Beginner’s guide to cbd

For those that are new to adding cannabidiol to your training routine,
here is an overview of what you can expect to gain from this all-natural supplement.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-intoxicating component of the cannabis plant with enormous therapeutic potential. Although CBD doesn’t make people feel high like THC does, it’s causing quite a buzz among scientists, health professionals, and medical marijuana patients who are using CBD-rich products to treat a wide range of conditions—chronic pain, cancer, Crohn’s, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, antibiotic-resistant infections, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and more. Academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere are currently studying the effects of CBD on these and other ailments.

mountain runnerScientists refer to CBD as a “promiscuous” compound because it confers therapeutic benefits in many different ways while tapping into how we function physiologically and biologically on a deep level. Extensive preclinical research and some clinical studies have shown that CBD has strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral, and neuroprotective qualities. Cannabidiol can change gene expression and remove beta amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, from brain cells.

What’s the best way to take CBD?

The most appropriate delivery system for CBD-rich cannabis is one that provides an optimal dose for a desired duration with few unwanted side effects. CBD-rich cannabis flower varietals for smoking or vaping are available in many medical marijuana dispensaries, but most CBD patients prefer non-inhalable products made with cannabis oil concentrates. Although THC is banned by federal law, measurable doses of potent CBD-rich cannabis remedies are legal and available in many non-smokable forms and can be utilized in various ways. The time of onset and duration of effect vary depending on the method of administration. CBD-rich cannabis oil products can be taken sublingually, orally (as edibles, lozenges, beverages, tinctures, and gel caps), or applied topically. Concentrated cannabis oil extracts can also be heated and inhaled with a vape pen. Inhalation is good for treating acute symptoms that require immediate attention; the effects can be felt within a minute or two and typically last for a couple of hours. The effects of orally administered CBD-rich cannabis oil can last for four hours or more, but the onset of effects is much slower (30-90 minutes) than inhalation.

Can CBD cure epilepsy?

Cannabis has a rich history as a medicine for quelling seizures and convulsions going back thousands of years. In the mid-19th century, the U.S. Pharmacopeia listed cannabis tincture as a treatment for pediatric epilepsy, and subsequent scientific studies have documented the anticonvulsant effects of CBD, THC, and whole plant cannabis. CBD-dominant/low- THC cannabis strains and oil extracts can facilitate dramatic improvement in some children with intractable seizure disorders. Between 10-15 percent of severe childhood epileptics who are given CBD oil products experience a near complete cessation of seizures; most improve (with a decrease but not total elimination of seizures); and some children have worse seizures when they take CBD. Many parents of epileptic children have learned through trial and error that augmenting CBD-rich oil by adding some THC—or better yet, THCA, the unheated, non-psychoactive form of THC that’s present in raw cannabis flowers and leaves—helps with seizure control. The take-home message: Low-THC cannabis oil products don’t work for everyone. Patients of all ages need access to a wide spectrum of whole plant cannabis remedies, not just high CBD oil.

mountain cycling

What is the optimal dosage of CBD?

An effective dosage can range from as little as a few milligrams of CBD-enriched cannabis oil to a gram or more. Begin with a small dose of high quality CBD, especially if you have little or no experience with cannabis.

Take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose. Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Observe the effects and if necessary adjust the ratio or amount. Don’t overdo it. Cannabis compounds have biphasic properties, which means that low and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects. Small doses of cannabis tend to stimulate; large doses sedate.

CBD has no known adverse side effects, but an excessive amount of CBD could be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose. “Less is more” is often the case with respect to cannabis therapy.

What should one look for when choosing a CBD-rich product?

Look for products with clear labels showing the quantity and ratio of CBD and other additives, a manufacturing date, and a batch number (for quality control). Select products with quality ingredients: No corn syrup, transfats, GMOs, artificial additives, thinning agents or preservatives. CBD-rich products should be lab tested for consistency and verified as being free of mold, bacteria, pesticides, solvent residues, and other contaminants. Best to avoid products extracted with toxic solvents like BHO, propane, hexane or other hydrocarbons. Opt for products that utilize safer extraction methods such as supercritical CO2 or food-grade ethanol.

If CBD is so good, won’t pure CBD be even better?

Single-molecule CBD will inevitably become a federally approved Big Pharma medicine. Products infused with a crystalline CBD isolate, derived and extensively refined from industrial hemp, are already being marketed by unregulated internet storefronts. But single-molecule CBD is less effective therapeutically than whole plant CBD-rich oil extract. Scientific studies have established that synthetic, single-molecule CBD has a very narrow therapeutic window and requires precise, high doses for efficacy, whereas lower dose, whole-plant, CBD-rich treatment regimens are already showing efficacy for many conditions among patients. Whether synthesized in a Big Pharma lab or derived from industrial hemp, single-molecule CBD lacks critical secondary cannabinoids and other medicinal compounds found in high-resin cannabis strains. These compounds interact with CBD and THC to enhance their therapeutic benefits. Scientists call this the “entourage effect.” Numerous cannabis compounds have medicinal attributes, but the therapeutic impact of whole plant cannabis is greater than the sum of its parts.

Is there a difference between CBD derived from hemp and CBD derived from marijuana?

CBD oil extractionIf you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and available, look for CBD products made from high-resin cannabis (rather than low resin industrial hemp) that are sold in medical marijuana dispensaries. Unregulated hemp-derived CBD-infused products of varying quality are also available via dozens of internet storefronts. Many of these products are mislabeled. Compared to whole plant CBD-rich cannabis, industrial hemp grown for fiber or seed is typically low in cannabinoid content. A huge amount of fiber hemp is required to extract a small amount of CBD, thereby raising the risk of contaminants because hemp, a bioaccumulator, draws toxins from the soil. That’s a great feature for restoring a poisoned ecosystem, but it’s not recommended for extracting medicinal oil. Heavily refined CBD paste or terpene-free CBD isolate crystal is poor starter material for formulating CBD-rich oil products. The debate over sourcing CBD from cannabis rather than hemp will soon be moot as plant breeders succeed in developing high-resin CBD-rich cannabis varietals with lass than 0.3% THC, the arbitrarily designated legal limit for hemp.

Is it safe to inhale hemp CBD oil fumes from a vape pen?

Many cannabis- and hemp-derived CBD vape oil products include a thinning agent, which dilutes the oil that is heated and inhaled by vape pen users. Beware of vape pen oil that contains propylene glycol. When overheated, this chemical additive produces formaldehyde, a carcinogen, as a byproduct, according to a 2015 report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Look for products that entail a safer method of extraction like supercritical CO2.

Other additives to avoid: polyethylene glycol (another thinning agent) and, in general, flavoring agents, especially cream and cinnamon flavors as these are very toxic and should never be heated and inhaled. Look for cartridges that contain only natural, cannabis-derived terpenes. That means that the flavor of your vape cartridge came directly from the cannabis flower from which it was extracted.

Does CBD have any adverse side effects? What about drug interactions?

CBD is a very safe substance, but it can interact with many common pharmaceuticals. At sufficient dosages, CBD will deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes, thereby altering how we metabolize painkillers, statins, blood thinners, insulin & more. CBD-drug interactions can be dangerous, but they can also help mitigate side effects while synergistically improving a patient’s quality of life. Cannabinoid-opioid interactions show great therapeutic potential. THC enhances the painkilling effects of opiates, while CBD can reduce withdrawal and dependence. Patients taking Big Pharma meds should monitor changes in blood levels and, if need be, adjust dosage. Problematic interactions are more likely when consuming high doses of CBD isolate products.

Will big pharmaceutical companies control the CBD market when cannabis is legalized for adult use?

Only if we let them. Cannabis is a medicinal herb and it should be regulated as an herb, not as a pharmaceutical or a street drug.

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Article originally published on Project CBD

 

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