CBD whaaat ?!
Happy 4/20!! (insert peace sign here) April 20th, 2019 will go down in history as the first “cannabis holiday” in Canada where people are recreationally consuming legally! There is a lot going on in the Cannabis world right now - many questions, products, rules and regulations at play. Today I am writing on the hot topic of CBD oil. I will briefly explain inherent transport systems throughout our bodies and distinguish some of the differences between varieties of cannabis plants.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are currently the most studied compounds found in the cannabis plant but it is important to note that there are many other chemical compounds- in fact there are at least 483 different chemical compounds in cannabis! Some of the other compounds you may or may not have heard of are THCV, CBN, CBG, terpenes and flavonoids, each with varying effects and benefits. One of the main reasons why CBD oil has become such a hot topic is because it has many medical benefits and is a non-psychoactive component of the plant, eliminating the “high” effect some other forms of cannabis offer.
CBD acts upon our endocannabinoid system (ECS) that runs through our entire body. It has been called “the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health” (1). There is essentially a complex network of cannabinoid receptors (CBr) in the cells of both the central and peripheral nervous system. Additionally, there is the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB-2) found in the immune system, digestive system and many of the body’s major organs. The body has natural cannabinoid-like chemicals that bind to theses systems. The ECS is being heavily researched. Currently, we know that “it helps to modulate homeostasis across all major body systems ensuring that all systems work in concert with each other” (1) affecting sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory and mood. There are numerous interesting facts about the ECS which I might dive into in a separate post because there is a lot of info! The endocannabinoid system explains why natural cannabinoids found in cannabis and other plants have therapeutic effects. In history, cannabis has been used to treat epilepsy, headaches, arthritis, pain, depression and nausea (1). Side note, exercise and diet can also increase levels of anandamide, the body’s natural feel good endocannabinoid.
Okay what about the terminology though..
There are two main species of the cannabis plant; cannabis sativa and cannabis Indica. Both have varying amounts of psychoactive and non psychoactive components (2). Gone are the days where we can exclusively differentiate “types” of cannabis by classifying them as Indica or Sativa for desired effects. The reason for this is because it is really the complete chemical profile of the cannabinoids and terpenes that dictate its effects on our system. Okay so here is what I have learned- The cannabis sativa plant species has many varietals, all containing various amounts of CBD and THC. Hemp is actually any variety of Cannabis Sativa that contains less than 0.3 percent THC (2). In order for a product to be classified as hemp oil, it must have less than 0.3 percent THC and is usually extracted from the stalk of the hemp plant. It is noted that because Hemp plants contain about 3-5% CBD and require a large amount of the plant to produce a small amount of Hemp oil there can sometimes be a higher rate of contamination (3). Importantly, hemp seed oil, extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant contains little to no CBD or THC and is used for its healthy fatty acid profile (2).
CBD oil can be made from the Cannabis sativa, Indica or hemp varieties and uses the entire plant for extraction, including the flower. There are many ways to extract oil from the plant the most common ways to extract CBD Oil is CO2, Ethanol, Olive oil and butane or hexane extraction (3). I personally have been using olive oil, coconut oil and the LEVO machine to extract from the plant. Many hemp oils are lacking the full spectrum of terpenes and other cannabinoids that work synergistically with the CBD compound so it is important to know what concentrations of compounds are in the oil you are consuming. There is so much information out there on this subject and really this blog just scratches the surface. If you are looking for education and information on getting your medical cannabis prescription please visit my very educated friends at Hybrid Pharm so they can help you pick the right strains and consumption methods for your ailments.
1. Strause, Tyler. (2017, May). 7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Endocannabinoid System. Retrieved from https://medium.com/randy-s-club/7-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-the-endocannabinoid-system-35e264c802bc
2. Mitchell, Jon. (2016). Hemp Oil: Everything You Need To Know. Retrieved from https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.mindbodygreen.com/articles/hemp-oil-uses-and-benefits
3. Franciosi, Anthony. (2018, June). Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: What’s The Difference? Retrieved from https://honestmarijuana.com/hemp-oil-vs-cbd-oil/
4. Gertsch, J., Pertwee, R., Di Marzo, V., (2010, June). Phytocannabinoids beyond the Cannabis plant – do they exist? Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931553/