One of the biggest stumbling blocks to widespread use of CBD is price. High-quality tinctures from brands like Floyd’s of Leadville and PlusCBD cost $35 or more; the bottles contain enough tincture to last about a month if you’re using an eyedropper’s worth per day. Prevail’s 2-ounce topical salve, which the company says should last most users between 30 and 45 days, costs $133. A one-month supply of a daily gel typically costs $30 to $60.
Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a nearly 500-page report on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. A committee of 16 experts from a variety of scientific and medical fields analyzed the available evidence — more than 10,000 scientific abstracts in all. Because so few studies examine the effects of CBD on its own, the panel did not issue any findings about CBD specifically, but it did reach some conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids more generally. The researchers determined that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” supporting the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain in adults, multiple sclerosis-related spasticity (a kind of stiffness and muscle spasms), and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The committee also found “moderate” evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can reduce sleep disturbances in people with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis, as well as “limited” evidence that these substances can improve symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, increase appetite and stem weight loss in people with HIV/AIDs, and improve symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.
“CBD oil has a lifting and relaxing effect on mood with none of the adverse psychoactive effects associated with marijuana,” says Healthspan medical director Dr Sarah Brewer. “It acts via the body’s own endocannabinoid system to promote feelings of wellbeing. It’s a great choice if you’re finding it difficult to relax, as it’s not habit-forming”, she adds, noting that the oil is “particularly helpful for reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation and restful sleep.”
The oil may be further refined by 1) alkali washing, or removing the heavy aromatic carboxylic acids with antibiotic properties, which may cause heartburn, gallbladder and pancreas irritation, and resistance to hemp antibiotics; 2) conversion of CBD to THC. Process 1) consists of dissolving the oil in a nonpolar solvent such as petroleum ether, repeatedly washing (saponifying) with a base such as sodium carbonate solution until the yellow residue disappears from the watery phase, decanting, and washing with water to remove the base and the saponified components (and evaporating the solvents). This process reduces the oil yield, but the resulting oil is less acidic, easier digestible and much more potent (almost pure THC). Process 2) consists of dissolving the oil in a suitable solvent such as absolute ethanol containing 0.05% hydrochloric acid, and boiling the mixture for 2 hours.
One of the most popular and well-known uses of pure cannabis essential oil is to get relief from stress and anxiety, according to a report published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. The natural compounds found in this oil, including the famed THC, which is what gives cannabis the distinction of a drug in many countries, are very good for releasing pleasure hormones and relaxing the mind. It also helps in reducing stress and inducing a sense of calmness and relaxation.
The lab also has studied how the chemicals in cannabis, as well as cannabinoids like the anandamide produced by our bodies, protect our brains against various types of insults, such as physical and emotional trauma. “Our brain needs to remember things, of course,” says Guzmán, “but it also needs to forget things—horrific things, unnecessary things. It’s much like the memory in your computer—you have to forget what is not necessary, just like you need to periodically delete old files. And you have to forget what is not good for your mental health—a war, a trauma, an aversive memory of some kind. The cannabinoid system is crucial in helping us push bad memories away.”
A geneticist, Kane studies cannabis from a unique perspective—he probes its DNA. He’s an affable, outdoorsy guy with a bright face and eyes that wander and dart inquisitively when he talks. He has studied chocolate and for many years the sunflower, eventually mapping its genome, a sequence of more than three and a half billion nucleotides. Now he’s moved on to marijuana. Though its sequence is much shorter, roughly 800 million nucleotides, he considers it a far more intriguing plant.
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Side effects of CBD include sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, malaise, weakness, sleeping problems, and others. It does not have intoxicating effects like those caused by THC, and may have an opposing effect on disordered thinking and anxiety produced by THC. CBD has been found to interact with a variety of different biological targets, including cannabinoid receptors and other neurotransmitter receptors. The mechanism of action of CBD in terms of its psychoactive and therapeutic effects is not fully clear.
"A CBD company may create a CBD oil, test it, and use the test results to create their label," Bonn-Miller says. "The problem is if they never test their product again, or they test it once a year, you have no idea whether each batch is the same as the first one that they used to create the label. The vast majority of companies are not using manufacturing standards that assure product consistency over time. Companies should be testing every batch they make and tossing batches that don't fall within the specs of their label."
According to the American Glaucoma Society, cannabis has demonstrated the ability to lower IOP in both normal individuals and in those with glaucoma, and therefore might be a natural glaucoma treatment. One cautionary fact about cannabis’ ability to lower IOP is that it only works for a short time, so patients would have to use cannabis about every three hours.
“It’s such an interesting plant, such a valuable plant,” says Nolan Kane, who specializes in evolutionary biology. “It’s been around for millions of years, and it’s one of man’s oldest crops. And yet there are so many basic problems that need to be answered. Where did it come from? How and why did it evolve? Why does it make all these suites of compounds? We don’t even know how many species there are.”
Until 2017, products containing cannabidiol that are marketed for medical purposes were classed as medicines by the UK regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and could not be marketed without regulatory approval for the medical claims. CBD oil with THC content not exceeding 0.2% was legalized throughout the UK in 2017. Cannabis oil, however, remained illegal to possess, buy and sell.
CBD concentrates typically contain the strongest dosage of CBD compared to any other CBD products. It can contain up to 10 times the average CBD products. Concentrates are also convenient in that it only takes a few seconds to consume. Overall, CBD concentrates seem to be most popular among customers who are extremely busy, yet seek high potency CBD.
Medical Disclaimer: Statements in any video or written content on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product. Representations regarding the efficacy and safety of CBD oil have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA only evaluates foods and drugs, not supplements like these products. These products are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease. The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult your physician before beginning any supplement program.
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