What is CBD?
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis
- It is associated with many of the plant’s medicinal properties
- It is legal to buy and sell in the UK as a “food supplement”
- This article will help explain how CBD works in the human body
Many would argue that cannabis owes the majority of its medicinal and therapeutic properties to cannabidiol (CBD), one of the 100+ known cannabinoids (chemicals) found on the cannabis plant.
These cannabinoids are specifically found on the glandular hairs of the plant, called trichomes, along with hundreds of terpenoids (terpenes) which gives different cannabis strains their distinct tastes and scents. They, along with cannabinoids, create cannabis’ therapeutic effects.
Molecular structure of Cannabidiol (CBD)
Over the past few years, CBD has been showing great potential in alleviating symptoms of medical ailments, such as epilepsy, MS, mental illnesses (such as anxiety and depression, ADHD and even chronic pain.
This is because CBD acts as an anti-convulsive; anti-cancer, sedative, hypnotic, anti-psychotic, anti-nausea and even as an anti-inflammatory.
Cannabidiol is a pleiotropic drug so it produces its many effects through multiple molecular pathways.
Despite cannabis’ effects coming mostly from its cannabinoids and their interactions with our endo-cannabinoid system (CB1 and CB2 receptors), CBD actually has little affinity for either of the receptors.
In fact, CBD activates several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels. Jose Alexandre Crippa and his colleagues at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and King’s College in London conducted pioneering research into CBD and the neural correlates of anxiety.
In high concentrations, CBD activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, giving cannabis its anti-anxiety effect.
Serotonin has many roles in the body, including (but not limited to) anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.
All these areas can be affected by consuming CBD.
With all this information emerging from CBD and its interactions, it is easy to forget about the hundreds of other chemicals present in cannabis and their effects.
CBD isolates can be very useful for patients with specific conditions or for those who do not wish to feel the psychoactive effects of THC.
In the years following the media frenzy of Charlotte’s Web, a non-psychoactive cannabis strain that was processed into a CBD-rich oil for an epileptic child, CBD therapies have been very much on the rise.
Several countries and state laws have now regulated to allow CBD isolated medicines.
But while CBD-only medicines have been life-changing for many individuals, these laws are there mainly to help those suffering from epileptic seizures.
There is currently a great deal of confusion surrounding the difference between oils made from CBD or from “hemp.”
Hemp and cannabis both come from the same species of plant; Cannabis Sativa.
The main obvious differences is that hemp contains “trace levels” of THC (practically 0%), whereas cannabis contains much higher levels.
Hemp, however, does contain CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes. Meaning ingesting hemp flower in any way will not have psychoactive effects, but it can still have a relaxing effect due to its CBD and other cannabinoid content.
Hemp oil, more commonly known as hemp seed oil, is produced by pressing hemp seeds to extract the fatty oils within.
These oils are incredibly nutritious and carry a number of uses from cooking to cosmetic products.
However, due to their extraction method from seeds, the oil does not contain high enough CBD levels to be considered for use medicinally.
CBD oil can be extracted using a number of processes such as butane or propane extraction, or the cleanest but most expensive method: CO2 extraction, which uses no toxic substances.
Hemp flowers can be used to extract CBD oil, however medicinal strains of cannabis are used for the high quality CBD oil used medicinally.
These strains are bred to be high in CBD and generally have little or almost no THC content. Hemp oil is, generally, not considered for medicinal use, even though it is highly nutritious.
A huge 25% of its calories come from protein, and 30% from its oils, and it is a great source of Omega-3, Omega-6, Phosphorus, Vitamin E, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2.
So despite it being hard for science to define it as a medicine, many patients still view hemp oil as just that.
Whether you need a CBD isolate, or you wish to make the most of the plant in its full glory and go for a whole plant medicine, Cannabidiol is sure to feature in many health routines in the near future.
First List of benefits and uses for CBD
Epilepsy and Seizures
This year, the FDA approved a CBD-based drug to treat seizures, which was a huge step in making this natural medicine more available to the public and to patients who need it to survive. To date, of all the reported health benefits of CBD oil, this has been the most researched (and proven) use.
Anxiety and Mood Disorders
CBD has been touted as a bona fide anxiolytic, and possibly an antidepressant. Whether it’s social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder, CBD may be the solution you’re looking for. “Most patients seem to be using CBD as an anxiolytic [anti-anxiety medication]… it helps calm them down and relax them,” said Dr. Solomon. “The biggest clinical studies [that have been done] show it does help decrease anxiety when you take 300 to 600mg of CBD.”
If you’re considering using CBD as a replacement for your current mood disorder or mental health medication, first consult with your psychiatrist and/or physician.
In addition to mood disorders, CBD is also known to help patients with psychosis—some doctors have called it a legitimate antipsychotic, and a study from just this year called CBD “a new class of treatment for the disorder.”
Recent research, including animal studies, have suggested that “CBD has a pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs,” and additionally have encouraged more research to evaluate its ability to treat similar illnesses and disorders, like bipolar disorder.
Have you heard about CBD oil for sleep issues? If you’re looking to catch up on some zzz’s, or you’re fighting a legitimate bout of insomnia, CBD may be able to help you fall—and stay—asleep. Some smaller studies have shown that CBD at bedtime could improve sleep, and a study on rats in 2013 showed that CBD increased total sleep time. That said, Jordan Tishler, M.D., noted that the rat study found “at high doses, CBD can cause insomnia and jitteriness”—so do your research on the appropriate dosage for each product before you go overboard.
Aside from being an antiseizure and antianxiety remedy, CBD is also known as an anti-inflammatory. Delivery for internal and muscular inflammation is recommended to be taken orally (sublingually, ingested, or vaporized) versus topically, which hasn’t been backed by clinical studies. Doctors have said it could be outright impossible for CBD to permeate the layers of your skin (transdermally) to actually sink into your muscles.
CBD could potentially be as effective for pain relief as an opioid, but without the potential for deadly addiction. Dr. Solomon shared a self-report study he conducted at UC Berkeley last year, which tracked patients that were using opioids for pain relief. When subjects tried using cannabis in lieu of opioids, the majority “reported that cannabis provided relief on par with their other medications, but without the unwanted side effects.” He noted that more research needs to be done, but all signs point to pain relief—which would lead to fewer opioid-related deaths.
Additionally, animal studies have been conducted to find that CBD may be a potential treatment for arthritis, and one report concluded that “there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.” Dr. Tishler, however, credited THC as the pain-reliever in this case, not CBD.
As it is an anti-inflammatory, you may find CBD skin-care products helpful when applied topically. Some research even points to its efficacy as an acne treatment, since it may limit inflammation in the sebum-producing glands that can lead to breakouts. If you’re not having luck with traditional acne-fighting ingredients (like salicylic acid), it may be worth giving it a shot.
As for anti-aging beauty products (yes, there are anti-aging CBD products) Health is Wealth stocks a beauty Balm.
Crohn’s and IBD
Because studies are pointing to cannabinoids as a promising treatment for inflammation, CBD may, in fact, be a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s. While there is some initial evidence, there’s not a ton of clinical backing just yet. Stay tuned.
WHO’s 2018 report showed that CBD may be a therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and multiple sclerosis. Many reports say that, though results look good in small studies, more clinical research is needed to know for sure.
There is mounting evidence that CBD could potentially fight cancer and, at the very least, help ease symptoms of cancer and side effects of chemotherapy. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics found, for the first time, that CBD potently and selectively inhibited the growth of different breast tumor cell lines.
And while there are some studies being done to see if CBD is anti-tumor, it is not recommended to use CBD in lieu of chemotherapy. “I would never recommend someone stop seeing an oncologist or stop medication their oncologist recommended to take CBD,” said Dr. Solomon. “I would add it as an adjunct to that medication, letting the oncologist know that they’re taking it.” The stories you may hear by word of mouth claiming that CBD alone cured someone’s cancer? Purely anecdotal as of now.
More research needs to be done, but there is some evidence CBD can protect the heart against vascular damage caused by high glucose, inflammation, or type 2 diabetes, according to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The European Journal of Pharmacology also published a study earlier this year that pointed toward CBD aiding heart health. Perhaps what is most interesting is that CBD could mitigate the negative cardiovascular effects of stress and high blood pressure, providing a potential alternative to traditional medications used to lower blood pressure.
Health is Wealth CBD oil contain 83.33% CBD oil, that’s 833mgs of CBD per 1000mg the rest is the terpens (compounds)
A 10% oil contains 100mg CBD the other 900mg is terpenes.
More Health Benefits of CBD/Cannabidiol
CBD and other chemicals from cannabis show promising cancer-fighting properties. Although THC has similar cancer-fighting effects, its use in high doses causes too many psychoactive side effects.
In fact, cannabinoids similar to THC were first used to reduce nausea, pain, and improve appetite in cancer patients. Some synthetic cannabinoids are still used for this indication. But only recently did researchers uncover more about natural cannabinoids like CBD and their ability to combat various types of cancers.
Overall, CBD is safe, non-psychoactive, and has strong anti-tumor effects. It could be used to improve the efficacy of standard treatments, or potentially even as an anti-cancer substance on its own.
CBD prevented cancer cell growth and killed cervical cancer, leukemia, lung, thyroid, and colon cancer in cells.
It also decreased human brain cancer (glioma) cell growth and invasion, which offers hope for combating this hard-to-treat and deadly type of cancer.
CBD holds promise for fighting breast and prostate cancer, since it directly reduces tumors, alleviates pain, and can improve the effectiveness of conventional drugs.
Although these studies are exciting, most of the research so far is limited to cells. It’s unknown if taking CBD will help combat cancer in humans.
CBD decreases energy production in cancers, triggering their death.
CBD makes cancer cells more sensitive to tumor-killing white blood cells (lymphokine-activated killer cells.
It makes cancer cells kill themselves (apoptosis), stopping both cancer growth and spreading.
CBD may act on new non-cannabinoid cancer pathways.
It also blocks a newly discovered cannabinoid cancer pathway.
2) Inflammation and Autoimmunity
CBD is a very promising remedy for a variety of inflammatory and pain-associated conditions. It acts on the body’s cannabinoid system to reduce inflammation, balance the immune system, and protect from oxidative stress [R].
Our immune system has sensors for the cannabinoids our own body produces, as well as for those we take in. This internal cannabinoid system can become unbalanced in autoimmune disease and inflammation, which was something scientists had no clue a couple of decades ago [R].
CBD acts on the immune cells to trigger a host of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant reactions:
CBD Can Blunt Th1 and Th2 Dominance
CBD reduced inflammation and pain in mice.
It also decreased the production of inflammatory substances in immune cells (Th1: TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, and IL-6; Th2: IL-4 and IL-8).
CBD Helps with Th17 Dominance
CBD can help suppress Th17 dominance, which means that it can help with some Th17-dominant autoimmune diseases.
CBD also switches neutrophils to their anti-inflammatory state, along with reducing other inflammatory immune products (Macrophage Inflammatory Protein-1)
CBD protects brain cells. It countered the effects of toxic substances and oxidative stress in brain cells, which would be important for recovering from stroke or other forms of brain damage.
In a small study (open-label) of 5 patients with movement disorders, CBD reduced uncontrollable muscle twitching, higher doses having a stronger effect. The patients received 100 to 600 mg of CBD per day over a 6-week period. 2 of the included patients with Parkinson’s disease did not do well with doses over 300 mg per day, however.
A combination of CBD and THC consistently relieved muscle spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis in one study of 219 participants.
However, CBD combined with THC did not improve symptoms in a study of 17 patients (DB-RCT) with Parkinson’s disease.
CBD protected from brain damage in animals (reducing beta-amyloid toxicity), which could potentially help in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease [R, R]. It was able to reverse poor cognitive function in animals with Alzheimer’s disease.
CBD also protected the brain from the effects of stroke and reduced blood flow in animals.
CBD is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or vitamin E (α-tocopherol) in cells.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, CBD holds promise for helping those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and possibly prolonging their life.
Overall, it seems that CBD may protect the brain from damage and inflammation, but does not beneficially affect all movement problems that are a result of brain damage.
5) CBD Potentially Benefits Schizophrenia
Unlike its cousin THC, CBD may be beneficial for preventing psychosis and reducing symptoms in schizophrenia.
While the psychoactive THC in cannabis seems to trigger psychotic episodes, especially in those with schizophrenia, CBD has opposite, antipsychotic effects. More and more studies are pointing to CBD as a natural alternative to antipsychotic drugs, but with far fewer side effects [R].
People who experience psychosis may produce too much or even too little cannabinoids (from overactive dopamine receptors). CBD is milder than our internal cannabinoids and helps to re-establish a balance of cannabinoids in the brain. CBD also helps lower inflammation, which is often increased in schizophrenia. THC, on the other hand, is stronger than our internal cannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG), this way potentially triggering psychosis.
In 42 patients with acute schizophrenia (DB-RCT), CBD (up to 800 mg daily) improved all symptoms after 4 weeks. It worked as well as a strong antipsychotic (amisulpride) but was much better tolerated. Interestingly, CBD also reduced the breakdown of anandamide (by blocking FAAH), which was linked to the beneficial effects.
Many animal studies also support the antipsychotic benefits of CBD [R+].
It seems the cannabinoid system is not that straightforward, and we have yet to understand much about it. In the meantime, the evidence for CBD helping hard-to-treat schizophrenia symptoms is promising.
CBD May Reduce Seizures
CBD may help reduce seizures in people with epilepsy who do not respond to other drugs ( treatment-resistant epilepsy)
In a 3-month study (observational) of 23 children and young adults (3-26 years of age) with treatment-resistant epilepsy, a purified 98% oil-based CBD extract reduced seizures by half in 39% of the participants. The maximum used dose was 25 mg/kg/day, which would be 1,750 mg per day for a person weighing 155 lbs [R].
CBD also reduced seizures in another trial of 214 children and adults with epilepsy (open-label). CBD was safe even at the maximum dose, which was double of the previous study (50 mg/kg/day)
In one survey, parents of children who suffer from treatment-resistant epilepsy and use CBD were asked about the benefits. 19 parents were included, 84% of which said that CBD reduced the frequency of seizures. Two parents said that CBD completely resolved seizures. Parents also reported improved alertness, sleep, and mood. Some side effects were drowsiness and fatigue.
In 15 patients with epilepsy who didn’t respond to drugs, 200 – 300 mg of cannabidiol per day over 4.5 months reduced seizures. 7 out of 8 patients who took CBD improved (while only 1 patient in the placebo group did)
CBD Reduces Anxiety
A single CBD dose of 400 mg reduced anxiety in a brain imaging study of 10 people with seasonal affective disorder (DB-S). CBD reduced blood flow to parts of the limbic system that are often overactive in anxiety. It increased blood flow to another region important for cognition and motivation (the posterior cingulate cortex)
In a study of 10 healthy volunteers (DB-CT), 300 mg of CBD reduced anxiety after a stressful task (public speaking) [R]. In 24 patients with social anxiety (DB-RCT), 600 mg of CBD given before public speaking reduced anxiety and discomfort while improving cognition
With more studies, the benefits of CBD could be expanded to people with various types of anxiety (including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBD Relieves Pain
Many studies suggest that cannabinoids could be a potent new class of “painkillers” for helping millions of people with chronic pain.
We have receptors for cannabinoids in the whole body, but the first type – CB1 – are very dense in the pain pathways of the brain, spine, and nerves. The second type – CB2 – is more important for the immune system but is also involved in inflammation. By gently acting on both pathways, our internal cannabinoids and CBD can balance both pain and inflammation.
In a large analysis (SR of 18 RCTs and 766 participants), cannabinoids strongly and safely reduced various types of chronic pain (neuropathic, arthritis, fibromyalgia, HIV and multiple sclerosis pain). In another (SR-MA) of almost 2000 participants, the benefits of using cannabis-based medicines to combat pain outweighed any risks.
CBD offers benefits compared to synthetic cannabinoids, and even THC, because it’s not psychoactive. Many people want to avoid the “high”, paranoia, and drowsiness that THC can cause.
Although both CBD and opioids relieve pain, CBD did not act on opioid pathways in mice. CBD decreased both chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain in rodents.
And importantly, neither CBD not THC seem to cause tolerance long-term (after 2 years), unlike opioids and most other painkillers.
CBD May Be Beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis
As natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, cannabinoids may provide relief of joint pain and swelling. They could also help decrease joint destruction and disease worsening in inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD protected the joints from damage, reduced inflammation, and improved symptoms in mice with arthritis.
Cannabidiol May Relieve Nausea and Increase Appetite
THC is an approved drug used to treat nausea and vomiting (dronabinol) in humans, but the clinical evidence for CBD is limited.CBD did reduce nausea and vomiting in rat studies.
Typical CBD doses decreased nausea and vomiting produced from toxic drugs in animal studies.
CBD oil helped me greatly reduce my food sensitivities. It’s something that isn’t quite documented but since taking Health is Wealth CBD food supplements, my food allergies have seemed less severe.
Cannabidiol May Lower Diabetes Risk
Although marijuana use is known to increase appetite and calorie intake, it has been linked to lower BMI, less obesity, and reduced chance of diabetes.
In one study (observational) of 4,657 adult men and women, past and current marijuana users had lower fasting glucose and insulin levels (by 16%), lower waist circumference and BMI, lower insulin resistance (by 18%), and higher HDL. Since all these factors are connected to the onset of diabetes, marijuana seems to offer protection.
Cannabidiol prevented diabetes in young diabetes-prone mice. Only 30% of the CBD-treated mice got diabetes, compared to 86% in non-treated mice.
Cannabidiol could prevent and delay the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas in a mouse study. It could also reduce inflammatory cytokines in these diabetic mice, shifting the immune response from Th1 (autoimmune) to Th2. This would be especially important for type I diabetes, which has a strong autoimmune basis.
CBD is known to be safe in humans. But it may be used to prevent both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, especially at the early disease stages, if more clinical studies confirm these findings.
Cannabidiol May Protect the Heart
So far, some animal and cellular studies suggest that CBD could protect the heart by relaxing blood vessels, reducing inflammation, and combating oxidative stress.
CBD relaxed the arteries and protected blood vessels from damage in animal models of heart disease.
CBD reduced damage to the heart and brain from clogged blood vessels and helped reduce irregular heart rhythms in various animal models. This way, it protects from heart attacks and stroke.
It could also lower the heart rate and blood pressure in response to anxiety or stressful situations in rats.
CBD can influence different blood cells. In platelets, it reduced the clumping that can contribute to the clogging of blood vessels. In white blood cells, it reduces inflammatory processes. Both add to its heart-protective effects.
Cannabidiol May Reduce Depression
According to researchers, CBD has antidepressant effects in mice.
These depression-reducing effects of CBD in mice were fast, maintained over time, and as strong as a standard antidepressant (a common tricyclic medication imipramine, also known as Tofranil).
Cannabidiol May Help with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
So far, several animal and cellular studies point to CBD as beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This is not surprising, having in mind its proven anti-inflammatory effects that can be extended to the gut. Human studies have yet to confirm these benefits, though.
CBD prevented gut inflammation in animals with IBD.
CBD normalized gut motility and inflammation in mice with IBD.
In cells, CBD could reduce gut inflammation by acting on an important inflammation-reducing and metabolic pathway (PPAR-gamma).
Cannabidiol May Protect Against Bacteria
CBD showed some microbe-killing activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), which often causes tricky, difficult-to-treat, hospital infections .
Cannabidiol May Protect Against Mad Cow Disease
Studies show cannabidiol inhibits prions, the proteins that cause fatal brain diseases (such as mad cow disease). It increased the survival time of infected mice by almost a week.
17) Cannabidiol May Enhance Bone Growth
Although much less known, our bones also have little-researched receptors for cannabinoids.
CBD could enhance the healing of broken limbs in mice. Both CBD and THC were tested, but only CBD activated genetic pathways that also increase collagen structure.
CBD May Help Movement Disorders (Dyskinesia)
Dyskinesia is a type of movement disorder and causes involuntary movements. These movements can become so severe that it makes daily life difficult. It’s most common as a side effect of Parkinson’s disease or schizophrenia therapy. Sometimes the mood disorder is not connected to any other disease.
CBD did reduce the symptoms of dyskinesia in mice, though.
CBD reduces the production of inflammatory markers
CBD decreased enzymes that contribute to dyskinesia.
Cannabidiol May Help with Insomnia
Research suggests taking CBD before bed improves sleep in people with insomnia. It helped a 10-year-old girl struggling with insomnia, anxiety and PTSD.
It could help with sleep due to its relaxing, anxiety-reducing effects.
It actually appears to have benefits over THC, which can worsen sleep quality long-term.
In fact, cannabis users with insomnia prefer strains much higher in CBD as a sleep aid and are less likely to become dependent (according to a survey of 163 adults purchasing medical cannabis).
Cannabidiol May Help with Substance Use Disorders
In those suffering from chronic pain, cannabis use, in general, reduces the use of opioid painkillers.
There is a lack of effective and safe treatments for the growing number of people suffering from opioid use disorder. CBD is a promising, safe alternative.
CBD reduced addictive behavior in a rat study. It could interfere with the brain’s reward system in response to the opioids morphine and heroin.
Cannabidiol May Help with Quitting Smoking
Research suggests that inhaling CBD may help reduce or quit smoking. In a pilot study of 24 smokers (DB-RCT), cannabidiol reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by about 40%, without increasing cravings for nicotine.
Cannabidiol May Reduce Acne
CBD decreases the production of oils (sebum) by the skin’s oil-producing glands and reduced the number of these glands in a study on human skin (tissue study). It also had anti-inflammatory effects, all of which would be very beneficial for acne. We’re hoping to see more research and more CBD-based skincare products soon.
Cannabidiol May Play a Role in Psoriasis
CBD reduces excessive division of skin cells (keratinocytes), which could be beneficial for psoriasis.