What Is Cannabidiol? What Do You Need to Know?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has received a great deal of attention from the scientific community in the past few years. We’ve heard it can be used to treat everything from cancer to schizophrenia, and most people know that it is derived from marijuana. Beyond that, however, most people are a bit clueless. In this article, we’ll outline some of the myths and facts surrounding CBD and help you understand exactly what it is and how it works.
CBD Comes From Marijuana
Marijuana contains over 85 cannabinoids, or cannabis-related chemicals. The two most predominant components of marijuana are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that makes you feel ‘high’) and CBD. CBD alone does not produce the psychoactive effects of THC, so a number of growers and caregivers are cultivating high-CBD strains of marijuana for their patients. Some evidence suggests that CBD may actually reduce the ‘high’ feeling produced by THC and counteract feelings of fatigue and paranoia some users report when using marijuana.
Not All CBD Oil Is Safe
CBD can be extracted from marijuana and used medicinally for a variety of conditions, but not all products labeled ‘CBD oil’ or ‘Cannabidiol oil’ are created equal. CBD oil is not the same as hemp oil. In fact, it is very difficult to extract CBD from hemp, because hemp contains such low concentrations of the chemical. Many companies will claim that their CBD is extracted from hemp. While this is possible, it is very unlikely and could be dangerous because hemp typically contains larger amounts of heavy metals than medical cannabis.
CBD oil is most often produced by cannabis growers or by patients and caregivers at home. It is possible to make CBD oil at home from raw marijuana flowers, but companies claiming to extract CBD from hemp seeds are lying. Hemp seeds contain little or no CBD and cannot be processed to create the oil.
CBD Is Not Federally Legal
The legality of CBD is one of the most dangerous and pervasive myths out there. Many states have passed laws allowing the use of CBD, and some states have legalized recreational marijuana, but the FDA does not exempt CBD from criminal drug charges. CBD is considered a derivative of marijuana and is therefore a schedule 1 drug. Although ‘cannabidiol’ is not specifically listed on any DEA schedule, the law is clear.
“The term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.”
There is just one exception to this law… Artificially manufactured CBD does not come from marijuana, and is therefore not federally illegal. The only companies capable of producing cannabidiol artificially are laboratories and pharmaceutical companies.
Pharmaceutical Companies Are Producing CBD Oil
GW Pharmaceuticals is a UK-based company that was granted the right to produce cannabis-derived drugs in 1998. They are currently testing their new drug, Epidiolex, as a treatment for epilepsy in children and young adults. Epidiolex is a 99% pure, refined version of CBD that is taken in oil form. The company claims that it is safer than other types of CBD oil because it’s dosage can be strictly monitored and the ingredients are carefully controlled.
CBD Vs. THC
Many opinions regarding marijuana and CBD have arisen since it’s discovery. The most common argument is that CBD is the ‘safe, medicinal’ component and THC is the ‘drug’ component. This myth has been encouraged by states who have passed ‘CBD only’ laws regarding medical marijuana. Actually, both chemicals have medicinal qualities and the effectiveness of each depends on the user. Some patients see greater improvement when using CBD oil while others experience better results from high-THC strains. Most patients see the greatest benefit from various combinations of both.
THC and CBD together may be the most effective way to treat inflammation and neuropathic pain. A combination of both THC and CBD was far more effective at destroying cancer cells in one study by Wai Liu in 2014. More research is needed on how the different components of marijuana interact with each other, but the results so far suggest that nature is more than capable of providing the right balance of ingredients.
It’s important to remember that cannabis contains hundreds of compounds, from THC and CBD to flavonoids and minor cannabinoids (which are frequently removed by pharmaceutical companies during refinement). Each component has a slightly different effect on the body, and each person will experience different reactions. There is no “one size fits all” where medical marijuana is concerned.
CBD Is An Effective Medical Treatment
Numerous studies have shown that CBD and other forms of marijuana are effective at treating a variety of conditions, from cancer(link to Cannabis Vs. Cancer) to epilepsy(link to Treating Seizures Safely) and more. Some researchers believe it may be the clue to treating psychological conditions as well. CBD oil may be the best treatment for patients who aim to avoid the psychoactive effects of medical marijuana.