain’s amygdala. When triggered, the amygdala releases adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones act like keys that unlock emergency responses in cells.
How Does the ECS Work?
The ECS works similarly. Like the fight or flight response, the ECS is also alerted to changes in the internal or external environment. Endocannabinoids, produced in the brain, are released to act on CB receptors sites CB1 and CB2 throughout the body.
When Does the ECS Release Endocannabinoids?
Produced by the human brain, endocannabinoids are responsible for stimulating appetite, reducing stress and anxiety. They initiate many pain relief mechanisms. When the fight or flight response subsides, the ECS regulates stress hormone levels. By inducing homeostasis, the ECS reduces the inflammatory effects of stress hormones across body systems. The ECS is highly sophisticated and appears to encourage positive, healthful states. Studies have shown that endocannabinoids increase by almost 42% in response to dancing as well as singing!9 There isn’t a jazz musician in the world who would be surprised to hear that.
How Do Cannabinoids Fit in With the ECS?
While the medical community still has many unanswered questions about CBD, THC’s effect on the ECS is very well understood. THC, a phytocannabinoid, happens to have the same form as an endocannabinoid and fits perfectly into the CB1 and CB2 receptor sites in our brain and tissues. By doing so it either mimics the ECS or disrupts it.
THC and the ECS
The ECS is designed to avoid over-activation. The system will down-regulate accordingly to reach homeostasis. Fewer endocannabinoids are produced when enough appear to be circulating in the body. THC occupies the CB receptors originally designed to accommodate endocannabinoids. When THC is absorbed, it causes this natural down-regulation.
CBD and CBD Oil as a Medicine
While studies catch up to anecdotes attesting to the positive effects of CBD oil, many new-comers are interested in trying it out for themselves.
Three Types of CBD Oil
CBD is isolated for use in three ways. Full-spectrum CBD oil uses the whole cannabis flower. These CBD oils will contain all the powerful natural components of the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. Full-spectrum CBD oils are designed to simulate the ‘entourage effect’, the chemical synergy produced by the full array of compounds found in hemp.
2500mg CBD Tincture by Daily is a full-spectrum CBD tincture in a higher concentration. These CBD tinctures come in lower concentrations for more generalized use. 1250mg CBD Tincture by Daily and 250mg CBD Tincture by Daily are solid examples. CBD Capsules by Array are a good alternative full-spectrum CBD alternative for users who dislike the flavour of CBD tincture.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil uses the entire cannabis flower during extraction and then removes the THC. CBD isolate is 99.9% CBD with no other cannabinoids or compounds present. While it is the purest form of CBD available, it is also the least true to the natural plant and won’t deliver the entourage effect. At SacredMeds, the vast majority of our CBD products are made with full-spectrum CBD.
What to Look for in CBD Tincture
The way CBD oil is extracted from hemp is also important in determining its quality. CO2 extraction is considered the gold standard of safety and purity. A solvent or ethanol-extracted CBD product will contain trace amounts of the solvent and is therefore considered less pure. Batch testing reports are a good sign, indicating regular laboratory analysis. Many of these products have QR codes right on the product that bring up these lab results when scanned. The transparent analysis also guarantees that there are no contaminants, heavy metals, pesticides, or other undesirable extraction by-products in your CBD oil.
Promising Uses for CBD Oil
Those suffering from ailments and diseases categorized by inflammation claim that CBD oil provides relief from their symptoms. Such ailments can include Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, general pain, inflammatory conditions, inflammatory bowel diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. 800mg CBD:200mg THC by Daily can be used in combination with the more concentrated 2500mg CBD Tincture by Daily. Having the option to add a micro-dose of THC, like 300mg THC by Daily, to a pain-management protocol can make a huge difference on difficult days that need the dose of euphoria. Patients suffering from this level of pain are often prescribed opiates. At SacredMeds, we are strong advocates for natural remedies to harmful, addictive pharmaceuticals.
In the executive summary of a study considering the efficacy of cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs, it was found that “Cannabinoids may also be beneficial in certain types of cancers that are triggered by chronic inflammation. In such instances, cannabinoids can either directly inhibit tumor growth or suppress inflammation and tumor angiogenesis”.8
Treatment for Stress and Anxiety
Endocannabinoids serve to regulate stress responses and emotions in the body. As CBD is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid, it is hypothesized that it could be used to effectively manage stress and anxiety. Studies have shown its effectiveness in treating pediatric forms of PTSD and insomnia.10
A dose of cannabinoid-infused edibles about an hour or two before bed is an effective treatment for insomnia. CBD Peach Jelly Bombs by Twisted Extracts is a pure CBD edible that can help with calming before bed. For serious issues with sleep, edibles with THC are recommended. When converted by the liver, THC becomes 11-hydroxy-THC, a heavy sedative. Some edibles provide a balance between CBD and THC like 1:1 Indica Cara-Melts by Twisted Extracts or their counterpart 1:1 Sativa Cara-Melts by Twisted Extracts.
The Bottom Line on CBD Oils
While the efficacy of CBD oils awaits further human-based meta-analysis studies before receiving wide medical approval, anecdotal evidence is abundant. High-quality CBD oils are widely considered safe to use in the treatment of many ailments. CBD oil and cannabis products in general currently present a promising, non-addictive alternative to widely prescribed opioids.
- Abdel-Shafy, H. I. and Mansour, M. S. M. (2016) “A review on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: Source, environmental impact, effect on human health and remediation,” Science Direct, Egyptian Journal of Petroleum, [online] Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110062114200237 (Accessed 19 January 2021).
- Anderson, PharmD, L. A. (2020) “List of Schedule 1 Drugs,” Drugs.com, [online] Available from: https://www.drugs.com/article/csa-schedule-1.html (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Church, B. and Riddell, D. (2019) “’It was a no brainer’: Bubba Watson on using CBD products in golf,” CNN, [online] Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/02/golf/cbd-bubba-watson-golf-pga-tour-spt-intl/index.html (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Doctor Oz (Evergreen post/2021) “What’s Next For CBD? What Dr. Sanjay Gupta Predicts About Its Future,” Doctor Oz, [online] Available from: https://www.doctoroz.com/article/what-s-next-cbd-what-dr-sanjay-gupta-predicts-about-its-future (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Downs, D. (2016) “The Science behind the DEA’s Long War on Marijuana,” Scientific American, [online] Available from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-behind-the-dea-s-long-war-on-marijuana/ (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Hill, K. P., Palastro, M. D., Johnson, B. and Ditre, J. W. (2017) “Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28861509/ (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Judkis, M. (2019) “Carl’s Jr. is rolling out a CBD burger, but don’t get your hopes too high,” The Washington Post, [online] Available from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2019/04/17/carls-jr-is-rolling-out-a-cbd-burger-but-dont-get-your-hopes-too-high/ (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Amcaoglu Rieder, S., L Hegde, V. and Nagarkatti, M. (2010) “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/ (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Ross, D.R. (2019) Demystifying the endocannabinoid system. | Ruth Ross | TEDxMississauga, TEDx Talks, [online] Available from: https://youtu.be/8GsmTFytBYI (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- Shannon MD, ABIHM, S. (2016) “Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/ (Accessed 21 January 2021).
- USFDA (2018) “FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy,” USFDA, [online] Available from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms (Accessed 21 January 2021).