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What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of over 120 cannabinoids found in cannabis, in particular, industrial hemp. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis, after THC. While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
What can CBD do?
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether. The FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
Is it safe?
Side effects of CBD may include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So, we do not know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
How do I use it?
CBD can be applied to the skin via cream, salve, balm, oil or lotion (topicals), taken as a tincture (sublingually, i.e., drops under the tongue), by eating it (gummy, gum, cookie, brownie, mint, hard candy, caramels) or smoking it (vaping, cigarette-like or pre-roll).
Can it make me high?
No. Hemp-sourced products and the hemp they come from must test for THC (the psychoactive found in cannabis marijuana) at .3% or lower, an amount so small that you cannot get high or stoned from its consumption.
Are there other healthy cannabinoids in hemp?
Yes, many. Besides CBD, researchers have found 9 other cannabinoids that might assist the human endocannabinoid system in regulating or balancing one’s immune system and body, i.e., homeostasis. They are CBG (cannabigerol), CBGv (cannabigeroveran), CBC (cannabichromene), CBN (cannabinol), CBDv (cannabidivarin), CBDa (cannabidiolic acid), THC (tetrahydrocannbinol), THCa (tetrahydrocannabidolic acid) and THCv (tetrahydrocannabivarin). If a product is labeled Isolate, it only contains CBD in an isolated form. If labeled Broad Spectrum it contains all cannabinoids except THC, and if labeled Full Spectrum it may contain up to the legal amount of .3% of THC. When other cannabinoids are included, the Entourage Effect may take place where the cannabinoids work together at a much greater strength and efficacy. But, for some, an isolate is more than enough to assist their body and helping one simply feel better.
Can I over dose from cannabinoids?
No. Because there is no receptor for cannabinoids in the human brain stem where breathing is controlled, there has not been an overdose recorded by the government from any cannabis product.
Is it addictive?
No. However, with almost anything that makes a person feel better, it may be habit forming.
Should I consult with my doctor before taking CBD?
ABSOLUTELY. When you add any supplement or vitamin to your regimen, ALWAYS consult with your doctor or healthcare provider, first. And, we suggest you do as much research on your own before that consultation so that you can better understand your doctor’s advice.
Some of the above is partially cited from Dr. Peter Greenspoon, Harvard Health