What is CBD?
CBD accounts for up to 40% of the Cannabis plant's extract. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effect. (Rather, it combats some of THC’s adverse effects, like paranoia and sedation.)
How does it work?
By interacting with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD is believed to promote the body’s natural healing mechanisms. The endocannabinoid system is present within all human bodies (and in the bodies of many animals, too.) The ECS is involved in a variety of physiological processes, including:
- Pain sensation
Ethan Russo, MD and Medical Director at PHYTECS, points out that ECS was unknown prior to a generation ago: what he deems to be a surprising fact since nearly every physiological process is affected by it to some degree. Although the ECS is an essential regulatory mechanism in the body's biochemistry, knowledge of it remains quite limited among American physicians. Russo believes education in this area in medical schools would benefit public health.
The ECS system has two main receptors: CB1 and CB2. These interact with both the endocannabinoids that our body naturally produces and phytocannabinoids introduced to the body, like CBD. CBD is involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions and pain management; it’s no surprise then, that the medical community and consumers are diving deeper into CBD research and uncovering a host of its health benefits.
What are the medical benefits?
Due to CBD’s antioxidant and neuroprotectant properties, it looks to be a promising and beneficial treatment for a wide variety of conditions. Recent studies have shown that CBD has a range of beneficial therapeutic properties that can assist with:
- combating inflammation
- combating neurodegenerative disorders and psychosis
- suppressing seizures
- decreasing appetite
- assuaging stress & anxiety
- improving sleep
- blocking the development of diabetes
- reducing nausea and vomiting
- relieving pain
- inhibiting cancer cell growth
- enhancing the maturation of collagen to promote bone health and healing
CBD is currently at the forefront of studies into treating M.S., epilepsy, cancer and more.
Where can you get it?
I had the pleasure of purchasing my CBD oil from CBD Oils of Long Island, purveyors of 100% organic and legal hemp oil. CBD Oils of Long Island's products are laboratory produced and undergo vigorous monitoring and testing for purity and effectiveness. CBD Oils of Long Island uses CO2 extraction, which CEO Craig Zaffe believes is the safest way to obtain the CBD oil from the hemp plant. Some companies, Zaffe explains, use butane to remove the .0007% of THC, but traces of butane can lead to health defects.
An organic farmer since 1973, CBD Oils of Long Island’s Craig Zaffe believes that medicinal cannabis is a viable alternative to medicinal marijuana, since you get all the medicinal benefits without the THC. Zaffe says, for instance, that parents feel more comfortable giving their epileptic children CBD oil since its effects are non-psychoactive.
After battling his own health issues - including a double dose of Lyme disease - Zaffe realized the healing effects of CBD oil and is passionate about educating consumers and clients about its benefits.
Zaffe explains, however, to become an informed consumer prior to making a purchase. For instance, Craig clued me in to the fact that CBD oil works on your liver enzymes, and may counteract some of traditional medicine's effects. (As you'll see below, we'll provide more information about this physiological phenomena next week, in our upcoming article in this CBD series.)
According to Zaffe, we become deficient in cannabinoids as we age, and must restore our systems to allow the body to heal naturally. Zaffe believes that by supplying CBD oil to a variety of consumers, he is, “healing the planet one person at a time."
It is legal?
The FDA considers hemp oil and its CBD derivative, made from industrial hemp plants, to be a legal dietary supplement. Therefore, you don't need a prescription to purchase and consume cannabidiol in any U.S. state.
It’s important to note that federal law prohibits U.S. farmers from growing hemp as a commercial crop. The sale of imported, low-THC, industrial hemp products is permitted as long as these products are derived from the seed or stalk of the plant, and not from the leaves and flowers.
CBD-rich strains are making a come-back
For the past 20-30 years, the majority of commercially grown indica strains were bred for high levels of THC, which led to lowered CBD levels. Now, due to the increasing demand by users, many growers are increasing their production of CBD rich-strains.
Since 1978, clinical studies have been conducted on CBD, though there are only a handful of studies that exist on the effects of pure CBD, alone. Clinical trials and anecdotal reports are uncovering that CBD is non-toxic and well tolerated, and the members of the medical community - from doctors to researchers to pharmacologists to naturopaths to patients - are becoming increasingly interested in what this deemed "elixir" could do for their health.
Next week, we'll focus on some additional implications of CBD consumption and topical application. We'll address some other questions, such as CBD-drug interactions, due to CBD's impact on the activity of liver enzymes known as cytochrome P450. We'll also look at what can occur symptomatically when the ECS system is out of balance. We'll explore the capacity of endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids to combat cancer cell growth, as well as the ramifications of modern medicine - and its evolution from mainly botanical compounds to highly synthesized chemicals, computer-designed to bind to regions with a high affinity.
Sources & additional, informational links: