WHAT IS CBD?
What is CBD?
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t make you feel high, naturally occurring compound found in cannabis. It’s one of over 60 different compounds present in the cannabis plant that belongs to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Theses cannabinoids interact with special receptors in our body called cannabinoid receptors. Research has shown that CBD can influence many conditions and bodily functions including:
- Inflammation – Neuropathic Pain
- Autoimmune disease – Energy regulation
- Metabolism – Reproductive function
- Appetite – Depression
- Anxiety – Even Cancer
How can one cannabinoid affect so many bodily processes without causing adverse side effects?
The answer lies in our biochemistry – the natural intelligence of the body. We have naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors all over our body that interact with CBD. We have these receptors because our body is constantly making its own cannabinoids. These receptors and cannabinoids make up most of our Endocannabinoid system or ECS which affects physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory. Our ESC is always in action and if functioning properly is a major factor in keeping us healthy.
There are two different types of cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. Both are naturally found throughout the body but are most common in the brain and the immune system. CB1 receptors are responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects. These receptors affect memory, mood, sleep, appetite and pain sensation. CB2 receptors have anti-inflammatory effects and are found in the immune cells. CBD is non-psychoactive because of its lack of affinity and attraction for CB1 receptors (the receptors that cause one to experience a cerebral high). CBD does have a great affinity and attraction for CB2 receptors making it a great natural anti-inflammatory and immune system enhancer.
According to many physicians, CBD is an appealing option for people looking for relief from seizures, neurological conditions such as MS and cerebral palsy and anxiety disorders. Studies have found that CBD can…
- Relieve nausea and vomiting making it a great digestive aid
- Help control and reduce seizures
- Help Fight tumors and cancer cells (it’s a powerful anti-oxidant)
That being said, CBD is not just for people with medical conditions. Healthy people can greatly benefit from using CBD as part of a preventative health plan.
- Help reduce stress & depression
- Calm and protect the nervous system
- Promote relaxation and deeper sleep
- Act as anti-inflammatory agent
- Help reduce swelling and joint pain
- Help relieve chronic pain
Studies have shown that inflammation is the root of all diseases so supplementing with CBD might be worth including as part of your daily health routine.
What is the Difference Between CBD and THC?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main ingredients in the cannabis plant. Both CBD and THC are naturally occurring compounds in cannabis known as cannabinoids.
While many strains of marijuana are known for having abundant levels of THC, high-CBD strains are most common in hemp. CBD has recently started to attract attention from the medical community, who seem to prefer CBD over THC. Here are five reasons why…
1) The High
THC is best known for its cerebral “high” do to its affinity and attraction to CB1 receptors in our body, therefore, triggering the psychoactive compound in cannabis. CBD, however, is non-psychoactive and has an attraction and affinity for CB2 receptors (the receptors that cause one to not experience a cerebral high). While disappointing to recreational users, this unique feature of CBD is what makes it so appealing as a medicine.
THC is known to cause some people to feel anxious or paranoid. But CBD is believed to have the opposite effect. In fact, studies show that CBD works to counteract the anxiety caused by ingesting THC. A number of studies also suggest that CBD can reduce anxiety when administered on its own.
In addition to being non-psychoactive, CBD seems to have antipsychotic properties. Researchers believe that CBD may protect marijuana users from getting too high by reducing the psychosis-like effects of THC. However, regulating the mind-altering activity of THC isn’t all that CBD is good for. On its own, CBD is being tested as an antipsychotic medicine for people with schizophrenia.
One of the most common uses of marijuana is as a sleep aid. THC is believed to be responsible for most of marijuana’s sleep-inducing effects. On the other hand, studies suggest CBD acts to promote wakefulness, making CBD a poor choice as a sleep medicine. The opposite effects of CBD and THC on sleep may explain why some strains of cannabis cause users to feel drowsy while others are known to boost energy.
5) Legal Status
As you might already know, all cannabis is illegal to produce in the United States. While most countries have strict laws surrounding marijuana and THC, the legal status of CBD is less clear. In the United States, CBD is technically illegal since it is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. A pharmaceutical form of CBD, called Epidiolex, was only recently cleared by the FDA to be tested in children with severe epilepsy.
The United States government has a patent on the Cannabis plant. Patent number 6,630,507 (Patent-507) called “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” states the following:
“Cannabinoids are found to have particular applications as neuroprotectants…in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD) are particularly advantageous to use…”
On the other hand, CBD extracted from industrial hemp can be legally imported and sold in the U.S.
Marijuana and Hemp: are they the same thing?
Hemp and marijuana are two popular names for the cannabis plant.
The word cannabis often brings to mind images of a burning joint that people smoke to get a cerebral high. Most of the time, the term wouldn’t be equated with plant-based plastics, durable paper or military grade fabric.
But in reality, cannabis has just as much to do with these industrial hemp products as it does with the recreational drug better known as marijuana or pot. This begs the question — how is hemp different from marijuana?
Cannabis is believed to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses.
Tall, sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils and textiles, such as rope and fabrics. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.
Other plants were recognized for being psychoactive and were bred selectively for medical and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that we now know as marijuana.
“the core agricultural differences between medical cannabis and hemp are largely in their genetic parentage and cultivation environment.” Dan Sutton – Tantulus Labs
In fact, scientists believe the early separation of the cannabis gene pool led to two distinct types of cannabis plants. The two species (or subspecies) of cannabis are known as Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.
2. THC Content
Cannabis plants contain unique compounds called cannabinoids. Current research has revealed over 60 different cannabinoids so far, but THC is the most common. THC is credited with causing the marijuana high.
While marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical. This single difference is how most distinguish hemp from marijuana. For example, countries like Canada have set the maximum THC content of hemp at 0.3%. Any cannabis with higher THC levels is considered marijuana instead of hemp. In comparison, medical marijuana produces anywhere between 5-20% THC on average, with prize strains tipping the scale at 25-30% THC.
Hemp and marijuana plants contain another important cannabinoid: CBD. Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC, while marijuana produces more THC than CBD. Interestingly, research has shown that CBD acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, separating hemp further from marijuana.
Hemp and marijuana are grown for different uses, and therefore require different growing conditions.
“Medical cannabis has been selectively bred over generations, and its characteristics are optimized in its cultivation environment to produce female flowering plants that yield budding flowers at the flowering stage of their life cycle,” explains Sutton.
In contrast, Sutton describes hemp plants as “primarily male, without representing flowering buds at any stage in their life cycle.” Instead, centuries of selective breeding have resulted in “relatively low concentrations of THC, and tall, fast growing plants optimized for higher stalk harvests.”
Achieving maximum THC levels in marijuana is tricky and requires close attention to grow-room conditions. Marijuana growers usually aim to maintain stable light, temperature, humidity, CO2 and oxygen levels, among other things.
On the other hand, hemp is usually grown outdoors to maximize its size and yield and less attention is paid to individual plants.
4. Legal Status
Outside the U.S., hemp is grown in more than 30 countries. In 2011, the top hemp-producing country was China, followed by Chile and the European Union. Hemp production is also expanding in Canada, with the country’s annual crop reaching a record high of 66,700 acres in 2013.
Interesting enough, it is legal to import hemp products into the United States. According to the Hemp Industry Association, about $500 million worth of hemp product is imported every year. Marijuana, on the other hand, remains illegal in most countries. A few, such as Israel and Canada, have recently started to regulate marijuana as a medicine. But the legal production of marijuana is subject to stricter rules than hemp, since it is still widely considered a narcotic.
Dr. Jan Slaski and Dr. John Wolodko of Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures conduct research on hemp fibre products. (Photo: AITF)
The strict laws surrounding both forms of cannabis — hemp and marijuana — makes any research very difficult.
“The political implications of that scheduling, from a research perspective, are limiting,” explains Sutton. “To my knowledge, of the thousands of academic and research bodies in the United States and Canada whom would be equipped to perform agricultural or medical research on this unique species, only around 40 have actual research licenses to study the plant in a limited context.”
Despite these barriers, researchers are making progress in understanding the way medical marijuana works to assist in managing an ever-expanding list of disorders.
What’s more, developments in hemp technology continue to reveal new and intriguing ways that this industrial plant can contribute to society in the future. Recently, researchers at the University of Alberta created a supercapacitor using raw hemp material, making the manufacturing of cheap, fast-charging batteries from hemp a real possibility.
Hemp fibre is also being used to develop new forms of renewable plastic, which has made it a common material in the car parts industry. But as legalization spreads across the globe, the opportunities to explore the potential of the cannabis grows too. The possibilities are endless, and this is one thing hemp and marijuana have in common.
Is Cannabidiol legal?
Welcome to another confusing issue surrounding the cannabis plant. The answer to whether or not CBD is legal is that it depends on which plant the CBD was derived from, where the plant was grown, and how the product is marketed.
Since marijuana is considered a Schedule I narcotic in the United States, (meaning it has a high risk for abuse and no therapeutic potential) CBD extracted from marijuana is considered to be in direct violation of the Controlled Substances Act and is illegal at the federal level in the United States, but legal at the state level in those that have enacted medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and CBD only legislation.
However, if the CBD in question is a product of industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC, it is considered legal in all 50 states. As you read above in the marijuana vs. hemp section, industrial hemp has been cultivated to contain little to no THC and therefore has no intoxicating effect. Hemp isn’t scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act, so any CBD taken from industrial hemp that does not cause THC to enter the body is not prohibited by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
It is federal crime to grow hemp in the US without a permit from the DEA, with the exception of locations designated by the 2014 Farm Bill. It is completely legal to import hemp into the United States however, and in fact the US imports over $500M in hemp each year. If the CBD is derived from industrial hemp not grown in the US, it is considered to be legal. * NeoCanna comes from US grown industrial hemp
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has recently started to crack down on the CBD market, or more specifically, the marketing of CBD. In 2015, the FDA served warning letters to several companies making medical and therapeutic claims about CBD. Essentially, it is legal to market and sell CBD, but it is illegal to make claims that lead consumers to believe these products are intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, hence our FDA disclaimer.
You can google CBD and get millions of hits in less than a second. Among these links are a whole host of anecdotal accounts, like what cannabidiol did for this person or that person’s health issues. You will also find scientific records of clinical trials involving CBD. Either way, an abundance of knowledge is available, even in the relatively new era of cannabidiol.
Usually when a new health trend emerges, little public acceptance is gained simply by personal stories on forums or blogs or claims made by companies attempting to sell a product, and for good reason – it’s just not completely trustworthy. But when someone with no agenda and immense credibility wades into the field, that’s when many more people begin to take notice.
Enter Raphael Mechoulam, the Israeli organic chemist who has spent a lifetime in the study of marijuana. Though certainly not a household name, his advances in the chemistry and pharmacology of cannabinoids have been an inspiration to a generation of proponents of medical marijuana and CBD.
More recently, a figure has appeared that has taken cannabidiol awareness to an entirely new level, especially in America. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Emmy-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN, did an about-face on his stance on marijuana. The world took notice with his documentary series, “Weed“, “Weed 2“ and “Weed 3″ on CNN.
The list of famous people involved in either CBD, medical marijuana, or the full legalization of cannabis is large and ever-growing. The cannabidiol industry has experienced a large increase in not only awareness, but product research and development. It is a certainty that more and more CBD information will be made public from more reputable sources in the coming years.
Along the way, please consider the source. The internet is obviously the world’s best and largest platform for public knowledge and opinion, but this information can be incorrect or misleading. NeoCanna always recommends to err on the side of caution, and follow the scientific path to true knowledge, instead of just the industry buzz.