Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many bioactive compounds produced by the flowering cannabis plant. Before we discuss what CBD can do for you, let us start by understanding cannabinoids and endocannabinoids.
What Are Cannabinoids and What Do They Do?
Cannabis effects the body because its bioactive cannabinoid compounds (mainly THC & CBD) bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors – tiny molecular ports encoded by our genes and expressed on the membranous surface of our cells. There are many different cell and tissue types that express cannabinoid receptors. The location of the receptors on the cell can alter how they operate. Most mental and perceptual effects of cannabis can be attributed to CB1 receptor activation.
A second receptor, called CB2, has been identified primarily in certain cells of the immune system. CB2 receptors appear to be responsible for the ability of CBD (as well as THC and the terpenoid B-carophyllene) to reduce inflammation and some kinds of pain.
How We Know:
There were early indications that a specific receptor system was involved in the effects of cannabis in humans. To test this hypothesis experimentally, some of the cannabinoid drugs produced in the 1980s were designed to be weakly radioactive. These “hot” drugs light up the cannabinoid receptors they bind to. THC – CB1 – Brain / CBD – CB2 – Immune System.
[Aside]: Some of the only regions of the brain where cannabinoid receptors are absent are areas controlling vital functions such as breathing. This is why cannabinoids (both THC and CBD) pose no risk of fatal respiratory depression that can occur with overdoses of opiates and other nervous system depressants such as alcohol.
The natural physiological chemicals that drive CB1 and CB2 receptors are a family of molecules present not only in humans, but all over the animal kingdom. These “native” molecules are called endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, a name borrowed from the plant. Endocannabinoids (often abbreviated as eCBs) have been called the “marijuana of the brain,” although this is a deceptive metaphor; eCBs are an integral part of our physiology and appeared much earlier in evolutionary history than the cannabis plant, as indicated by their presence in so many lifeforms, even very simple marine organisms. It is more accurate to say that the cannabis plant evolved to produce compounds that are remarkable biochemical mimics of the eCBs.
Uses of Cannabidiol (CBD): Rigorous clinical studies are still needed to evaluate the clinical potential of CBD for specific conditions. However, pre-clinical research (including tissue culture and animal models) has shown CBD to have a range of effects that may be therapeutically useful, including anti-seizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-tumor, anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety properties.
Safety of CBD:
Despite its molecular similarity to THC, CBD only interacts with CB1 receptors weakly at very high doses (100 fold less than that of THC) and the alterations in thinking and perception caused by THC are not observed with CBD. The different pharmacological properties of CBD give it a different safety profile from THC.
A review of 25 studies on the safety and efficacy of CBD did not identify significant side effects across a wide range of dosages, including acute and chronic dose regimens, using various modes of administration. CBD is present in nabiximols, which is approved throughout Europe and in other countries. Because of this, there is extensive information available with regard to its metabolism, toxicology and safety.
Why This is Important: Millions of people lose quality of life to chronic pain. While scientists and physicians continue to get a better grasp of what physical pain is, doctors readily acknowledge that current prescription medications are fraught with side effects and do not work on all types of pain.
Thanks to modern medical marijuana initiatives and biomedical research, including increasing numbers of gold-standard, randomized double-blind clinical trials using botanical cannabis and extracts, this ancient remedy can once again be discussed without apology.
CBD is quickly changing the debate surrounding the use of marijuana as medicine. While many doctors can’t seem to look past certain side effects of THC, CBD does not pose such a problem.
More Medical Benefits:
Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies found CBD to possess the following medical properties:
1. Antiemetic- Reduces nausea and vomiting
2. Anticonvulsant- Suppresses seizure activity
3. Antipsychotic- Combats psychosis disorders
4. Anti-inflammatory- Combats inflammatory disorders
5. Antioxidant- Combats neurodegenerative disorders
6. Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer- Combats tumor and cancer cells
7. Anxiolytic/Anti-depressant- Combats anxiety and depression disorders
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the National Institute of Health discovered that CBD can provide treatment for acne. Researchers used cannabis-derived cannabidiol on the human sebaceous glands and came to the conclusion that CBD acts as a highly effective sebostatic and anti-inflammatory agent by inhibiting lipid synthesis.
Research on Pain and Next Generation Analgesics:
Although opioid medications effectively treat acute pain and help relieve chronic pain for some patients, their addiction risk presents a dilemma for healthcare providers who seek to relieve suffering while preventing drug abuse and addiction. There is an important initiative which pertains to the development of new approaches to treat pain. This includes research to identify new pain relievers with reduced abuse, tolerance, and dependence risk, as well as devising alternative delivery systems and formulations for existing drugs that minimize diversion and abuse (e.g., by preventing tampering and/or releasing the drug over a longer period of time) and reduce the risk of overdose deaths. In fact, researchers are also getting closer to developing a new generation of non-opioid-based medications for severe pain that would circumvent the brain reward pathways, thereby greatly reducing abuse potential. This includes compounds that work through a type of cannabinoid receptor found primarily in the peripheral nervous system.
“To address the complex problem of prescription opioid and heroin abuse in this country, we must recognize and consider the special character of this phenomenon, for we are asked not only to confront the negative and growing impact of opioid abuse on health and morality, but also preserve the fundamental role played by prescription opioid pain relievers in healing and reducing human suffering. That is, scientific insight must strike the right balance between providing maximum relief from suffering while minimizing associated risks and adverse effects.” -drugabuse.gov
CBD is Non-Psychoactive:
Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a “high”. While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects. CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC (CB1 vs. CB2 receptors). CB1 receptors are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC. A 2011 review published in Current Drug Safety concludes that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.
New methods of cannabis consumption are bringing us further away from the notion that cannabis and its bioactive compounds belong solely in a bong or joint – or that they have to get you high, for that matter. Cannabis-infused topicals are an example of how new modes of consumption are revolutionizing perceptions of cannabis as their accessibility, safety and efficacy invite even the most unlikely patrons into the world of medical cannabis.
What They Are:
These topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms and oils that are absorbed through the skin for localized relief of pain, soreness and inflammation. Because they’re non-psychoactive, topicals are often chosen by patients who want the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the cerebral euphoria associated with other delivery methods. Topical producers may also employ other botanical extracts and essential oils to produce additional relief, such as Cayenne, Wintergreen and Clove.
How They Work:
Cannabis-infused lotions, salves, oils, sprays and other transdermal methods of relief work by binding to the network of CB2 receptors present below the surface of the skin. These CB2 receptors are found throughout the body and are activated either by the body’s naturally-occurring endocannabinoids or by the “phytocannabinoids” produced by the cannabis plant (e.g., THC, CBD). With topicals, cannabinoids cannot breach the bloodstream; they only penetrate the system of CB2 receptors present in the skin.
What Symptoms Do CBD-Infused Topicals Treat?
Topicals are most popularly chosen for localized pain relief, muscle soreness, tension and inflammation. A CBD-rich rub infused with cooling menthol and peppermint is a perfect way to wind down from a brutal workout or hike. For intense localized pain, you may try a soothing balm that combines the deep painkilling properties of cannabinoids with a tingling, calming sensation. Different topicals have different benefits to offer depending on the way they are processed and the ingredients that are used.
Skin cells have both CB1 and CB2 receptors that cannabinoids (in this case CBD) act on for therapeutic effect. With pain, the presence of phytocannabinoids directs the firing nerves to reduce their signaling, alleviating the discomfort. People’s lives have been changed using marijuana topicals, including those who have been able to stop taking opiate narcotics for pain, grandparents with severe arthritis who have been able to hold their grandkids for the first time, and musicians who are able to use their fingers again.
The active constituents of our product- CBD and other botanical extracts/essential oils- absorb more readily and evenly when they are dissolved in a solution. They are lipophilic, meaning that they are soluble in alcohol, fats and oils.
Cannabinoids’ affinity for oils means that they are easily dissolved in lotions and salves that contain alcohol, glycerin, or oils. These help the cannabinoids penetrate the outer layer of the skin.
We believe that integrating our products on a twice-daily application schedule (although it may be applied as often or frequently as desired) to any preexisting pain management regimen will be able to provide an alternative approach to lessening or eliminating consumers’ needs for prescription opiates/NSAIDs or OTC NSAIDs. Our topicals are great for muscle soreness recovery in athletes, arthritic pain in seniors and for treatment of miscellaneous chronic pain. They are also a great daily moisturizer.
Tips for Increased Absorption:
Taking a hot bath or shower, soaking the area to be treated in hot water, or adding heat using a heating pad before applying a topical cannabis product increases how much will be absorbed because the heat opens skin pores.
Covering an area treated with cannabis-infused lotion can increase absorption by a factor of ten. You can achieve this effect by simply applying the topical to the affected area and covering it with a bandage.
Our goal is simple; create a reputable and reliable source of CBD infused topicals which provide a natural, alternative approach to pain management. We aim to build a product that consumers can trust and that we can stand behind. As cannabinoids do not pose a risk of fatal overdose, but exhibit the potential to treat a wide array of ailments, the next logical step is to decriminalize these natural healing agents for medical and scientific studies. We want to develop a household brand that can be found in every medicine cabinet across the United States.