Herrera and her patients aren't the only ones doling out rave reviews for CBD oil, which can be found online and in cannabis dispensaries, as well as in some grocery stores and even as an optional add-in alongside protein powder at your local juice chain. The oil has been riding the coattails of the growing legal cannabis industry, with one industry expert, Matt Karnes, telling Forbes in 2016 that he expected CBD products to become an almost $3 billion market by 2021.
One of the most celebrated health benefits of CBD oil is its analgesic (pain relieving) effects. It’s thought that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain and immune system to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Some studies, such as this investigation published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, found that CBD significantly reduces inflammation in mice and rats – but it’s not only rodents that experience these effects. A 2008 review identified that CBD offered effective pain relief without inducing adverse side effects in patients.
The oral use of cannabis and CBD for anxiety appears in a Vedic text dated around 2000 BCE, and it is one of the most common uses of the plant across various cultures. While THC can increase anxiety in some patients, it lowers it in others. However, CBD effects have been shown to consistently reduce anxiety when present in higher concentrations in the cannabis plant. On its own, CBD has been shown in a number of animal and human studies to lessen anxiety. The stress-reducing effect appears to be related to activity in both the limbic and paralimbic brain areas.
 Ronen Durst, Haim Danenberg, Ruth Gallily, Raphael Mechoulam, Keren Meir, Etty Grad, Ronen Beeri, Thea Pugatsch, Elizabet Tarsish, and Chaim Lotan, “Cannabidiol, A Nonpsychoactive Cannabis Constituent, Protects against Myocardial Ischemic Reperfusion Injury,” American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology 293, no. 6 (2007): H3602–H3607. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00098.2007.
And now, onto the thorny issue of legality. The simple answer to the question is yes – if it is extracted from hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill established guidelines for growing hemp in the U.S. legally. This so-called “industrial hemp” refers to both hemp and hemp products which come from cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC and are grown by a state-licensed farmer.
As I mentioned earlier, when consumed, the cannabinoids found in CBD attach themselves to certain receptors in your brain and immune system. One such receptor, the CB2 receptor, helps manage pain and inflammation in your immune system. When you use CBD oil for pain, it impacts the way your brain and body respond to the signals they’re sent—ultimately helping to reduce pain and inflammation.
Kane fingers one of his innocuous-looking plants, expressing mild bemusement at the U.S. ban on commercial hemp cultivation. “Hemp produces fibers of unparalleled quality,” he notes. “It’s a tremendously high biomass crop that replenishes the soil and doesn’t require much in terms of inputs. We import tons and tons of hemp each year from China and even Canada, yet as a matter of federal policy, we can’t legally grow it. There are places where farmers in the U.S. can literally look across the Canadian border and see fields that are yielding huge profits.”
In other words, many popular claims remain unfounded – and overlook the fact that there's a difference between CBD that's studied in labs for particular conditions and CBD products that are sold to consumers for general well-being. "What happens is people say, 'Look, CBD is harmless and it doesn't get me intoxicated, so I'm going to take it for what ails me," says Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard physician and CEO of InhaleMD, a Boston-area practice specializing in cannabis therapeutics. "Then they're going to get some perceived benefit because that's the way the placebo effect works, and then they go and trumpet this."
Further testing found what the world now knows: This compound is the plant’s principal active ingredient, its mind-altering essence—the stuff that makes you high. Mechoulam, along with a colleague, had discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). He and his team also elucidated the chemical structure of cannabidiol (CBD), another key ingredient in marijuana, one that has many potential medical uses but no psychoactive effect on humans.
Always start with the micro dose to test sensitivity and go up as needed within the dosing range before going to the next, until symptoms subside. The micro to standard dose is usually recommended to treat depression. Vaporized or smoked cannabis is recommended for relief of immediate symptoms, or a boost in dosage, and it can also be useful for sleep issues. Sublingual sprays or tinctures taken as liquid drops take effect quickly and last longer than inhaled products.
Cannabidiol can be taken into the body in multiple different ways, including by inhalation of cannabis smoke or vapor, as an aerosol spray into the cheek, and by mouth. It may be supplied as an oil containing only CBD as the active ingredient (no added THC or terpenes), a full-plant CBD-dominant hemp extract oil, capsules, dried cannabis, or as a prescription liquid solution.
Harper was diagnosed as an infant with CDKL5, a rare genetic condition doctors only discovered in 2004 and that afflicts roughly 600 people worldwide. The disorder shares its name with the minute particle of DNA it affects, a gene responsible for the production of a protein crucial for neurological development. Symptoms of CDKL5 include intellectual disability, developmental delays, breathing and vision problems, limited or absent speech, poor muscle tone, and, perhaps worst of all, frequent seizures.
In a study whose findings have not yet been published, he and a colleague, Daniel Friedman, found that patients receiving CBD in addition to their usual medicines had 39 percent fewer convulsive seizures than patients who remained on their normal drug regimen. Given that the study included only the most treatment-resistant patients, this is an “excellent response,” Devinsky says.
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