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Intro to CBD

All about CBD

April 29,2020


For pain, inflammation and great skin care, people and pets have a natural, effective alternative to pharmaceuticals thanks to the medicinal benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). All About CBD looks at this therapeutic compound, and why it’s different from its psychoactive sibling.


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  • CBD does not, can not, get you high even though its sibling, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), does. They both come from the same plant, cannabis sativa, which is why it took so long for CBD to become legal.

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Does CBD get you high?

CBD does not, can not, get you high even though its sibling, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), does. They both come from the same plant, cannabis sativa, which is why it took so long for CBD to become legal.

We know the history since then, that CBD is legal in all 50 states with the 2018 Farm Bill. Now CBD products can be purchased in gas stations and grocery stores. All About CBD will show why this substance became legal, why it’s beneficial to all and how it’s life-changing to many.


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CBD products

Today we benefit from CBD in tonics and tinctures as well as topicals like lotions, butters and bath bombs. CBD gummies and other edibles of all kinds. There’s 0% THC hemp flower to be smoked, crumble for dabs and carts for vapes. There’s even CBD pet care!

What CBD treats

The only things we can say research has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that CBD has some key therapeutic benefits. And, while much is still speculation, there is anecdotal evidence out the wazoo (and is finally being critically examined by scientists) for eight key areas.

  • Pain and inflammation - arthritis, swelling and other chronic conditions
  • Anxiety and depression - PTSD and other neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Epilepsy and other neurological disorders - seizures, tremors and other effects
  • Cancer treatment symptoms - reduces nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy and radiation
  • Acne and other skin issues - topical CBD acts as anti acne agent as well as helps itch and inflammation from eczema and psoriasis
  • High blood pressure- resting blood pressure is reduced, perhaps because of CBD’sanxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) and analgesic (pain-reducing) effects
  • Addiction - shows promise fighting opioid, tobacco and other addictions
  • Diabetes - people who use cannabis have lower fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance and CBD may play a key role

How CBD started

Cannabis was first recorded as a medicinal substance in 2737 BC in ancient China to treat malaria, rheumatism and gout. It’s been used throughout human history by all classes, including royalty. Queen Victoria reportedly used cannabis to alleviate menstrual cramps.

An Irish physician who was denied a medical license in the UK was the first person to document the medicinal properties of cannabis. Working abroad as an assistant surgeon for the East India Trading Company, William Brooke O’Shaughnessy started the path to CBD.

It would be nearly a century later that scientists would begin researching the most important plant known to man. It’s the only species that produces cannabinoids, substances used by all mammals for complete body balance. Our bodies even produce their own, just like hemp.

But greed, ignorance and politics (which are not necessarily mutually exclusive) put their obstructive feet down and would have their cumulative say first. Cannabis and CBD were known and yet, would be aggressively kept from us under false pretenses.


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Cannabinoid pharmacology

At the turn of the 20th Century, it’s reported that between two and five percent of the U.S. was addicted to morphine. It was the secret ingredient in many available, labeled drugs. These ‘patent medicines’ lead to the FDA which ultimately lead to 50 years of research stifling.

In the 1940s, chemists in Britain and then America first identified the chemical properties of cannabis, including the isolation of CBD and THC. This research ultimately led to the discovery of why one cannabinoid was an intoxicant and the other was not.

CBD science breakthrough

In 1963, American scientist Dr. Ralph Mechoulam made the first breakthrough in individual cannabinoid effects. He was the one to discover CBD was not psychoactive. His breakthrough research began studying the effects of CBD on seizures.

Mechoulam and team gave daily doses of CBD to study a group of eight subjects. After just four months of treatment, half stopped having seizures and the others exhibited a decrease in seizure frequency. Huge news that could affect millions went unknown because of stigma.

The endocannabinoid system

It wasn’t until 1987 that science discovered cells in mammals that specifically bind with cannabinoids and affect memory, high cognition, emotion and motor coordination. In 1993, another special cannabinoid receptor was discovered, CB2, to which CBD binds.

As science discovered the relationship of receptors on nearly every cell in the body, they learned that our bodies produce their own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. These interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the same way that cannabis compounds do.

We’re still learning, due to shortsightedness. But what we know is the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, regulates everything… literally, every major body system. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the central nervous system and brain, and CB2 receptors are heavy in the organs.


CBD changes lives

The science behind CBD gave it inroads for medical applications. As time has progressed, it's become clear that cannabis, even just CBD, can literally change lives. This was clearly shown through amazing real-life stories, perhaps most notably, that of Charlotte Figi.

Born in 2006, Charlotte Figi was one of 16-to-21 thousand children with Dravet Syndrome, a very devastating form of epilepsy. Science had no answers to Charlotte’s 300 seizures a week, each lasting two to four hours, although everything was tried (almost).

Desperate for solutions, Charlie, as her parents lovingly call her, was given cannabis oil extracted from a high CBD strain. It worked. After five years of no solutions, and a single dose of CBD oil, Charlotte’s seizures dropped to about three a month, and much less severe.

Charlotte’s Web

Charlie Figi’s story was rare from the start, but being the name of the first CBD strain meant for medicinal use is her legacy. Grown by the hemp farming Stanley Brothers of Colorado, Charlotte’s Web was originally called “Hippie’s Disappointment.”

High CBD plants deliver cannabis oil that now affects millions. This is true not only for rare medical cases, but in everyday life too, right down to CBD skin care. So, if you count hemp farms and cannabis processing plants, dispensaries and patients- it’s billions affected.

Charlotte’s Web was the first strain devoted to medical marijuana but far from the last. It started with industrial hemp farming (ironically, where this country started), but cannabis grows now include high CBD strains in all flavors. And ‘billions’ also describes the money cannabis makes.

CBD and hemp

Through careful genetic breeding, growers created a strain of cannabis with virtually no THC and high CBD, whose therapeutic effects are widely reported. It’s good for pain, inflammation anxiety relief, seizure treatment and more.

But industrial hemp also has other uses beyond medicinal including textiles, plastics, food, oil and beyond! The plant is mind-bogglingly versatile from how it grows to how it works with the body to the huge amount of products you can make from it.

Extracted cannabinoids make medicine, but that same CBD oil (the term is also used for industrial use as well as medicine) is put into thousands of products. From vape carts to soap and every edible you can name, CBD oil products are here to stay.


How to make CBD oil

CBD is pulled from the hemp plant once it’s been harvested and dried. There are lots of processes to do this like CO2 and ethanol extraction, and the technology only gets more complicated from there.

Basically, a solvent is used to separate plant matter from chemical compounds (like CBD) while preserving their delicate natures. Extraction produces a resinous, sticky liquid, with 40 to 65 percent cannabidiol, on average as well as other things.

Hemp extraction contains a full spectrum of other cannabinoids like CBG and CBC as well as terpenes, flavonoids and micronutrients. More than 100 cannabinoids have been identified, but new ones are still being discovered.

Full spectrum CBD

With no other processing, hemp extract is considered ‘full spectrum.’ If you process the extract further, you can create an ‘isolate,’ a white powder containing 99-plus percent CBD. ‘Broad spectrum’ CBD removes all trace amounts of THC from the oil.

Hemp is allowed, by law, less than 1% THC before processing. So, the trace amount of THC in CBD extract is not enough to get you, or even a mouse, ‘high.’ But again, science is still learning, and every person’s reaction to cannabinoids is unique.

Many CBD users prefer full spectrum products because cannabinoids have what’s called an ‘entourage effect.’ All those compounds work together, interacting like a group, in unique ways together and with you.

CBD and drug tests

Whether CBD will affect a drug screen is too complex to answer with a simple yes or no. It mainly depends on body structure and how yours interacts with cannabinoids. Because of the entourage effect and our lack of knowledge, it’s impossible to say.

It also depends what type of CBD. A topical lotion could be full spectrum, with trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids, but can’t enter the bloodstream fast enough to register on a test. So topicals are safe.

Full spectrum / broad spectrum / isolate

Ingesting full spectrum cannabinoids, either by smoking, vaping, through drops or eating, has reportedly affected tests for some. Isolate CBD and Broad Spectrum CBD are both free of THC. Broad spectrum, though, still contains other cannabinoids.

Full spectrum CBD is considered most effective by many users. Perhaps because of the entourage effect, bodies benefitting from every bit of bioavailable material associated with cannabis, except THC, there may be unknown things happening.

Science may have identified hundreds of cannabinoids but are still learning how they interact with one another. So, some of those mystery cannabinoids not yet understood may be the cause of false positives on drug tests.

As marijuana reform grows and more states clear the way for both medicinal and recreational cannabis use, drug testing will undoubtedly reflect this. Major companies have already announced changes in drug testing policies.


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CBD oil effectiveness

Through our own ECS, we now know that CBD oil is effective inside and out the body. From neurological conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s disease, to daily care of every organ in the body (the skin being the largest), CBD helps.

CBD skin care topicals come in creams, balms, butters, lotions, oils, bath bombs and new items coming every day. There’s CBD toothpaste, capsules, powders and drops. It comes in tonics, mouthwashes and tinctures.

CBD oil makes possible every edible imaginable including CBD gummies and chocolates. Major drink distributors have begun adding it to every type of offering and there are other culinary uses coming from entree to dessert.

Seizures to skin care

CBD affects so many by helping body systems achieve homeostasis, or balance. That’s why this miraculous substance is finally getting the attention it’s not just earned, but also owed. CBD helps people and pets, from seizures to skin care.

CBD and mammals are involved in an incredibly complex relationship between the ECS and the only other major producer of cannabinoids. hemp. Science doesn’t have all the answers yet, but CBD’s effectiveness for multiple maladies is undeniable.

CBD oil has been found to be effective at treating not just epilepsy but also at stopping metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer and at killing cancerous cells found in people with leukemia. The industry employs millions and affects billions.

CBD is good for every body

CBD is good for every body including dogs and cats. It’s ironic that veterinary science is sort of where we started to answer, ‘what is CBD?’ with O'Shaughnessy’s experiments with cannabis back in the 1830s, which started with animals.

The more we learn about CBD, perhaps future pain and suffering of all kinds can be cured. From stiff muscles to mental disease, CBD may be the virtual panacea mankind has sought, and perhaps even a fountain of youth.

But will that come as a minty topical or a bubble gum tincture?

-Bart Benne is a journalist and technical writer of more than 25 years.

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