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THE CANNABINOID SERIES: CBD

THE CANNABINOID SERIES

PART I: CBD

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the most widely known chemical compounds from the Hemp plant. Interest in CDB has grown exponentially since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp in the US. There is CBD in every product that you might want throughout the market now (and some that you don’t want). You can find CBD in a tincture, scrub, hair ointment, toothpick, toothpaste, drinks, bed linen, toilet paper, and so on. Now that the market is saturated with it should you give it a shot? What is it good for? Is there any scientific proof that it works? These are the questions consumers should ask before they try CBD, and these are the questions that will be answered throughout this post. Read ahead and learn about CBD in a straightforward way. A way that will not become too technical and that will still give you enough information to get to know CBD.

WHAT IS CBD?

CBD is a chemical compound of cannabis. CBD is a cannabinoid; to be more precise, it is a Phytocannabinoid. A Phytocannabinoid is a cannabinoid produced by a plant. Your body also makes cannabinoids called endocannabinoids (endo means “within”), which we’ll discuss later. CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids that have been identified. You are probably acquainted with the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). If you haven’t heard about it, THC is the chemical component in marijuana that gives you the psychoactive high that most people associate with it. CBD is different from THC in that it has no psychoactive effect. What CBD does is help your mind and body find their happy place. To put it in a more technical term, it helps your mind and body achieve homeostasis. In a previous blog post I discussed the endocannabinoid system (This post would be a good precursor to this one), but allow me to briefly review it. The endocannabinoid system is a system in your body that has receptors where CBD can attach itself. These receptors assist in regulating body functions. When you take CBD, it binds to your body’s receptors to modulate your body’s functions, such as sleep, appetite, mood, memory, pain, and inflammation.

CBD vs. PHARMACEUTICAL MEDICINE

CBD is similar to other pharmaceutical medicine because they both help alleviate an ailment. CBD differs from other pharmaceutical drugs in that it originates from the ground. It is not synthesized in the laboratory. The natural component of CBD is one of its major attractions. Another benefit of CBD over pharmaceutical medicine is that is not habit-forming. All current studies on CBD indicate that you cannot become dependent on CBD. Painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet, and Morphine are all very addictive. Another advantage of CBD over pharmaceutical drugs is the lack of serious side effects. Let’s take a closer look at the side effects of CBD vs. Xanax, as both can be used for anxiety.

According to the Mayo Clinic if you have taken Xanax anti-anxiety medication you may have side effects like:

  • Being forgetful.
  • Changes in patterns and rhythms of speech.
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness.
  • Difficulty with coordination.
  • Feeling sad or empty.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Discouragement.
  • Drowsiness.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you take CBD to combat anxiety, you could have side effects like:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Fatigue.

The severity of the side effects of CBD is far more negligible than is the case with pharmaceutical medicine. The disadvantage of CBD vis-à-vis pharmaceutical drugs is the volume of research. Many CBD studies are currently underway, but Pharmaceutical Medicine requires FDA-regulated testing to enter the market. The FDA does not currently have a process to regulate most CBD products. Below, I will discuss what CBD can be used for, and I will cite studies and cases that will help illustrate the growing scientific research that makes CBD such an exciting compound.    

WHAT IS IT USED FOR?

Possibly Reduces Stress & Anxiety– According to “Cannabidiol (CBD) in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series” published in 2019, anxiety was decreased during the study duration in 79.2% of patients. CBD doses in the study ranged from 25mg to 175mg depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. Participants received doses after breakfast.

In a double-blind randomized study of people with generalized social anxiety during a simulated public speaking test (SPST), CBD significantly reduced participant anxiety. Study participants received 600 mg of CBD or placebo an hour and a half prior to SPST. Anxiety was measured by subjective ratings on the Visual Analogue Mood Scale and Negative Self-Statement Scale. There were also physiological measures (Blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) that were taken at 6 different points during the SPST.

Reduces Epileptic Seizures– CBD is proven to reduce epileptic seizures. Epidiolex is an FDA-approved medication for individuals suffering from seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, both of which are childhood seizure conditions. Epidiolex is safe and effective for children less than one year of age. Doses of Epidiolex start at 2.5ml, and since each ml is equal to 100mg of the active drug (CBD) you are administering a dose of 250mg of CBD. It gets taken twice a day.

Possibly Reduces Chronic Pain & Inflammation– According to a 2018 review of 132 original studies published in Frontiers in Neurology, CBD can indeed reduce inflammation in the body and help improve pain and mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. “It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective,” the review study’s authors wrote. According to the Arthritis Foundation “Anecdotally, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD, but not all, report noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement and/or anxiety reduction.” The Pharm Stand concurs with that statement. The opinions of our customers who use CBD for pain relief, speak glowingly of the results. Promising results on the use of CBD as a pain reliever have been achieved in animals. Promising results on CBD for pain were achieved using CBD and THC (at higher levels than 0.3%) in tandem. Further clinical trials are underway to provide a better picture of how CBD contributes to the reduction of pain and inflammation, but have not yet been completed. So, I can’t definitively say that CBD is great for chronic pain and inflammation, but reviews from customers who shop at The Pharm Stand, and seek pain relief, swear it is helpful. The proof is in the pudding and the scientific data will eventually catch up with the certainty CBD users have.

Possibly Helps You Sleep Better– CBD can be helpful, indirectly, when it comes to falling asleep and sleeping through the night. According to the Sleep Foundation, two of the most common causes of sleep problems are anxiety and pain. CBD can be helpful in alleviating these issues, which will result in a more restful night. If pain and anxiety are problems that hamper your sleep CBD should be able to help. If you have sleep problems due to excessive caffeine, neurological problems, an unhealthy lifestyle, or an irregular sleep schedule, then CBD may not be the solution you need.

 

 

      

The Human Brain

The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Endocannabinoids are made naturally by our bodies. Every vertebrae species has one, that means you have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Endocannabinoids are produced on demand to help our mind and bodies deal with external and internal stimuli. It helps keep your body in balance. You do not need to use Phytocannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBG, etc.) to reap the benefits of your ECS, though later we will discuss how your ECS can become dysfunctional and how to use products; like CBD, and other methods to keep your ECS running optimally and to enhance it.

The ECS is very complex, and this post will only be a brief overview of what the ECS is, how it works, and how you can nurture it. I believe the first logical step to understanding the ECS is a short refresher on body systems, because that is precisely what the ECS is.

What are Body Systems?

The human body is amazingly complex, perhaps the most complex machine on the planet. It is run by a collection of systems. Some of these systems are well known by most adults, such as the circulatory system, the respiratory system, and the digestive system. Lesser-known body systems are the lymphatic system and the integumentary system. There are certain functions that our body must conduct in order to thrive in our environment. Below is brief description of these functions, taken from biologydictionary.net.

  • Absorbing oxygen for use in cellular respiration
  • Excreting carbon dioxide produced during cellular respiration
  • Ingesting and processing food to obtain sugars and other nutrients
  • Transporting necessary substances, such as oxygen and nutrients, to all cells in the body
  • Clearing toxic waste products from the body
  • Responding to changes in the environmental conditions
  • Protecting the organs from the environment
  • Fighting pathogens

The important thing to remember is when all these systems work in tandem, they keep you alive and healthy.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The newest and least taught/talked about body system is the Endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a messenger and receptor system that modulates body functions. These body functions are sleep, appetite, mood, memory, immune system, reproduction, pain and inflammation. In simple terms the ECS keeps your body functioning normally. For example, if you are experiencing pain in your body the ECS will help alleviate it by sending endocannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors to help ease that pain. The ECS has one job, and that is to maintain internal homeostasis. It helps you run at your optimal level.

The ECS was discovered in 1992 in Raphael Mechoulam’s lab. Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli organic chemist and professor of medical chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mechoulam and his team were trying to discover how THC interacts with the body, and during that research they found something new.  Raphael Mechoulam, his students, and colleagues were able to isolate and identify anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanol amide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol), which are currently the two best known and studied endocannabinoids. Those two main cannabinoids are only one part of the ECS.

How does the Endocannabinoid System Work?

There are three main players in the ECS. They are the endocannabinoids (Anandamide & A-2G), the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) and the enzymes which synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids. For the endocannabinoid system to begin there must first be a form of internal or external stimuli that takes you away from homeostasis. This can be that you are stuck in traffic and late for an important meeting. The ECS will intervene to make sure your stress doesn’t turn into depression or anxiety. If you were to slip and fall the ECS would jump into action to help reduce your pain.

Let us stick with the pain example to show how the ECS works in your body. Once the pain is initiated enzymes in your body will begin producing (synthesizing) endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are not stored by the body. They are created on demand when needed. Once the endocannabinoids are created, they are sent to the cannabinoid receptor that will help the pain. There are two main cannabinoid receptors. They are CB1 and CB2, and there is an abundance of them in your body. “The CB1 receptors are primarily located on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, but they are also found in some peripheral organs and tissues such as the spleen, white blood cells, endocrine gland and parts of the reproductive, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. The CB2 receptors are mainly found on white blood cells, in the tonsils and in the spleen.” (news-medical.net) Once the endocannabinoid reaches the area that can help your pain it binds to the receptor and returns your body to its ideal operation. Your pain subsides for a while. That is until degradative enzymes come along and break down the endocannabinoids and the whole process begins all over again.

How can I make sure I am nurturing the ECS?

Not everyone’s ECS works at optimal levels. Your ECS can be dysfunctional. This leads to your body not returning to homeostasis and inflammation and anxiety persisting. There are ways to nurture your ECS to keep yourself running as smoothly as possible. Also, if your ECS is running correctly because you take care of your body well, these tips below can help bolster it. Your body can create more cannabinoid receptors so the endocannabinoids can bind more efficiently.

  • Incorporate Phytocannabinoids into your daily regiment – Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are found in plants such as hemp. They include CBD, CBG, THC, and many others. THC is the molecule in cannabis that binds to CBD 1 receptors in your brain to give you the psychoactive high that most associate with the plant. CBD is the non-psychoactive molecule in cannabis that is becoming more widely used around the world as a dietary supplement.
  • Eat Real Food – Eating healthy can have a big effect on how your ECS works. Stay away from, sugary, processed, and fast food.
  • Detox- Detoxing helps rid your system of harmful toxins that your body has amassed over time and can lead to ECS dysfunction.
  • Healthy Practices – Incorporate healthy practices in to your daily regiment, like sleeping well, exercise, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and prayer.
  • Supplement – Specifically with apoptogenic herbs.

If you would like to learn more about the ECS, because there is a lot more information, below I have posted a list of articles and videos that can help expand on the knowledge presented in this post. Our goal at The Pharm Stand is to provide customer education from a credible and educated source. Thanks for reading.

Further Education

Healthline (Article) – https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system#how-it-works

Dr. Dustin Sulak (Article) – https://norml.org/marijuana/library/recent-medical-marijuana-research/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system/

Ted Talk from Rachel Knox (Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJbOQ9P2NYQ

The ECS Part 1 (Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PPlgbkeOkM&t=25s

The ECS Part 2 (Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bDmTZ1n9xU&t=3s

 

 

 

 

 

CBD 101: The Basics

No matter where you look, those three letters are seemingly everywhere! Whether it be in a gas station, retail store, or specialized shop, products labeled with the letters CBD are taking over left and right.
But what does it all mean? It may seem overwhelming to take it all in at first, but learning from the ground up can make it much more manageable.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical. It is found in the Cannabaceae family of plants, specifically in the genus of flowering plants known as Cannabis. These plants have a rich history of medicinal use due to its therapeutic profile, and the research regarding the benefits of cannabis has gained momentum within the last 10 years.
Cannabis plants produce unique chemicals called cannabinoids. Our bodies have natural receptors for these substances in the endocannabinoid system, and it can be activated by phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids found in cannabis). The affected endocannabinoid system is involved in multiple physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
The two most abundant and commonly researched cannabinoids include cannabidiol and perhaps the most famous cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Will it get me high?

Because CBD is associated with cannabis, many people assume that using a product infused with CBD will have the same effects as smoking cannabis. This is not true!!
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis such as: a possible sense of euphoria and relaxation, heightened sensory perception, altered perception of time, and an increase in appetite. While THC may provide relaxation to the user, there is evidence to suggest that it is short-term relief and higher doses of THC have an anxiogenic effect (works to increase anxiety).
Cannabidiol does not share the same psychoactive qualities as THC.
  
It does not cause a “high” in users, and has been associated with the same sense of relaxation and pain relief that THC can provide.
Unlike THC, studies suggest CBD is an anxiolytic compound (it reduces anxiety) at both low and high doses. There is even scientific evidence that CBD be used to counteract the anxiogenic characteristics of THC (Niesink & van Laar, 2013).  When used in conjunction with THC, CBD will regulate cannabinoid stimulation in the brain and weaken the overall strength of the mind-altering substance.

Is it safe to take CBD?

CBD is normally very well-tolerated, but there is always risk of side effects when putting any form of substance into your body. Although very mild, CBD can cause side effects such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue.
More importantly, CBD can also interact with other medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners. It is always important to consult with a medical professional before beginning a new treatment.
In a review of CBD, the World Health Organization stated, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
This is contrary to findings involving THC.
Although it is debated heavily among users, there is substantial evidence in clinical studies that indicate THC dependence exists (Budney, 2006; Budney and Hughes, 2006; Copeland, 2004; Roffman and Stephens, 2006).

How much modern research is being conducted?

CBD is still a budding research topic and recent events (such as the legalization of hemp) have made it widely available for all forms of clinical research. The beginning findings have been optimistic, as there has been evidence found to suggest CBD could be used to relieve physical and mental ailments, such as anxiety.
According to ClinicalTrials.Gov, there are over 100 active clinical trials involving the study of cannabidiol. Although anecdotal evidence is promising, CBD can become even more legitimized as a treatment as contemporary scientific evidence continues to accumulate!
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