Along with its better-known counterpart, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that produces the marijuana high), CBD is one of more than 400 compounds found in the oils of cannabis plant species, which include marijuana and hemp. Unlike THC, CBD will not make you high. That said, this doesn’t mean CBD is not at all psychoactive, as many assert, says Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., director of experimental pharmacology and behavior at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City: “CBD does change cognition. It affects mood, which is why people take it for anxiety. And some find that it makes them more alert.”
We all know of Charlotte’s Web; the miracle strain that is packed with a high concentration of CBD. The Charlotte’s Web Cannabis Strain was named after Charlotte Figi, who suffers from Dravet syndrome and was experiencing several seizures daily until the Stanley Brothers came up with this powerful strain. Since then, Charlotte’s web has been morphed into various products, including their famous Charlotte’s Web CBD oil.
The balm contains calendula and comfrey extracts to calm skin irritation, as well as the company’s proprietary CBD hemp oil, which is cold-pressed (more labor-intensive than the traditional extraction method) to maintain the maximum potency and nutrient value. In terms of effectiveness, this one is hard to match; the effect is immediate, and the absence of menthol or strong fragrances puts its power into sharper focus.
Two dermatologists I consulted with, New York-based Whitney Bowe, MD and New Jersey-based Jeanette Jacknin, MD, both agreed that CBD’s anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits are clinically proven. “Studies have shown that the cannabinoids like CBD in marijuana are anti-inflammatory and anti-aging and topical CBD has proven helpful for acne, eczema, and psoriasis,” Jacknin told me. “Hemp seed oil is reputed to be the most unsaturated oil derived from the plant kingdom, so it is less pore clogging but a great moisturizer for dry, cracked skin.”
Even more intriguing: CBD also influences many non-cannabinoid receptor systems in the brain, interacting with receptors sensitive to a variety of drugs and neurotransmitters (Figure 2). These include opioid receptors, known for their role in pain regulation. Opioid receptors are the key targets of pharmaceutical pain killers and drugs of abuse such as morphine, heroin, and fentanyl. CBD can also interact with dopamine receptors, which play a crucial role in regulating many aspects of behavior and cognition, including motivation and reward-seeking behavior.
Under federal law, cannabis (from which both CBD and marijuana are derived) is illegal everywhere, although the laws against it aren’t generally enforced in states that have legalized marijuana. Some manufacturers claim that CBD culled from legally imported industrial hemp, which has little to no THC, is fine to ship across the U.S., but many experts disagree, noting that because hemp comes from the same species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, all CBD falls under the DEA’s Schedule 1 designation. “This creative interpretation of the law runs afoul of reality,” says the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC, think tank.
Overall, Sativex appears to pose less risk of dependency than smoked cannabis based on its slower onset, lower dosage utilized in therapy, almost total absence of intoxication in regular usage, and minimal withdrawal symptomatology even after chronic administration. No known abuse or diversion incidents have been reported with Sativex to date (as of November 2007). Sativex is expected to be placed in Schedule IV of the Misuse of Drugs Act in the United Kingdom once approved.
Cannabinoid agonists produce many effects beyond those mediated directly on receptors, including anti-inflammatory effects and interactions with various other neurotransmitter systems (previously reviewed (Russo 2006a). Briefly stated, THC effects in serotonergic systems are widespread, including its ability to decrease 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) release from platelets (Volfe et al 1985), increase its cerebral production and decrease synaptosomal uptake (Spadone 1991). THC may affect many mechanisms of the trigeminovascular system in migraine (Akerman et al 2003; Akerman et al 2004; Akerman et al 2007; Russo 1998; Russo 2001). Dopaminergic blocking actions of THC (Müller-Vahl et al 1999) may also contribute to analgesic benefits.
Medterra 500 mg CBD Tincture Isolate (tasteless) micro dosing is working for me! I was drawn to this company because its grown in Kentucky, close to home. After this 60 yr old lady was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia some 20+ yrs ago Im having less muscle pain, increased energy, breathing better, & more restful sleep. Wish I had known about this product years ago! Getting ready to place my 2nd order.
The reason so many people are interested in cannabis products that don’t make them high, proponents say, is that CBD helps with everything from pain and nausea to rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and dementia. CBD is anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, immunosuppressive, and more, says Joseph Cohen, D.O., a cannabis doctor in Boulder, CO.
Like most herbs, cannabis does have some antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties, but it is not as strong an antimicrobial as many other herbs. There are many better herbal choices for overcoming chronic Lyme disease and similar conditions related to chronic infections with stealth microbes such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. (Top ones include andrographis, berberine, cat’s claw, Japanese knotweed, sarsaparilla, and garlic.)
But, uh, what is it that CBD is supposed to do? I visited a cannabis dispensary in Boulder to find out what the hype was all about. After passing an ID check, I was introduced to a “budtender” who pointed me to an impressive array of CBD products — tinctures, skin patches, drink powders, candies, salves, massage oil, lotions, “sexy time personal intimacy oil” and even vaginal suppositories to treat menstrual cramps.