Home alternative treatment CBD aka Cannabidiol 101 – Important Facts You Should Know

CBD aka Cannabidiol 101 – Important Facts You Should Know

written by Vidya Sury January 18, 2020
Cannabidiol or CBD what you need to know

CBD or Cannabidiol has been in the news recently, what with being cited as treatment for a number of health conditions such as seizures, anxiety disorders, pain, inflammation, and more.

Right now, the market is inundated with CBD products that offer all sorts of remedies for a wide range of ailments.

Perhaps the most common question about it is, “Will it make me high?” It won’t, and that’s because it barely contains any THC, the unique element in the plant that causes a euphoric, feel good high. You can even use an app to track CBD and THC affects if you do use either substance. But cannabidiol, especially, has become a very big economic force in the last few years.

But are these safe? What are the health benefits? What we don’t know about CBD products can prove dangerous. Not all CBD products are reliable and we have a long way to go before we know how well they work.

So medical marijuana is a controversial and popular topic and although Cannabidiol is derived from the same plant as marijuana, it has negligible traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical that makes marijuana hallucinogenic. So, as long as the amount of THC is within a certain limit, CBD products are considered legal, even if they may not always be safe.

Let’s look at what is CBD, whether it is legal, its benefits, its interaction with other drugs, and more.

Cannabidiol or CBD what you need to know

What is Cannabidiol

C B D or cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that naturally exists in the cannabis sativa plant. Where there are over 100 known phytocannabinoids,

Cannabidiol is probably the most beneficial with therapeutic effects.  The other cannabinoid is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, present in marijuana, which causes increased psycho activity in the brain hence the high. Like CBD, it is also supposed to have medical value.

What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are a group of chemical compounds defined by their ability to bond with cannabinoid receptors in the human endocannabinoid system. There are three groups:

Endocannabinoids – cannabinoids produced by every animal (including humans) inside their body. Currently, there are 5 different endocannabinoids.

Phytocannabinoids – cannabinoids produced by certain plants (cannabis sativa L). There are more than 70 known phytocannabinoids, the most popular ones being THC and CBD.

Synthetic cannabinoids – these cannabinoids are created synthetically.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system is a vast network of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids that are interlinked with every other organ in our bodies. However, scientists believe that ECS is crucial to homeostasis – making sure that every other organ functions at peak efficiency.

The endocannabinoid system influences the central nervous system, our hormones, our immune response, and everything else, which is why certain phytocannabinoids such as Cannabidiol and THC can have a therapeutic effect on our health.

Where is Cannabidiol derived from?

CBD is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. There are two variants of the plant: marijuana and hemp. Both plants share a common genus – Cannabis Sativa L – so they both are rich in cannabidiol. However, hemp is preferred since it’s not psychoactive, meaning that it contains less than 0.3% of THC. On the other hand, marijuana has a much higher concentration of THC.

What are some medical benefits of CBD?

There is growing evidence that cannabidiol has high medicinal value. Some of the benefits are:

More research about the benefits of cannabidiol:

It is best to use CBD to supplement your therapy only after you have consulted with your primary healthcare provider.

What CBD products are available?

There is a large range of CBD products and each of us may prefer CBD in a different form. The most popular products include CBD oils, sprays, CBD tea, suppositories, capsules, lozenges, vape pens, creams, pastes, gummies, oil patches, and CBD water.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is one of the forms in which one can consume cannabidiol, usually by adding it to food, taking it sublingually or vaping it. The oil is made by infusing certain types of oil (propylene glycol or multi fractionated coconut oil) with either pure CBD in powder form or isolate, or full spectrum CBD.

Is Cannabidiol even legal?

Cannabidiol derived from hemp is usually legal in places where medical marijuana is legal. If it has less than 0.3% THC it is considered federally legal in the US and Canada. But this is applicable only to medical CBD products. In Canada, both medical and recreational marijuana is legal.

Can I get high by using Cannabidiol?

No, you cannot. THC affects brain function by acting on the central nervous system, which can affect your mood, behavior, perception and recognition. Since cannabidiol is not psychoactive, it does not affect your mood or behavior, and it won’t make you feel “high”.

Will it show up in a drug test?

Pure cannabidiol will never show up on a drug test mainly because the test looks for THC. As long as the cannabidiol you take has no THC, it wont show up in a drug test.  Full spectrum CBD, even the one that was derived from hemp, can contain trace amounts of THC – less than 0.3% – and this can be detected by some of the more advanced testing methods.

Is it possible to have an overdose?

This is considered unlikely since the receptors affected by it are not in the brainstem. So, they have no influence over key bodily functions, such as breathing or blood flow. Also, CBD has no psychoactive effects which means that it’s hard to guess what an overdose looks like. On the other hand, a THC overdose, while not fatal, can be obvious from the person’s behaviour.   When it comes to cannabidiol, doses as high as 1200 mg daily have been prescribed for months at a time without any negative effect.

What are the side effects?

The common side effects to using cannabidiol in any of its forms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Slightly lower blood pressure
  • A decrease in concentration
  • Sleeplessness (in high doses)

Does CBD interact with other drugs?

CBD is like a potent herbal supplement, and has side effects and drug interactions just like any drug.  Not all CBD products are standardized or vetted to make sure you’re getting a pure and high-quality product. So, you really don’t know what you are using. Anything that you swallow, inhale, inject, or absorb through your skin that has direct contact with your bloodstream has a risk of unforeseen side effects or interactions.

If you’re taking any kind of medication it is best to consult with your doctor before using CBD. The interactions can be dangerous and need to be closely monitored.

The liver plays an important role in how drugs work because it contains special catalysts, or enzymes that activate drugs so they can take an effect on the body. These enzymes may also help remove these drugs from the body after they’ve done their job. CBD slows down the liver enzymes’ ability to activate drugs so they work and their ability to break down drugs that are removed from the body.

 

One example is clopidogrel, an antiplatelet drug used to prevent stroke or heart attack. If you’ve already had a heart attack and are trying to prevent another one, taking CBD may keep the liver from converting clopidogrel to its active form, resulting in another heart attack. There’s evidence that CBD also inhibits other enzymes that break down at least 50-60% of all prescription drugs. These enzymes break down opioids and other drugs that depress the nervous system, or CNS depressants.

 

If you inhibit any one of these pathways, you may risk a drug overdose because your body can’t clear CNS depressants as quickly as it should. That’s because CBD slows down how quickly your body processes CNS depressants, so your body doesn’t process them as quickly as it normally would. As a result, CNS depressants can rise to rise to dangerously high levels.

 

Source: Michael Schuh, PharmD, MBA, FAPhA, a clinical pharmacist and assistant professor of family medicine, palliative medicine, and pharmacy at the Mayo Clinic in Florida. He also happens to be an expert in integrative medicine and CBD

How to make informed choices about CBD products?

By itself, Cannabidiol is a depressant. It has no euphoria, but is still a nervous system depressant even without THC. Here’s what you can do to learn more about CBD.

  • Peruse Websites

There are hundreds of websites where you can buy cannabis related products in oil, powder and other forms. Rely on information on websites operated by the U.S. federal government, research universities and academic sites, such as the Mayo Clinic.

While on other websites, avoid the sales literature or advertisements and look at their blogs. Most of them are educational in nature and feature dozens of articles that explain, in everyday terminology, what it is, how it works, what its price ranges are, where you can buy it, the health benefits, and whether it is legal in your jurisdiction and more.

  • Visit a Local Seller

Most medium and large cities now have at least a few retail outlets that sell all types of herbal oils, even ones that come from the cannabis plant. These stores usually have knowledgeable staff members who can show you their full line of products and describe precisely what is in each one. It’s a good idea to arrive at the shop with a few questions you have from your own study.

  • Ask a Licensed Pharmacist

A licensed pharmacist will be able to answer any specific questions you have, particularly detailed queries you have after doing some reading and research on your own. For example, if you want to know the possible side-effects you might encounter if you use cannabidiol and whatever you are currently taking, a pharmacist can give you specific information about potential dangers or put your mind at ease by letting you know there is not possible conflict between the two substances.

Finally, do not take any medication or supplement without consulting your doctor.

Disclaimer: This article is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/ healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.

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