Last Updated on October 12, 2020
Growing controversy surrounds cannabidiol as federal and state regulations remain divided on the legalities of this substance, which can be derived from different species of cannabis.
With growing approval from different groups, communities of supporters have been pursuing for the correction of misinformation regarding the cannabis plants, its different strains, and its benefits.
To start on this topic, let’s take a look at the short history of Cannabis and answer some of the most pressing questions about cannabidiol. With the following information and additional research, you may consider if CBD oil is right for you and your loved ones.
The History of Cannabis
Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest plants to ever be cultivated. Research conjectures that cannabis originated from Central Asia wherein earliest record of its use can be dated back to the 6th century.
After the European colonization of Asia and Africa, Cannabis sativa has been used medically by doctors as treatment or relief for an array of conditions. Cannabis was used to treat tetanus, convulsions, seizures, body pains and inflammation, and offer relief from some mental conditions.
Cannabis was already included as an ingredient in many tinctures and medicines during the 1900s even in the United States.
However, fear and misconception developed when negative impressions of marijuana were associated with Mexican immigrants who were entering the country at the time. In an effort to control public perception of Mexican immigrants, the media portrayed them as disruptive, mainly due to marijuana use.
In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act effectively banned the sales and use of the cannabis plant. In 1970, marijuana was ranked among the most dangerous and potentially addictive substances in the schedule of controlled substances. These legislations caused the lack of extensive research on the full extent of benefits gained from the cannabis plant.
Cannabidiol vs. Tetrahydrocannabinol
Recreational marijuana has been widely used for its THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the psychoactive substance that gives the person an almost euphoric or relaxing experience. It can also relieve pain and nausea.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is just one of the hundred chemical compounds found in Cannabis plants. Another chemical compound is CBD or cannabidiol. It does not have any psycho-altering effects such as the euphoric high, but it does lessen anxiety, inflammation, pain, and nausea.
With this difference, people who do not wish to get high and are only after the medicinal benefits would seek out cannabidiol-dominant strains.
This is also especially important if the patient or user is a child whose prefrontal cortex has not yet fully formed and can be affected with the use of pyschoactives.
Since there are several strains of cannabis plants with varying compositions of THC and cannabidiol, not all sources of cannabidiol is approved by the law in some places.
The hemp plant, a variety of cannabis, is widely cultivated for practical use of its fibers and seeds. Unlike other varieties of cannabis, it only contains 0.3% THC or less when dried.
With that amount, it is not enough to produce any mind-altering effects on the final user. Due to this composition, the regulation on hemp cultivation was loosened to allow for industrial use of the plant.
With a relaxed regulation on hemp-derived products, people have found a way around the strict regulation on controlled substances. Therefore, hemp oil is different from cannabis oil, which contains a concentration of THC.
The cannabis plant contains other substances that have exhibited potential beneficial effects in preliminary observations, although these may still need further studies.
- Cannabinol (CBN) potentially has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory ability that could serve well in potential medicine for auto-immune disorders.
- Cannabigerol (CBG) is gaining interest from pharmacological researchers for its possible effects in reducing the symptoms of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psoriasis.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is an inactive compound found in the live or raw cannabis plants. It is a precursor to THC and does not convert into it until heat is applied. There are no psychoactive effects from THCA until it turns into THC. It has shown neuroprotective potential, which could give hope to people who may develop neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and multiple sclerosis. It can also possibly help with insomnia, muscle spasms and pain, and nausea.
How Does CBD Work?
Within our body are systems that modulate a set of neurons with the use of another neuron and a combination of chemicals. One of these systems is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which uses endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.
They, in turn, bind to cannabinoid receptors. The ECS is involved in many physiological responses and processes such as appetite, memory, mood, pain, sleep, and euphoria from physical activities.
This means our body and our brain is already wired to respond to any type of cannabinoid, including the plant-based cannabidiol. These receptors are found throughout the body, in different organs and the immune system. When cannabidiol is introduce to the body, it further stimulates the ECS.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for some of the metabolic functions within our body. The system has been found to affect the body’s stress response and anxiety-related behavior.
In addition, there is also evidence that the ECS can modulate the immune system response and prevent it from aggravating symptoms such as inflammation and spasms.
The Benefits of CBD or Hemp Oil
While more research still needs to be done, there is already evidence that CBD oil works for inhibiting some symptoms of certain disorders and improving the quality of life of patients and regular people. Here are some of the benefits that you may be interested in.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are serious medical illnesses on their own, but they can also manifest as symptoms or a result of other disorders, whether mental or physical.
Anxiety and depression can greatly affect a person’s wellbeing and quality of life even if they appear to be fully-functional members of society or do not show any outward symptoms.
These two mental states can also lead to other complications which can manifest as physical pain, weight gain or loss, intrusive thoughts, and fluctuating levels of mood and energy.
There are several medications which are taken to suppress the symptoms, but it can be a long time of trial and error to find the right balance of medication and dosages that will suit an individual.
Not only that, these medications can cause a whole other set of symptoms such as mental sluggishness, change in metabolism, drug dependence, and even toxicity.
Neuroimaging tests at the University of São Paulo have shown that the brain activity in limbic and paralimbic areas exhibits a decrease in anxiolytic activities in participants who were administered with an oral dose of CBD.
Future clinical trials are still needed to determine the most effective therapeutic dosage and mechanism of which cannabidiol is introduced to patients.
Relieves Inflammation and Chronic Pain
As explained above, our own immune system’s inflammatory response can be suppressed to prevent chronic pain and inflammation from continuing.
It can also inhibit the transmission of neuro-signals that are sent to our pain receptors. With the growing concern for drug dependency and unwanted side effects from both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, alternative cures are always sought after by patients.
With CBD oil, patients trust that they may not acquire long term damage on any organs with prolonged and repeated use of the oil. Addiction is also thrown out as a side effect since there is no high or euphoria to be obtained from use, therefore no rewarding emotions that could reinforce its repeated use.
Regardless of the source of pain and inflammation, patients may now find relief and go about their daily lives without the fear of any negative side effects or possible addiction that can cause a bigger damage in the future.
In 2010, a drug that was released in the UK called Sativex. The drug gained approval and obtained license to be widely prescribed by doctors for patients with multiple sclerosis who experience muscle tremors and pain.
The success of this drug brought on other clinical trials such as the one conducted in 2011, wherein in its efficacy and safety for pain management was tested on patients with advanced cancer.
The promising results may bode well for patients who are currently having challenges managing pain from arthritis, auto-immune disorders, severe migraines, and post-surgical procedures and injuries.
Treats Seizure in Juvenile Epilepsy
Just last year, another cannabinoid-based drug was officially released and approved by the FDA. After years of well-controlled and sufficient clinical trials, the efficacy and safety of Epidiolex administered on juvenile epileptic patients will help control complex and severe syndromes.
Children who have been born with or have developed Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome often experience seizures and developmental delays. Epidiolex reduces the frequency and severity of these seizures.
Hope for Adults and Teenagers with Acne Problems
A board-certified dermatologist, Jeanette Jacknin, has promoted the use of CBD in topical treatments and creams to encourage the endocannabinoid system in producing anti-inflammatory effects that could keep the skin looking radiant.
Professor Tamás Biro of the Department of Immunology at the University of Debrecen in Hungary has also conducted researches on the use of drugs to activate the endocannabinoid system against inflammation that plagues skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and others.
CBD has also been found to inhibit the overproduction of sebum which is one of the main causes of acne from teenage to adult years.
While they do agree that there has yet to be research on the proper dosage and an existing regulatory body of experts to check on the viability of CBD ingredients in current products, the two encourage reaching out to companies to disclose their research and trial procedures in coming up with the CBD formulation in these dermatological products.
A Healthier Cardiovascular System
With proven effects in lowering stress levels and high blood pressure across research participants of different backgrounds, cannabidiol could have potential in helping adults manage hypertension and stress that could lead to more fatal heart conditions.
With its anti-inflammatory properties, cannabidiol also exhibited ability to combat oxidative stress damage that can lead to heart diseases due to cell death. More animal studies have also shown that CBD can slow down the progression of atherosclerosis and can have cardio-protective effect on the heart.
Treatment of Sleep Disorders
A cannabis strain called Cannabis Indica is favored by some for its relaxing effect. The Cannabis sativa strain produces the opposite due to its THC concentration, which is more stimulating. Several studies have been conducted to observe the effects of THC and CBD on sleep and wakefulness at different times and lighting conditions.
The results provide insight on the possible formulations and balance between THC and CBD to cure insomnia and narcolepsy.
Another animal study conducted in 2002 has provided evidence in the ability of these two compounds to regulate breathing during sleep by modulating the serotonin signaling. This may prove beneficial for people suffering from sleep apnea.
Other Possible Benefits
Studies are still undergoing and are considered inconclusive due to lack of human clinical trials, but the future of CBD oil and its other forms is looking bright. In the future, we may start to harvest the full benefits of CBD to treat the following symptoms:
- Psychosis and mood instability in many mental disorders such as schizophrenia
- Treatment of anorexia using the drug Dronabinol, which is currently still classified as a controlled substance under Schedule III
- Morphine dependency and other drug addictions
- Spread of malignant and benign tumors in the body
- Diabetes caused by autoimmune inflammation
How is CBD Extracted from Marijuana and Hemp?
There are currently three extraction methods used to produce CBD oil from cannabis plants. Purity and efficiency is determined by which method was used.
- CO2 method produces the purest and safest CBD by removing residues and chlorophyll from the plant. Carbon dioxide is pushed through the plant at varying temperatures to extract the cannabinoid. This method is quite expensive.
- Oil method uses another carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, to extract the essential oils from the plant. The extraction is safe and residue-free. Aside from this, added benefits from the carrier oil of choice provides an additional gain.
- Ethanol method makes use of high-grain alcohol as a solvent to isolate oil from the plant. This method is not as stable as the others since it can destroy some beneficial properties in the oil.
Before using CBD oil, you must find out if it is from marijuana or from hemp. This is to ensure that you are abiding to your state’s regulation when it comes to cannabis-derived products.
Marijuana-derived CBD will contain THC at higher levels and produce the euphoric high that is often sought from smoking or ingesting the buds. While THC also has its benefits, the addition of THC to cannabidiol will not alter its bioactive activity or efficiency.
With hemp, since it is widely cultivated for industrial use of fibers to make textiles, papers, and other products, oil is just a by-product of the industry. It is safe to say the CBD oil from hemp plants are environmentally-friendly and a good way to prevent industrial waste.
Who Should Take or Use CBD Oil?
If you are looking for alternatives to prescription or OTC drugs, always make sure to discuss it with your physician. This will ensure that you are not taking CBD oil while reversing or magnifying the effects of your other medications. This is especially true if you are a parent looking for alternatives or adjunctive therapy for your child.
While it is generally safe, CBD should be given the proper respect and caution as with any other widely accepted medication available. Certain diets may also work better for the treatment and relief of symptoms and can also encourage the efficiency of CBD whether it is taken orally, vaporized, or applied topically.
Cannabidiol has been found to potentially thin blood, cause diarrhea, appetite change, and fatigue. People who are involved in the operation of heavy machineries or drive vehicles on a daily basis may be advised against certain dosages or administration of the CBD.
This also goes the same for patients who may undergo surgery. Pregnant and lactating women are advised against the used of CBD.