What is Cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major cannabinoids found in Cannabis plants. It has been gaining interest due to its powerful effects on health and wellness. Cannabinoids interact with receptors in different parts of the central nervous system, affecting the endocannabinoid system, and these interactions have potentially interesting medical applications.
At Genius Labs, we extract CBD from the resins of mature hemp flowers and use it to make many types of hemp extract products such as oils, tinctures, edibles, and other forms of CBD concentrates.
Since CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, it won’t make you feel stoned or high, and there are no known side effects when it is consumed, making it an extraordinary alternative for people looking for relief from pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures and other conditions, without suffering from THC effects such as anxiety and restlessness.
Each type of CBD product could have its unique effects on symptoms and wellness. Health experts think CBD is the next big breakthrough in the treatment of many different chronic diseases, we strongly believe that this amazing new supplement can improve your quality of life.
How to take CBD
In its raw form, CBD is a resinous, sticky substance that is thick and concentrated. We use raw hemp extract to make CBD oil by diluting it into a carrier oil. The wide variety of products that contain CBD -tinctures, vapes, gummies, chewing gum, water, powders, crystals, topical creams, etc.- allow you to choose the best way to take CBD according to your needs and lifestyle.
That said, there are different variables that affect CBD dosing, including physiological conditions, intended use, and route of administration. For this reason, there is no universal dose that is suitable for every patient. As a point of reference, it is often recommended to start with small doses and work your way up to what works best for you.
At the molecular level, cannabidiol looks very much like it’s more famous sibling, the THC molecule. The major difference between them is that THC holds a cyclic ring at its base while CBD’s cyclic ring is broken open with a hydroxyl group. That’s no surprise; they are both formed by the same precursor: CBGA.
Before either cannabinoid is manufactured within the cannabis plant, however, Cannabis begins with a combination of geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid. A binding between them is necessary. When those two compounds join together through an enzyme-catalyzed reaction, cannibagerolic acid (CBGA) is formed.
When CBDA Synthase is accumulated in a large enough quantity, it will turn CBGA into cannabidiol carboxylic acid (CBDA), which is simply CBD with an attached carboxylic acid. The carboxylic acid will be released from the CBD either through time or through the application of heat. In general, the carboxylic acid group releases at around 80 degrees Celsius.
CBD is a hydrophobic compound, meaning it does not blend well with water without being specifically treated to be a water-soluble. Though it is similar to THC in how they interact with water, they are different when it comes to which chemical should bind to your endogenous CB1 receptors. While THC wants to bind with CB1 to induce the well-known psychoactive effects, CBD is a negative allosteric modulator of CB1. In essence, CBD counteracts THC’s ability to bind with your receptors and minimizes its ability to change your mood or state of mind.
CBD helps regulate your mind’s reaction to cannabis consumption, but it also has important medical properties.
A potential anticancer drug
The question of whether CBD can truly fight tumors and cancer has led to some surprising results. According to a study published in Current Oncology, “cannabinoids impair tumor progression at several levels.” In general, the major cannabinoids seem to induce apoptosis–cellular suicide–in cancerous cells while also inhibiting metastasis.
More specifically, the California Pacific Medical Center’s research institute showed that CBD inhibits aggressive breast cancer by downregulating the pertinent genes. In fact, researchers looked at many compounds in their experiments in reducing the expression of Id-1 mRNA and proteins. They lauded CBD’s efficacy, calling it “the most potent inhibitor of human breast cancer cell aggressiveness.”
Furthermore, in a 2004 study published in The Journal of Pharmacology, researchers indicated that CBD also induces apoptosis in human glioma cell lines. CBD seems to dramatically reduce the oxidation in the cancer cell’s mitochondria. The reduced oxidation greatly reduces the cells’ ability to grow and disperse. The researchers touted CBD as having the ability to generate “significant inhibition…of tumor growth.”
Finally, a 2011 study found that CBD facilitates cross-talk between apoptosis and autophagy. Published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the researchers showed that CBD battles cancer through the CB1, CB2, and the vanilloid receptor. Regardless of the receptor, CBD seemed to increase cellular cytotoxicity and destroy the damaged cells.
For the curious mind, the topic of cannabis and CBD raises an infinitude of questions. Then, a person can spend days browsing through online content searching for answers to those questions, trying to discern whether information is valid or not.
Some facts we know about Cannabidiol
- CBD is a phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, although it is more prevalent in hemp than it is in marijuana.
- CBD is short for cannabidiol.
- It has chemical formula C21H30O2.
- Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and does not have an intoxicating effect.
- It is used as a medicinal agent or health supplement, and so far as we know, there is no other application for CBD other than in medicine and health.
- CBD is extracted from hemp to make CBD oil, tincture, topical lotions, vape juice and cosmetics.
What we know CBD can do
- CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system, causing a cascade of events that lead to its beneficial and remedial effects.
- The endocannabinoid system is a non-localized physiological system comprised of endogenous cannabinoid and cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors can be found in the immune system, central and peripheral nervous systems, the gastrointestinal system and the skin. The main role of the endocannabinoid system is to restore and maintain homeostasis between all the systems of the body
- Therefore, when CBD is consumed, it can target and affect sleep, appetite, mood, inflammation, immunity and pain.
- CBD has no affinity for cannabinoid receptors (such as CB1 and CB2), but rather, affects the endocannabinoid system in more peripheral ways. This is why CBD does not have psychoactive effects.
What is Cannabidiol used for?
- CBD is used for the management of symptoms related to a huge variety of different medical conditions. This is why it is considered to be so versatile in its application.
- CBD can be used in the treatment of the following conditions:
- The reason CBD can be used in the treatment of such a huge list of seemingly unrelated conditions is that it treats many symptoms that are common between conditions. CBD has the following physiological effects:
- Symptoms such as inflammation, nausea, pain and anxiety are common aspects of many different illnesses, and this is why CBD can act as a remedy for so many different people with so many different conditions.
- As well as being used to treat medical ailments, CBD is also used as a health supplement.
How do you take CBD?
CBD can be consumed in multiple different ways. The way you choose to consume CBD will depend on what you are using it for and how fast you need it to act. It is available in the following forms:
- CBD oil/tinctures
- Topical creams/lotions
- Vape juice
- CBD water
- CBD isolate and CBD distillate (mainly for commercial use)
This means that CBD is available through the following means of consumption:
- Sublingual application
- Rectal/vaginal administration
The following is a guide for when to use different methods of consumption:
- Sublingual application: any medical condition, as a health supplement, when doses are taken regularly.
- Eating: when the medical condition is gastrointestinal in nature, related to the gut, or as a health supplement.
- Rectal/vaginal: when the medical condition is located in the female reproductive organ or is related to intestines and anus.
- Vaporizing: when relief is required quickly, as vaporizing gives the quickest effects. Best used with onset of anxiety or chronic pain.
- Drinking: CBD water can be used as a health supplement or to have a more bioavailable form of CBD (more is absorbed by the body when consumed in water than other means).
How does CBD make you feel?
- CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it is not associated with the same kind of “high” or intoxication as that which is felt after THC consumption.
- CBD is associated with feelings of relaxation, calmness well-being.
- At lower doses, CBD may promote feelings of alertness and awakeness. At higher doses, CBD may promote feelings of drowsiness and sleepiness.
- CBD is virtually never used recreationally as there is no sense of intoxication once it is consumed, so effects may not be as pronounced as intoxicants.
- Even if CBD is not consciously “felt”, it is doing a lot of work inside the body that may take a little bit of time to notice.
How much CBD should you take?
- There is no hard and fast, strict rule when it comes to CBD dosage. Different doses are required for different situations and different people will metabolize CBD at different rates.
- Finding a perfect, ideal dosage may require time and commitment, and each person is encouraged to discover their uniquely perfect dose.
The following is a guide for recommended CBD dosage for different medical conditions. As there is no strict dosing instruction with CBD, the following is intended to serve a a guide only. The doses are based on use of tincture or CBD oil:
- Chronic pain: 2.5-20mg
- Epilepsy: 200-300mg
- Huntington’s Disease: 10mg CBD/kg of body weight
- Sleep disorders: 40-160mg
- Schizophrenia: 40-1280mg
- Glaucoma: 20-40mg
- Loss of appetite due to cancer: It is generally recommended that CBD is consumed in conjunction with THC, with 2.5mg THC administered with 1mg CBD
- Multiple Sclerosis: 2.5-120mg of a THC/CBD combination product
Aside from medical conditions, factors such as metabolism, prior exposure to cannabinoids and sensitivity to CBD will all play a role in how much CBD you need to take to see the desired effects.
Does CBD have any side effects?
- Most CBD users do not report side effects after CBD usage.
- At higher doses, CBD may cause the following side effects:
- Stomach upset/diarrhoea
- Side effects are generally very short lived, disappearing within a few hours.
- If side effects appear, reduce dosage as perhaps side effects are caused by consuming too much.
Does CBD have any drug interactions?
- CBD may have drug interactions with pharmaceuticals as it uses one of the metabolic pathways that over 40% of pharmaceutical drugs also use.
- CBD affects enzymes in the CYP450 system, which is an enzymatic system in the liver. It behave as a competitive inhibitor of these enzymes, meaning it can block the metabolism of other drugs.
- There is not yet sufficient research to understand what dosage of CBD affects the function of these enzymes, although one trial estimated this 40mg as the cutoff dose, while a subsequent trial estimated 25mg as the a cutoff dose for interfering with the metabolism of other drugs.
- This ultimately means that the strength of other drugs being consumed with CBD are affected. In some circumstances, it results in the drug being stronger because it is not metabolized or digested, making it more bioavailable. In other circumstances, it makes the drug weaker, as it is sometimes a metabolite of the drug that exerts its effect (such as in some anti-epileptic medicines).
- It is always best to consult a physician if you are using pharmaceutical drugs to enquire as to how CBD will interact.
Where to buy CBD oil?
- Where to buy CBD oil depends on where in the world you live. If you life in the USA, hemp-derived CBD oil can be purchased online and delivered anywhere in the country.
- CBD oil can also be purchased at dispensaries, health food stores and even cosmetics stores.
- Marijuana-derived CBD is available for purchase in dispensaries in legal states, but cannot be purchased online (yet) because of federal restrictions on marijuana. This does not apply to hemp-derived CBD.
How do you know you’re buying good CBD?
- Factors that affect the quality of CBD are cultivation, extraction method, industrial contaminants and concentration.
- The CBD industry is still young and heavily unregulated, therefore making it the consumer’s responsibility to ensure that they are purchasing a reputable, clean and overall good product.
The best quality CBD oils and CBD products have the following qualities:
- The hemp used to manufacture CBD products is grown locally
- It does not contain any industrial contaminants
- There is no trace of solvent used in extraction in the final product
- The bottle contains how much CBD it is labelled to have
- It does not contain cannabinoids that it is not labelled to contain
- The product comes with a third-party certificate of analysis which states which terpenes, flavonoids, cannabinoids and industrial contaminants are present
As a consumer, you can request the following information from any CBD manufacturer:
- Where was the hemp grown?
- Can you provide a third-party certificate of analysis?
- What is the concentration of CBD in the product?
- What kind of extraction technique is used to yield CBD?
- What are the other ingredients inside the bottle or product?
If a manufacturer refuses to give you any information you request about the product, it is better to search for a more transparent company. A manufacturer should be transparent about sharing information about their manufacturing process. At the end of the day, a good CBD product manufactured by an honest company will be obvious when compared with less reputable products.
But there are still some finer details to cover, such as how to give CBD to your pet, or the exact mechanisms of action by which CBD exerts its therapeutic potential. In the section below, we will be tackling those more involved inquiries and questions for a more holistic understanding of cannabidiol.
How to make CBD oil?
The manufacture of CBD-rich oil is a relatively new addition to the cannabis industry and has only become possible thanks to modern technology. Overall, there are multiple ways to extract cannabinoids from raw plant material. Some are better than others, and it is sometimes the extraction technique which separates a great CBD oil from a not-so-great CBD oil.
The most efficient means of extracting CBD oil is using CO2 extraction. This technique requires pumping CO2 at high pressure through a tube containing hemp. Essentially, CO2 is the solvent. The yield of CBD using this technique is high, which is why it’s considered an efficient method. It is also one of the cleanest ways to use solvent extraction, as once pressure is removed CO2 simply evaporates.
Other extraction techniques include fermentation, butane extraction and cold pressing. Each has its own purpose and is used for different reasons. For example, hemp seeds are cold pressed because heat can destroy some of the proteins trapped inside them. The industry is always searching for the the cleanest and most effective mean of extracting the cannabinoid-rich oils from hemp and marijuana.
For the DIY enthusiast who wants to do it at home, choices are limited. Extraction equipment is expensive, the purchase of which often gets flagged if it is being bought by someone who has no commercial reason to use such equipment. It is often flagged for foul play or illegal activity. For this reason, many people make their own CBD oil at home using CBD isolate or CBD distillate.
These two extremely concentrated kinds of CBD come in a crystal-like powder form. CBD isolate is virtually pure CBD while CBD distillate still contains some of the terpenes and flavonoids that are contained in the hemp plant. This powder can be dissolved into hemp-seed oil or some other carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil). The result is an oily liquid that contains dissolved CBD isolate or distillate!
How do CBD and CBD oil work?
Overall, the scientific understanding of CBD and the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) is modest. This is because it wasn’t until the 90s that the medical community even knew that humans were graced with an endocannabinoid system. There are chemists, botanists and biologists all over the world constantly at work to refine the image and understanding we have of the endocannabinoid system and how it is affected by phytocannabinoids such as CBD.
As we mentioned in Part 1, the endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors, endogenous cannabinoids and the enzymes that break them down. Unlike THC, CBD has virtually no binding affinity for cannabinoid receptors. This is one reason that it has no psychoactive effect. CBD affects cannabinoid receptors indirectly by binding to other sites on the cell membrane which essentially affects the way the receptor performs its activity.
Enzyme, FAAH, responsible for breaking down endogenous cannabinoid anandamide, is also affected by CBD. FAAH is what cleans up and recycles anandamide, therefore removing it from circulation. CBD inhibits the behavior of this enzyme, therefore allowing anandamide to flow more abundantly through the body. This, overall, is associated with elevated mood, better sleep, better appetite and better ECS function.
Finally, CBD affects another kind of cannabinoid receptor called TRVP1. This kind of receptor plays an integral role in inflammatory response and pain sensation. So while CBD doesn’t directly bind to CB receptors, it modulates many ECS functions by targeting more subtle aspects.
How long does it take for CBD to work?
Depending on the method of consumption, CBD can be instantaneous or can take up to 2 hours to take effect. This is why users are urged to consider their needs before choosing a consumption method for CBD. The following can be used as a guide:
- CBD oil or tincture via sublingual application: 5-20 minutes
- CBD capsule or edible: 20 minutes – 2 hours
- CBD inhalation (vaporizing): instant – 5 minutes
- CBD topical application: 25-45 minutes
Most importantly, it is imperative to understand that each person is unique. For the same reasons that one person gets drunk off two beers and another needs six beers, CBD will take longer for some and shorter for others. Factors such as metabolism, sensitivity, CBD concentration and the chosen method of consumption will all play a role in how long it takes for CBD to work.
Does CBD show up on a drug test and how long does it stay in your system?
If you’re curious about how long cannabidiol stays in your system, it’s probably because of concerns regarding drug testing. Because of such a long prohibition period, this is one of those severely understudied aspects of cannabis. However, research suggests that oral dosing has a half life of 1-2 days, meaning it can stay in your system for up to 1 week after consumption.
When it comes to drug tests, it’s slightly more complicated. Overall, most employer drug testing facilities and roadside drug testing apparatus are not testing for CBD and its metabolites. They are testing for THC and its metabolites. That puts most CBD users in the clear when it comes to drug testing.
With that being said, to pass a drug test, there has to be complete certainty that the CBD product you are using doesn’t actually contain any THC. This is where some CBD users blunder. If the product contains THC at all, then it is entirely possible to be detected on a drug test and therefore fail.
Consumers have to ensure the purity of their CBD product if they hold concerns about drug testing. This can be confirmed by asking for a certificate of analysis, which outlines which cannabinoids are contained in the product and their concentrations.
How to use Cannabidiol oil for pain?
Among the most common reasons for Americans to self-medicate with cannabidiol oil is for the treatment of chronic pain. With opioid addiction on the rise, it is becoming a matter of public urgency to find remedies for chronic pain that don’t come with the same risks as opioids. And for many people, that alternative is cannabidiol treatment.
When it comes to dosage, it’s pretty much entirely up for interpretation and requires some strict self-observation because there is no medical guide to dosage yet. Various personal accounts point towards taking CBD oil at lower doses for pain and gradually working up the dose. For example, users can start with 5-20 mg twice daily and then gradually move up to 50-100mg twice daily.
Many of those who suffer from chronic pain prefer to use a combination of THC and CBD. In this scenario, it is best to use THC in the evening because of its sedative effects and to use pure cannabidiol in the mornings. However, finding the perfect ratio takes time and depends on a person’s sensitivity towards both cannabinoids.
Vaping CBD is another great way to tackle chronic pain because the effects are felt immediately. As soon as the effects begin to wear off, you can vape CBD again. This makes dosing easy, as it is only necessary to consume cannabidiol in the moment that chronic pain takes place.
Finally, if the pain is musculoskeletal in nature, cannabidiol topical ointments can also be used. For some, a topical ointment will be enough to keep pain under control. For others, a combination of topical products and orally consumable products is best. In this way, inflammation is managed on the outside while the neurological pain response is managed internally.
How to use Cannabidiol oil for cancer?
Given the controversy surrounding cannabis use for the treatment of cancer, there is very little guidance for those who use CBD for this reason. The most important mechanism of CBD for cancer patients is that it is antiproliferative. CBD can induce programmed cell death as well as stop the proliferation of cancer cells. This can inhibit the cancer from growing and over time, can reduce the size of the tumor. The second most important mechanism of CBD for cancer patients is its ability to increase appetite, which is vitally important for cancer patients.
Most cancer treatment using CBD includes a full overhaul of lifestyle choices. This includes diet. To assist cannabidiol, cancer patients are encouraged to have diets extremely low in sugar, as sugar can encourage inflammation and feeds cancer cells. Finally, any cancer patients consulting a naturopath will also probably be prescribed turmeric and other anti-cancer agents.
Choosing to use cannabidiol as the sole treatment for cancer is extremely brave, and although virtually no medical professional would recommend it, some people have made complete recoveries using cannabidiol and cannabis products alone. For the bulk of cancer patients, CBD will be complementary to chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs.This is where appetite, sleep and pain are managed, rather than the reduction of the tumor.
If CBD is being used to manage cancer, it should be taken daily. Dose can start as low as 2.5mg twice daily. The dose can be increased depending on severity of other symptoms such as loss of appetite and chronic pain. It is also recommended to use THC in conjunction with cannabidiol, as it also contains many medicinal properties that are relevant to cancer patients.
It is important to request the professional advice of your doctor if you choose to go down the road of cancer treatment with cannabidiol.
Can you give CBD to your pets and how much to give them?
Virtually every mammalian body on planet earth has an endocannabinoid system, including cats and dogs. So it’s an unequivocal yes – you can give CBD to your pets. But that doesn’t mean you can give them a human dose of CBD. What differentiates a dog’s ECS from a human’s ECS is the concentration of cannabinoid receptors, where they are located and their structure.
Cannabidiol can be administered to pets for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Stress and anxiety
- Overall health and well-being
For a lot of the same reasons that cannabidiol is beneficial to humans it is also beneficial to our furry companions. However, because their bodies are smaller, they generally don’t need as high a dose as humans. Some companies have already taken the initiative of manufacturing specially-formulated cannabidiol for pets, which basically means just reducing the cannabidiol concentration. It is vitally important not to give your pets THC. THC can be fatally toxic to cats and dogs, and is not recommended because it is very easy for them to overdose on THC. However, CBD does not pose the same threats of overdose. So ensure that you are giving your pet a pure cannabidiol-based product.