CBD is cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is the compound that comes from the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant is better known as the marijuana plant, or more familiarly called “weed” or “pot.”
It is important to distinguish, however, that CBD is the non-psychoactive compound found in the plant, unlike weed’s close relative THC, which is Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is known for producing the effects of “getting high.”
CBD is getting more press these days as we are in an interesting time where the notorious plant is concerned. Both cannabis and hemp derive from the same cannabis sativa plant.
The cultivation and use of the plant have everything to do with whether it is grown as everyday pot or the more industrial hemp. Hemp has been a primary crop grown to produce textiles, rope and paper, among many other items.
Early Chinese culture recorded ancient techniques of sowing, cultivating and processing hemp going back to the Qin and Han dynasties from 221 BC to 220 AD. Xia Xiao Zheng, the oldest documented agricultural commentary references hemp as a main crop grown in China.
Hemp was so integral to the basic industry of civilization that it had become illegal for the settlers in colonial America not to grow it. It was Thomas Jefferson who demanded the reserve of an acre of the best ground be dedicated to growing hemp. As a footnote, the U.S. Constitution was drafted on hemp paper.
Recorded history from 1533 reveals King Henry VIII required farmers set aside 1/4-acre for every 60-acres of land specifically for the cultivation of hemp or else they faced financial penalties. It was at this time in history that scientists and physicians started to focus on the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
Not far from England, Portuguese physician Garcia Da Orta observed in 1563 how his servants responded to the effects of the cannabis plant.
He noted a happy countenance among them and that they did not seem to mind the work, but they did seem to have a craving for food. Could this have been the first documented case of the munchies?
About this same time, Chinese doctor Li Shizhen documented his observations of the anti-nausea effects of cannabis. We can credit Queen Victoria’s adventurous nature during the 19th century for making use of CBD-rich cannabis for its pain-relieving qualities.
Despite cannabis being known the world over for centuries, CBD has been a more recent discovery in terms of realizing the propitious nature of this healing plant.
It was not until 1940 that the CBD compound was isolated, though American organic chemist Roger Adams was unable to determine what this compound was.
It took another couple of decades for Israeli organic chemist Raphael Mechoulam to define the chemical structure of the isolated compound. This is what allowed chemists to confirm that CBD was a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
By the 1970s, the British Pharmacopoeia, a UK publication that provides quality standards for medicinal substances, released a licensed cannabis tincture for therapeutic use. This is the period in the history of CBD oilthat the interest and use of the plant for its potential medicinal benefits took off.
With the successful treatment of a rare seizure disorder, the story of Charlotte Figi ushered in the legal battle for CBD. The caveat, at least from a contentious perspective, is that the U.S. government patented the first CBD-based neuroprotectant therapy on October 7, 2003 under U.S. Patent #6,630,507.
Where it stands today is that CBD itself is legal in all 50 states though Federal regulations continue to classify cannabis as a Schedule I substance. Schedule I defines it as having a high potential for abuse but no accepted medical use. You are about to see how inappropriate that classification is.
Despite federal law declaring the use of cannabis illegal, compounds derived from cannabis have already been approved by the FDA for prescribed use. At the state level, existing laws regarding both recreational and medical use of cannabis vary greatly and conflict significantly with federal law.
Cannabinoid drugs that have gained FDA approval are listed as follows:
In addition, cannabidiol is sold online by retailers claiming their products are the non-psychoactive derivatives of cannabis, which makes them legal. However, while the DEA considers non-Epidiolex CBD a Schedule I substance, it has yet to act against any of these retailers.
CBD can be used as an oil, as water or a tincture, as capsules, in vaping, as an aerosol spray, as edibles and various lotions to treat the following:
This is not a complete list of what CBD can help to alleviate, but it does cover some of the most common uses. Since CBD functions as a regulator on the enzymatic process, it lowers the effect of THC’s psychoactivity, which explains why people do not get that high when using CBD-rich cannabis as opposed to consuming a THC-dominant medicine.
Without the mind-altering effects typically associated with the psychoactive THC, alcohol or psychedelic drugs, CBD is found to be a tamer alternative. What is more, CBD can either enhance or inhibit how the body’s receptor transmits signals to the brain by altering the shape of the receptor. This may have much to do with there yet to be a generally prescribed dosage of CBD.
At this point in time, there are challenges to the strains of CBD-rich cannabis since for so long, the plant has been cultivated to boost as much THC as possible.
Since CBD-rich cannabis does more on its own to curb the effects of THC, dosage recommendations are more of a suggestion with those trying out CBD attempting trial and error methods of reaching the acceptable range for what they want to treat.
Athletes are among many who find CBD relieves the body following a strenuous workout or demanding performances. People who struggle with mental illness find CBD helps calm some of their symptoms.
The conventional medical remedy has us taking a lot of OTC and prescription drugs, including steroids that can lead to even more damage over time.
A lot of people who use CBD find they replace their prescription or OTC pain relievers because of the lack of side effects. They also find CBD to be a more effective method of treatment.
Taking a moment to look at how CBD and our bodies are like a match made in heaven helps us to see that maybe we have been trying to make things fit with a serious piece of the puzzle missing.
Rather than delivering a momentary bout of euphoria, CBD acts with the body’s natural receptors to establish homeostasis, or a more natural balance in the body. It can be thought of as a tonic to heal the body whether proactively or reactively.
The most common use of CBD is to treat chronic pain. This is due in large part to its remarkable ability to help alleviate inflammation. As we are learning more about it these days, inflammation is at the root of much of what ails us.
It can lead to a whole host of deleterious diseases that are becoming epidemic such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even depression. Normally, inflammation is an integral part of the immune system response.
Injury to the body is met with inflammation, both as a defender and as a protector. Sentinel cells in the body release cytokines, which are specialized fighters.
When all systems are operating correctly, this realm of the immune system engages until the threat is over, and then it calls off this fierce protection mechanism.
However, when things go wrong, our own immune system can end up working against us. While doctors have answers for some of the reasons for an overfiring immune system, there are some diagnostic markers for the inflammation response that have no explanation.
Inflammation can tear down cellular integrity, damage arteries and attack healthy nerves, organs and tissues. Inflammatory cells produce free radicals, which researchers now know are what destroy genetic material.
The vicious cycle of more immune cells causing more inflammation as a result leads to the potential for deadly diseases to develop.
When you realize how nature seems to possess a kind of intelligence, it is chilling to see how certain natural match ups were simply meant to be. It wasn’t until 1993, however, that researchers discovered cannabinoid receptors within the immune and central nervous system.
The first studies in 1988 revealed a receptor in the brain of a rat that corresponded to THC. This receptor was found in the region of the brain responsible for the processes of memory, emotion, high cognition and motor coordination. This was a big deal.
These first two receptors were named. Typical, right? We discover something, and then we give it a name. These receptors were officially referred to as CB1 and CB2 receptors, but that’s not all. It was discovered that these receptors were found to be present within thousands of species, including humans.
Through some reverse engineering, researchers discovered an entirely unknown system of signaling in these receptors that corresponded to the receptors found in cannabis compounds. Long story short, the researchers also named these receptors. They called them endocannabinoids.
Ongoing research revealed that this newly discovered signaling system is a vital component in maintaining homeostasis, the ideal balance between the many interdependent elements in the body. When it came to naming this system, the choice was obvious: The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS.
We find ourselves at a time that is reminiscent of when the ancient doctors and healers around the world offered cannabis as a medicinal remedy because they witnessed its benefits firsthand.
Modern science has also been very busy in the last 50 years studying the crossroads where plant and animal chemistry combine to produce healing effects.
Continued research is necessary before the medical community appreciates the ubiquitous nature of the cannabinoid receptors in the body. Given the current understanding of neurochemistry, the political and social differences associated with cannabis and the Federal illegality of the substance, it has been historically difficult to conduct significant research.
While scientific studies on CBD have been ongoing since 1988, the body of research on the benefits of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids has grown exponentially in just the last 10 years.
These studies give us the ability to learn about the benefits of CBD with respect to treating specific symptoms as well as giving us some better ideas of the different dosages to use.
The list of CBD oil benefits is extensive simply because of how receptive our bodies are to this compound. We have endogenous cannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies, which tells us that CBD is integral to our wellbeing. This is what makes CBD as useful as both a preventive and healing compound.
There is much emphasis on health insurance policyholders to follow a health maintenance program that includes preventive care. It is no secret to medical professionals that the majority of what ails their patients is the result of not taking good care of their health.
Between our central nervous system, our immune system and all the organs in our bodies, we exist within the complexity of how brain activity affects the body.
We have the natural receptors throughout our systems that accept the beneficial signals CBD delivers as the mechanism that connects brain activity and our state of health or disease.
CBD is an integral aspect of maintaining a positive preventive health maintenance program.
CBD for Treating Epilepsy
While there has not been very much high-quality research into the use of CBD for treating epilepsy, there has been research done limited to refractory epilepsy in children. The treatment shows promise, although it has not resulted in eliminating seizures.
The FDA has approved an orally administered CBD solution by the brand name Epidiolex. It is used to treat two rare forms of the disease.
Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes and Obesity
Are you working to achieve a smaller waist circumference? Do you struggle to reduce your body mass index? Are you at risk of becoming obese and diabetic?
A single report published from 2011 in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded obesity rates among the more than 52,000 participants who used cannabis decreased by one-third. In this example, we get to see how CBD gives and takes at the same time.
As most people know, THC makes you hungry. This is the result of the stimulation of the ghrelin hormone. At the same time, however, cannabis users also experienced an increase in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
The research demonstrated that CBD benefits weight loss in the way it helps the body convert fat, promote insulin production and metabolize sugar.
Emerging research continues to shed light on the interplay between insulin regulation and how cannabinoids operate in the body. This presents the potential for a breakthrough in the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease through Better Cholesterol Profiles
Good heart health is linked to diet and lifestyle. Western nations are known for the common occurrence of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. The research suggests that endocannabinoid signaling, or the effect of how ECS and CBD interact, plays a powerful role in the pathology of artherogenesis.
Lesions are the result of the immune system stimulating inflammation as a response to injury to the lining in the arterial walls, high blood pressure, infectious microbes or the presence of homocysteines.
Conventional remedies are only moderately effective with the potential for many side effects whereas CB2 receptors are three times responsive.
CBD allows anandamide and 2-AG to decrease this inflammatory response. Once again, we see how the body’s natural cannabinoids are set to the task of healing quite powerfully.
Researchers followed up the evidence of a 2005 animal trial with a report that confirmed CBD had broad therapeutic potential for a variety of conditions, not the least of which was atherosclerosis.
Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
Is it possible to help prevent tumors and other cancers before they grow? A 2012 laboratory study demonstrated how animals treated with CBD were far less likely to develop colon cancer despite being subjected to carcinogens.
Repeated studies show a decrease in the incidence of tumors. In 2015, analysis of the medical records for more than 84,000 male patients in California produced convincing results. For those men who used cannabis versus tobacco, they had a bladder cancer rate that was 45 percent below the normal frequency.
Topicals are the best used for treating and preventing skin cancers, although continued research focuses on achieving the optimal ratio of CBD to THC for best results.
Cannabinoids definitively help protect brain cells from damage or death, thus keeping this organ healthy for proper functioning. What is more, CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.
The aging brain slows down. New cells are needed to maintain brain health and prevent disease. In 2008, a study demonstrated how CBD treatment encouraged new nerve cell creation in animal models. This was even true for animals with aging brains.
Nerve-related diseases such as neuropathy as related to diabetes can be helped and prevented with CBD. It is also helpful in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
CBD and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Inflammation is engaged in a broad spectrum of diseases. The therapeutic potential of CBD in treating inflammation is impressive. CBD has proven to be a systematic anti-inflammatory and might very well end up proving to be a missing link to human survival.
CBD for Relief of Anxiety and Stress
Using CBD to treat anxiety is actually a remedy that reaches back to a Vedic text, circa 2000 BCE. It remains to this day one of the most common uses of cannabis among many cultures. CBD consistently reduces anxiety when in higher concentrations than the plant itself.
Centering on both the limbic and paralimbic brain areas, the stress reducing effect of CBD has been demonstrated in repeated animal and human studies to lessen anxiety. In our busy lives, that has to be a breath of fresh air for those who struggle with the intensity of stress and anxiety.
It is not difficult to over-consume CBD oil. It is best advised that you start with a minimal dose to see how it affects you personally. It can take hours or longer before you feel the effects after consumption.
Best practices would be to work with a health care practitioner who is experienced in medicinal cannabis and CBD oil. Dosage and delivery methods can be monitored and developed through fine-tuning on an individual basis. This does not diminish the experience of the cannabinoid user who can be their owned highly informed and educated health consultant.
Finding the right dosage for treating pain is critical. Start small and go up from there to test sensitivity. The variables are body weight and symptoms. Careful monitoring of your condition, symptoms and experimenting to achieve the right formula should be enough to arrive at the right dosage.
CBD administered orally with a ratio of 20:1 or higher may be in the form of capsules, drops or edibles. For immediate relief of pain in the case of a flare-up, both vaporizing or smoking prove effective lasting from one to three hours. Most ingested products take longer to take effect, although they also last much longer from six to eight hours.
Sublingual, or under-the-tongue, sprays or tinctures in the form of liquid drops are another speedy method of delivery. You have some of the largest blood vessels on the underside of your tongue, and the medicine is easily absorbed there.
Vaporizers give another method of effective delivery. CO2 cartridges contain concentrations with variable ratios of CBD and THC. The herbal vaporizer makes use of the whole plant and is another effective method of delivery.
When CBD-rich products are not enough to ease symptoms, you can try products that provide a higher ratio of THC. Some strains are better for use at night when their relaxing, sedative effects are best for nighttime for sleep.
Research combining user feedback indicate a ratio of 4:1 CBD:THC, in general, provides a very effective formula for both inflammatory and neuropathic pain. This is subjective, however, as some people are just fine on a 1:1 ratio as each person’s tolerance and sensitivity may differ.
Just as the dosages of CBD are still in the experimental phase, if you intend to combine lavender and CBD or THC, you can take the currently recommended dosages as they relate to the different applications and go from there keeping in mind that similar effects magnify.
In conclusion, it is clear to see the far-reaching and powerful effects of using CBD to treat and prevent so many conditions. It makes sense when you think about the beauty of nature and how perfectly we are suited to life on this planet.
We are indeed on the precipice of realizing a harmony with nature that perfectly matches the homeostasis CBD helps to establish in our own bodies. When you can treat chronic conditions with success finding relief, there are few words that can sum up the benefit of that.
As research continues and more conditions are treated that lead to more FDA approvals, there is hope that this compound will soon be seen for the wonderful remedy that it is.
For those who are keen on seeking natural alternatives to strong and many times problematic pharmaceuticals, there is certainly hope for maintaining the kind of life that just makes sense.
If you are considering using CBD oil to treat health issues, first determine if it is legal in your state. Then, seek consultation with a healthcare provider versed in the use of CBD oil to determine if it is an appropriate treatment for you.
While CBD oil remains unregulated, you must be your own watchdog when it comes to the safe and effective use of CBD oil that you buy. There are many products available, but many of them are incorrectly labeled and could cause harm to consumers.
While it is wise to follow the caveat, “Buyer Beware,” this is also an avenue of help you can explore with a healthcare practitioner for the best recommendations. So, while we wait for the rest of the nation to embrace the benefits of using CBD oil, here’s to your great good health.