CBD primarily interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a grouping of millions of cannabinoid receptors found throughout your body, but are primarily clustered in the brain and central nervous system. While CBD is a phytocannabinoid, or plant-based cannabinoid, your body also naturally produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. Almost every organ of your body, including your skin and digestive tract, contains cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system has four primary purposes including neuroprotection, stress relief, immune response, and regulating the body’s general state of balance, impacting faculties such as appetite, sleep, mood, and pain.
What makes CBD so appealing is that it’s non-intoxicating, so it won’t get you high, though it “is technically psychoactive, because it can influence things like anxiety,” Jikomes said. Although much of the marketing blitz around CBD centers on the fact that you can take it without getting stoned, there isn’t much research looking at the effects of CBD when used in isolation, with a couple of exceptions. One is the use of CBD to treat seizures: CBD is the active ingredient in the only cannabis product that the Food and Drug Administration has signed off on — a drug called Epidiolex, which is approved for treating two rare forms of epilepsy. Animal models and a few human studies suggest that CBD can help with anxiety, but those are the only conditions with much research on CBD in isolation.
THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance responsible for the psychoactive effects for marijuana we associate with getting high, comes with side effects such as reduced short-term memory, impaired thinking and potential anxiety, while CBD, cannabidiol, possesses therapeutic effects such as relief of pain, stress, depression, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, as well as protecting those parts of the brain associated with memory and learning. CBD's positive effects are due to its ability to bond with receptors in the brain, hence the anti-anxiety, anti-spasmodic and neuroprotective effects, as well as receptors throughout the body, lending itself to anti-inflammation and pain relief.
But it’s not just that coffee shops don’t have to be specific about what CBD in a latte is supposed to do, and thus don’t — legally, they can’t. “Once anyone, outside of the one FDA-approved medication, says ‘Hey, if you drink this, it’ll cure your anxiety, or your seizures, the FDA is going to come knocking at that point,’” says Carson. When shops offer CBD-infused products, then, they are relying on the customer — and perhaps the placebo effect — to fill in the blanks.
Hemp oil has never been as popular as other marijuana products. With little to no THC, CBD-rich strains of cannabis don’t deliver the pleasant buzz recreational users seek out in marijuana. In the 1970s, however, scientists found that cannabidiol was effective in reducing seizures. The brain’s endocannabinoid system contains receptors that respond to CBD, producing anticonvulsant effects. Being plant-derived and native to the brain’s own chemistry, CBD is therefore one of the most natural options for seizure treatment available today. Still, not many people took interest in CBD until 2013, when a CNN documentary special, Weed, hosted by the network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, highlighted CBD’s effectiveness in combating seizures. Since then, demand for hemp oil products has exploded.
In the meantime, some physicians are forging ahead — and cashing in. Joe Cohen is a doctor at Holos Health, a medical marijuana clinic in Boulder. I asked him what CBD is good for, and he read me a long list of conditions: pain, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, intestinal cramping, anxiety, psychosis, muscle spasms, hyperactive immune systems, nervous system degeneration, elevated blood sugar and more. He also claimed that CBD has anti-cancer properties and can regenerate brain cells and reduce the brain’s levels of amyloid beta — a kind of protein that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. I asked for references, noting that most of these weren’t listed in the Academies report or a similar review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “I think you just have to Google search it,” he said. It’s true that a preliminary study found hints that cannabinoids might reduce beta amyloid proteins in human brain cells, but the study was done in cells grown in a lab, not in people. As for cancer, the FDA sent warning letters last year to four companies that were selling products that claimed to “prevent, diagnose, treat or cure” cancer.
The ointment is made from infusing high-quality cannabis flowers in some kind of quality oil—coconut or olive typically—which extracts the active compounds, either CBD, THC, or both depending on the type of hemp used. This oil is then blended with other therapeutic herbs, like arnica or lemongrass essential oils, that are well-known pain relievers.
No medication seemed to provide a great deal of relief for Harper’s symptoms. But in 2013, three years after their trip to Boston, Penny and Dustin caught an installment of CNN’s medical marijuana documentary and began researching what they could obtain in Texas, where medical marijuana is illegal. Their internet searches soon led them to HempMedsPx and Real Scientific Hemp Oil. The company sent Penny a vial of hemp oil, which she administered to Harper that September.
A quality CBD topical cream provides the advantage of being able to apply the active therapeutic hemp extract directly to the site of aggravation or discomfort. This is particularly useful for application to joint areas or superficial muscle tissue, as the cannabidiol compound will diffuse across the dermal layers directly to the site of pain and inflammation.
PurCBD+ uses the most reliable suppliers for phytocannabinoid oil for humans. Everything from the ingredients to the bottle and dropper are human grade. The owners and staff of Innovet use PurCBD on ourselves and our own pets. Our goal has always been to make the product equal or better in every way to its human-use counterparts. However, due to the extra liability involved in marketing the product for human use, officially we are required to say that it’s only for pets.
Dispensaries: In states where marijuana is legal for recreational use, dispensaries are a common sight. They are much rarer in states with more restrictions. In states that permit the use of medical marijuana, hemp-based CBD oils do not normally require a prescription but marijuana-based oils do. Like brick-and-mortar locations, dispensaries offer more customer service. However, as noted, this may not be an option depending on the buyer’s state of residence. Also, CBD oil prices tend to be significantly higher at dispensaries.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a natural phyto-cannabinoid (or plant-based chemical compound) found in cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana. Unlike other cannabinoids — namely tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects, and will actually counteract these effects to a degree. CBD will induce feelings of sleepiness; for this reason, it can be an effective soporific for people who struggle to fall and/or remain asleep due to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of dozens of non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Cannabidiol, and all the other cannabinoids, were patented by the United States Government in 2003 as neuroprotectants and antioxidants (Patent No. 6,630,507). Cannabinoids are characterized by their ability to act on the cannabinoid receptors that are found throughout the body. CBD and other cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that display potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. They can promote the body’s healthy regulation of the central nervous, immune, and endocannabinoid systems.