CBD – What You Need to Know

From the corner gas station, to the supermarket, to the local store CBD is everywhere.  We’ve all heard the claims, everything from “it doesn’t do anything” to “it cured cancer”.  What’s real and what do you need to know?

CBD – What is it?

CBD stands for cannabidiol.  It is the second most prevalent active ingredient in the cannabis plant.  It is present in both the marijuana and hemp varieties of the cannabis plant.  CBD does not have psychoactive properties.  It does not cause a “high”. 

How is CBD different than THC?

THC is the most prevalent active ingredient in the marijuana plant.  CBD is the most prevalent ingredient in the hemp plant.  THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana.  THC is what makes people feel “high”.

THC and CBD both have the same chemical formula, but the atoms are arranged differently.  Because the atoms are arranged differently, they have different chemical properties and affect your body differently. 

Do CBD Products Contain THC?

Some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC and others may not.  THC concentrations should be less than 0.3%. This is low enough not to have a psychoactive effect.

Products labeled Full Spectrum generally will contain all the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.  This does include THC however the THC will be less than 0.3%.

Broad Spectrum products will contain all the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant except for THC.  These products may also be labeled THC-Free or non-detectable THC.

CBD is also available as an isolate.  This means the CBD has been isolated from all the other cannabinoids and beneficial compounds found in the hemp plant.

Will CBD Help Me?

CBD is not a magic pill that will make your disease go away.  CBD can supplement current treatments and can help manage certain symptoms.  There are 100’s of studies currently underway to better understand what CBD can and cannot do.

CBD has shown utility in easing symptoms in a wide variety of conditions.  Common uses currently include sleep, mood, skin conditions and pain relief.

Effects of CBD use are extremely personalized.  Some people will notice significant effects with a very low dose, while others may need a higher dose or experience no relief.

It is recommended to start with a low dose of CBD and increase if needed.

Are There Side Effects of CBD?

There are some side effects of CBD.  These include nausea, fatigue and irritability.

CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin.  It may also raise levels of other medications in your blood, similar to how grapefruit juice does. 

If you decide to try CBD, it is important to talk to your doctor particularly if you are taking other medications.

How Do I Choose a CBD Product?

There are thousands of products on the market containing CBD, how do you choose?

Look for quality and transparency.  CBD products should provide information about the ingredients and the dosing.  Look for products that embrace transparency and let you know what’s inside the box.

Look for products that provide access to third party lab testing results.  If you are purchasing in store, lab results should be accessible through a QR code on the packaging.  If you are purchasing on-line, lab results should be accessible through the site.

Be wary of products or brands that are making extreme claims.  Remember, CBD is not a magic pill that will make your disease go away.

Look for brands that are manufacturing to cGMP standards.  Adherence to these regulations assures the identity, strength, quality and purity of the product through adequately controlling manufacturing operations.

Know your federal, state and local laws regarding CBD.  CBD is regulated differently in different areas of the country.  It is important to know what is legal in your state and community.  Regulations around CBD are constantly changing, so it is important to be aware of where your community stands.

Will I Fail a Drug Test?

Cannabinoids are stored in the body’s fat.  This means they can show up on drug tests days and even weeks after you use them.

Not all drug tests will be able to detect CBD, but there are CBD-sensitive tests available. 

Most standard drug tests look for chemicals related to THC, so THC or marijuana use might show up.  As Hemp does produce some THC in addition to the CBD, a test could be positive even though you have not used THC.

How does CBD Work?

CBD works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).  The main function of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis. Achieving homeostasis means the body is in biological harmony or balance.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system involves three core components: endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes. 

Two main endocannabinoids have been identified: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyglyerol (2-AG).  These endocannabinoids are produced in your body as needed and help keep internal functions running smoothly.

Endocannabinoids bind to receptors located throughout the body to signal the
ECS to take action.  There are two main endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.  CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system.  CB2 receptors are located in the peripheral nervous system, primarily in immune cells.

Enzymes breakdown the endocannabinoids once they have completed their function.  Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down AEA.  Monoacylglycerol acid lipase typically breaks down 2-AG

What Does CBD Do?

CBD helps AEA work within the body. Anandamide or AEA is sometimes referred to as the “bliss molecule.”  CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme from breaking down AEA.  That means the AEA stays in the body longer influencing the ECS, with potentially mood boosting and anxiety reducing effects.

What Does THC Do?

THC attaches to the CB1 receptors and activates them. This interferes with ability of the natural cannabinoids to do their job.  CB1 are critical for a healthy functioning brain. Depending on what area of the brain they are located in, they can moderate your memory, mood, motor function or perception of pain.

The CB1 receptors are responsible for the psychoactive properties of THC when it binds to them.

So, to recap, THC binds directly to the CB1 receptors.  CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme from breaking down the endocannabinoid as quickly, so it has more time to work.

CBD is just the beginning.  There have been over 100 different phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from plants) identified and each can have slightly different interactions with the CB receptors within your body.

Because of the complexity of the nervous and immune systems, genetic variations in enzymes, and how out of balance your ECS is, it isn’t possible to predict what reaction you will have without some self-experimentation.

To your health!

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317221.php#what_is_cbd_oil

https://www.uclahealth.org/cannabis/human-endocannabinoid-system

https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system-2

https://medium.com/@mary_c_biles/anandamide-the-bodys-own-antidepressant-and-how-to-boost-it-naturally-895cdafcf7fe

https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/meet-bliss-molecule-anandamide-cannabinoid

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/cbd-thc-difference#1

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/how-does-marijuana-produce-its-effectshttps://www.foriawellness.com/blogs/learn/your-endocannabinoid-system-cbd

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