Education

What is CBD?

Cannabis is one of the oldest plants known to mankind. 100 years ago and for thousands of years before, it was grown widely across Europe, the USA and Asia. It was a basic agricultural crop, its fiber used for making rope, fishing nets, and for weaving into textiles. Its seed can be eaten whole, ground into flour or pressed to produce a highly nutritious oil. The leaves can be treated as any other green vegetable and its flowers contain powerful compounds used as medicine to treat all sorts of ailments. In the late 1900’s more than half of all pharmacy medicines contained cannabis.
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Then, in the early part of the 20th century, cannabis became the subject of an extraordinary campaign of fear and terror. It was demonized, claimed to be responsible for causing all sorts of problems in society and portrayed as a dangerous drug. Although there is still a hangover from all the scare stories and misinformation around cannabis, science is now proving that in fact it is one of the most important plants on the planet and has a great deal to offer.Cannabidiol or CBD is a cannabis compound that has many medical benefits, but does not make you “high” like the compound THC. CBD can actually counteract the psychoactive properties of THC. CBD is just one of more than hundreds of compounds called cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants.

CBD and the other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant work together in a symphony known as the endocannabinoid system. This system is a relatively recent discovery but is now thought to be one of our most important physiological systems. Now we know that all mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians have an endocannabinoid system. The main function of this system is to maintain a healthy balance in our body. Our body manufactures endocannabinoids in order to pass messages concerning functions such as pain, inflammation, memory, appetite, and mood. Scientists now recognize that the most benefit from cannabidiol comes from what is termed the “entourage effect”. This is where all the ingredients in cannabis work together in synergy. Taking out any of the components individually does not seem to work as well and even the trace amount of THC found in CBD oil, although it won’t get you high, is important to activating and working with all of the other compounds.

Medical conditions shown to be helped by CBD

Researchers still have a lot to learn about the benefits of using non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD. So far, preliminary studies have indicated these substances may:

  • Inhibit tumor growth
  • Regulate weight loss, both for gaining and losing weight
  • Relieve pain and inflammation including chronic pain and cancer pain
  • Reduce nausea and vomiting
  • Lessen anxiety and depression
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Fight viruses and viral infections
  • Relieve the muscle spasms of multiple sclerosis
  • Lessen the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia
  • Reduce substance abuse and nicotine addiction

What to look for in your CBD

CBD oil is not the same as hemp seed oil and it is very important to understand the difference. Hemp seed oil is made by pressing the seeds and is a highly nutritious but delicate oil containing a balance of omega 3 and omega 6 which is very healthy but only contains a trace amount of cannabinoids. Some people we encountered thought they were buying CBD oil but it was actually hemp seed oil.
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When describing the plants that contain CBD, you may encounter the terms “CBD rich” and “CBD dominant”. CBD rich is when a strain or product has equal CBD and THC, or more CBD than THC (usually at least 4% CBD by dry weight). CBD dominant means strains or products that are high in CBD but have very little THC content, as is the case with hemp. Either type of strain can be used medically but please keep in mind the legal issues surrounding the choice.Because of the entourage effect described above, look for products that are made from the whole plant. We have found CBD isolate, found in many products and commonly imported from China, to be ineffective at best. It’s important to note that 90 percent of CBD products sold in the United States contain CBD isolate, rather than highly concentrated whole plant extracted hemp oil.

How to use CBD

You can take your CBD oil by swallowing it, absorption through the mucous membrane in your mouth, inhaling it, or absorption through the skin or by suppository. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and there is a large element of personal choice involved.

The most obvious method is a few drops of highly concentrated oil in your mouth. The best way is to place it under your tongue and hold it there for as long as you can (at least 30 seconds). That way some of it will be absorbed through your mucous membranes directly into your bloodstream. When you swallow what’s left will pass through your digestive system and into your liver.
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Inhaling CBD oil by vaporizing it, using a pen made for that purpose, is probably the most efficient method of ingestion. Studies suggest that 18 – 30 percent of inhaled cannabinoids will be absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream. Research suggests that the beneficial effects of cannabinoids take place more quickly when inhaled but may last for a shorter period of time. When swallowed the effect takes longer but also lasts for a longer period.CBD creams or body salves can be rubbed into the skin and absorbed directly into the small capillary blood vessels. Some people find this method to help with aches and pains by targeting the area of their body that is affected.

Dosages

Even with the wave of states legalizing medical marijuana, many physicians are still reluctant to prescribe cannabinoids because they are not sure what dosages to prescribe. After all, most medical schools never cover cannabinoids in their pharmacology courses.

CBD comes in various forms and concentrations. There are salves, tinctures, edibles, vaporizers and much more.

Remember, everyone is different. CBD may work best in different forms and dosages for different people, and a small percentage do not see effects at all from CBD. As a general rule it is best to start small and gradually increase until you experience the desired effect. No toxic dose of CBD is known, and there is no record from any source of a death or serious injury from CBD as of this writing.

Here are some general guidelines to give you some idea of average doses.

  • Increase appetite in cancer patients:  2.5 mg. CBD by mouth for six weeks.
  • Chronic pain: 2.5-20 mg CBD by mouth for an average of 25 days.
  • Epilepsy: 200-300 mg of CBD by mouth daily.
  • Movement problems associated with Huntington’s disease: 10 mg per kilogram of CBD by mouth daily for six weeks.
  • Sleep disorders: 40-160 mg CBD by mouth.
  • Multiple sclerosis symptoms: Cannabis plant extracts containing 2.5-120 mg of a THC-CBD combination by mouth daily for 2-15 weeks. A mouth spray might contain 2.7 mg of THC and 2.5 mg of CBD at doses of 2.5-120 milligram for up to eight weeks. Patients typically use eight sprays within any three hours, with a maximum of 48 sprays in any 24-hour period.
  • Schizophrenia: 40-1,280 mg CBD by mouth daily.
  • Glaucoma: a single CBD dose of 20-40 mg under the tongue. Doses greater than 40 mg may actually increase eye pressure.
  • Regulate blood pressure & blood sugar: 2.5-20 mg. CBD by mouth for an average of 25 days.

Consumers should read product inserts carefully to ensure they are taking the right amount of CBD, and talk to the prescribing physician about any questions or concerns.

Side Effects

Possible side effects when first taking CBD may include:

Light-headedness
Drowsiness
Lowered Blood Pressure
Dry Mouth