What is CBD?

CBD (Phytocannabinoids) is a compound found in the Hemp plant. It can be used in several different ways including creams, tinctures, capsules, and more. As one of the many useful compounds in the hemp plant, CBD has been used to treat ailments for millennia. Unlike its close relative, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is completely non-psychoactive. This allows us to benefit from the many health properties of the Cannabis plant without the negative side effects of “getting high.” Because of this, CBD became a very popular option for those seeking a natural alternative for certain conditions. At first, many were skeptical, thinking that a natural compound, let alone a Cannabis-compound, could effectively treat such a wide range of conditions. But as medical researchers learned more, and the stories from tens of thousands of people began to stack up, the truth was undeniable.

Hemp plants are separated into two different types of crops, known as Industrial Hemp plant and Cannabis. These two plants differ in their cannabinoid ratios but come from the same plant species Cannabis Sativa. Although they are both cannabis plants, hemp and marijuana differ notably in their genetic makeup and are cultivated and harvested in different ways. CBD is found in varying levels in both plant varieties. The plant commonly referred to as marijuana contains higher amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound responsible for getting you “high”. Hemp, on the other hand, contains only trace quantities of THC and much higher quantities of CBD. The compound holds a vast array of potential therapeutic and medicinal benefits without toxicity.

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a collection of cell receptors and the corresponding molecules (agonists) in the human body. Researchers are finding that this system helps to regulate sleep, appetite, mood, motor control, immune function, pleasure, pain, reproduction and fertility, memory and temperature regulation. When the ECS is in balance, one experiences homeostasis. As researchers learn more about the ECS, they are discovering that it was a vital component in maintaining the body’s homeostasis, which is the ideal balance between interdependent elements in the body. To give you an idea of how the ECS helps maintain homeostasis. Let me give you an example. When we become stressed, our mind releases cortisol, which is the compound responsible for how we feel when we are stressed. Cortisol can be helpful when we need to react quickly to a dangerous situation; however too much disrupts the natural balance of our body and mind can result in serious health problems. When certain endocannabinoids are released it can provide restorative relief. There is limited research regarding the benefits of exogenous cannabinoids in humans in the US. Now that industrial hemp has been declassified as a Schedule I drug, there will be more research studies to support the undeniable anecdotal evidence regarding the effects of phytocannabinoids.

History behind CBD

Dating back to the ancient civilizations, it was some of the first people on earth who discovered and identified the differences between hemp and began using cannabidiol for various purposes. Archaeologists believe the plant species “Cannabis Sativa,” dates back 10,000 years ago and was likely one of the first crops planted by early man. These people also identified that hemp seeds have high levels of protein, vitamins, and essential fatty amino acids. During this period, hemp seeds were used so frequently that they became essential to human civilization. Hemp has long been grown for a variety of purposes: its seeds can be used to produce food and cosmetics, and its stalks are found in products ranging from construction materials to clothing to biofuels.

As one of the many useful compounds in the hemp plant, CBD has been used to treat ailments for millennia. However, the individual compounds in cannabis remained unidentified until Dr. Raphael Mechoulam revealed the structure of THC and CBD in the early 1960s. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan poured tens of millions of dollars into a study to prove that cannabis damages the human brain. But rather than showing how cannabis harms the brain, the Reagan administration ended up subsidizing a series of studies that culminated in the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, expanding our understanding of how cannabinoids interact with the human body. Due to the role of endocannabinoids in this system, the system was officially named the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

Science Behind CBD

CBD is a phytocannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD does not bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Instead, it stops the breakdown of our own endocannabinoids. The main action it performs within the ECS is the inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase or FAAH. FAAH breaks down the anandamide molecules naturally occurring in our body, and cannabinoids work to prevent FAAH from destroying this bliss molecule. In this way, cannabinoids can work indirectly all throughout the body, ensuring that we have enough anandamide to manage our pain, mood, appetite, stress, and sleep. Since cannabinoids do not bind directly to endocannabinoid receptors, like the other well-known phytocannabinoid THC, it does not produce the intoxicating, “high” effect often associated with cannabis.

CB1 & CB2 RECEPTORS

After 35 years of research, scientists have only just begun to understand the importance of the Human Endocannabinoid System (HEcS). The discovery of the HEcS is arguably the most important discovery in human physiology in the late Twentieth Century. Research has revealed that the HEcS is responsible for maintaining and controlling the body’s homeostasis, or balanced regulation of every system in the body. It does that through two known receptors called CB1 & CB2. While the body produces its own endogenous cannabinoids, many scientists suggest that most people are now suffering from “Cannabinoid Deficiency”. Without sufficient cannabinoids in our diet, the HEcS operates at less than peak efficiency, resulting in a general decline in overall health. Supplementing our diets with full-spectrum phytocannabinoids may be an essential component to achieving optimal health.

The primary cannabinoid receptors are identified as Cannabinoid Type 1 receptors (CB1-R) and Cannabinoid Type 2 receptors (CB2-R). The receptors can be “unlocked” by three kinds of cannabinoids:

  1. Endocannabinoids Endogenous-fatty-acid cannabinoids produced naturally in the body (e.g., anandamide and 2-AG).
  2. Phytocannabinoids Concentrated in the oily resin of the buds and leaves of plants such as cannabis (e.g., THC and CBD).
  3. Synthetic Cannabinoids Manufactured by artificial means such as in a laboratory.

Two Key Endocannabinoids

In the endocannabinoid system, there are two key endocannabinoids that our body produces on its own, anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide borrows its name from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means joy, bliss, and delight. Nicknamed the “bliss molecule,” anandamide could be a cannabinoid ally against depression and anxiety and has been shown to modulate mood, memory, appetite, fertility, and is even believed to halt the proliferation of cancer cells. Arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG ) is the most abundant endocannabinoid in our bodies. It binds very strongly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors embedded throughout the central and peripheral nervous system, and it behaves similarly to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 2-AG is believed to regulate sleep, immunity, pain, and appetite.

Science Behind CBD

After 35 years of research, scientists have only just begun to understand the importance of the Human Endocannabinoid System (HEcS). The discovery of the HEcS is arguably the most important discovery in human physiology in the late Twentieth Century. Research has revealed that the HEcS is responsible for maintaining and controlling the body’s homeostasis, or balanced regulation of every system in the body. It does that through two known receptors called CB1 & CB2. While the body produces its own endogenous cannabinoids, many scientists suggest that most people are now suffering from “Cannabinoid Deficiency”. Without sufficient cannabinoids in our diet, the HEcS operates at less than peak efficiency, resulting in a general decline in overall health. Supplementing our diets with full-spectrum phytocannabinoids may be an essential component to achieving optimal health.

The primary cannabinoid receptors are identified as Cannabinoid Type 1 receptors (CB1-R) and Cannabinoid Type 2 receptors (CB2-R). The receptors can be “unlocked” by three kinds of cannabinoids:

  1. Endocannabinoids Endogenous-fatty-acid cannabinoids produced naturally in the body (e.g., anandamide and 2-AG).
  2. Phytocannabinoids Concentrated in the oily resin of the buds and leaves of plants such as cannabis (e.g., THC and CBD).
  3. Synthetic Cannabinoids Manufactured by artificial means such as in a laboratory.

CB1 & CB2 RECEPTORS

After 35 years of research, scientists have only just begun to understand the importance of the Human Endocannabinoid System (HEcS). The discovery of the HEcS is arguably the most important discovery in human physiology in the late Twentieth Century. Research has revealed that the HEcS is responsible for maintaining and controlling the body’s homeostasis, or balanced regulation of every system in the body. It does that through two known receptors called CB1 & CB2. While the body produces its own endogenous cannabinoids, many scientists suggest that most people are now suffering from “Cannabinoid Deficiency”. Without sufficient cannabinoids in our diet, the HEcS operates at less than peak efficiency, resulting in a general decline in overall health. Supplementing our diets with full spectrum phytocannabinoids may be an essential component to achieving optimal health.

The primary cannabinoid receptors are identifed as Cannabinoid Type 1 receptors (CB1-R) and Cannabinoid Type 2 receptors (CB2-R). The receptors can be “unlocked” by three kinds of cannabinoids:

  1. Endocannabinoids Endogenous-fatty-acid cannabinoids produced naturally in the body (e.g., anandamide and 2-AG)
  2. Phytocannabinoids Concentrated in the oily resin of the buds and leaves of plants such as cannabis (e.g., THC and CBD)
  3. Synthetic Cannabinoids Manufactured by articial means such as in a laboratory

Two Key Endocannabinoids

In the endocannabinoid system, there are two key endocannabinoids that our body produces on its own, anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide borrows its name from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means joy, bliss, and delight. Nicknamed the “bliss molecule,” anandamide could be a cannabinoid ally against depression and anxiety and has been shown to modulate mood, memory, appetite, fertility, and is even believed to halt the proliferation of cancer cells. Arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG ) is the most abundant endocannabinoid in our bodies. It binds very strongly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors embedded throughout the central and peripheral nervous system, and it behaves similarly to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 2-AG is believed to regulate sleep, immunity, pain, and appetite.

The Entourage Effect: Compounds Working Together

Some researchers believe that cannabis is more therapeutically beneficial when all the compounds found in the plant — including its a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids — are administered together. The theory known as the entourage effect suggests that all of the various chemical compounds in cannabis interact and work together synergistically to produce therapeutic benefits and regulatory effects.

The Entourage Effect: Compounds Working Together

Some researchers believe that cannabis is more therapeutically beneficial when all the compounds found in the plant — including its a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids — are administered together. The theory known as the entourage effect suggests that all of the various chemical compounds in cannabis interact and work together synergistically to produce therapeutic benefits and regulatory effects.

Safety Profile of Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids are known to be non-toxic, with no known fatal overdose levels reported. The previously mentioned study from 2011 indicated that chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans. The Department of Health and Human Services states, ‘no signs of toxicity or serious side effects have been observed following chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers (Cunha et al., Pharmacology 21:127-185, 1980), even in large acute doses of 700 mg/day (Consroe et al., Pharmacol, Biochem, Behav. 40:701-708, 1991).

Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue, and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of certain medications such as coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular condition. This is the reason why it is so important that you receive CBD products from a trusted source that provides you with third-party testing. When determining your product source, please do not hesitate to request Certificates of Analysis which should examine potency and quality of the oil. To learn more about phytocannabinoids (CBD) visit our Education page.

Safety Profile of Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids are known to be non-toxic, with no known fatal overdose levels reported. The previously mentioned study from 2011 indicated that chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans. The Department of Health and Human Services states, ‘no signs of toxicity or serious side effects have been observed following chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers (Cunha et al., Pharmacology 21:127-185, 1980), even in large acute doses of 700 mg/day (Consroe et al., Pharmacol, Biochem, Behav. 40:701-708, 1991).

Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue, and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of certain medications such as coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular condition. This is the reason why it is so important that you receive CBD products from a trusted source that provides you with third-party testing. When determining your product source, please do not hesitate to request Certificates of Analysis which should examine potency and quality of the oil. To learn more about phytocannabinoids (CBD) visit our Education page.

For medical professionals, it is very important to understand the potential interactions that cannabinoids may have with certain medications. The hemp plant, like all other herbal plants, is a polypharmaceutical substance. In a recent survey of scientific literature, CBD was found to have a better side effect profile than other drugs. However, CBD can interact with other medications you are already taking. These interactions are not necessarily harmful, but CBD might alter the effects of these other medications. For instance, if someone is taking Xanax, a prescription benzodiazepine, while also taking CBD, the two medicines will both be broken down in the liver and compete with each other. CBD will block the enzyme in the liver that breaks down Xanax, therefore, increasing Xanax levels. CBD has also been shown in clinical trials to increase liver enzymes, which could indicate damage or inflammation to the liver. Individuals utilizing CBD should consider having their liver enzymes checked periodically.

Thanks to advancements in technology and clinical trials, researchers were able to reverse engineer what they’d discovered, trace back through the metabolic pathways of various cannabinoids, and uncover an entirely unknown signaling system between the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our bodies and receptors found in Cannabis compounds, which they called “endocannabinoids.” Clinical trials are underway to determine if CBD is therapeutic for many different conditions such as seizures, inflammation, stiff muscles, joint pain, chemotherapy side effects, migraines, post-traumatic stress disorders, chronic pain, and anxiety. CBD is rapidly gaining in popularity for both humans and pets. To learn more about CBD research, please visit our Education page.