So what’s all the hype about CBD, you’ve heard of cannabis and maybe THC, but what is CBD? And how is it legal? And how can a particle be promiscuous?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis and hemp plant. Unlike its counterpart THC (the part that gets you high), it is non-psychoactive, and although it is found in cannabis, it is usually extracted from the hemp plant. The Laws surrounding cannabis and hemp make it easier to grow and extract as hemp contains very little to no THC.
There are three main types of extracts
- Isolate – pure CBD usually 99%
- Broad Spectrum – contains a mix of cannabinoids, terpenes,
- Full Spectrum – nothing has been removed from the extract from the plant, may contain low doses of THC (0.2%).
Studies have shown Full Spectrum to be more efficient at lower doses than CBD Isolate. Unfortunately due to rules and regs, Full Spectrum can be hard to come by and usually costs more due to the THC content. Broad Spectrum, however, is a good middle ground.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Essentially the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system in the body that helps regulate and balance key bodily functions such as:
- Learning and memory
- Emotional processing
- Temperature control
- Pain control
- Inflammatory and immune responses
- Eating and appetite
For more information on the ECS see our previous article here!
So how does CBD interact with the ECS
**The Science bit
CBD has little binding affinity for either CB1 or CB2 receptors, but it is capable of antagonising them in the presence of THC. In fact, CBD behaves as a non-competitive negative allosteric modulator of CB1 receptor, and it reduces the efficacy and potency of THC and AEA.
CBD was also found to inhibit the activity of FAAH, a major enzyme involved in anandamide hydrolysis. Furthermore, the ability of CBD to inhibit AEA hydrolysis and reuptake causes an increase in the concentration of available endogenous cannabinoids to bind their respective receptors.
So what does this mean? Essentially CBD, where THC is present, stops the CB1 receptor being overwhelmed by THC, reducing the side effects, such as paranoia, dizziness, etc.
Also CBD stops the breakdown of THC and endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG), meaning there is more bouncing around in the body. So you need less THC with CBD.
Also unlike THC your body doesn’t build up a tolerance to it either
See why we’re big fans of CBD yet?!
CBD doesn’t just interact with the ECS. It acts on a plethora of other systems in the body. Studies have shown it acts on the Serotonin (mood stabiliser) system (5HT1A), the TRPV1 System (body temperature and perceptions of pain and inflammation), the vanilloid and capsaicin receptors, adenosine A2A (anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive) and can also inhibit the ID-1 gene, which causes various types of cancer.
In the presence of cannabidiol, more serotonin remains in the synapses. Serotonin is responsible for your mood, behaviour, feeling good and for longer. So essentially you’re going to be happier and sleep better!
This means CBD can have potential benefits for patients suffering from:
- Pain and Inflammation
- Depression and Anxiety
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- Neurology conditions (Autism/ADHD)
- And many, many more!
What’s the best way to take your CBD, you ask? Well, it comes in all shapes, forms and sizes. Some of the popular methods include, but are not limited to:
- Oils and tinctures (extracts of plant material dissolved in Hemp/MCT Oil or alcohol): A liquid that comes in a bottle with a dropper
- Capsules: Tablets or softgels that are ingested by mouth
- Vapes: CBD oil that’s heated without ignition, resulting in an inhalable vapour
- Extracts: A solid form used for vaping/dabbing
- Flower: Dried hemp plant that can be smoked or vaped
- Edibles/Gummies: Any food that CBD oil has been added to, such as sweets, brownies or chips
- Drinks: Any beverage that’s infused with CBD
So what about Dosing?
Currently dosing of CBD is a bit ambiguous with studies using anywhere from 20mg to 1,500mg. Some using full spectrum CBD and some using CBD isolate. Interestingly studies have shown that 1,500mg was well tolerated with little to no side effects.
For example, Epidiolex, an FDA-approved cannabis-derived medication used to treat seizures in people with epilepsy, the starting dosage is 5mg per kilogram of body weight. This dose can later be increased to twice a day.
Another way to determine dosing is to use body weight which would be Low CBD 0.25mg per kg and High CBD 1mg per kg.
It’s worth noting that none of these dosings are taking into account THC intake alongside the CBD.
If starting on CBD we would always recommend starting on a low dose and then upping it everyday until the desired effect has been reached (less anxiety, less pain, better sleep etc.).
Where to buy
Unfortunately, not all companies are 100% honest about their CBD products, mostly claiming more CBD in their product than there actually is, and some have actually come back testing for zero CBD.
Make sure you buy your CBD from a trusted source and see a full Certificate Of Analysis before purchasing to ensure you are actually getting what you pay for.
As you can see CBD is a fascinating particle that certainly gets around a bit! Its promiscuity seems to know no bounds, scientists are still discovering interactions with different receptors and systems. One thing is for sure, it seems to have only a positive effect on the body with very few if any, side effects reported.
Of course, more studies are needed to fully understand this promiscuous particle and each and every way it can help us.