CBD products derived from hemp. Photo credit: istockphoto.
The cannabidiol molecule (CBD) found in cannabis is one of the most notable cannabinoids along with the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Companies isolate both from cannabis sativa plants.
CBD is often extracted and isolated for various scientific studies that have demonstrated its different therapeutic effects.
Today millions use “cannabis light” not for recreational use, but to relieve the symptoms of certain diseases, such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.
Besides, studies using CBD exploit its affinity for THC, which suggests similar effects, taking advantage of CBD’s lack of psychoactive effects.
What is CBD?
CBD is a hydrophobic compound, meaning it repels water and has poor oral bioavailability. For this reason, we often tend to study the effects of topical application or other routes of administration (like smoking).
However, the difficulty of oral administration makes it possible to avoid the gastric passage. Thus conferring more excellent protection of the stomach from unwanted effects typical of other molecules.
Several studies have demonstrated CBD’s beneficial effects. However, those studies are based on animal models.
To date, there is little research that has used human models. The research that does exist mainly uses CBD formulations that also contain THC, the active ingredient in cannabis with psychotropic effects. Human studies may reveal if CBD is more bioavailable in animals other than mice, which researchers often use for this type of study.
Consequently, the effects on animals are more amplified than they would be on humans.
For instance, a 2016 study on rats showed topical application of CBD is an anti-inflammatory and can reduce arthritis-related pain.
Furthermore, CBD has no obvious adverse effects in the animal models used.
Another study from 2017 had good results in using CBD to relieve pain from osteoarthritis and block damage to nerves.
Other studies propose that CBD has a potential effect against anxiety and depression. These studies were also on animal models; they found that these compounds can have a contrasting impact on these two symptoms.
Several studies report what appears to be the main application of CBD, including one conducted on human models, which found that CBD may help reduce the typical attacks of epilepsy.
The positive effect of CBD in pain relief in some diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or kidney transplants, are not supported by clear evidence because they are only preliminary studies.
Many have also suggested CBD has effects on ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. But those studies have not shown practical results.
CBD’s Adverse Effects and Contradictions
Generally speaking, most studies on the effects of CBD confirm the safety of this compound with few side effects.
Despite this, further studies are needed to confirm the long-term effect of this molecule; most studies are based on short-term results. Hence, it is still necessary to demonstrate the chronic impact on the whole organism.
But the World Health Organization says there is no evidence that recreational or medical CBD use inflict public health problems.
Researcher have noted some minor adverse effects in some studies based on the use of CBD as an adjunct to therapies for epilepsy, a pathology for which this compound shows benefits plus events.
In these patients, CBD can lead to changes in the management of hunger, diarrhea, and fatigue.
However, the side effects are still minor than those that occur with traditional therapies. CBD’s impact on hormone activity and production and on other toxicological parameters in general remains unclear.
U.S. And European Limits
In 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of a CBD-based drug, Epidiolex. However, the same agency also warned against labeling CBD as “supplements.“ It remains unclear how Italian and European legislation will move in this direction.
In the U.K., there are laws that regulate CBD products, which establishes a maximum of 0.2% of THC that must be present in legal hemp crops.
To understand what we are talking about, the percentages of THC in the worst quality cannabis and hashish hardly fall below 7% and can reach 35-40% in the most valuable ones (on average, in “street” products, but one can find cannabis with 10-20% THC).
Besides, drug tests can detect CBD in the human body through hair and urine analysis. Given a minimal percentage of THC in light cannabis, massive consumption of the latter can lead to false positives in toxicological analyses.
CBD: is it legal?
Many companies make their CBD products with hemp, which unlike other forms of cannabis sativa, is naturally low in THC (.3% of less) and high in CBD. Consequently, CBD products have no psychoactive effects. But they do have several benefits, many of which are still under study, as we saw above.
In the U.S., the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp (or cannabis with .3% THC or less legal).
The main active ingredient of “cannabis light” is, in fact, CBD. This makes it highly sought after for the relaxing effects that have been proposed as benefits of this molecule.
Some of the best hemp in Europe is grown in Italy, where it is legally marketed. It then spreads to other countries and also arrives in the U.K., arousing the interest of many.
Therefore, the first CBD shops begin to appear, in which “light cannabis” is regularly sold. On the market, it can be found in beverages or as oils or ointments. In fact, in many countries, the use of CBD is granted only through products that derive from certified and authorized hemp crops, such as the ones consumers can buy online at JustBob.shop!