An Introduction to Cannabidiol

What is Cannabidiol and where does it come from?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a phytocannabinoid (naturally occurring cannabinoid) found within the flowers if the cannabis plant. Most of the CBD that is used medicinally comes from hemp. Hemp and marijuana both originate from Cannabis Sativa but are quite different from one another. While farmers have spent years modifying and perfecting different strains of marijuana to produce high levels of THC and varied tastes, flavours and even colours, hemp farmers haven't needed to alter the plants which are already packed with CBD. Not only does hemp produce incredibly rich oil, it has multiple other interesting uses, that could provide sustainable alternatives to many of our everyday products. 

To date over 100 various unique phytocannabinoids have been found within this plant, but the focus lies with CBD and THC the most. This is mainly due to their therapeutic, medicinal and recreational properties. These two chemicals work well on their own but when applied with the full spectrum of compounds from the cannabis plant, the plants’ true therapeutic abilities can be revealed.

How can this be applied in medicine?

In short; the reason cannabis can be such an effective treatment for multiple illnesses is due to our endocannabinoid systems (ECS). The ECS is partly made up of cannabinoid receptors, which react to compounds such as THC and CBD. These receptors are found in locations with direct relation to many illnesses, such as the Central Nervous System, the brain, and the immune system. Studies have found that by being able to modulate the bodies ECS we can effectively modulate disease progression in humans. 

Even though CBD and THC are similar compounds, they work differently with the receptors in our bodies therefore creating different effects. CBD does not have an ‘intoxicating’ or ‘euphoric’ effect like THC and therefore is considered to be much safer and can be applied for a wider range of therapies. When applied together CBD can actually counteract the undesirable effects on THC, such as paranoia, anxiety or nervousness due to its antipsychotic effect.

To date these medicinal and therapeutic properties are, but not limited to;

  • Anti Inflammatory  
  • Analgesic
  • Anxiolytic (anti anxiety)
  • Antiemetic (anti vomiting)
  • Sleep Inducer
  • Neuroprotector and Antipsychotic
  • Antitumor
  • Anti fungal and anti bacterial
  • Anti epileptic 

Regardless of how much there is still to be discovered about this compound and its abilities, what is currently known is solidified by years of research, positive results, and clinical evidence of medical and therapeutic success. 

Due to the lack of psychoactive effect of CBD and as it is very low risk for addiction, it is becoming the obvious treatment choice for many more people. As well as with medicine, CBD and hemp are making strides in the beauty and wellness industry, with products ranging from tooth paste to unisex pleasure gel. As there is no part of the plant that can not be used, methods of extraction are endless as well as methods of application. 

Is CBD safe?

CBD is a safe, non toxic and non addictive substance which since its discovery has revealed a multitude of positive medicinal, therapeutic and recreational properties. The World Health Organisation released their review of the cannabinoid in 2018 and found that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” (WHO, 2018) As it is so low risk in many ways CBD is quickly becoming a safe and popular alternative to many conventional painkillers, anti-inflammatories and anti-depressant.

In a review of studies that mainly focused on treating psychotic disorders and forms of epilepsy, the safety profile of CBD was concluded, with the only notable negative side effects being diarrhoea, tiredness and changes in appetite. In comparison to the current conventional medication available CBD is an obvious safe choice. There is a noticeable lack of chronic studies involving CBD but research takes time and is unfortunately still quite underfunded in most countries. 

Applications

Cannabinoids can be applied in a countless number of ways, with each method producing different results. It can come in the form of pure CBD oil, full spectrum oil (containing CBD as well as all other cannabinoids and compounds present in the plant), CBD isolate crystals. 

These oils and crystals can be made in to tinctures, capsules, gummies and other edibles, creams, lotions and oils for vapes.

  • Oils can be taken sublingually for rapid effect or can be added to fatty foods such as yoghurt if the taste is too strong.
  • For more external issues such as muscle pain, dry skin, acne, eczema and other dermatological problems CBD can be applied as a cream or lotion to the immediate area. It can be added to shampoos and conditioners to promote hair growth and health, as well as being added to toothpaste as a natural antibacterial. 
  • Another way to ingest CBD is by drinking it as a tea. You can dry hemp leaves, shred them and brew for some minutes in hot water. Adding some type of fat helps the absorption of the CBD in your stomach/liver, so add some type of milk before drinking. This method of consumption is perfect for a slow release of cannabinoids into your system. 
  • Marijuana that has been modified and grown to contain high levels of CBD can be smoked or vaped as well, and although this is a very fast way to get CBD into your system 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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