The ABCs of CBD: Cannabinoids for Overall Health

CBD and hemp products are all the rage right now, but what’s the real scoop on these products? CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 150 different cannabinoids. Cannabinoids affect the endocannabinoid system in the body, which has wide-ranging effects on body systems. Cannabinoids can be found in marijuana, hemp, and many other plants. CBD is a cannabinoid that does not have any psychoactive effects. It opposes the effect of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.

Though marijuana does contain CBD, products that are commercially available are from hemp. Hemp can legally be grown and consumed under current law in the U.S. The current requirement is that hemp products must contain less than .3% THC. This can be assured by doing business with companies that are regulated by the states they grow in, and that control the genetics of the plants that they use in their product. So if you see CBD or hemp on your local health food store’s shelves, it is from hemp, not marijuana. Make sure that the staff is aware of the sourcing of the raw material, and are confident in the companies they choose to represent.

As mentioned, the endocannabinoid system is crucial to balance in the body. Receptors of this system can be found in the digestive, immune/lymphatic, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive, cardiovascular, renal and musculoskeletal systems of the body. The nervous system has a particularly high concentration of receptors. The body can make its own cannabinoids, like anandamide and 2-AG, called endocannabinoids. Factors like poor diet, stress, toxic exposure, lack of exercise and genetics can cause deficiencies in this internal production. Reduced activity of the endocannabinoid system has been linked to many illnesses. These include fibromyalgia, anxiety, seizure disorders, migraines, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and more. CBD and other cannabinoids in food and supplements can provide support when needed.1

The two main cannabinoids that have been studied for their pharmacologic properties are THC and CBD. Some of the increased dangers of cannabis over the last several years relate to two things: 1) a dramatic increase in the THC/CBD ratio and 2) the use of synthetic cannabinoids. One study found that the ratio of THC to CBD in the U.S. increased from 14:1 to 80:1. This is problematic in that THC is the psychoactive compound and CBD is thought to modify its effects. Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are even stronger than THC because they have greater affinity to receptors. This potentially makes these compounds more dangerous. Following SC use, there have been reports of ruminations, panic attacks, and anxiety.2

CBD, on the other hand, does not produce these side effects and has the following properties:

  • anti-psychotic
  • anxiolytic
  • anti-epileptic
  • anti-inflammatory

Preclinical studies suggest that CBD may also be effective for treating opiod-cocaine addiction, and psycho-stimulant use disorders.3 Although the research on CBD and the other cannabinoids is still in its infancy, it is showing great promise in supporting the resolution of a wide variety of conditions. Animal studies have shown that it may help to resolve collagen-induced arthritis, excess motility in IBS, and any condition where immune system activation and oxidative stress are a factor. This includes rheumatoid arthritis, Types I & II diabetes, atherosclerosis, Metabolic Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis.4

We are sure to see more research on CBD and the other cannabinoids in the near future. We currently carry the Charlotte’s Web hemp oil extract that is high in CBD, has less than .3% THC, and also contains a range of the other cannabinoids that naturally exist in hemp. We like this “full spectrum” hemp for its effectiveness and balance. A new vendor, Emerald Health, has combined hemp, other plants that affect the endocannabinoid system, and herbs to address specific conditions. Our customers are loving those products too. We also have topical hemp products from Empower that are for pain or skin issues, and hemp-based bath salts for muscle relaxation and stress.

If you have additional questions, or are not sure if a product is right for you, stop by our store and speak with one of our staff about hemp extracts, and CBD in particular. We look forward to assisting you!

 

References:

  1. Murray MT, Appendino G, Morello G. The healing power of the endocannabinoid system. Impact Health Media. 2017.
  2. Lotsch J, Weyer-Menkoff I, Tegeder I. Current evidence of cannabinoid-based analgesia obtained in preclinical and human experimental settings. Eur J Pain. 2017 doi: 10.1002/ejp.1148. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Lafaye G, Karila L, Blecha L, Benyamina A. Cannabis, cannabinoids and health. Dialogues Clin Neuro. 2017; 19(3): 309-316.
  4. Burnstein S.Cannabidiol and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry.2015; 23(7): 1377-1385. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2015.01.059