CBD oil: What is it and how is it used?
Why is CBD oil so popular?
CBD, cannabidiol, has gained a fair bit of recent notoriety in popular media. Although THC (delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD’s psychoactive counterpart, is well-studied and understood, it still faces some culturally ingrained stigmas. Despite overwhelming evidence for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits, there is a lingering fear that if a plant gets you high, it must be bad. This may be a cynical over-simplification of the politics surrounding the issue5, however, the enduring Schedule 1 classification of THC2 in the US speaks for itself. Propagandist films like Reefer Madness were filled with the type of fear-mongering that coloured misinformed attitudes towards cannabis for generations. Anyone with old-fashioned family members will tell you that the biases projected in that film prevail.
Is CBD Legal?
In the same year that the FDA approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) for the treatment of rare, pharmaceutical-resistant forms of severe epilepsy11, the US Federal Government passed the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill made it legal to produce hemp and hemp-derived products. CBD-oil producers like Mary's Nutritionals, Green Lotus, and BLOOM Farms all nurture strong ties with US Hemp farmers across the country.
The over-prescription of opioids for pain has caused an opioid-abuse crisis in many Western countries. There is hope that CBD oil will provide a natural, safe, and non-addictive alternative to opiates where appropriate.
CBD Oil Is Non-Psychoactive
CBD oil won’t get you high. This is appealing to many newcomers to cannabis culture who are interested in the benefits of cannabis but prefer to forgo its psychoactive effects. The Cannabis sativa plant is classified according to its THC content. Marijuana is Cannabis sativa with more than >0.3% THC and hemp is Cannabis sativa with less than <0.3% THC. CBD oil is made from hemp.
What Is CBD Oil Used For?
Cannabis sativa has been used to treat pain across human cultures for thousands of years. The growing body of research and loosening of laws have led to a widening acceptance of CBD’s analgesic qualities. These claims are currently based largely on anecdote and self-assessment by individuals who have used CBD oil to successfully treat some of the following: Depression, Anxiety, Seizures, Inflammation, Fibromyalgia, Insomnia, PTSD, Stress, Multiple Sclerosis, General pain, ALS, Nausea, Muscle spasms, and more.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Why does CBD oil seem to work so well for such a wide assortment of illnesses? The answer lies in an endogenous human system, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). There are some myths and confusion about how this internal system relates to cannabis use, human health, and well-being. Simply put, cannabis contains phytocannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others) that mimic our natural endocannabinoids.
How Does the ECS Work?
All cells in the human body contain lock-and-key type mechanisms that allow specific chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters to act upon those cells. The endocannabinoids released by the ECS act in this manner on CB receptor sites, CB1 and CB2, throughout the body.
What Does the ECS Do?
The ECS will let you know when you are hungry by stimulating your appetite. It will release endocannabinoids to bind to CB receptor sites during times of stress, anxiety, and physical pain.
Overall, it is responsible for balancing emotional and physical states across the body. It is involved in the formation of synapses, the electrical connections in the brain that allow the transmission of information via neurotransmitters.
The ECS also plays a role in synaptic pruning, which eliminates unnecessary connections for better brain function. There are many endocannabinoids and CB1 and CB2 receptors in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that stores memories. Here the ECS promotes the storage of helpful memories like dates, names, and lists.
Incredibly, it also appears to inhibit the consolidation and retrieval of emotionally aversive memories. This has profound implications for cannabinoid use in the treatment of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. It also shows promise in preventative care for neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
THC and the ECS
As most existing meta-analyses of cannabis focus on the effects of THC, much of CBD’s efficacy has to be deduced from their findings. When the ECS detects THC-filled CB receptors, it stops producing its own endocannabinoids to fit those sites. The ECS down-regulates the total production of endocannabinoids over time in response to THC’s regular occupation of CB sites. While the ECS acts with military precision within the body, THC acts everywhere, with low predictability.
CBD oil as a medicine
Full-spectrum, Broad-spectrum, and CBD Isolate
Widespread cannabis legalization, CBD’s proven connection to our ECS, and testaments to its safe efficacy provide compelling reasons to try it. With a great many products on the market, you might be wondering how to decide on the right CBD product to try for yourself.
There are three types to know about. Full-spectrum CBD oil is made from the entire flower, including trace amounts of less than 0.3%> THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. BLOOM FARMS Full Spectrum CBD Tincture is an organic and vegan, high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil that comes in three concentrations for accurate, customized dosing.
Full-spectrum CBD oil effectively preserves the terpene and flavonoid profile of the cannabis plant. For that reason, it is ideal for vaping. Green Lotus Hemp Premium Hemp Oil Cartridges and contain full-spectrum CBD oil.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is made similarly, with the THC completely removed afterward. Magical CBD Drops 3000mg are broad-spectrum CBD tincture drops that are plant-based, GMO-free, and all natural. They come in four flavors and a less concentrated version, Magical CBD Drops 1500mg.
Like full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil preserves plenty of flavor and is great for vaping. Jetty CBD Reserve 1000MG Cartridge is filled with broad-spectrum oil that preserves the original flavor profile of infamous cannabis strains.
CBD isolate is 99.9% CBD and contains no other trace compounds. People who dislike the flavor of hemp can buy products with CBD isolate. Select CBD Focus Vape Pen is a ready-to-go vape pen made with CBD isolate and cold-pressed essential oils.
What to look for
In determining the quality of CBD oils, the extraction method plays a crucial role in guaranteeing its purity. The safest and most sought-after method is CO2 extraction. Ethanol-extracted CBD like FDA-approved Epidiolex uses a solvent-extraction method and is considered less pure than CO2 extracted CBD oil. Regular batch purity tests and laboratory analyses are good signs that a company is trustworthy and transparent. These reports will also indicate an absence of heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
Promising uses for CBD oil
Reduced inflammation and immune suppression
Broad studies of cannabinoids show that they effectively suppress inflammatory response. By doing so, they could be used in the prevention of diseases characterized by inflammation.8 Several experimental models have tested the efficacy of cannabinoids in treating autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and hepatitis.8
Inhibit cancer formation
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
Ease symptoms of stress, PTSD, depression, 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 even pediatric forms of PTSD and insomnia.10
Many patients have been prescribed opiates for managing their fibromyalgia. This is a cause for distress among many due to the damaging, addictive effects of these drugs over time. Anecdotally, CBD oil has been self-prescribed by some patients as an alternative treatment for flair-ups. Often, the CBD oil has worked, allowing many to come off opiates altogether.
Last thoughts on CBD oils
As we wait for scientific research to analyze the merit of these promising reports, CBD oil is widely available for many to try for themselves. By selecting a high-quality, full-spectrum CBD oil, many people suffering from generalized pain and more severe ailments have found a safe, non-addictive alternative to pharmaceuticals.
- 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).