Cannabidiol is one of more than 100 known cannabinoids from cannabis sativa L, which is not intoxicating. Thanks to promising medical applications, it is often used to relieve the symptoms or side effects of more serious diseases. Its calming, relaxing and analgesic effects are also well known.
Structure and diversity from THC
The most well-known cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for the intoxication caused by marijuana. Similarly to CBD, THC is also promising in terms of medical applications and even better explored, but because of intoxicating it is rejected by most people. Because these two substances differ in structure, they also act in different ways in the body through interactions with specific receptors. In the UK, CBD OTC products may not contain more than 0,2% THC; They are almost free of THC.
Research on cannabis led to the discovery of a previously unknown biochemical communication system in the human body: the endocannabinoid system. This system, which has receptors throughout the body, plays a key role in regulating our physiology and mood. The discovery of receptors in the brain that pharmacologically respond to cannabinoids and the identification of endogenous cannabinoids that bind to these receptors has significantly changed our understanding of biology, health and human illness.
The fact is that cannabinoids and other cannabis components can affect many physiological systems in the human brain and body. Cannabinoids are substances that interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body (CB1 and CB2). More than 100 cannabinoids have been identified in cannabis. The most well-known and best-studied cannabinoids include THC (mainly interaction with CB1 receptors) and CBD (mainly interaction with CB2 receptors.) The above graph shows the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in the body. In addition to the cannabinoids found in cannabis, there are also endogenous cannabinoids such as anandamide (arachidonylethanolamide) and 2AG (2-arachidonyloglicerol), which are found in the brain and body of all mammals. Similar activities, for example, nervous or immune systems, have phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from plants).
The influence of CBD on specific diseases
Cannabidiol modulates the transcription of more than 1,100 genes in our body that produce anti-inflammatory substances, naturally inhibiting inflammation in the central nervous system and the immune system. Because cannabinoid receptors are found in the body in all important systems, they can help the body to self-regulate and thereby restore the state of homeostasis. The range of applications for CBD products is therefore very large.
Cannabidiol can also interact directly with the 5-HT 1A serotonin receptor, thus providing anxiolytic activity. This G protein receptor participates in many neurological processes such as anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain, nausea, and vomiting. 5-HT receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous system trigger different intracellular cascades of relays that trigger a stimulant or inhibitory response. CBDa (cannabidiol acid), a precursor of cannabidiol present in cannabis (and in cannabis-derived products with a full spectrum of activity), also shows strong similarity to the 5-HT1A receptor (even more so than cannabidiol).
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease often cause inflammation of the nervous tissue. The use of CBD as an anti-inflammatory may help slow the progression of this disease. The release of reactive oxygen is also typical of Alzheimer’s disease, which is also associated with inflammation. When inflammation occurs, oxidative stress appears. It reduces the antioxidant capacity of cells, causing the formation of free radicals and the reaction of proteins and fatty acids in cell membranes. All this leads to the loss of neurons and synapses in the brain, which in turn leads to memory loss and many other neurological symptoms. Since cannabidiol acts not only anti-inflammatory but also antioxidant, it can also prevent it.
Anxiety disorders are more and more easily overcome by treating them with cannabinoids. In the brain, fear enzymes are mainly released by the amygdala. Cannabidiol interacts with the GABA-A receptor in such a way as to stimulate its endogenous agonist, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is the major neurotransmitter that inhibits anxiety in the central nervous system of any mammal. The sedative effect of Valium and other benzodiazepines (Benzos) is mediated by GABA receptor transmission. Cannabidiol reduces anxiety by changing the shape of the GABA-A receptor to enhance the natural sedative effect of GABA.
Cannabidiol has neuroprotective effects and also has more antioxidant activity than vitamin C or vitamin E through interaction with receptors in the brain and immune system. Receptors are tiny proteins that are associated with cells and receive chemical signals from various stimuli and cells in response by sending support. It causes anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which helps in pain therapy.
The possible cause of a migraine may be the lack of some substances in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Researchers have observed several ECS mechanisms that can affect migraine attacks. It was found that anandamide, one of the most important endocannabinoids in the body, is significantly lower in cerebrospinal fluid in patients with a chronic migraine, which suggests that impaired endocannabinoid system in these patients can lead to a chronic headache. This deficiency can be removed using plant cannabinoids, such as, for example, cannabidiol, which stimulates endocannabinoid receptors.
Cannabidiol may even help to stop the development of cancer by activating PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors) located on the surface of neoplastic lesions. Activation of the PPAR-gamma receptor has anti-proliferative activity, as well as the ability to induce tumor regression in human lung cancer cells. In addition, cannabinoid relieves common symptoms of cancer or side effects of chemotherapy.
Various options of CBD intake
In general, there are four main methods of taking CBD:
Below is detailed information about each of these four methods, so you can choose the product that best suits you or your family members.
A detailed description of CBD intake
The first method of taking CBD is oral. Cannabidiol enters the body through the digestive system and is metabolized by the liver, causing it to enter the bloodstream. This principle of consumption is exactly the same as for vitamins and other dietary supplements that can be used, for example, in the form of tablets.
When cannabinoid is taken sublingually, it should stay under the tongue for about a minute so that the mucous membranes in the mouth can absorb the active ingredients of the oil. The advantage of sublingual administration of CBD is that the absorption process bypasses the digestive system and liver metabolism, allowing cannabidiol and other components to enter the bloodstream more quickly and interact with the endocannabinoid system. For those who are looking for a quick effect, sublingual delivery is ideal. Cannabidiol can also be sprayed into the mouth with a spray, then left on or under the tongue for about a minute before swallowing.
Active ingredients are absorbed through the skin, allowing them to interact more quickly with local cells before they enter the bloodstream. Topical products are ideal for people with local pain or skin problems because they can be used where they are most needed.
Finally, cannabidiol can also be inhaled by inhalation. The inhaler heats the CBD fluid enough to release its active ingredients and avoid the harmful ones generated during combustion. During inhalation, cannabidiol enters the lungs and directly enters the bloodstream. Because it does not need to pass through the digestive system or the liver, this type of intake is very effective. Inhalation reduces the loss of cannabidiol compared to oral administration. This type of consumption is most often preferred by smokers.
Possible side effects of CBD
In fact, only a few users experience some adverse effects, mostly minor ailments such as dry mouth or nausea. They can include, among others:
Prohibition of using CBD during pregnancy
Cannabinoids may negatively affect the enzymes that are necessary for the placenta to function properly in pregnant women. It has been found that cannabidiol affects both P-glycoprotein and protein. Because these proteins are important for placental function, the use of cannabinoids during pregnancy is not recommended.
One study showed that taking CBD (as opposed to THC) may increase intraocular pressure.
CBD may reduce the activity of some liver enzymes, such as cytochrome P 450. These enzymes metabolize most drugs, and taking very high doses of cannabidiol may temporarily affect the activity of P450 enzymes, changing the way drugs are metabolized in the body.
Problems falling asleep
There have also been isolated cases of problems with insomnia or falling asleep.
Activation of some receptors changes the production of saliva, which can lead to dry mouth.
Increased tremors in Parkinson’s disease at high doses of CBD
Some patients with Parkinson’s disease report increased tremors after taking cannabidiol.
Low blood pressure
Higher doses of cannabidiol can cause a small drop in blood pressure, usually within a few minutes of taking the product. This drop in blood pressure often accompanies the feeling of drowsiness.
Dizziness may be associated with a decrease in blood pressure as described above.
At higher doses, cannabidiol may cause drowsiness.
Full-spectrum products, terpenes and “entourage effect”
Everyone who deals with CBD has certainly heard of the so-called Entourage effect. This is an effect that only happens with cold pressed hemp products that contain all the important ingredients.
Each cannabinoid has a different effect on the endocannabinoid system in our body. For example, some have analgesic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The individually isolated cannabinoid sold by some manufacturers probably has some beneficial effects, but these products do not contain all other substances from the plant and thus do not provide a range of all possible health benefits.
In short, cannabinoids and other substances found in cannabis affect the body in a similar way. Most pharmaceutical products use single cannabinoids that are made in the laboratory. Cold-pressed extracts, on the other hand, usually contain many different cannabinoids and terpenes. The broad spectrum of cannabis activity can be easily explained by the entourage effect: each cannabinoid and terpene has its own unique beneficial properties so that due to the interaction of many ingredients, some of the symptoms are alleviated.
Terpenes are aromatic molecules that evaporate easily (so buy cold pressed products from the full spectrum). Several researchers have already emphasized the pharmacological significance of terpenes or terpenoids. About 200 terpenes have been found in Indian hemp, but only a few of these oily substances appear in amounts that can give any effect. These include monoterpenes, diterpenes, and sesquiterpenes, which are characterized by the number of repeating units of a molecule of 5 carbon atoms called isoprene. It is a structural feature of all terpenoid compounds. Terpenes in hemp gave the plant a constant evolutionary advantage. Spicy terpenoid oils repel insects; others prevent fungi. Terpene, as it turned out, is healthy for people and plants. Dr. Ethan Russo in a report from September 2011 in the British Journal of Pharmacology discussed the broad therapeutic properties of terpenoids.
For example, beta-caryophyllene is sesquiterpene, which is also found in black pepper oil, oregano, and other edible herbs, as well as in various varieties of hemp. It is gastro-protective, good in the treatment of some ulcers, as well as in the case of inflammation and autoimmune diseases because it binds directly to the peripheral cannabinoid receptor known as “CB2”.
In 2008, Swiss scientist Jürg Gertsch documented the binding affinity of beta-caryophyllene with the CB2 receptor and described it as a “cannabinoid nutrition”. Until now, it is the only terpenoid that activates the cannabinoid receptor.
Terpenes and cannabinoids increase blood flow and kill respiratory pathogens, including MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people in recent years. Dr. Russo in his article writes that interactions of cannabinoid-terpenoid “can cause synergy effects in the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addictions, epilepsy, cancer, fungal infections, and bacterial infections.”
The issue of the legality of the CBD is one of the most frequently discussed because of the bad reputation of cannabis. Most CBD products are manufactured from so-called industrial hemp products that contain only the extremely low content of THC intoxicants. Over-the-counter CBD products in the UK can contain up to 0.2% THC. Prescription drugs may contain more THC, but it is known that they can only be sold in pharmacies. Cannabidiol is generally allowed in Europe, but when traveling outside the continent, it is advisable to ask about the possibility of importing such products, especially when it comes to traveling to the United States, where each state has a different law.
It is also recommended to be cautious when traveling to the UK with CBD products bought abroad. For example, in Canada and Austria products with THC content are allowed up to 0.3%, in Switzerland up to 1% THC, well above the allowable limit in the UK.
CBD for animals
With so many opinions and studies indicating the health benefits of cannabidiol for humans, it turns out that it can also be used in animals (even for a longer period of time).
similarities of endocannabinoid receptors in humans and animals, it is likely
that CBD can also be treated with animals. However, as in humans, it can reduce
the activity of liver enzymes used to metabolize many prescription drugs. If
your pet regularly uses medication, consult a veterinarian before using
cannabidiol. Most CBD products for dogs, cats, and other pets come from
industrial hemp and therefore do not contain THC. It is important to find
cannabidiol, which comes from agricultural or medical hemp (special cannabis
plants that are grown due to the high content of CBD and other cannabinoids)
because THC is toxic to animals.
The difference between normal CBD products and products specifically designed for animals is usually based on the fact that animal products contain other specific components (e.g. an antiparasitic formula) that further increase the holistic health effects on the animal. There are several options for consumption, as in humans. It can be used as an oil or viscous paste, for example in a compound feed. There is also cannabidiol in the form of tablets.
In conclusion, the health benefits that have been proven in research or confirmed on a daily basis by many users far outweigh the negative ones. Given the fact that side effects are rare, and overdose is virtually impossible, these fully legal supplements are a real “gift of nature”.