Cannabidiol – The Complete Guide To CBD
Cannabidiol, abbreviated and commonly referred to as CBD, is one of at least 113 other cannabinoids that have been identified in cannabis. It is no coincidence that the resurgence in interest of cannabis applications for medical benefit has culminated in national media attention and excitement around the benefits of CBD. This is a complete guide to everything you need to know about this natural healing agent.
There are many conflicting accounts and inaccurate reporting around cannabidiol, the mechanisms of action and the studies supporting therapeutic use. We’ve taken the time to sift through all the research and give you the most complete and accurate picture of CBD, while sticking to the facts and explicitly differentiating from anecdotal reports, however beneficial.
If you see something inaccurate, misstated or missing, please leave us a comment below and we will update this post. That way we can all benefit from the most comprehensive, up to date, no nonsense guide to CBD available.
What is Cannabidiol or “CBD”?
Cannabidiol is a chemical compound identified and isolated from the cannabis plant in the early 1940’s by Roger Adams. Cannabidiol (CBD) has traditionally been consumed by smoking whole cannabis flower, but is now also commonly cooked into edibles and extracted into CBD oils and other concentrates for sublingual, oral and topical applications.
Research has shown several pharmacological and therapeutic uses for CBD, despite being discovered relatively recently, with its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety and anti-epileptic properties top among the list.
Proven Benefits of Cannabidiol and CBD Oil
1. Fights Anxiety and Depression
Cannabidiol is often used to calm the nerves and release anxiety by promoting relaxation. Picking a high CBD, low THC strain like Cannatonic, Harle-Tsu or Pennywise and vaporizing is one of the most effective ways to utilize cannabidiol for anxiety. Research studies in both animals and humans have shown the cannabidiol has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties. While the mechanisms for action are not fully understood and more research still needs to be done in clinical trials, high CBD strains are being used for relief of depressive and anxiety symptoms across the US and all over the world.
A 2016 report studied the effectiveness of CBD oil on a 10-year old girl that had been the victim of sexual abuse and parental neglect as a young child under the age of five. The girl, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder had anxiety, insomnia and an impaired ability to focus. Traditional pharmaceuticals did provide partial relief, but the effects were short-lived and had major side-effects. The trial of CBD oil was shown to significantly decrease anxiety, helping the girl to see a steady improvement on the quality and quantity of the sleep, with no major side effects noted.
2. Works as a Potent Anti-Bacterial
CBD, and the four other major cannabinoids, THC, CBN, CBC and CBG, were studied by a group of researchers in 2008 for their antibacterial activity, who concluded that all five cannabinoids were highly effective antibiotics in topical applications.
Raw concentrated CBD oil is a thick dark consistency that is not well suited for topical use. Instead look for CBD oil blends with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, that can be easily rubbed in and absorbed into the skin. Combine 5 parts CBD oil with 1 part bisabolol or German Chamomile Essential Oil for added benefit.
The cannabis plant itself has natural resistance to many diseases that aid its ability to grow in unfavorable conditions. In the 1950’s Cannabis and cannabinoid oils were studied as a treatment for tuberculosis and other diseases, but at the time the active ingredients were still largely unknown and the controversy around marijuana’s recreational use limited further research.
What is most promising from the 2008 study is that in addition to being an effective general antibiotics in topical applications, CBD was shown to be highly potent against various methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains that are of most current clinical relevance. CBD and CBC, the non-psychotropic cannabinoids, proved most effective against these “superbugs” that are currently a top priority for medical researchers across the globe.
While their method of action is still not clearly understood, researchers are aggressively studying CBD for it’s potential applications for the fight in the quickly approaching antibiotic resistant microbial future.
3. Potent Anti-inflammatory
Cannabidiol has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and work as a potent anti-inflammatory. A recent review of studies established that CBD “offers promise as a prototype for anti-inflammatory drug development” and “may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders now known to involve activation of the immune system and associated oxidative stress”.
It’s especially helpful in reducing inflammation associated with arthritis, joint and back pain, but could also provide relief for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and neuropathic pain.
4. Works For Pain Relief
CBD and CBD oils are great for the treatment of chronic pain. CBD has the effect of reducing both pain and inflammation, which make it a great alternative to opioid-based pain killers. ( 1 ) Recent studies have confirmed that cannabidiol is effective in the treatment of severe, chronic and difficult to treat pain in many adults.
Cannabidiol acts on the same neural pathways that opioids react with in a way that lets it work as a powerful analgesic alone, but also has shown to potentiate and lengthen the analgesic effects of opioids when taken in combination. A 2017 study of 2897 participants who used opioids for chronic and severe pain concluded that 93% found cannabis to be effective in managing their pain and would choose it as an alternative to opioids, if it were readily available.
5. Supports Addiction Treatment
Due to it’s ability to promote relaxation and ease anxiety and depression, CBD has been proven beneficial in the treatment of addiction and symptoms of withdrawals. Cannabidiol also helps reduce cravings associated with addition and works well as a supportive agent in the fight against addiction.
Cannabidiol is specifically effective in treating withdrawals from opiates. The mechanisms of cannabinoids and opiates are closely related in the brain and central nervous system. A 2017 study in mice showed that cannabidiol effectively blocked opioid reward center and showed no adverse effects. This supports a 2015 review of previous studies that showed CBD could be an effective intervention for addictive behaviors.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol belongs to a class of chemicals called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are 21-carbon molecules that interact with the body’s endogenous cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, collectively known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which are located throughout the body, primarily in the brain and the central and preiphery nervous systems.
Researchers have identified at least 113 different cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, 85 of them uniquely attributed to cannabis itself; not known to exist elsewhere in nature.
Cannabinoids, and thus CBD, are highly concentrated in the viscous resin produced from the glandular trichomes found in the female cannabis plant. Of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, CBD and THC are the two most common and account for the majority of the total cannabinoid profile. THC being the most common and CBD being the second most common cannabinoid found in cannabis.
Cannabidiol can account for up to 40% of the total extracted cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, though the amount varies across cannabis strains. Recently, cultivators have begun to breed cannabis strains for specific ratios of cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are terpenophenolic compounds, part terpene and part natural phenol. This means that cannabinoids and terpenes (terpenoids) are closely related in composition and are believed to work together, along with flavanoids, to create a synergistic chemical effect, known as the entourage effect.
What does CBD do to you?
THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychotropic cannabinoid which the psychoactive effects of cannabis can largely be contributed.
CBD on the other hand, is non-psychoactive, meaning that it will not get you the “high” or “stoned” feeling of THC. In fact, recent evidence has shown that CBD counteracts psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairment associated with cannabis use.