Cannabidiol: The Non-Intoxicating Cannabis Extract

Written by Heather Ritchie

For years, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was popular because of its properties that cause feelings of intoxication and euphoria. In recent times, another cannabis component is taking some of the spotlight: cannabidiol or CBD.

CBD has profound medical benefits and often counteracts the feelings of intoxication from THC’s chemical interactions with the endocannabinoid receptors. It’s an appealing alternative medicinal treatment for patients that don’t want to feel intoxicated. Currently, CBD is used to treat conditions like pain, inflammation, seizures, anxiety, psychosis, and other ailments.

Research on humans and animals illustrates that CBD may be an effective treatment for other diseases and disorders like epilepsy, diabetes, PTSD, arthritis, or used as an antipsychotic. It’s even known for its inhabitation of cancer and tumor growth.

There are two popular terms used to describe CBD products. One term is “CBD dominant” which refers to cannabis varieties that only contain small amounts of THC. “CBD rich,” means that the cannabis chemovar has more CBD than THC or equal amounts of both compounds.

CBD Science

Previous science proved that the primary difference between THC and CBD is the way they chemically react with receptors in the body. CBD and THC are similar in molecular structure. CBD, however, doesn’t interact directly with the CB1 or CB2 receptors like THC does.

Scientists continue to look for ways to research cannabis because the illegal status of the drug has made it difficult to get samples. So far, researchers have found that CBD works on more than 60 distinctive molecular pathways, for example, like the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptorgamma (PPAR gamma) that regulates gene expression.

William Devane and Allyn Howell discovered the CB1 receptor in 1988,and this work provided the theory that CBD doesn’t directly stimulate receptors. As scientists performed more research on these chemical interactions,they found that it reacts with the CB1 receptor to achieve significant therapeutic benefits. When paired with THC, the two compounds work synergistically, creating the entourage effect.

We now understand that CBD anchors to the CB1-R receptor, thus manipulating how it reacts to THC’s stimulation. As a result, the receptor’s signaling is enhanced illustrating CBD’s potential in treating health conditions like heart issues and metabolic issues resulting from endocannabinoid overactivity. It could alsotake care of illnesses linked to endocannabinoid deficits such as IBS and fibromyalgia.

Hope for Those with None

A CNN documentary about CBD called Weed illuminated the compounds curative powers through the story of a girl named Charlotte who suffered from Dravet Syndrome,  a deadly and rare epileptic disease. As she continued to deteriorate cognitively, her parents felt hopeless. There was nothing that anyone could do as she continued to have 300 seizures each week.

Charlotte’s parents heard about CBD products helping other kids with seizures,and even though they didn’t know a lot about the long-term effects of cannabis use, they chose to treat her with cannabis. The first week of her CBD treatment, Charlotte didn’t have any seizures.

Soon the family heard about the Stanley Brothers who were breeding cannabis that was high in CBD that nobody wanted. That’s how the infamous Charlotte’s Web began, a product that helps families with children like Charlotte who previously had no hope.

How is CBD Extract Created?

Cannabis genetics are integral as it is essential to select the right plant for maximum medical efficacy. There are several types of CBD oils in the cannabis marketplace. Whole plant, or full spectrum CBD extracts contain more of the constituents found in the natural plant in the concentrate. These products can further contribute to the entourage effect since full spectrum CBD usually includes a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes.

CBD isolates are an extremely pure form of CBD because they don’t contain other chemical constituents extracted from the plant. Isolate technology allows extractors to separate specific compounds, which can provide patients with the specific cannabinoid they may need.

Is it Safe?

CBD has some minor side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, or mild nausea. Despite these effects, there is widespread belief and evidence that CBD is a valid medical treatment. However, a federal court stood firm against the schedule I listing in May of 2018, even saying that CBD made from hemp could only be sold in states where it was legal.

The World Health Organization published a report on CBD stating that it posed no harmful effect on human health. The available research illustrated that there was no association with abuse or risk of physical dependence from using CBD.  As we learn more through scientific studies, we’ll likely uncover more medical benefits of CBD treatment.

About the author

Heather Ritchie

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