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All About CBD

Updated: Feb 26

By now you’ve most likely heard of CBD and CBD oil as it has been gaining plenty of attention recently for its wide range of therapeutic properties. But what is it exactly and how does it work?



What is CBD?

CBD which is short for Cannabidiol, is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are found in both plants, aka phytocannabinoids, and within the body, aka endocannabinoids. These essential molecules use chemical signals to interact with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), an internal transmitter system which was only recently discovered by scientists in the late 1980’s. Researchers are still not entirely sure on all the details of how exactly the Endocannabinoid System works, but it is a complex cell signaling system found within the bodies of all animals, including vertebrates and invertebrates. Your Endocannabinoid System is always working regardless of if you are taking external cannabis products.


What does the Endocannabinoid System do?

It is believed that the main overall purpose of the Endocannabinoid System is to help the body achieve and maintain the state of homeostasis, otherwise known as the balance of your internal environment. It is basically an override system for when things get out of balance within the body. The ECS is involved in regulating a range of functions including sleep, mood, pain, energy level, learning and memory, appetite, metabolism, skin and nerve function, motor control as well as an array of other internal functions. As you can see, that makes the Endocannabinoid System very important to almost every aspect of our moment-to-moment functioning!


How the Endocannabinoid System Works

When something throws off the body’s homeostasis, for example pain from an injury or illness, the Endocannabinoid System kicks into gear to re-establish proper balance through a series of processes that affect the endocannabinoids, other neurotransmitters, enzymes, and receptors throughout the body. The two most common cannabinoid receptors in the body are known as CB1 and CB2.


CB1 receptors are found mostly in the Central Nervous System, and are so abundant that they outnumber many other receptor types found in the brain. They regulate the body by adjusting the levels and activity of the neurotransmitters for whichever system is out of balance e.g. hunger, temperature, mood etc. Dogs have more CB1 receptors in their brains than humans which makes them slightly more susceptible to the mind altering effects of cannabinoids such as THC. This is why a proper dosage plan is so important when giving a dog cannabis.


CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are found mostly in the body’s immune tissues including the GI tract and the Peripheral Nervous System. This means CB2 receptors are responsible for maintaining the homeostasis of our immune functioning including inflammation and pain.

There are currently 100+ known cannabinoids and each one plays a role in the function of the Endocannabinoid System. In order to stimulate the receptors, which are found abundantly throughout the body, the body produces the endocannabinoids which activate or bind to the cannabinoid receptors kind of like a lock and key system, and signal to the body that the ECS needs to take action in order for things to begin running smoothly again. Enzymes then break down the endocannabinoids once they have completed their function.

How does CBD work?

The benefit of a phytocannabinoid such as CBD derived from cannabis, is that although it is produced by a plant, its structural similarity to the cannabinoids produced naturally by the body allows it to interact with the ECS the same way as the endocannabinoids do. This means we are able to supplement the cannabinoids already created in the body with additional cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. While CBD itself does not bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors the same way as other cannabinoids such as THC, it is still a very important molecule in the functioning of the Endocannabinoid System. The fact that it does not bind to the CB1 receptors but only activates them is what makes it non-intoxicating.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is made by extracting the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids from the cannabis plant using an extraction method (usually ethanol extraction, C02 extraction, or oil extraction), then adding the extraction to a carrier oil such as hempseed, MTC oil or coconut oil to achieve a specific concentration of CBD.

What can CBD treat?

Studies have shown that the Endocannabinoid System is disregulated, or out of balance, in almost all medical conditions, meaning it plays some sort of role in almost every illness or ailment. That being said, if we can re-regulate the Endocannabinoid System by boosting the level of cannabinoids, we should in turn be able to reverse or halt the progress of many of the symptoms of illnesses and ailments.

While studies are still being done to determine CBD’s future role in modern medicine, it has already been shown to be effective when helping to treat many common health-related conditions. Some of the conditions that CBD is known to help with include but are not limited to, Chronic pain, Inflammation, Anxiety, Depression, Nausea, Gastrointestinal Issues, Insomnia, Epilepsy/Seizure Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure.

CBD has also been shown to be a Neuroprotective, meaning it has properties that protect neurons from damage, degeneration or impairment of function. It is thought that this is due to CBD’s role as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This is useful in treating conditions such as Parkinsons Disease.

Anti-cancer studies are being conducted world-wide using cannabis with some very promising results. It has been shown in lab and animal studies that THC has the ability to slow or inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as inducing “apoptosis” of the cancer cells which means “programmed cell death”. Since cancer is a group of diseases all characterized by uninhibited cell overgrowth, this is incredible news. Studies have also shown that adding CBD to the THC protocol can amplify those results.


CBD is also helpful when treating the symptoms of traditional cancer treatments such as nausea, vomiting, suppressed appetite, pain, and inflammation that come from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

CBD vs. THC

The most well-known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant is THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the main component of cannabis that produces the “high” cannabis is known for. However, CBD in contrast is non-intoxicating. In fact, CBD has been shown to lessen or neutralize the psychoactive effects of THC, which allows THC to be taken or administered in higher doses without causing the same level of “high” as it would when taken alone. This is helpful for cases where a higher level of THC is required for treatment, but the patient does not want to experience the stoned or euphoric feelings associated with THC. This is an example of what is known as the “Entourage Effect”. The entourage effect is the concept that when cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are taken together, rather than as a single compound isolate, they work synergistically and are actually more effective overall. This effect includes the other cannabinoids as well as the terpenes and flavanoids found in cannabis. The main takeaway is that the cannabis plant works best when taken as close to its natural state as possible.

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, or Isolate?


This brings us to the question of what type of CBD should you choose? The three types of CBD available are Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD is a cannabis extract that includes as many of the cannabinoids that occur naturally within the cannabis plant as is possible after undergoing the extraction process. These cannabinoids include some THC, which as discussed earlier is responsible for the “high”, as well as a range of other cannabinoids including CBG, CBN, CBC and many others. This is the best option when you are looking for the full Entourage Effect.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad Spectrum CBD is a cannabis extract where the majority of the THC has been removed while leaving the remaining cannabinoids in the extract. The legal threshold for THC content is less than 0.3% THC. This is a trace amount that will not induce any type of psychoactivity and will not likely show up on standard drug tests. This allows Broad Spectrum CBD to be sold anywhere in the US, whereas Full Spectrum CBD oil is only legal in states that have legalized cannabis. This type does not produce the same level of the Entourage Effect as the THC has been removed.


CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate is the CBD compound that has been isolated from the remaining cannabinoids and cannabis compounds and is just pure CBD alone. CBD isolate is a crystal form of CBD and is usually ground up and sold as a powder. It will not produce any of the Entourage Effect but is 100% legal across the US as it has 0% THC. Check out our 96% Bioavailable Nano CBD Powder!

CBD from Marijuana vs from Hemp


There is often confusion when it comes to CBD from Hemp or from Marijuana. Hemp and Marijuana are different varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis. Legally defined, hemp plants are cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% THC whereas Marijuana plants are Cannabis plants that contain THC levels higher than 0.3%.


Hemp plants over the years have been bred to contain lower levels of THC whereas most Marijuana plants have been bred to contain higher levels of THC. Recently, due to the increased popularity, growers have been prioritizing marijuana strains that contain higher levels of CBD as well.


CBD can be cultivated from either the Hemp plant or the Marijuana plant. CBD oil made from Hemp will obviously contain almost no THC, whereas CBD oil from Marijuana can contain much higher levels of THC. Marijuana strains (or scientifically named, chemovars) can be cultivated with varying ratios of CBD to THC. For example a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC would have equal parts CBD and THC whereas a 20:1 ratio would have 20 parts CBD to 1 part THC.


The CBD oils you will find at your local health store or at the grocery store checkout line is most likely going to be a Hemp based CBD Oil with little to no THC and unfortunately, due to it currently being unregulated by the FDA, it could contain little to no CBD either. This is why it is important to get your CBD from a trusted source.

Is CBD safe?

CBD is incredibly safe. In a report from the World Health Organization, it was stated that, “in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”. In fact, worldwide there have been ZERO deaths directly attributed to an overdose of Cannabis.


However, because CBD can inhibit the enzyme that breaks down many common medications from working properly, it may increase or decrease the effectiveness of some medications such as blood thinners. This is known in medical science as “The Grapefruit Effect” as grapefruits have the same issue regarding inhibiting enzymes. If you are taking a dug that warns against consuming with grapefruit, chances are it may have an interaction with CBD as well. Always check with your doctor or veterinarian.

Some other common side effects that could be experienced after ingesting CBD include dizziness, dry mouth, mood changes, fatigue, and GI issues, but are usually mild and do not persist if CBD administration is stopped.


There has been conflicting studies on whether or not the use of THC in high doses may potentially cause abnormalities in liver blood tests as it is synthesized in the liver, so we recommend having a baseline liver enzyme levels blood test done with your doctor or veterinarian before beginning any cannabis regime. Milk Thistle has been shown to protect liver function and in some cases even repair liver damage by regenerating liver cells, so if this is something that concerns you, you may want to consider adding this supplement to keep the liver healthy while consuming high levels of cannabis for medical purposes. Again, check with your doctor or veterinarian before taking or administering any unprescribed supplements.


Check out our blog "Is CBD Safe for Dogs" for more information on CBD safety.

How do you use CBD?

CBD can be taken in a few different ways.


Ingested

CBD Oil is typically ingested in tincture, drops or capsule form. It can also be added to food or beverages including gummies and deserts which are most commonly known as “edibles”. CBD isolate comes in a powder form that can be ingested by adding it to water as is the case with our Water Soluble Nano CBD Powder.

Sublingual

CBD in either oil or powder formula can be dropped or sprayed underneath the tongue and left for a minute or so which allows it to be in close contact with the mucous membranes in the mouth for maximum entry into the bloodstream before it is swallowed, diluted and eventually destroyed in the digestive system.


Topical

CBD Oil can be applied directly to the skin for relief of pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis. Many CBD creams and lotions now exist, however most will be far too diluted to have any type of effect.


Inhaled

CBD can be inhaled by vaporizing the oil or powder in an e-cigarette or by adding it to tobacco and smoking it. This causes the CBD to be immediately absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, thereby avoiding the digestive tract as well as decreasing the time it takes for the CBD to take effect in the body.


Conclusion

While research is ongoing, it is clear that CBD, THC and Cannabis could hold an important key in treating many medical conditions including cancer. As understanding of the Endocannabinoid System develops, and as laws that currently hold back scientific cannabis researchers are relaxed, we expect to see cannabis take on a much more prominent role in medical treatments.


If you have any questions feel free to contact us, or if would like to schedule a free one-on-one phone consultation to discuss creating a custom diagnosis-specific cannabis treatment plan for your pet, please use our online appointment scheduler.


No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor, veterinarian or other qualified clinician and is for informational purposes only.