Person holding a green canabis
Claire Levenberg
Claire Levenberg

Claire Levenberg is currently the Research & Development Manager for the iLAVA and iLAVAHEMP Brands and the Director of Science Operations for the Downtown and D2 Dispensaries.

She has been in the medical cannabis industry for 3 years now, with in-depth knowledge of Ethanol Extraction, Fractional Distillation, Butane Extraction, lab operations and requirements, and managing daily productions as well as researching new products. Her interests lie in researching new techniques, product development, and educational outreach.

Claire received her Bachelors of Science from the University of Arizona in Plant Sciences with a focus in Microbiology.

Cannabidiol ( CBD) is a naturally occurring compound in the Cannabis Sativa plant that has been used for thousands of years as medicine. Today, CBD is being used all over the world due to the therapeutic properties that people claim it has. Scientists and doctors are still conducting studies to confirm if these healing properties of CBD are correct.

The cannabis plant contains over 100 chemical compounds known as phytocannabinoids and CBD is one of them. It is the one responsible for the therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant.

CBD can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, depending on how much of each compound you consume. Most people want to experience the potential health benefits of cannabis without getting high and CBD products may be the solution.

Because CBD has potential therapeutic components and is also not intoxicating like THC, most people prefer using it as a treatment option for some conditions.

In this article, you are going to learn about how CBD works, the health benefits people claim it has, its side effects and what to look for when shopping for CBD products.

Table of Contents

How is CBD made and where does it come from?

How Cannabidiol is made and extracted?

Cannabidiol is one of the three main chemicals that occur naturally in the cannabis plant.  It gets extracted to ensure its phytocannabinoids are pure, highly concentrated and safe for human consumption.

The two most popular methods of extraction include Carbon Dioxide and Ethanol extractions.

  • Carbon dioxide extraction – the cannabis plant is passed through a series of chambers that are highly pressurized and put under specific temperatures. This process isolates the phytocannabinoids (CBD) and pulls them for the cannabis plant. The end product is usually around 90% pure.
  • Ethanol extraction – solvent ethanol is introduced into the cannabis plant to extract the phytocannabinoids. This is the best method of extraction because the end product is 99% pure.

Will CBD get you high?

CBD will not get you high. According to a study conducted by Scott Shannon and Nicole Lewis from the Department of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Colorado, CBD does not alter consciousness or trigger a “high”.

Instead, research conducted on the effects of CBD on the brain reveals that it has calming effects for various disorders of the Central Nervous System.

According to this study by the Department of Neurology at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in California, CBD can benefit neuropsychiatric diseases such as psychosis, anxiety, epilepsy, and migraine. Thus it will keep you calm.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary chemical compound in cannabis that has psychoactive effects. It is responsible for the “high” state you get in when you use marijuana (weed).

How does CBD work?

CBD works in a similar fashion to endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are natural chemicals in the body that are part of the endocannabinoid system.

This system is responsible for regulating various physiological processes in the body including metabolism, mood, pain, blood pressure and sleep. If you are having health problems, then the chances are that your endocannabinoid system is not working properly.

The endocannabinoids usually bind to two types of receptors to help the body maintain proper internal functions. These cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are found in the CNS while CB2 receptors are found in the PNS.

These two receptors are responsible for various functions. CB1 is concerned with functions such as sleep, movement, coordination, and mood while CB2 deals with pain and inflammation.

Scientists initially believed that CBD bound to these receptors like the endocannabinoids. However, after conducting research, some scientists believe that CBD doesn’t bind directly to the receptors. Instead, it influences the receptors in another way.

Cannabidiol is consumed with a carrier oil when used on the skin. Carrier oils reduce the aggressiveness of essential oils to the human body.

What are the health benefits and uses of CBD?

Cannabis in the form of heart symbolizing the health benefits of CBD

CBD has been used to treat conditions for over 5000 years including in ancient cultures such as China, India, and Egypt. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp which is a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 % of THC. Since then, the use of CBD medications has increased with people claiming that it has multiple benefits to the body.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved only one CBD product that treats two rare severe forms of epilepsy including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It states that it is yet to approve other CBD products after conducting research on the properties of this chemical compound found in Cannabis. Here are some of the benefits that people who have used CBD claim it has:

Pain Management

Relief from chronic pain is the main reason why most people use CBD products. For example, The Marijuana Policy Group reported that 94% of Colorado Medical Marijuana ID cardholders indicated severe pain as the main reason for using CBD.

Most people use cannabinoids to treat back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Some people think that CBD eliminates pain by reducing inflammation in the body. Scientists are still conducting research to confirm if CBD may reduce pain. There is already some evidence that CBD can affect the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for regulating many functions in the body including pain management.

A study published in the European Journal of Pain revealed CBD treatment might be effective for pain relief. The researchers came to a conclusion after conducting animal studies. The animal model used involved observing the behavior of rats with rheumatoid arthritis. The cannabis family may be the source of effective medicines for pain.

Preclinical and clinical evidence supports the potential of CBD oil to help reduce pain. It is another option to escape opioids addiction and challenge chronic pain.

VanDolar HJ, the Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha Tweet

Anxiety and Social Anxiety

Person smoking CBD to relief anxiety

Several studies show the possible benefits of CBD towards generalized anxiety and other forms of anxiety such as social anxiety and PTSD.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, CBD reduced stress in animals such as rats. Study subjects showed reduced symptoms of anxiety including improved heart rate. More research still needs to be done on humans to ensure it is safe for consumption.

CBD may also reduce the intensity of the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder. According to this study conducted on 400 people with SAD, their anxiety levels reduced significantly after receiving a 400 mg dose of CBD.

Scientists are still conducting research to confirm these claims. Seek medical advice before from your doctor before using CBD products for anxiety disorders.

Current evidence indicates that CBD has potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders. There is a need for further studies on the therapeutic effects of CBD on relevant clinical populations.

Esther M. Blessing, New York University School of Medicine, New York, US Tweet

May Alleviate Cancer-related Symptoms

 

Cancers are some of the leading causes of mortality in the United States and anywhere in the world. And certain people have come out claiming that CBD can treat some of the symptoms of cancer.

Scientists have conducted some studies to determine the efficacy of CBD in treating cancer. One research was conducted to evaluate the anti-tumor effects of CBD on gliomas and breast cancer cells.

The scientists concluded that there is insufficient evidence that proves the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in treating cancer. They proposed that more studies needed to be done on the properties of CBD that can make it an anticancer drug.

May Reduce Acne and Other Skin Related Issues

Most of the research about CBD effects on acne is focused on its ability to stop the causes of acne such as excessive production of sebum oil. According to the Journal of Clinical Investigation, CBD can inhibit sebum oil production and may have anti-inflammatory effects on the sebum-producing gland.

They concluded that CBD may reduce acne. However, before using any CBD medicine that claims to treat acne, seek medical advice from your doctor. You may get side effects especially if you are using Cannabidiol products for the first time.

Some users also claim to apply CBD for eczema, psioaris and other similar skin conditions with great success. Scientists are yet to prove if such claims are valid in all cases.

Insomnia

Some studies suggest that CBD can have a positive effect on people with insomnia

Many things can cause you to have insomnia including chronic pain, anxiety, and medication. Some people claim that CBD can improve your sleep because it can alleviate the intensity of anxiety and pain. This makes you more comfortable.

Cannabidiol may hold benefits for anxiety-related disorders. More studies are still needed.

Scott Shannon, MD, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado, Denver Tweet

According to research conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado, CBD reduces anxiety. They also noted that the participants of the study had a better sleep once their anxiety was alleviated.

Another study by Scott Shannon, MD, ABIHM and Janet Opila-Lehman, ND suggest that CBD oil can be an effective compound to reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Might Have Neuroprotective Properties

Many studies have been conducted to confirm the neuroprotective capabilities of CBD. Some people claim that CBD can preserve brain matter in stroke and traumatic brain injury.

This study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reveals that CBD normalizes glutamate homeostasis, and reduces oxidative stress. It also stops glial activation and local inflammatory events during brain damage. Some people claim that it may manage Huntington disorder. Researchers are yet to confirm if hemp can treat it.

Epilepsy

Studies conducted on the effects of CBD on epilepsy have been positive. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even approved a CBD drug in 2018 known as Epidiolex for use in the treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It may treat seizures.

We tried cannabidiol in humans and saw in most patients that it affected epilepsy positively. After the treatment, patients realized reduced seizure attacks.

Dr.Raphael Mechoulam, Israeli Organic Chemist responsible for isolating Tetrahydrocannabinol Tweet

Benefit Heart Health

Some people claim that CBD may reduce your chances of getting heart disease because it has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. These two properties can decrease the possibility of developing high blood pressure.

A study conducted in 2017 by the Division of Medicinal Sciences at the University of Nottingham revealed that lowers blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure or any other heart disease, then you should talk to your doctor before using cannabis extracts such as hemp oil. Human studies are still being conducted to determine if hemp can treat health conditions in the human body.

Other Potential Benefits

Here are some of the other potential benefits that people claim CBD has.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack the myelin sheath that covers your nerve fibers. It gets worse without treatment. Some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis include pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, low bone density, and difficulty walking and moving.

Research conducted on the effects of CBD on multiple sclerosis reveals that CBD may be considered as a treatment option. This due to the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that CBD has. The scientists believe that further studies need to be done to confirm their findings.

PTSD

CBD might help people with PTSD

Studies in the recent past show that CBD can alleviate some of the symptoms of PTSD such as experiencing nightmares and recalling bad memories.

According to this research by Rafael M. Bitencourt from the University of South Santa Catarina in Brazil, CBD may reduce the symptoms of PTSD when used in conjunction with other forms of treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Antipsychotic Effects

Reports on the research conducted by scholars at Kings College of London reveals that CBD may have antipsychotic effects. The scholars imaged the brains of study subjects with psychosis who had consumed CBD. They concluded that more clinical trials are necessary to confirm the antipsychotic properties of CBD.

Substance Abuse Treatment

This study done by the University of Maryland in Baltimore on the effect of CBD on drug addiction disorders was positive on animals. It revealed that repeated use of CBD reduced the drug-seeking behavior that drug addicts usually have. The scientists concluded that research using human beings was necessary to confirm the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of drug addiction.

The drug enforcement administration views the marijuana plant as illegal according to the controlled substances act. Only hemp plants are accepted in America. They contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, approximately 0.3%. State laws also permit residents to grow hemp but only after meeting specific requirements.

Anti-Tumor Effects

According to this study conducted by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Maribor, CBD may have anti-tumor effects.

Phytocannabinoids can interact with the components of the Endocannabinoid system or cellular pathways and therefore, prevent the progression of diseases including cancer.

Barbara Daris, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Maribor, Slovenia Tweet

Diabetes Prevention

Many people in the United States have diabetes and more are at risk of getting it due to their sedentary lifestyle.

The effects of CBD on endocannabinoid system may lessen insulin sensitivity rather than strictly inhibiting it.

Emily Kyle, A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Holistic Cannabis Practitioner

She stated that no studies have been conducted on the effects of CBD on blood sugar in human beings due to the strict laws that make marijuana illegal in some states in the US.

Emily also said that other chemicals present in cannabis such as THC and CBN may have anti-inflammatory properties that can treat diabetes.

Bipolar Disorder

Eggs representing bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is not often effectively managed by prescription medications. This has made people look for alternative means of getting relieved of the symptoms of mania and depression.

Research conducted by the University of Newcastle reveals that cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol may have antidepressant, sedative, hypnotic and anticonvulsant effects.

Crohn Disease

Crohn’s disease is characterized by patches of inflamed tissue in the wall of the small intestine. This disease has many symptoms such as abdominal pain, blood in stools, weight loss, and fatigue.

CBD oil may reduce some of these symptoms such as inflammation. By influencing the endocannabinoid system, CBD oil can alleviate the inflammation on the walls of the small intestine.

Cannabinoids may be helpful in treating some symptoms of IBD. But more studies need to be conducted to prove efficacy, tolerability and safety of the CBD medication on IBD patients.

Hasenoerhl et al, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Graz, Austria Tweet

Dystonia

Dystonia involves involuntary muscle contractions that may result in slow repetitive movements or abnormal posture. Unlike THC that induces psychotic effects in the body, CBD oil has proven to reduce the effects of movement disorders such as dystonia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Schizophrenia

The cannabis plant has over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Only two are adequately known to scientists including THC and Cannabidiol. And cannabidiol is the only one with antipsychotic properties. A study conducted by the Department of Psychosis at King’s College London reveals that CBD has potential effects on people with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is related to neurodegenerative disorders known as dementia.

Tobacco Addiction

Tobacco smokers around the world are getting addicted despite the information available on the dangers of cigarette consumption. As cannabis users are becoming aware of the effects of tobacco smoking, they are shifting to vaping which is safe. Smoking cessation will be realized when a better alternative is offered and marijuana use may be it.

Side Effects and Safety

CBD and THC are the most known chemical compounds of cannabis. While both CBD and THC have therapeutic properties, THC has psychoactive properties that make you feel “high” when you take cannabis.

The signs and symptoms noted in the people who took part in various CBD studies include:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Liver failure
  • Drug interactions
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Injuries mixing alcohol and CBD

Is CBD Oil Safe?

Many people who have used CBD oil claim that it is safe. Scientists are yet to confirm this claim. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate hemp products. Therefore, it is possible that most CBD oil products in the market may not be medical grade and safe as their manufacturers claim they are.

Consult your healthcare provider before using any CBD oil medication to avoid getting CBD side effects.

Is CBD Oil Bad for your liver?

A mouse study conducted by the University of Arkansas shows that high levels of CBD oil can damage the liver. Liver toxicity is dangerous because it cripples most of the body functions.

Some scientists are arguing that the research was conducted on mice and that it is still in its early stages. They insist that more information is needed on the effects of CBD on the human liver, not mice.

Will CBD Make Me Tired?

Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects that interfere with your consciousness.

Instead, the CBD oil interacts with your endocannabinoid system to reduce stress, decrease feelings of anxiety and help you become attentive.

Pure cannabidiol products should not make you feel dizzy or sleepy. This is the effect of other cannabinoids like THC which is also responsible for the "stoner effect" and is addictive.

Is CBD addictive and safe to use every day?

Can Cannabidiol products be addictive?

No, CBD it is not addictive. Many people in the US consume CBD oil products every day.

However, the amount of CBD you take every day depends on a lot of factors including your weight, the type of condition you are treating, your body chemistry, and the concentration of CBD in the products ( pills, capsule, supplement, drop).

According to this report by the World Health Organization, cannabidiol does not have any abuse potential in humans. So disregard any misconceptions from sites that claim cannabidiol is addictive.

The entourage effect of CBD refers to the benefit of ingesting many components of the cannabis plant at once instead of consuming each of the individual ingredients separately. A phytocannabinoid used by consumers singularly may not achieve the effectiveness expected.

There are many variables that are considered when choosing the dosage for CBD oils. Consult your physician before using any hemp-derived CBD oil medication.

Special precautions and warnings

Even though people claim that CBD health benefits are numerous, it may also pose significant health risks if not used appropriately. Scientists believe that cannabidiol can interfere with cytochrome P450 enzyme system.

The Cytochrome P450 enzyme system is located within the liver. It contains more than 50 enzymes that eliminate toxins from the drugs you consume.

In order to determine the dosages for medications, pharmacists usually calculate the amount of time it takes for drugs to be processed through the cytochrome P 450 system.

If only one drug is getting processed, then the system will be healthy. And the drug manufacturers will get accurate data to make an effective dosage for the drug.

However, some substances can affect the processing times in this system so that a drug ends up getting metabolized slower or faster than it should. Similarly, if the cytochrome P450 system is unhealthy, then drugs will not also get metabolized as expected.

CBD oil can inhibit the ability of the cytochrome P450 system to metabolize drugs. This results in longer processing times.

If you intend to use prescribed medications, consult your doctor to know if it will not interact with CBD.

What medications does CBD interfere with?

White pills on green leaf

Here are some of the drugs that CBD can potentially interact with according to the Indiana University Department of Medicine.

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • HIV antivirals
  • Steroids
  • Antipsychotics
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Diazepam
  • Anti-epileptics
  • Angiotensin II Blockers
  • Steroids
  • Coumadin
  • Morphine
  • Warfarin
  • Omeprazole
  • Antidepressants

Testing and trials are still being conducted by experts to identify medications that interact with CBD.

You can check if a particular drug interacts with cannabidiol here.

What medications should not be taken with CBD?

Even though many drugs have the potential of interacting with CBD, you should never use these two drugs with CBD:

  1. Clobazam
  2. Valproic acid

According to this study by Kerstin Iffland published on the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal, combining valproic acid with CBD will injure your liver significantly. Moreover, combining clobazam with CBD will intensify its side effects as well as its strength.

Is cannabidiol (CBD) legal?

Cannabidiol is legal but under specific conditions. The 2018 farm bill legalized the cultivation of a particular type of cannabis plant known as hemp.

The hemp plant contains 0.3% THC which is the chemical compound responsible for making you feel “high” after smoking cannabis.

Despite marijuana and hemp being types of Cannabis Sativa plants, the difference between them is that marijuana contains at least 10 % THC and hemp has only 0.3% THC.

How should I take CBD?

CBD cream and CBD tinctures from ilavahemp

There are many ways in which you can take CBD.

  1. CBD Oils – Oils can be applied to the skin as topicals. They can also be used orally or sublingually.
  2. CBD Edibles – You can consume CBD in different edible forms such as truffles, seeds, cookies, mints, pill form and CBD gummies. It takes up to 2 hours for the edibles to act on your body. Moreover, only 20% of the CBD you ingest will have an effect on your body.
  3. CBD Topicals – Ointment products are applied directly to the skin. They come in the form of CBD cream, lotions, capsules, salves, balms, and transdermal patches.
  4. CBD Beverages – Examples of CBD infused beverages include sparkling water, lemon water, coconut water, kombucha, sodas, beers, grapefruit juice, wines, and tea. Coffee shops in major cities across America are offering CBD infused coffee and Canada may follow the trend.
  5. CBD Tinctures – A tincture is a dietary supplement that contains CBD. It usually comes in liquid form. It can be consumed sublingually (below the tongue). You can use CBD tinctures with any diet including the Mediterranean diet, and the low carb diet.
  6. CBD Inhalation -Cannabidiol can be inhaled. Inhalers used are similar to that of asthma. There are cigarettes also in the market. They contain cannabidiol instead of tobacco and have a negligible amount of tetrahydrocannabinol. However, awareness of the side-effects of this product is still low.

Dosing

Because the FDA does not regulate CBD Products, it is hard to figure out how much CBD you should take per day.

A 2017 review of studies conducted on the appropriate amounts of CBD to be consumed per day is interesting.

The studies revealed that there is no universal dosage for CBD that every person can adopt. Instead, it stated that different animals and people respond in different ways to CBD. Most of the studies used dosages of between 20 and 1500 milligrams per day.

Understanding doses should be one of your priorities if you intend to use cannabis products. Through testing and trial, big pharma usually proposes a dose for a particular medicine to the FDA ( a branch of the government involved in approving drugs). Everyone in the medical industry will thereafter prescribe that medication to children and adults using the dose.

How much should I take?

There is no universal dosage for the amount of CBD you should consume every day.

However, there are some things you can consider when figuring the right amount for you:

  • Your weight
  • your body chemistry
  • The condition you are treating

Talk to your doctor to help you choose the correct dose for your condition.

Will CBD show up on a drug test?

CBD will not show up in drug tests. For Cannabis, the drug agencies usually test for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is one of the 113 chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. . The THC is the single compound that makes marijuana illegal in most states in the US and countries across the world.

Cannabidiol will not show up on drug tests. High-quality CBD oil products contain no more than 0.3% THC which is minimal. Some of the CBD products available in the market are 100% free of THC.

How Long Does the CBD withdrawal last?

There is no evidence that CBD has withdrawal symptoms. This research conducted on healthy volunteers to assess the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms revealed that CBD users has no signs of withdrawal.

Can you travel with CBD?

The TSA says that traveling with some forms of CBD is legal.

  1. CBD products derived from marijuana are illegal because marijuana is illegal according to Federal law.
  2. However, hemp-derived CBD products are legal and you can travel with them to any part of the United States.

Here is a great video for those who want to know the details.

What to look for when shopping for CBD Products?

There are many CBD products in the market today. Each manufacturer is claiming that its products are meet FDA standards and are safe for human consumption. It is difficult to figure out which CBD product is safe for you because the FDA doesn’t regulate the CBD industry. In fact, up to date, it has only approved one CBD product, Epidiolex. This drug treats two severe forms of epilepsy including Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome.

Here are some of the things to look into:

  • The reviews of the product by its users. There is no better way to know the quality of a product than from a user.
  • The product label indicates the amount of CBD. A reputable company will show the amount of CBD you will be getting from their product. This shows that they care about your health and can account for anything they do.
  • The price is not lower than the market price. When the product is so cheap compared to other CBD products and the manufacturer claims that it has multiple benefits, think again.
  • Extracted using ethanol(alcohol) or Carbon dioxide( CO2) . Products made with CBD extracted from the hemp plant using CO2 or ethanol are the purest. Avoid products with CBD extracted using butane, pentane or hexane.
  • The company has verifiable tests of the product. A company that has the interests of its customers at heart will show the results of the tests conducted using the product on their volunteers.

Conclusion

CBD has been used to treat different ailments for over five thousand years. It was used in ancient cultures such as Egypt, China, and Egypt.

It has gained popularity in recent years as people get enlightened on some of its potential benefits. Brands also come up with various CBD drugs that they claim can cure diseases and cause no side effects.

The FDA has only approved one CBD containing drug known as Epidiolex to treat two severe forms of epilepsy. It is yet to regulate drugs in the CBD industry.

Despite the potential benefits that people claim CBD has, scientists are yet to come up with tangible evidence that confirms them.

It is highly recommended to consult your doctor before using any CBD product. Research what are the potential outcomes for your particular conditions to stay away from any harmful side effects.

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