A lot of people are beginning to talk about CBD. So let's get started with the basics.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is the second most abundant phyto-cannabinoid occurring naturally in the cannabis or marijuana plant. Until recently, Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)––the primary active cannabinoid in cannabis––has received the majority of the attention from law enforcement agencies, lawmakers, and everyday people because of its psychoactive properties. But unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. So in short, CBD does not get the user "high." We'll talk more about why CBD is not psychoactive further below.
So why haven't you heard much about CBD until recently? In short, decades-long breeding and hybridization efforts of cannabis have been focused primarily on increasing THC content, while consequently lowering CBD levels. In addition, most research conducted on cannabis has focused on Delta9-THC, not CBD.
Ok, that's great... But don't all cannabis varieties contain CBD? Actually, a recent analysis of six-hundred cannabis strains in Colorado, a legal marijuana state, determined that the average level of CBD barely hit 0.2 percent, whereas THC levels were often greater than 18 percent, with some potency levels reaching a whopping 30 percent! On the other hand, industrial hemp––cannabis sativa, marijuana's so-called "benign cousin"––has been grown primarily for foodstuffs and textiles, so it naturally contains low levels of THC (< .3%) and elevated levels of CBD. Yet if you try and smoke hemp, you'll be quite disappointed because it contains such minuscule levels of THC.
So to sum it up, most cannabis strains contain very little CBD and very high levels of THC. However, the recent interest in CBD has been a powerful catalyst in the desire to breed high CBD and CBD dominant cannabis strains. Some notable high CBD varieties include Charlotte's Web, AC/DC, Harlequin, and Harle-Tsu. Because of their extremely low levels of THC, many of these CBD varieties are now satisfying the legal definition of "hemp " (< 0.3 percent THC). Thus, high CBD cannabis flowers––not just the stalks and leaves––are now being grown legally in multiple states across the U.S., including Kentucky, Oregon, and Colorado, and others.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
Before we get to how CBD works, let's discuss briefly the physiological/biological mechanisms that play a major role in how CBD is utilized by the body.
Every single person on this planet was born with something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS), an intricate network of chemical receptors named after the cannabis plant. In fact, our human bodies naturally produce cannabinoids that bind to these specific endocannabinoid receptors, especially when we are injured and experience pain. These cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in our brains, vital organs, connective tissues, central nervous systems, and immune cells. So in essence, we are hard-wired to use cannabis.
There are two types of known cannabinoid receptors that comprise our endocannabinoid system: CB1 and CB2 receptors. There may even be more. When we use cannabis, whether we eat it, smoke it, vaporize it, or consume it in any other fashion, our endocannabinoid system is stimulated and we experience a whole host of symptoms, ranging from: euphoria, appetite stimulation, pain relief, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic (anti nausea), etc.
So Then how does CBD actually work?
Whereas THC has a high affinity for binding to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD does not. This low affinity for binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors is one of the main reasons that sets CBD apart from THC. It will be recalled that CBD does not get the user high. In fact, CBD counteracts nearly all perceived negative side effects of THC by interacting with the endo-cannabinoid receptors and modulating THC's pshychoactivity. CBD (and CBD-A, Cannabidiolic Acid) is also a powerful:
- anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)
- analgesic (pain relief)
(DISCLAIMER: Some of these above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease).
However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has published an article entitled, "The Biology and Potential Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol," in which they state:
"There is significant preliminary research supporting the potential therapeutic value of CBD, and while it is not yet sufficient to support drug approval, it highlights the need for rigorous clinical research in this area."
Speaking of this need for rigorous clinical research, a very recent study on isolated Cannabidiol (a drug called Epideliox) conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals, one that has received DEA and FDA approval, has shown great promise regarding the treatment of a few forms of intractable epilepsy (Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome), thus confirming the efficacy of CBD.
CBD Has come under fire recently
Unfortunately, CBD's medical promise has led the DEA to respond in a threatening manner to a host of companies selling CBD oil or CBD infused products. This move also dovetails with the DEA's 2016 refusal to move cannabis to a Schedule 2 substance, opening it up for more rigorous scientific inquiry. Without doubt, Big Pharma is a huge player in the DEA's recent scare tactics and posture.
Outside of the confines of the sterile laboratory and drab offices of law enforcement agencies, it cannot be denied that CBD is a compound that has long been considered a health supplement since it is naturally occurring in hemp oil. Any attempt by law enforcement to classify CBD as a Schedule 1 substance––lumped into the same category of narcotics such as heroin(!)––is absolutely ludicrous. CBD does not fit within the parameters of the DEA's Schedule 1 definition of drugs, which is qualified by this exact statement:"No currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." CBD is not even psychoactive like its sister compound, THC, which also sits questionably on the Schedule 1 list of narcotics. How can CBD pose high potential for abuse if there is nothing addictive nor psychoactive about it?
Full spectrum CBD is most effective
Finally, we'll step off our soap box and tell you that not all CBD products are created equal.
Much of the CBD in the US marketplace is imported from other countries like China, Canada, and Spain. Much of this imported material is derived in large part from industrial hemp, but some comes from the female flowers. Just as THC is most concentrated in the flowering tops of the female cannabis plant, the largest concentration of CBD also found in the flowering tops. In the U.S., hemp farms located in Colorado, Kentucky, and Oregon are beginning to produce high quality CBD oil extracted from the flowering tops of the plant by means of solventless methods, such as super/sub critical CO2 extraction.
Research has shown time and time again that all of the unique compounds of the cannabis plant work together synergistically to promote healing and well-being. Another name for this phenomenon is the "Entourage Effect." When compounds like CBD are fractionated (or separated from their counterparts) through chemical processes, they become less "medicinal," so to speak. There has been a growing fascination in the industry to isolate cannabinoids, especially THC, CBD, and the various terpenes. The inner alchemist in everyone is enamored by pure, crystalline cannabinoids. Admittedly, the chemistry behind it all is extremely fascinating. But at the end of the day, while Isolate/Distillate may be beautiful to the eye, it will not work as effectively without the other major /minor cannabinoids and terpenes present.
For the above reasons, Sow Eden Organics™ provides Full Spectrum CBD products. Our goal is to supply you with the most effective CBD products on the market. Our CBD oil is laboratory tested to ensure purity and high CBD content. It possesses a very piney, earthy, honey-like aroma and taste. It literally tastes "medicinal." It is medicine. It contains naturally occurring terpenes, vitamins, and lipids. It is also THC free.
Other sources of information on CBD and CANNABIS
In case you want to see what others are saying about CBD, check out the following sites and studies: