Learn more about CBD with a series of questions and answers. We have also looked to dispel many myths around CBD.
What is CBD and how is it derived?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile. Source – Project CBD https://www.projectcbd.org/about/what-cbd
What are the common myths and misconceptions about CBD?
“CBD gets you high”
Myth! CBD products will only ever contain trace amounts of THC, the more psychotropic compound derived from cannabis. In some countries, such as the U.K. and many E.U. member states, no more than 0.2% THC is legal in a CBD product. In the U.S., this threshold is slightly higher, at 0.3%.
In actual fact, CBD has been seen in research to reverse the effects of a high brought on by marijuana, by possibly counteracting the psychotropic effects of THC (Niesink & Van Laar, 2013).
The critical thing to remember is that CBD is extracted from industrial hemp, which contains naturally lower concentrations of THC, and higher amounts of cannabidiol to begin with. Hemp is the chosen variety of cannabis when it comes to deriving commercial products, as marijuana contains higher quantities of THC.
“CBD is illegal”
Incorrect! In fact, CBD is perfectly legal in many parts of the world, so long as its THC content is limited to the legal amount decided by that country.
That being said, there are often contradictions in the law of every country when it comes to CBD, and laws differ from place to place as well, so we recommend checking your country’s laws on cannabis before importing in a CBD product from a foreign website. If you’re travelling, remember to also check the laws of the country into which you are entering – just to be on the safe side!
“CBD oil is the same as hemp seed oil”
Incorrect! There are a number of differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. Firstly, hemp oil comes from the hemp seeds of the cannabis plant. The process of extraction, then, is entirely different for hemp oil. Hemp seed oil is extracted by means of a cold-pressing extraction from hemp seed varieties that contain around 30% oil, but no cannabinoids.
“CBD is addictive”
CBD is a certified non-addictive substance. This means you can take as much as you like of this substance and not become dependent upon it (Hurd, 2020). (While you can’t actually overdose, the FSA has advised that 70mg per day is recommended). CBD is not to be confused with narcotics or opioids; in fact, in a recent announcement, the European Union’s high court pronounced that under an international drug treaty, hemp-derived CBD will no longer be classed as a narcotic, making it subject to E.U. law on the free movement of goods among member states. This constituted a landmark reinterpretation of the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
“You can overdose on CBD”
You certainly cannot! While it is possible to take a dose that may be too strong for your own personal metabolism, age, weight or condition, you still cannot overdose. Adverse reactions may occur in some cases, such as nausea, lightheadedness, headaches, diarrhoea, weight changes and appetite changes (Iffland & Grotenhermen, 2017), however, these are quite rare. Still, as a result, the Food Standards Agency has recommended that healthy adults do not exceed 70mg per day.
“No research exists on CBD, as it is too difficult to research a controlled substance”
Another common misconception, which, if you have been concentrating, you’ll have hopefully already noticed from the read thus far. There are multiple studies out there that have been conducted about CBD. Historically, it was difficult to examine CBD due to its illegal and controversial status, meaning it has been hard to get hold of in the past. However, particularly in recent years, studies have constantly been emerging, and are still going on to this day.
“CBD is purely a marketing fad”
Incorrect! Granted, there is some dodgy marketing out there where CBD companies try to convince you that CBD will be a cure-all panacea. There are also mounds of anecdotal reports that say CBD in itself is a complete myth and does not work. Neither of these does CBD any favours when convincing people of its legitimacy and its therapeutic successes.
If you have read reports of CBD not working, or being purely a marketing scam, we advise that you do not take anybody’s claims seriously until you try a certified CBD product for yourself. Ultimately, everybody is different, with different endocannabinoid systems and different conditions, and CBD might not work for absolutely everybody. However, it’s important to remember that there is scientific research available to testify to the potential of CBD, and the medical industry has no interest in marketing CBD in any biased way.
“You cannot mix CBD and driving”
Untrue, you can absolutely drive while there is CBD in your system, as it is not a substance that has any mind-altering effects that could affect or delay your responses or reactions, as marijuana or alcohol would.
What are the medical applications of CBD
One of the most interesting aspects of Medical Cannabis and CBD oil is the wide range of medical applications they offer. These applications fall broadly into three spheres of treatment: pain management, treatment of complex motor disorders, and mental health care.
The UK is gradually introducing forms of Medical Cannabis and CBD oil as a legal treatment option available on the NHS; at present only for pain management and for the treatment of complex motor disorders. CBD oil was introduced for medicinal purposes in 2016, and then in June 2018 the Home Office launched a review into the scheduling of cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes, in which “Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK Government, assessed the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans on prescription, and found that there is conclusive evidence of therapeutic benefit for certain medical conditions, and reasonable evidence in several other medical conditions.” Additionally, CBD can be legally bought in high street stores as a “nutrition supplement.”
CBD and pain management
Medical marijuana is probably most commonly associated in the popular imagination with managing pain related to arthritis and cancer – and not without reason. The connection between THC and CBD and cancer has been clinically studied for over 50 years.
In 2017 Blake et al published a review of clinical trials into this subject dating back to 1975. Medical marijuana is also used to manage nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy- in the UK the artificial cannabis product Nabilone is licensed for precisely this purpose. Rather than CBD, Nabilione, in fact, mimics tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana.
Medical Marijuana cannot currently be used in the UK for the treatment of Arthritis, as clinical trials to date have focussed primarily on animal models. Primary studies have focussed on rats, such as this study from 2000 and this follow up study from 2014, which found similar results. With increased clinical trials, no doubt this area of treatment will rapidly expand.
Interestingly, CBD has also shown great promise in the treatment of topical pain. CBD’s ability to provide effective pain relief without the inhibition of wound healing make it a promising replacement for opioids- which have a high rate of both addiction and accidental overdose.
CBD and complex motor disorders
Much of the drive behind legalizing marijuana products for medical use has come from the proven efficacy in treating complex motor disorders including epilepsy, spasticity and dystonia, and dravet syndrome.
In the UK, Sativex, which is a 50-50 mix of THC and CBD produced in a lab, has been approved for use in the UK by the MHRA as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. However, in 2014, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which issues guidance to NHS doctors, gave the medicine “do not recommend” status, saying it was not cost-effective
Clinical research in this area has greatly increased in the past few years. In just the past year alone Hausman-Kedern et al published a longitudinal study into the use of CBD for the treatment of refractory epilepsy, Porcari et al studied artisanal CBD as an adjunct therapy to epilepsy, and Libzon et al published study on the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of medical cannabis in children with complex motor disorder
CBD and mental health
This is the least developed realm of treatment, however research to date shows that CBD and medical marijuana shows promise in treating; dementia, cannabis dependence, tobacco and opioid dependence, psychoses and schizophrenia, general social anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s disorder.
CBD can in fact “counteract the undesirable effects of the psychoactive cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) that hinder clinical development of cannabis-based therapies” as “CBD blunts Δ9-THC-induced cognitive impairment in an adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR)-dependent manner.”
Consumer interest has been particularly focussed on the use of CBD for anxiety. Multiple studies have found that CBD use significantly reduces anxiety. Shannon et al found 79.2% reduction in anxiety after the first month, and Kamal et al found similar effectiveness.
- Bazian Ltd. Edited by NHS Website “Could cannabis compound soothe arthritis pain?” NHS News: Medication[Online] 07.01.2014
- Blake, Alexia, Bo Angela Wan, Leila Malek, Carlo DeAngelis, Patrick Diaz, Nicholas Lao, Edward Chow, & Shannon O’Hearn. “A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain management.” Annals of Palliative Medicine[Online],2 (2017): S215-S222. Web. 6 Feb. 2019
- Burston JJ, Sagar DR, Shao P, Bai M, King E, et al. “Cannabinoid CB2 Receptors Regulate Central Sensitization and Pain Responses Associated with Osteoarthritis of the Knee Joint” (2013) 8(11): e80440.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0080440
- Department of Health and Social Care “Cannabis-based products for medicinal use.” Gateway Publications clearance: 08539 [Online] 31.10.2018
- Hausman-Kedem, Moran et al. “Efficacy of CBD-enriched medical cannabis for treatment of refractory epilepsy in children and adolescents – An observational, longitudinal study.” Brain and Development, Volume 40 , Issue 7 , 544 – 551,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.braindev.2018.03.013
- Kamal, Brishna S et al. “Cannabis and the Anxiety of Fragmentation-A Systems Approach for Finding an Anxiolytic Cannabis Chemotype” Frontiers in neuroscience vol. 12 730. 22 Oct. 2018, https://dx.doi.org/10.3389%2Ffnins.2018.00730
- Libzon, S., Schleider, L. B.-L., Saban, N., Levit, L., Tamari, Y., Linder, I., … Blumkin, L. (2018). “Medical Cannabis for Pediatric Moderate to Severe Complex Motor Disorders.” Journal of Child Neurology, 33(9), 565–571.https://doi.org/10.1177/0883073818773028
- Maida, Vincent et al. “Topical Medical Cannabis: A New Treatment for Wound Pain—Three Cases of Pyoderma Gangrenosum.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management , Volume 54 , Issue 5 , 732 – 736
- Malfait AM, Gallily R, Sumariwalla PF, et al. “The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2000;97(17):9561-6.https://dx.doi.org/10.1073%2Fpnas.160105897
- Michaels, Alex. “The Medical Benefits of CBD: Reviewing the Literature.” CBD Health Store: CBD News UK. [Online] 21.02.2019
- NICE, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. “Multiple sclerosis in adults: management” Clinical guideline [CG186] [Online] October 2014
- Porcari, Giulia S. et al. “Efficacy of artisanal preparations of cannabidiol for the treatment of epilepsy: Practical experiences in a tertiary medical centre.” Epilepsy & Behaviour , Volume 80 , 240 – 246 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.01.026
- Shannon, Scott et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series” Permanente journal vol. 23 (2019): 18-041. https://dx.doi.org/10.7812%2FTPP%2F18-041
How does CBD functions as an anti-inflammatory?
An extract from https://www.drperlmutter.com/targeting-inflammation-with-cbd/ quoting Dr Perimutter.
It is certainly clear that our most pervasive chronic conditions share a common feature in terms of their underlying cause. Whether we are talking about coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, or even Alzheimer’s disease, what current medical literature reveals is the powerful role that inflammation plays in these and other common conditions.
Ultimately, the main issue with higher levels of inflammation that manifests as damage to tissue is the fact that when inflammation has been turned on, it increases the production of damaging free radicals, a situation we call oxidative stress. When oxidative stress is running rampant, damage occurs to our proteins, and fat, and even our DNA.
Over the years there has been extensive research looking at how increasing the availability of antioxidants might help to protect our bodies against these damaging free radicals. But recognizing that the upstream instigator of this problem, to a significant degree, is inflammation, allows us to redirect our targeting in order to protect our body’s tissues.
I have written extensively about how reducing dietary sugar and carbohydrates, while at the same time increasing dietary consumption of good fats along with dietary fibre, goes a long way towards reducing inflammation. Emerging research now demonstrates that cannabidiol (CBD) has significant potential in terms of limiting inflammation and downstream effects in terms of free radicals as well.
In research published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, scientists at the University of Mississippi medical centre described not only the complexities and challenges posed by trying to specifically target oxidative stress in a variety of disease states, but also the potential benefits of using CBD to accomplish this goal.
Unlike THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the “high,” CBD is a non-psychotropic derivative of the plant. It was first isolated 1940 and ultimately chemically characterized in 1963. Recently, research has demonstrated that CBD has wide ranging activity in terms of reducing inflammation and the damaging effects of free radicals. Specifically, CBD modulates the function of the immune system. Research would indicate that overall, the effects of this modulation seem to be quite positive.
CBD, for example, has been demonstrated to be specifically effective in dealing with various types of pain. This activity is also thought to represent a manifestation of CBD working as an anti-inflammatory much as over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are used for typical aches and pains.
Further, many of the health-related issues associated with obesity are a consequence of increased inflammation. CBD is being explored extensively in relation to obesity in hopes of reducing some of these important health consequences.
In the conclusion of the research publication, the authors stated:
Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases. Unravelling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress “feed off” each other. However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further drug development given its anti-oxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells…
The research in terms of medical application of CBD is expanding dramatically, and with good reason. As a natural, plant derived anti-inflammatory, CBD joins other familiar players in this arena like turmeric which is derived from curcumin, as well as ginger and many others.
How can CBD be taken or applied?
CBD can be highly beneficial to your health. Numerous studies show that CBD has the potential to help with various health problems like stress, anxiety, and even epilepsy, to a certain extent.
The stigma around CBD because of its association with cannabis is also fading with time. However, it can’t be denied that many still aren’t 100% comfortable with the idea of smoking CBD. And of course, smoking is very bad for your health!
The good news is there are various ways to consume CBD these days. Inhalation, ingestion, topical application, and sublingual routes are great options for anyone who wants to try CBD and enjoy its effects.
Each method naturally has its own set of pros and cons, and the best consumption method for you will depend on your individual preferences and requirements but the safest, easiest and most popular way of using CBD is
1. Topical Application (Patches/Creams/Balms)
Topical application basically means using CBD patches, balms, ointments, or creams on your skin. This method works best for sore muscles, skin conditions, and even migraines. Simply apply at any painful area like the neck, feet, arms, legs, torso or back.
- Topicals are super easy to use
- No accessories or extra tools are needed
- It works great for sore muscles and skin problems like acne and inflammation
Check out our patches by clicking here
2. Ingestion (Edibles)
Edibles are another way of consuming CBD. You can simply add CBD oil to your food if you don’t like how it tastes on its own. CBD edibles in the form of CBD gummies or lollipops are also great options.
One important thing to always remember is to know how much you’re having. The effects of edibles can take a few hours to kick in. That said, be sure not to eat way too many pieces thinking nothing is happening. Eat a set quantity and then wait for about an hour or two to see how you feel before you have more.
- It is very discreet
- You have endless options because you can mix edible oils with food and drinks
- It could take a few hours for the effects to kick in
- Understanding and figuring out the right dose can be tricky
You can purchase CBD tinctures if you want to take CBD sublingually. To use it sublingually, all you need to do is place a few drops of the tincture under your tongue and hold it in your mouth for 30 seconds before swallowing. This is also a very discreet method and it will help you feel calm and relaxed.
- It’s easy to do and doesn’t need any additional equipment
- Dosage control is easy to manage
- Results may vary from individual to individual
- Some people might not be able to tolerate CBD’s earthy taste
We hope this helps!