Please note: the use of CBD for medical or recreational purposes may be illegal in your country.
Cannabidiol (short CBD) is a non-intoxicating non-psychoactive extract from the cannabis plant also known as marijuana. CBD belongs to the cannabinoid family consisting of 113 members.
However, CBD alone comprises up to 40% of the whole plant extract. CBD is normally colorless crystalline solid. The exact mechanism of action is still unclear, although it is known that CBD has low affinity for brain cannabinoid receptors. This is why it does not have psychoactive effect.
CBD is believed to act through other receptors like the opioid (that regulate pain) and glycine (involved in serotonin regulation).
CBD is metabolized in the liver and intestines, and its elimination half-life depends on the administration route: after intravenous injection 18 h – 33 h, when smoked 27 h – 35 h and after oral ingestion 2 – 5 days; these times can be prolonged when CBD is heavily used. Elimination depends on the equilibration between fat tissue and blood. Because CBD is a lipophilic molecule it is quickly distributed in fat tissue and other organs. It can also easily enter the brain.
CBD oil for sale is usually packed with a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp seed oil. It can be in the form of capsules, edibles or sprays. CBD is a lipophilic compound, so when consumed orally its bioavailability in humans is only 6%. When inhaled, the bioavailability increases and varies between 10% and 35%.
Choosing the consumption method is usually based on two factors: speed of delivery and effect of duration. Inhaling CBD delivers within 10 minutes but also wears of in about 2 hours, while tinctures or edibles need longer to work (about 30 minutes) but also the effect can be present longer i.e. for up to 5 hours. CBD is rarely administered intravenously.
Health benefits of CBD
CBD is believed to help treat chronic nerve pain, reduce anxiety and depression, as well as to decrease epileptic seizures. CBD is considered as a candidate for treatment of psychosis. Taking CBD helps people to feel relaxed. CBD shows potential to reduce anxiety and discomfort during public speaking. Moreover, CBD is shown to both help people fall asleep and stay awake. This contradictory effect is dose-dependent – in small amounts CBD has stimulating effect, but in high doses CBD shows sedating effect.
For drug addicts, CBD has positive effect in minimizing drug-seeking behavior in cocaine, methamphetamine and other psycho-stimulant users. CBD is suggested to relieve symptoms of cancer treatment, to help in the management of mental health disorders, and to lower blood pressure. Other possible benefits of the use of CBD are likely to emerge as more research will be investigating this field.
In the US, the use of CBD is approved only for treatment of two rare severe forms of epilepsy, namely , in children with refractory epilepsy. These diseases do not respond to other anti-seizure medication.
Chronic use of CBD has different adverse effects in humans such as gastrointestinal upset, reduced appetite, diarrhea, tiredness, nausea, irritability, fatigue, somnolence and lethargy but also insomnia. There are also concerns that CBD can cause liver injury (by increasing the levels of liver enzymes) and also interfere with the mechanism of action of prescription drugs. When taken together with that slow brain activity, such as those used to treat anxiety, panic or sleep disorders, the risk of sedation is increased. This is why individuals already taking medication are advised against the use of CBD.
Knowledge about the mutual interactions of CBD with herbs or plant-based products in dietary supplements is also limited.
Due to unknown effects on pregnant women, lactating mothers and their infants, CBD is not usually recommended to be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is currently unknown how CBD affects developing brain of fetuses and infants.
At last, the effect of CBD on male fertility is also under-researched. There are concerns CBD can affect testicular size, can inhibit sperm growth and development as shown by mouse models. However, these findings are not confirmed on humans.
Regulation of CBD depends on the laws of each country. For example, there are countries like Australia in which CBD is allowed to be used as prescription medicine for therapeutic purposes if it contains <2% of the other cannabinoids commonly found in cannabis. Similarly, in the UK it is legal to possess, sell and buy CBD oil if the product does not contain more than 0.3% of the active psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
In Canada, the use of CBD is legal for recreational and medical use but can only be sold by authorized retailers or federally licensed medical companies. In the EU, CBD is currently considered to be classified as “novel food”. At last, in the US, selling of CBD in the form of food, dietary supplement or animal feed is prohibited under federal law. However, CBD than contains less than 0.3% THC can be sold as a cosmetic ingredient.
In general, CBD shows potential to be used for reduction of seizures, to treat anxiety, to improve dystonia, and to reduce cravings during opioid drug withdrawal. However, US FDA advises always to consult with an MD before taking any medicines containing CBD.
Careful consideration should be taken before enjoying CBD during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.