CBD is capable of treating many conditions because of its unique molecular properties. It is capable of interacting with receptors located within the endocannabinoid system, which exerts multiple systemic effects producing anxiolytic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-emetic properties. It also acts upon the body’s primary receptors associated with pain relief that both opioids and acupuncture target. Additionally, CBD activates the brain’s pleasure and reward system by stimulating the production of neurotransmitters that reduce the drug-seeking behaviors associated with addiction. In brief, scientists are still exploring the many mechanisms of action CBD exerts, in part due to its wide reaching targets, many of which are still completely unknown.
This is a very common question asked by individuals just discovering the benefits of CBD for their particular health condition. While it would be nice to have a specific dose and dosage for everyone, unfortunately this is not completely possible. The research on CBD has demonstrated an inverted U-shaped dose response curve. This means that low doses and high doses are not therapeutic. Instead a middle dose provides the maximum benefits. This dose is different for each individual. In general, individuals are advised to start with a low dose of around 200mg once every 4 hours and slowly increase by 50-100mgs each dose until a desirable level has been achieved. If benefits reduce, then lower the dose to the previous effective amount. Daily doses of up to 1,500mg per day have demonstrated to be safe and well tolerated.
Cannabinoids are a class of molecules that interact with the endocannabinoid system, a system of receptors within the central and peripheral nervous systems. Humans are capable of producing several types of cannabinoids internally, called endocannabinoids, to activate and regulate this wide reaching system. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than a hundred different phytocannabinoids synthesized within the Cannabis plant that have been shown to have therapeutic effects in humans due to their activation of the endocannabinoid system.
CBD is a fat soluble molecule that is metabolized via the same pathway as the more commonly known psychoactive molecule tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While many know about the psychological, spiritual and physical effects associated THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive molecule that has demonstrated neuroprotective and psychological effects, high antioxidant potency, anti-inflammatory properties, and anticancer properties.
Due to better extraction processes and knowledge of proper carrier mediums preventing degradation, CBD is able to be extracted from Cannabis plants with minimal to no presence of THC, or with equal ratios of both compounds. As a result, this has helped to bring CBD to the market, offering therapeutic benefits to those who may not want to experience any of the psychoactive components associated with traditional consumption of Cannabis.
For more than 3,000 years, the Cannabis plant has been cultivated and utilized by human societies for its medicinal and psychospiritual effects, as a dietary aid, a fuel source, in building materials, and in textiles. Cannabis first appeared in the Greek physician Dioscorides’ Materia Medica in 50CE and in the classical Chinese medical literature when it was included in the Shennong Bencao Jing (Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica), written between 200-250CE. Many of the medicinal benefits known to Cannabis in modern times were described in these ancient texts.
Through CBD’s activation of the endocannabinoid system, it is capable of eliciting systemic-wide actions. Activation of these receptors are involved in the regulation of pain, seizures, emotions, memory and the immune system. CBD has been shown to reduce pain by stimulating the mu- and delta- opioid receptors. Studies on its effectiveness in neuropsychiatric conditions demonstrate its ability to reduce anxiety, via activation of the limbic and paralimbic system structures, and reducing seizures associated with epilepsy via the presently unknown anticonvulsant mechanisms of action. Research has further shown that CBD modulates the immune system to suppress over-activation of the immune system, such as in cases of autoimmune disorders, and reduces inflammation.
CBD is also an effective adjunct therapy by alleviating the side-effects of conventional therapy in addition to symptoms typically associated with cancer. Common complaints that cancer patients have include pain, nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite. CBD has shown effectiveness in reducing all of these symptoms, although increased appetite is associated with better results when used in conjunction with THC due to its activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system.
Individuals interested in determining if CBD is helpful for their conditions will be pleased to know that it has minimal side-effects. However, it has been demonstrated to affect the metabolization of some drugs within the liver, so it is good advice to consult a healthcare provider to determine if any medications need to be adjusted. CBD consumption has also been determined to be safe, with long term use of CBD at 1,500mg per day have been tolerated well in individuals.
- The first thing you want to look for in CBD products is legality. CBD is legal worldwide (It is a controlled substance in Canada only), but depending on where it’s sourced, it might have trace amounts of THC. And it’s the THC that governments tend to worry about. Using CBD sourced from industrial hemp is often the best route legally, because industrial hemp is known to have negligible amounts of THC that are within the legal limits.
- The other thing you want to understand is potency. Different products contain varying amounts of CBD, and we know that different dosages are effective for different treatments. For example, 300 to 600 mg of CBD shows anxiolytic effects when consumed. But some people use CBD products topically. You want to know the dosage you are looking for before searching for the right product.
- You also want to look at form. There are oils, vapes, tinctures, capsules, and chewables. Potencies will vary among these different forms of CBD.
- Lastly, you want to ensure you get a good brand. Not all CBD on the market has been tested for safety in a lab. You want to be familiar with the top brands that have a track record of being the safest.
Research on Cannabis has been restricted for many decades in the United States due to its federal classification as a schedule 1 drug. This has made it very difficult for scientists to understand and investigate its potential medicinal benefits. With more recent legislation granting legalization of medical cannabis in several states, research on CBD has begun to grow. Another benefit of medical Cannabis legalization is that more individuals are able to access CBD products and explore its therapeutic potentials empirically outside of standard research studies.
In addition to greater access to CBD products, individuals are actively looking for alternative solutions to treat their medical and psychological conditions. Conventional medicine offers highly addictive pain medications, such as opioids and NSAIDS, which can come with very unpleasant side-effects, such as addiction, constipation, stomach ulcers, and liver damage. The United States is currently in the throes of an opioid epidemic.
For those suffering with anxiety, inflammatory conditions or digestive disturbances, many conventional drugs or therapies offer little to no support. Further, some individuals are not convinced that synthetic pharmaceuticals are the best choice to assist in their health recovery and opt for natural, plant based therapies. Having medicinal compounds sourced and extracted directly from plants has demonstrated synergistic effects not seen in isolated compounds synthesized in a laboratory. This synergistic effect has been studied with Cannabis by researchers and called the “Entourage Effect.” This means that consuming the whole, plant-based substance allows an individual to experience therapeutic benefits on many physiological systems simultaneously leading to greater relief of symptoms.