There are many different components to the cannabis plant. In fact, there are over 400 different chemical compounds in cannabis or marijuana – and they are just the ones we know about. Although cannabis contains many active constituents such as terpenes and flavonoids, the compounds that most modern science is concerned about are cannabinoids. They are the most mysterious and complex aspects of the plant, and it is using these cannabinoids that we create cannabidiol oil among a myriad of other products.
CBD, along with other cannabinoids, account for a lot of the therapeutic characteristics of cannabis as a plant. It is one of the most well known and well studied cannabinoids, and is being investigated for its anti cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure properties — just to name a few. And in case you had not already gathered, this cannabinoid is the main ingredient in cannabidiol oil.
A brief history of Cannabidiol
Although humans have been cultivating cannabis for millenia and harvesting it for its remedial properties, we did not isolate CBD until the 1940s. It came about in the laboratory of American organic chemist, Roger Adams. However, although aware that he had isolated a compound from cannabis, he was unable to identify exactly which compound it was. Later, in the 1960s, Raphael Mechoulam, Israeli chemist, isolated CBD and defined its chemical structure.
By the time the chemical structure of CBD was well known in medical circles, it had already been outlawed across the USA. The War On Drugs saw the end of CBD as a remedial substance until most recently, when the inquiry into its efficacy as a medical substance came back into question. In 2003, CBD was first patented by the US government, and in 2018, the Farm Bill was finally signed, making hemp-derived CBD legal across the country.
The chemical structure of CBD
The chemical structure of CBD is not unlike its famous counterpart, THC — which is probably why Roger Adams had no idea what he had isolated. It is almost exactly the same as THC, only that CBD contains an additional hydroxyl group where THC’s cyclic ring would otherwise have been.
Cannabidiol is synthesized within the cannabis plant in a number of steps. The chemical starts out as a combination of geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid. For these two to bind together, an enzyme-catalysed chemical reaction takes place, resulting in a cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) molecule. The final step takes place when a large number of CBDa synthase molecules are present, finally converting CBGa into cannabidiol carboxylic acid (CBDa). CBDa is simply CBD with an additional carboxylic acid. The transformation from CBDA to CBD takes place after something decarboxylation (removal of the carboxylic acid).
This generally takes place upon consumption, as heating promotes decarboxylation, such as in the case of smoking. However, it may also be decarboxylated prior to consumption, such as putting cannabis in the oven prior to making edibles. In any case, heat is required to convert CBDA to CBD.
Mechanism of action of CBD and the human body
Cannabidiol is arguably more complicated in its mechanism of action than THC. This is because it does not follow the conventional pathway into the endocannabinoid system the same way that THC does. Rather, it uses multiple different pathways and exerts its actions in a much more peripheral manner.
The endocannabinoid system is the main target of ingested cannabinoids. It is made up of cannabinoid receptors that live all over the nervous system, the immune system, the skin and the stomach, among many other places. However, CBD does not have a particular affinity for cannabinoid receptors and does not trigger them the same way that THC does.
CBD binds to technically non-binding sites on the cannabinoid receptor, inhibiting its action. This makes CBD an antagonist to the CB1 receptor, unlike THC which stimulates it as an agonist. This is important, because inhibition of these receptors plays a role in maintaining normal brain activity.
For example, CBD’s inhibitory behavior on CB1 receptor stops the release of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. THe reduction of glutamate between neurons reduces seizures, giving CBD great potential as a treatment for epilepsy. In another example, CBD inhibits the action of enzyme, FAAH. This enzyme is responsible for the reuptake of anandamide, a natural endocannabinoid that plays a role in memory, appetite and mood. By inhibiting the behavior of this enzyme, anandamide levels are increased in the brain. This is a positive response, as anandamide is considered to be a “bliss” neurotransmitter.
Essentially, CBD affects the human endocannabinoid system. However, it doesn’t generally do so by exciting it. This is more the work of THC. Rather, CBD’s effects are contrary to that, inhibiting many excitatory actions of the endocannabinoid system. This can restore an endocannabinoid system and rectify dysfunctions, many of which lead to debilitating conditions such as depression, Crohn’s disease and anxiety.
How is it made?
Rich-cannabidiol oil is a relatively new invention, even if cannabis has been used by humans for millennia. The oil is almost a futuristic notion compared to how we have come to know cannabis; a pungent flower that is smoked for its properties. Thanks to modern technology and extraction techniques, we are able to isolate the most potent parts of the plant: cannabinoids. Extraction is the vital process which helps us get from plant material to cannabidiol oil.
Most premium oils are created from hemp flowers. This is because, as mentioned above, hemp is naturally rich in cannabidiol and contains negligible volumes of THC (usually less than .3%). However, CBD is sometimes extracted from strains of marijuana that are bred specifically for their high CBD content. In this case, there is sometimes THC in the final product, or the THC is extracted in a later process.
After flowers are harvested and dried, they undergo an extraction process. This is one of the essential parts of producing premium CBD oil. Some extraction processes are more expensive than others but have compromised products, such as the case of BHO extraction. In this method of extraction, butane is used as a solvent. There is the risk of butane contamination in the final extraction.
Some different extraction processes include:
- Alcohol extraction: the process of steeping cannabis flowers in alcohol, in which cannabinoids are soluble. The final product is a tincture.
- Solvent extraction: a solvent such as butane is used to dissolve cannabinoids, and the remaining solvent is evaporated off, leaving a yellowish liquid rich with cannabinoids.
- Solventless extraction: a process of extraction where no solvent such as butane or alcohol is required. Instead, techniques such as freeze drying are used.
The most efficient modern technology for extracting CBD from hemp flowers is the CO2 extraction method. At normal temperatures and pressures, CO2 is a gaseous compound. However, when it is frozen and the pressure is increased, CO2 turns into a liquid. This liquid is then pumped, at high pressure, through cannabis flowers.
The final product is an almost pure CBD extraction with virtually no contaminants. Although it is a form of solvent extraction, there is virtually no risk of solvent contamination. Most premium CBD oils are extracted using this method.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Hemp grown for its flowers looks identical to Marijuana, so it’s easy to understand how many people can mix them up. The main difference between hemp and marijuana is the THC content. THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
Marijuana contains high concentrations of THC and typically has very little CBD content. Hemp, on the other hand, contains little to no THC content and has high levels of CBD concentrations.
Marijuana and Hemp produce both CBD and THC because they are varieties of the same type of plant: Cannabis. Hemp that is grown specifically for CBD oils, however, comes from certified seeds that are guaranteed to produce less than 0.3% THC in very specific conditions.
Sometimes, CBD is extracted from hemp, in which case the final step is not entirely necessary. This is because hemp is naturally devoid of THC or contains negligible amounts (less than 0.3%). Marijuana, on the other hand, is rich with THC and other cannabinoids, making it necessary to remove THC in the extraction process. That is the main reason the industry of CBD invested most of the money on hemp plants.
When the oil is created from hemp, the oily substance that remains after extraction is called full-spectrum oil. It is even possible to remove only the THC from that oil – we call that THC-Free distillated oil.
Cannabidiol oil may also contains the terpenes present in hemp as well as the flavonoids. These are therapeutic in their own right, and for many consumers, a full-spectrum product is desirable. However, if the oil is being extracted from marijuana or from hemp with high amounts of THC, then it is important to take the additional step to remove THC. This ensures a product that is non-psychoactive and contains higher volumes of CBD.
Do not to confuse with Hemp Oils
While hemp oil provides unique benefits of its own, it doesn’t have the therapeutic properties of cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp oil is often used as a carrier oil (as coconut oil or MCT) for CBD hemp extract concentrates, but alone it doesn’t have the natural properties as and oil rich in CBD.
Hemp seed oil is also commonly confused with CBD oil. This type of seed oil is extracted solely from the seeds of the hemp plant, thus the name hemp seed oil. Both hemp oil and hemp seed oil do not contain CBD compounds, but they are commonly used as a carrier oil for CBD extract.
In short, hemp extract or CBD extract comes from the flowers, and hemp oil and hemp seed oil comes from the seeds, stalk, and leaves of the hemp plant.
Rich-in-CBD oil, as a consumer product, is made of CBD extract mixed with a carrier oil such as hemp oil, hemp seed oil, MCT oil, extra virgin olive oil, and others. In some cases CBD oil may be called to the whole plant extracted oil that its THC was removed, this product may be called “broad spectrum oil” or “broad spectrum CBD oil”.
What is CBD oil used for?
Cannabidiol has a myriad of medical applications in the human body. This is because its target is the main regulating system of the human body: the endocannabinoid system. This is essentially why cannabidiol is able to target so many different pathologies in the body. Rather than targeting a specific organ, it it believed that it moves through the system which regulates the body, affecting many different aspects of the human body all at once. It is also non-psychoactive, making it a viable option to those who are THC sensitive such as elderly and children.
Cannabidiol oil may have the following medical applications, to name some: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-seizure, antiemetic (anti-nausea), antiproliferative (in cancer treatment) and antibacterial.
In general, many of the conditions that afflict modern society are caused by one of the factors on this list. For example, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are caused by lengthy exposure to chronic inflammation. Although cannabidiol is not necessarily listed as a medical intervention for rheumatoid arthritis, it may benefit those who have it because of its anti-inflammatory properties. These potent therapeutic qualities of cannabidiol make it a potential medicine for many different kinds of ailments.
How people consume it
There are many different ways to use CBD oil, all of them having different purposes and varying effects. Most are acquainted with cannabidiol oil, an oily liquid that is taken sublingually. However, cannabidiol may also be consumed as an edible, it may be vaporized or applied as a topical treatment.
Each method of consumption has different results. For example, edible CBD takes longer to take effect but the effects may last much longer. Consuming it in this way also causes a large percentage of cannabinoids to be lost to metabolic processes. On the other hand, vaporizing CBD takes effect immediately but more constant doses may be required. It’s worth noting that consuming it in this way causes the greatest bioavailability (less cannabinoids are lost to physiological processes).
Why to choose only Premium CBD oil
Rich-in-cannabidiol oil is partially responsible for the cannabis industry’s continuing growth in sales and revenue. Many Americans are flocking to dispensaries to acquire it after hearing about the myriad of potential health benefits that are locked inside that tiny bottle.
However, the very sudden expansion of the cannabis industry has not been without its pitfalls. Cannabidiol oil is still unregulated by the FDA, leaving a huge discrepancy between premium cannabidiol oils and scam products.
Fundamentally, premium cannabis oil is a product that is rich in cannabinoids and completely void of industrial contaminants. It is essentially a product that is what it claims to be, contrary to other oils on the market. Upon close investigation of the CBD products available in and around the USA, it is obvious that some products are simply a scam.
Let’s have a look at Premium CBD oil and what makes it different to other kinds of oils. Plus, we’ll give some advice on how to choose a premium CBD oil without falling into the marketing traps of sub-standard products.
The benefits of a premium oil
Cannabidiol’s sudden fame as a cannabis product doesn’t come out of nowhere. There are a myriad of health and nutritional benefits of consuming rich-in-cbd oil. It can even be used as a therapeutic treatment for a huge variety of ailments. It is gaining a reputation as a miracle compound, a superfood, and a solution to many treatment resistant illnesses.
For the everyday consumer, premium hemp-derived cannabidiol oil can have the following beneficial effects:
- Sleep aid
- Pain management
In addition to these everyday uses, hemp-derived cannabidiol oil can also assist in the treatment of the following conditions:
- Nausea related with chemotherapy
- Crohn’s Disease
- Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain such as fibromyalgia
- Tumor reduction
Different ways to use premium CBD oil
Most premium cannabidiol oils on the market are made for sublingual consumption. This means that drops are simply absorbed under the tongue. This is the most common and easiest way to consume cannabidiol oils. However, there are many other ways to use this miraculous product.
Some premium CBD-enriched oils are converted into vaping liquids. The oil is mixed with vegetable glycerin or similar liquid, making it appropriate for a vaporizer. This is also a popular way to consume CBD, as it is extremely fast acting and the most bioavailable option.
CBD-enriched oil is also used to create topical salves and lotions. By dissolving CBD oil into coconut oil, beeswax or another solid fat, the resulting product can be rubbed onto the skin and used topically. This method is typically used by those with external ailments such as arthritis, sore muscles or wounds.
Finally, premium CBD oil can be used to make edible products. It is simply added in place of other fats or oils required for the recipe. It is then eaten, making its way to the body via the stomach and small intestines.
The difference between premium CBD oil and other CBD oils
When you are shopping for a CBD product, it is always advisable to choose a premium product. Cheaper products are often adulterated, contaminated or simply do not contain the volume of cannabinoids that they claim to. It is a common problem in the growing cannabis industry, with many products doing more harm than good.
Premium CBD oil is free from contaminants
A premium CBD oil is generally made out of organically grown hemp. If chemicals and pesticides are used in the cultivation process, there is a high likelihood that these industrial contaminants will end up in the final product.
Premium CBD oils use clean extraction techniques
As mentioned earlier in this article, there are clean extraction techniques and there are more dangerous ones. In the example of BHO, butane is the solvent used for extraction. It is a highly flammable gas which can “stick” to the final product that is extracted. Certain CBD oils are extracted using this technique, and the final product contains traces (and sometimes more) of butane. Even minimal exposure to butane can have harmful and adverse effects in humans.
Premium CBD oils use cleaner extraction techniques such as CO2 extraction. In cleaner methods such as this one, there is no threat of solvent residue in the final product.
Premium CBD oils are rich in cannabinoids
Some sub-standard CBD products simply do not contain a significant amount of cannabinoids. This is either because something went amiss in the cultivation process or because the extraction technique was insufficient. Premium CBD oil, on the other hand, has a generous volume of cannabinoids. It means that less needs to be taken to feel the effect and overall, the effect is stronger.
Full-spectrum vs. CBD only
It is common to be confronted with two options when searching for CBD oil: full-spectrum or CBD only (single cannabinoid). Technically speaking, a premium CBD oil can be one or the other. One does not necessarily denote a better quality but rather, each person will choose differently depending on their needs.
A full-spectrum CBD oil contains much more than CBD. It contains the many terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids that are present in the hemp flower. Some herbalists swear by whole plant medicine, stating that the plant is more powerful when it is not refined. This is the fundamental basis of the entourage effect theory which states that cannabinoids work more effectively with their teammates rather than when they are alone!
CBD only oils, on the other hand, do not contain the same profile of compounds. These oils contain CBD only, where special extraction techniques have been used to isolate CBD from the rest of its teammates. For some, this is the best mode of action because it is the only remedial compound necessary.
For each person, the choice will differ depending on what that person requires from their oil. With that being said, full spectrum and CBD only oils may both be premium quality, so long as the manufacturer has taken utmost care during the cultivation and extraction processes.
How to discern between premium CBD oil and scam products
The US is currently an enormous marketplace for CBD products. While these products remain unregulated, thanks to federal laws about cannabis, the onus falls on the consumer to discern which CBD oils are premium and which ones are not. There are certain questions you can ask before making a CBD oil purchase that should help you along in finding a premium CBD source:
- Where and how was the plant material grown to manufacture CBD oil? Was it grown organically or were pesticides used?
- Which extraction technique was used to acquire CBD oil from the plant material?
- Does the product come with a third-party lab report? (This report details the volume of cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticides and other contaminants)
- How much is revealed on the label?
- Does the manufacturer share all the details about the process or are they secretive about the behind-the-scenes?
These are the kinds of questions you can ask to a manufacturer or a budtender at a dispensary. If information is missing or concealed, it is better to move on and find a more transparent manufacturer from which to purchase CBD oil. And of course, if the lab test shows contaminants such as pesticides, you can be sure you are not looking at a premium product.
Top 5 benefits of cannabidiol oil
As mentioned above in this article, an oil withs less than 0.3% THC means it does not get you high or cause the adverse effects associated with smoking marijuana. Scientific studies on CBD’s health benefits are showing how taking this new supplement might be the key to minimizing health risks and finding relief from chronic symptoms as the following:
1. For Chronic Pain-Relief
Chronic pain comes in many forms and recent data shows that millions of Americans are suffering from it. In the midst of an opioid crisis, a growing number of people are searching for an all-natural and safer alternative for pain relief.
Experts studying CBD have shown that the compound has analgesic or pain-relieving properties.
One way it acts on pain is by reducing the activity of “pain-receptors” that send and receive “pain-signals” to the brain. Because of this, CBD causes you to perceive, or feel less pain. Another way that CBD can help to provide relief from symptoms of chronic pain is by reducing chronic inflammation, and that leads us to the next point.
2. For Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is associated with nearly every chronic condition from heart and liver disease, to cancer and diabetes. And studies on the effects of CBD and inflammation have revealed astonishing evidence.
Numerous studies in animals and humans have shown that CBD has powerful, anti-inflammatory properties. This effect is most notably seen in studies on CBD’s effects in heart health, Crohn’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Essentially, CBD triggers what’s referred to as retrograde signaling of the body’s inflammatory response.
This effect reduces inflammation and its benefits have been observed in many cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous system conditions.
3. As a Stress-Relief
Americans, more stressed-out than ever before, are largely under-served by traditional medicines for stress and anxiety. Traditional pharmaceuticals for anxiety are often are toxic, have harsh adverse side effects, and increase the risks of developing other disorders.
Most of what we know about CBD’s effects on stress and anxiety comes from studies where the compound has been shown to exhibit anti-anxiety effects in animals.
Data shows that CBD can activate a neuro-receptor called, 5-HT1A. This receptor is the same target of most anxiety and depression medications and is essentially an “emotional signaling hub” that alters mood, as well as the pain/pleasure response, and other functions.
One popular study in humans on the effects of CBD in stress-related anxiety experimented on 24 people with a phobia of public speaking. They found that CBD was able to reduce the stress-related symptoms of anxiety compared to a placebo group.
4. As a Sleeping-Aid
Millions aren’t resting well due to chronic stress, pain, and inflammation, anxiety, or sleep disorders and it’s having a severe impact on their quality of life. If reducing symptoms pain, inflammation, and stress aren’t enough to help you get some rest, studies suggest CBD could be beneficial for those with sleep regulation problems.
A comprehensive review of the scientific literature on CBD and sleep was conducted in 2017 and published in the journal, Current Psychiatry Reports. In their review, the researchers report that – “Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.”
“CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.”
Many report CBD helps them get a better quality sleep, but we still have much to learn about how this supplement works exactly, who may benefit from taking it, and who may not, and what dosages may work best.
5. To fight Cancer
The evidence of CBD’s anti-cancer properties has been shown numerous times over in laboratory, human, and animal studies.
Yet, there is still much we don’t know about using it in the treatment of cancer in humans.
What we do know is that CBD has unique therapeutic properties that may be beneficial in managing the symptoms of cancer, and could potentially reduce other risks associated with the disease.
Below are four of the most groundbreaking, up-to-date studies on CBD’s health effects in cancer.
- CBD induces cell-death in Breast Cancer in the lab
- CBD’s effects on ovarian cancer cells in the lab
- CBD induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells in the lab
- Mice with Pancreatic Cancer survive three times longer with CBD
Countless anecdotal success stories have documented people who are self-treating their condition with CBD.
Cancer, however, and other chronic illnesses, are serious conditions and always warrant professional medical attention.
Every patient has a unique case and will respond to medicines differently according to multiple factors. Some rare, but common side effects of CBD include fatigue and changes in mood. Like orange and grapefruit, CBD can change the way your body metabolizes certain medications. Always consult with a doctor first, before experimenting with CBD to manage symptoms of chronic disease.