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What is the CBD and where does it come from?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a phytocannabinoid (natural cannabinoid) found in the flowers of the cannabis plant. Most of the CBD used medicinally comes from hemp. Both hemp and marijuana originate from Cannabis Sativa, but they are very different from each other. For years, cannabis growers have been modifying and refining different strains of marijuana to produce high levels of THC, different flavours and even varied colours; but they have never had to alter the plants as they are already full of CBD. Not only does hemp produce an incredibly rich oil, but it also has many other interesting uses that can provide sustainable alternatives to many everyday products.

To date, more than 100 different phytocannabinoids have been found within plants, but the focus is on CBD and THC. This is mainly due to their therapeutic, medicinal and recreational properties. These two chemicals work well on their own, but when applied together with the full spectrum of compounds from the cannabis plant, the true therapeutic capabilities of the plants are revealed.

How does this apply in medicine?

In summary, the reason why cannabis can be a highly effective treatment for multiple diseases is due to the endocannabinoid systems (ECS) in the human body. ECS is composed, in part, of cannabinoid receptors. These receptors react to compounds such as THC and CBD and have a direct relationship with the central nervous system, the brain, the immune system and, therefore, many diseases. Studies have shown that, by being able to modulate the ECS in our body, we can effectively modulate the progression of some diseases.

Although CBD and THC are similar compounds, they work differently in relation to our body's receptors and have different effects. CBD, for example, does not have the "intoxicating" or "euphoric" effect of THC and is therefore considered much safer and can be applied to a wider range of therapies. When applied together, CBD can counteract the undesirable effects of THC (such as paranoia, anxiety or nervousness) because of its antipsychotic effect.

To date, the medicinal and therapeutic properties of CBD are, but are not limited to

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Painkiller
  • Anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)
  • Antiemetic (against vomiting)
  • Sleep Inducer
  • Neuroprotective and Antipsychotic
  • Antitumor
  • Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial
  • Anti-epileptic

Regardless of what remains to be discovered about this compound and its capabilities, what is currently known due to years of research are the positive results, clinical evidence, and medical and therapeutic successes related to the medicinal use of CBD.

Due to the lack of the psychoactive effect and its low risk of action, CBD is becoming the most obvious treatment option for many people. In addition to medicine, CBD and hemp are making great strides in the beauty and wellness industry, with products ranging from toothpaste to unisex pleasure gel. As there is no part of the plant that cannot be used, the methods of extraction are infinite, as are the methods of application.

Is the CBD safe?

CBD is a safe, non-toxic and non-addictive substance that, since its discovery, has revealed a multitude of medicinal, therapeutic and recreational properties. The World Health Organization published its review of cannabinoid in 2018 and found that "in humans, CBD shows no effects indicative of any abuse or potential for dependence" (WHO, 2018). Because it is such a low risk in many ways, CBD is fast becoming a safe and popular alternative to many conventional painkillers, anti-inflammatories and antidepressants.

A review of studies that focused primarily on the treatment of psychotic disorders and forms of epilepsy concluded that CBD has a safety profile, with diarrhoea, fatigue and changes in appetite being the only notable negative side effects. Compared to current conventional medication, CBD is a safe and obvious choice. There is a notable lack of ongoing studies on CBD, but research takes time and resources and, unfortunately, in most countries it is still quite under-funded.

CBD Applications

Cannabinoids can be applied in countless ways, and each method produces different results. On the market, we can find them in the form of pure CBD oil, full spectrum oil (which contains CBD, as well as all other cannabinoids and compounds present in the plant) or isolated CBD crystals.

These oils and crystals can be used and marketed in the form of tinctures, capsules, gummies or other foodstuffs, creams, lotions and oils for vapours.

The oils can be taken sublingually for a quick effect or added to fatty foods such as yogurt, if the taste is too strong for us.

For more external problems such as muscle pain, dry skin, acne, eczema and other dermatological problems, CBD can be applied directly as a cream or lotion to the area. It can be added to shampoos and conditioners to stimulate hair growth and health, as well as to toothpaste as a natural antibacterial.

Another way to ingest CBD is to drink it as tea. How? First the hemp leaves are allowed to dry and then they are shredded. Once this is done they have to be strained for a few minutes in hot water. Adding some kind of fat helps the absorption of CBD in our stomach/liver, so we can add some kind of milk before drinking it. This method of consumption is perfect for a slow release of cannabinoids in our system.

Marijuana that has been modified and grown to contain high levels of CBD can also be smoked or vaporized. While this is a very quick way to introduce CBD into the body, it is not recommended for obvious health reasons.

Bibliography:

Johnson, J. (2019). CBD oil: Uses, health benefits, and risks. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317221.php  [Accessed 26 Jun. 2019].

Pacher, P. and Kunos, G. (2013). Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease: successes and failures. [online] NCBI. Available at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684164/  [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].

K, M. (2008). Cannabinoid receptors: where they are and what they do. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18426493 [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].

Organistation, W. (2018). CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Critical Review Report. [online] Who.int. Available at: 

https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].

Iffland, K. and Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. [online] NCBI. Available at: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/ [Accessed 25 Jun. 2019].

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