Cannabidiol oil has been gaining traction as an alternative care option in the United States.
CBD oil—containing less than 0.3% THC—is now federally legal but varies on the state level. As a result, CBD products are rapidly increasing in availability and use. CBD oil is proposed to help with overall inflammation, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, cancer, eczema and epilepsy.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is a physiologic system involved in maintaining homeostasis in the body for optimal human health. Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the human body, in locations such as the major organs, the brain, bones, connective tissues and immune cells. Maintaining homeostasis in the body involves keeping a stable internal environment, regardless of external factors.
Phytocannabinoids are plant substances that stimulate endocannabinoid receptors often responsible for suppressing pain and inflammation.
Examples of phytocannabinoids include delta-9-tetrahydocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
What's the difference between CBD and marijuana?
CBD and marijuana are both derived from the hemp plant, cannabis sativa. Each cannabis sativa plant can be grown to include a higher content of THC (or marijuana) or can be grown to have higher amounts of CBD (and low THC content). THC is the most psychoactive and is what we commonly think of when we think of marijuana. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant and neuroprotective properties.
Are there different CBD oils I should be aware of?
Yes! While THC does have health benefits, many want to avoid products with THC due to the question of legality from state to state and its psychoactive affects. There are two types of CBD oil: full spectrum and broad spectrum. Full spectrum CBD oil contains everything the hemp plant contains, such as terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids and fatty acids. Full spectrum CBD oil will also contain trace amounts of THC (<0.3%). Broad spectrum—or isolate—CBD oil is ideal for users who cannot have any trace of THC in their system, whether it be for a job, passing a drug test, or personal reasons.
Why use CBD oil?
CBD oil has shown to have positive results in conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, Alzheimer's, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Patients with these conditions normally have to take a large amount of pharmaceuticals to help manage their condition. With taking large amounts of pharmaceuticals comes negative side effects such as GI ulcers, bleeding, nausea and fluid retention, to name a few. CBD oil has been found to have minimal, if any, side effects and could improve quality of life for these patients. CBD has also been found to have an excellent safety profile and to have no negative influence on food intake, gastrointestinal transit, or psychomotor or psychological functions.
What should be considered when purchasing CBD oil?
It's important to think about how the hemp plant was farmed. The ideal CBD oil company uses organic farming and states it is 100% organic and grown within the United States. It is also important to think about how the CBD is extracted from the hemp plant. The most ideal extraction method, called supercritical CO2 extraction, is more expensive and higher quality; the least desirable, called solvent extraction, is cheaper and lower quality. An important detail to look for when purchasing a CBD oil is whether it has been third-party tested for quality. When it comes to dosage, start low and go slow.
Are the health benefits of CBD oil worth the money?
CBD oil has definitely shown some positive results depending on the purpose it's used for. When considering purchasing a CBD product, quality should trump cost. Without the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration and with a recent study revealing that only 31 percent of CBD products are accurately labeled, it's imperative that you do your research as the consumer. A quality company should have no problem being transparent with their growing and cultivating process of CBD products. If it sounds like they are hiding something or not willing to share information with you, move on!
And always consult with your physician before starting a CBD product.
CBD Article Resources
Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708–1709. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.11909
Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245–259. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928
Dustin Solak. Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System – NORML – Working to Reform Marijuana Laws. https://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system. Accessed November 25, 2019.
CBD Central. Is CBD Oil Legal? – CBD Central - https://www.cbdcentral.com/is-cbd-legal/. Accessed December 3, 2019.
Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139–154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034
Lucas, C. J., Galettis, P., and Schneider, J. ( 2018) The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 84: 2477– 2482. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.13710.
Corroon J, Phillips JA. A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018;3(1):152–161. Published 2018 Jul 1. doi:10.1089/can.2018.0006
Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825–836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
Liz Bissell is a native Grand Rapids dietitian dedicated to bringing better health to the people around her using holistic approaches. Her website Liz Bissell Wellness (lizbissellwellness.com) specializes in women's health, optimizing fertility and balancing one's hormones through nutrition, and deliciously healthy recipes to enjoy.
This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar 2020 issue of West Michigan Woman.