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Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of over 80 scientifically-identified cannabinoids (or chemical compounds) derived from the flowering plant cannabis. Each of the cannabinoids within cannabis elicit unique neurophysiological effects. CBD is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Unlike the more well-known molecule, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is completely nonpsychoactive. For decades, medical professionals and the public overlooked CBD. Now, the medical potential of CBD has been brought into the mainstream. Preclinical trials over the past four decades have showcased the therapeutic power of CBD. Preliminary evidence suggests that CBD may act as an: anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, analgesic, anti-tumoral and neuroprotective agent.
Phytocannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) are a subclass of cannabinoids derived from plants. Hemp and marijuana (cannabis) both come from the same plant – Cannabis Sativa L. CBD can be extracted from both types of cannabis sativa (hemp and marijuana). The term ‘hemp’ commonly refers to the industrial/commercial use of the cannabis stalk and seed for textiles, foods, papers, body care products, detergents, plastics and building materials. The terms ‘marijuana’ and ‘cannabis’ refer to the medicinal, recreational or spiritual use involving the consumption of cannabis flowers. In the United States, a cannabis plant can be classified as hemp if it contains less than .3% THC.
Many scientists believe that CBD from cannabis sativa, grown for medicinal purposes, offers more therapeutic benefits than CBD from industrial hemp. While CBD is a powerful medicine on its own, it’s important to note that the compound’s effects are amplified when combined with other cannabinioids and terpenes. There is a lot of discussion around the concept of whole plant medicine since scientists believe in the importance of the synergistic effects of these compounds. They refer to this as the entourage effect which is the concept that combinations of cannabinoids like CBD and THC work together in synergy to produce certain therapeutic effects in the body. While some patients respond well to CBD, others respond better to a combination of THC and CBD. There are some innovative companies selling CBD products made from CBD oil extracted from the medicinal cannabis sativa variety which has been bred with very low levels of THC. Thus, these extracts are whole plant medicine but are defined as hemp products in the USA because they have less than .3% THC. When purchasing your CBD medicine, make sure you find out if it is a whole plant extract (medical cannabis with a full spectrum of phytocannabinoids and terpenes) or industrial hemp CBD.
Source: Project CBD – https://www.projectcbd.org/how-cbd-works
Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, has generated significant interest among scientists and physicians in recent years—but how CBD exerts its therapeutic impact on a molecular level is still being sorted out. Cannabidiol is a pleiotropic drug in that it produces many effects through multiple molecular pathways. CBD acts through various receptor-independent channels and by binding with several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels.
Here are some of the ways that CBD confers its therapeutic effects.
Many scientists and physicians believe that CBD modulates the psychoactivity of THC. Evidence suggests that CBD reduces the psychoactive high from THC. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797438/
Dr. Ethan Russo suggests that CBD alters the ability for the body’s own endocannabinoids to engage with the primary binding site. This is theorized to alter “endocannabinoid tone”, which could be quite beneficial for certain medical conditions. In a 2008 paper http://www.nel.edu/pdf_/25_12/NEL251204R02_Russo_.pdf, Russo hypothesizes that some people may experience an “endocannabinoid deficiency”. He speculates that this deficiency is one of the culprits behind migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Scientists are conducting more trials of CBD to explain how it is such a powerful, therapeutic tool for conditions related to the ECS.
Here is a link to a video of Dr. Ethan Russo discussing his endocannabinoid deficiency theory.
Here is a fantastic article about how cannabinoid deficiency may explain a variety of health conditions:
In the 1800s, hemp plants were widely cultivated as a fiber source and food in the form of seed oil. Even George Washington grew hemp on his farm in Mount Vernon. Today, worldwide uses of hemp encompass hundreds of consumer products, including ropes, fabrics, paper, plastics and construction materials, and even serve as a source of protein. These same hemp plants are also a major source of commercial CBD extracts.
Check out the website Ecological Agriculture Projects http://eap.mcgill.ca/CPH_3.htm and this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/03/hemp-sustainable-crop_n_5243351.html to learn more about the environmental benefits of hemp!