For some time now, the word CBD has been increasingly popular as a plant chemical believed to have the potential to ease the symptoms of many common health conditions. It is often regarded as a magical elixir which has the answer to almost all our questions and perhaps to even reduce our anxiety and help us live healthy lives.
What is CBD?
CBD is the short form of cannabidiol, one of the numerous (over 100) cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant (weed or hemp). Contrary to popular belief, CBD is different from THC as it is not linked with any adverse side effects which can get you high. Cannabis is a plant-based product that has been used in medicinal contexts since 400 AD. Evidence of its use even dates back to 5,000 years ago in Romania. In the United States, cannabis was described in the United States Pharmacopoeia for the first time in 1850 and used as a patent medicine during much of the 19th century. At that time, the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant were initially attributed to the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant cannabinoid in hemp and marijuana.
For now, while it is quite hard to pinpoint the breakthrough research that brought CBD to the limelight, we should all be grateful it came through. Since its discovery in 1940 by Dr. Roger Adams and his team at the University of Illinois, and the description of its structure in 1963, CBD has recently been in the forefront of affairs as a potential remedy for a vast array of ailments including those affecting the nervous, digestive, musculoskeletal and hormonal system, to mention but a few.
Why is CBD so important today?
In December of 2018, the United States government officially recognized the agricultural benefits of hemp by signing into law the 2018 Farm Bill. This piece of legislation effectively reclassified hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), distinguishing it from other strains of cannabis considered illegal in the U.S.
Today, many are exploring using CBD to potentially ease the symptoms of many common health condition from inflammation and chronic pain to anxiety and depression. People are hopeful that CBD could be the answer they have been looking for to better manage their suffering. We recognize just how important this exploration is and support everyone in their journey for healing.
This vast level of activity is attributed to CBD’s ability to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
What is the role of ECS (Endocannabinoid system)?
The ECS plays an active role in psychological and cognitive processes including fertility, pregnancy, appetite, memory, pain and mood sensation. It also plays a key role in the physiological and cognitive effects of voluntary actions in humans and animals alike thus contributing to exercise, locomotor functions, motivation, and rewards. In short, the ECS strives to keep the body in a state of perfect harmony.
What is CB1 and CB2?
There are two types of receptors make up the ECS; CB1 and CB2.
CB1, which are mainly located in our nervous system, tissues, organs and more; and CB2, which is mainly found in our immune system. Cannabinoid receptors are spread throughout the body and have a powerful role to play in keeping us healthy.
How CBD works in the human body
Our body produces natural cannabinoids similar to CBD and THC.
Once CBD is present in the body, it mimics the body’s natural cannabinoid by influencing CB1 and CB2 receptors to elicit positive effects on the systems which depend on the ECS for their proper functioning. Unlike THC which directly binds to the CB1 and CB2 and elicit the “high” feeling.
The effects of CBD are not yet well understood and require more research. However, there have been studies that have shown the potential health benefits of CBD and they show there is a lot of promise.
Additionally, some researchers are of the view that some disease arises as a result of the deficiency in the supply of endocannabinoids known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency syndrome (CECD). The level of activity experienced after using CBD products are affected by the bioavailability of CBD.
What is bioavailability and why does it matter?
When we use a medicine or other substance, they pass through several pathways which activate the most active compound for use in our bodies. The total concentration of the compounds absorbed in the circulatory system and available for biological activity is known as bioavailability. The bioavailability of a medicine or other substance is affected by the concentration of the medicine or other substance taken, available receptors, body chemistry and method of application.
What are the different methods of taking CBD?
CBD is applied in two most popular ways; topical and oral application. In topical application, CBD is absorbed through the skin pores and interacts with the receptors within the skin without entering the bloodstream. This method of application is popular among those who are seeking a more localized effect and abstain from taking it internally. In an oral application, CBD is ingested through the mouth or under the tongue. There is no best method of application (or delivery) as it depends on the nature of the healing and preference.
Side effects of CBD
Contrary to popular belief about the side effects, it will interest you to know that hemp derived CBD shows little to no adverse side effects during use, although there are cases where it has interacted with over-the-counter prescription drugs to lead to adverse side effects. At the time of writing this, the major side effects identified with the use of CBD come in the form of weight gain, irregular appetite, drowsiness, and sleep.
Should children use CBD?
As stated earlier, recent scientific studies have found that our body produces cannabinoids, similar to those found in CBD and THC, which interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to control various bodily functions including appetite, sleep, rest, anxiety, depression, pain, and mood. Cannabinoids are even found in breast milk and thought to be important for proper growth.
In addition, on June 25th of 2018 the FDA approved the first plant-derived pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol medication known as EPIDIOLEX. This medicine is indicated for treatment of seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), Dravet Syndrome or Tuberous Sclerosis Complex in individuals over one year of age.
In order to allow minors to access medical cannabis in California, parental/ guardian consent along with a doctor’s recommendation or Medical Marijuana ID Card is necessary. If your child could potentially benefit from taking CBD, always consult your doctor prior taking further steps.
The potential benefits of using CBD
Although there is a need to back this up with more findings from scientific and clinical research and clinical trials in human, The National Institutes of Health database have listed about 150 studies involving CBD may be helpful for specific health conditions which include;
- Sleep problems
- Multiple Sclerosis
In conclusion, the buzz about CBD is mostly positive. Many have reported feeling improvement in various areas of their lives after taking CBD products, and there is some scientific evidence to support these claims, but there is still not enough data or human clinical trails on the long-term effects. However, there are promising studies and research that prove CBD products are nonintoxicating and are a good alternative to non-traditional medications.
It is important to note that the ideal dosage of a product will vary from person to person, depending on the bioavailability and quality of the product in question. Therefore, each individual should carefully consider their own needs when determining their dosage requirements.
If you’re considering implementing CBD in your wellness routine and have already advised your physician, make sure that you are purchasing it from a reliable and trustworthy source.
Don’t know where to start? Reach out at [email protected] and our team will be in touch.
Written by Katelynn Nguyen