CBD is short for cannabidiol, a cannabinoid compound that is found in hemp and marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana are part of the plant family known as Cannabis. The main difference between marijuana and hemp is the level of THC in each. THC, like CBD, is a cannabinoid compound. There are 60 different known cannabinoids, but THC is the most well-known—the Beyoncé of cannabinoids, if you will. The reason THC is so famous is because it's associated with the psychoactive high that people experience after smoking or ingesting weed.
In 1992 Mechoulam’s quest for quantification led him from the plant itself to the inner recesses of the human brain. That year he and several colleagues made an extraordinary discovery. They isolated the chemical made by the human body that binds to the same receptor in the brain that THC does. Mechoulam named it anandamide—from the Sanskrit for “supreme joy.” (When asked why he didn’t give it a Hebrew name, he replies, “Because in Hebrew there are not so many words for happiness. Jews don’t like being happy.”)
Although delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known as THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient, other known compounds with biologic activity are cannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin and delta-8-THC. Cannabidiol (CBD) is thought to have significant pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect of delta-9-THC. (2)
If I had to rate the efficacy of the second dosing option for anxiety on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate it about a 6. Meaning, it was noticeably more effective than the first low-dose at even just 20 mg. Perhaps in the future I’ll press my luck with an even greater dose of around 60 mg, which is equivalent to 600 mg CBD and the dosage that has been documented as effective for anxiety in clinical research.
Taking CBD oil is like drinking milk and calling it calcium, Hernandez said: There’s some in there, but at very low concentrations dispersed among a host of other ingredients. And what those other ingredients are is anyone’s guess. “The thing to know is that CBD hasn’t gone through the safety controls, the efficacy controls that we usually use, the clinical trials,” Hernandez said. “The jury is still out regarding how safe this drug is.”
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DiPatrizio says, “There may be some benefits outside of improving epilepsy outcomes, but a lot more research is required.” Any research on athletic claims would almost certainly come from the industry; there are more urgent public health CBD topics to investigate than whether it reduces runners’ knee pain. For the foreseeable future, runners interested in CBD’s effectiveness will have to rely on anecdotal, subjective reports.
While CBD predominantly has acute anxiolytic effects, some species discrepancies are apparent. In addition, effects may be contingent on prior stress and vary according to brain region. A notable contrast between CBD and other agents that target the eCB system, including THC, direct CB1R agonists and FAAH inhibitors, is a lack of anxiogenic effects at a higher dose. Further receptor-specific studies may elucidate the receptor specific basis of this distinct dose response profile. Further studies are also required to establish the efficacy of CBD when administered in chronic dosing, as relatively few relevant studies exist, with mixed results, including both anxiolytic and anxiogenic outcomes.
de Mello Schier, A. R., de Oliveira Ribeiro, N. P., Coutinho, D. S., Machado, S., Arias-Carrión, O., Crippa, J. A., . . . Silva, A. C. (2014). Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: A chemical compound of cannabis sativa [Abstract]. CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets, 13(6), 953-960. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339
“This is a really powerful compound,” says Mikhail Kogan, the medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine. “I’ve seen it work for a lot of my patients.” He prescribes high-CBD strains of cannabis regularly for such illnesses as epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, autism and insomnia.
The good news is that most of the official research done on CBD oil has shown that there are very few negative side effects from using it. However, CBD is not without some side effects. Most notably, in the clinical studies for epilepsy, sedation was one of the more common side effects. Decreased appetite and diarrhea were also seen in some patients. Depending on what other medicines they are taking, certain patients may need to have periodic blood tests to check on liver function.
How do you take it? CBD products comes in a variety of forms, including tinctures, gel caps, and topical applications. One athlete-focused company, Floyd’s of Leadville, offers a protein recovery powder and a carb drink that contain CBD. (That’s Floyd as in Floyd Landis, the former professional cyclist who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for failing a drug test and who helped to expose Lance Armstrong’s doping.) Another athlete-focused company, PurePower Botanicals, offers capsules that combine CBD with herbs and other purported medicinals, such as turmeric. PurePower says that the non-hemp-derived ingredients increase the effectiveness of the products’ CBD.
"There's a certain level of individualized dosing with this ingredient, which makes it challenging," says Shunney. "And think about the dynamic balance our bodies have with how we're responding to stress all the time; it's going to vary from person to person." The reality is, it can take one person 15 minutes to feel the effects of CBD and another person 70 minutes. And it'll involve a fair amount of trial and error to figure out what dosage is right for you.
Earlier preclinical studies have suggested that the therapeutic effects of CBD might depend on the presence of specific clinical conditions. As an example, Campos et al. (2013) showed that the chronic use of CBD for 2 weeks, while not directly increasing hippocampal neurogenesis, prevented its decrease by unpredictable chronic stress. Thus, the absence of changes in the sleep of healthy volunteers treated with CDB in our study should not be considered as a final indication that CBD could not have positive effects in patients with sleep disorders.
Few interactions: Most evidence indicates that CBD is unlikely to interact with pharmaceutical drugs. However, when taken at a reasonable dosage, CBD is understood to inhibit CYP450 isoenzymes in the liver. This may alter the pharmacokinetics of other drugs such as Warfarin which are metabolized by similar enzymes. That said, the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic contraindications associated with CBD appear minimal.
Has anyone done the math? How much could 40mg of CBD cost/night? How much would 160mg cost? The problem is the recommended dose and doses available on the market do not jive. Why the discrepancy between dose recommended by researchers and dose available in the products? Will higher CBD oils be available in the future? For me, right now it would cost $90 to get to sleep on CBD. Totally unrealistic.
You only have to read the reviews under a CBD product on the Holland & Barrett website to see the extent to which anecdotal reports cannot be trusted. More than 100 customers gave Jacob Hooy CBD+ Oil five stars, with a few saying they always noticed if they missed a dose (presumably this made them less relaxed, although they did not reveal what they were taking it for), while 93 people gave it one star, saying it did nothing, or was too weak. One couple even said it gave them palpitations and a sleepless night. All these people had different conditions, expectations and situations. “And,” says McGuire, “you have to remember that anything can have a placebo effect.” While it looks unlikely that the recommended doses of these products will do any harm, McGuire’s guess is that doses are so small “that it’s like homeopathy – it’s not going to do anything at all”.
Various strains of "medical marijuana" are found to have a significant variation in the ratios of CBD-to-THC, and are known to contain other non-psychotropic cannabinoids. Any psychoactive marijuana, regardless of its CBD content, is derived from the flower (or bud) of the genus Cannabis. Non-psychoactive hemp (also commonly-termed industrial hemp), regardless of its CBD content, is any part of the cannabis plant, whether growing or not, containing a ∆-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis. Certain standards are required for legal growing, cultivating and producing the hemp plant. The Colorado Industrial Hemp Program registers growers of industrial hemp and samples crops to verify that the THC concentration does not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
Whether the claim of 10-fold bioavailability of nano-engineered CBD can be scientifically verified isn’t known, however, preliminary testing from the company suggests that 10 mg of their product is equivalent to 100 mg of others. Assuming the nano-engineering is effectively increasing bioavailability by 10-fold, each BioCBD+ capsule I’ve taken (with 10 mg CBD) is delivering the equivalent of 100 mg standard CBD.
Yet when one looks at the industry more broadly, there is cause for concern. In February, as part of an investigation into the marketing claims of six hemp oil companies, the FDA analyzed 18 CBD products. What it found was disturbing: Many of these supposed CBD products were entirely lacking in CBD. Of the products tested, six contained no cannabinoids whatsoever. Another 11 contained less than 1 percent CBD. The product that tested highest in CBD, at 2.6 percent, was a capsule for dogs. In states that have legalized CBD, regulations can require CBD products to contain at least 5 percent CBD, more often 10 or 15 percent.
However, Bonn-Miller told Live Science that he thinks cannabis research is on the upswing. "If we flash forward five years I think you'll see more studies," he said. Those studies could reveal more conditions that CBD may be helpful for and may also reveal that some of the reasons why people say they use CBD oil are not supported by the science but are instead a placebo effect. "And that's why we need to do the studies," he said.
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