The Plant. The Myths. The Legend.
DISCLAIMER: This blog article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered advice, medical, or otherwise. This is not a prescription or used to diagnose any disease or illness.
The legalization of marijuana in 11 states, including Colorado, Maine, and Alaska, has paved the way for a new multi-billion-dollar industry--CBD.
Unfortunately, because CBD has a close relationship to THC, there are just as many myths as there are truths about it, its uses, and its benefits.
CBD has gained attention for several conditions ranging from Acne to Parkinson’s. There is a growing trend of use among both professional and recreational athletes, yet the benefits and use of CBD are still relatively unknown to most consumers.
Whether you’re #teamCBD or #teamsnakeoil, there is plenty of information on the internet to support or refute both arguments; let’s talk about some of the truths and myths about CBD and whether it’s the wonder drug people exclaim it to be.
Most importantly, what does science say?
Many online articles provide a brief snapshot of the benefits of using CBD. This certainly makes it easy to consume a base level of knowledge, assuming the author has done their research, instead of repackaging the information regardless of its correctness. Misinformation is repeated as truth, and factual information is seen as conspiracy theories until no one knows what to believe.
Let’s deep dive into this critical (and controversial) topic for everything you wanted to know (and more) about CBD.
What is CBD?
Industrial grade hemp, from which CBD is derived, can be extracted, manufactured, and sold across state lines in all 50 states thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, which classifies hemp as an agricultural product. This, however, does not mean that CBD is legal in all 50 states. Specific requirements must first be met to ensure its purity and quality. Since there are currently no federal regulatory standards governing CBD, consumers must do their due diligence before purchasing or using CBD and CBD-based products.
CBD is short for cannabidiol (can-a-bid-e-all), a non-intoxicating and non-addictive phytochemical known as a cannabinoid found in the cannabis Sativa plant. Cannabis Sativa contains several phytochemicals, such as CBD and THC, as well as other compounds. CBD and THC are just two of over 100 cannabinoids found in the plant.
Are hemp and marijuana the same thing?
No, marijuana comes from both the Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica plant, whereas hemp can ONLY come from cannabis Sativa.
Hemp contains CBD and has less than .3% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the active chemical responsible for the “high” associated with smoking marijuana. You may feel a little “loopy” or very relaxed with CBD, but that is likely due to something called receptor expression (more on that in a moment).
Marijuana contains THC. The amount of THC in marijuana can vary anywhere from 5-to 35%.
Both CBD and THC are classified as Schedule I drugs (drugs with “no medical value” such as LSD and heroin) and have been classified as so since the 1970s. However, the FDA approval of the CBD-based pharmaceutical medication, Epidiolex for certain types of epileptic seizures calls CBD’s Schedule I classification into question.
Full-Spectrum vs. Isolates. Which is better?
It depends on who you ask. There are many proponents for full-spectrum CBD, meaning utilizing all the cannabis compounds found in the plant together; Researchers call this synergistic outcome the “entourage effect.” It’s believed that users benefit from the other found compounds within the cannabis Sativa plant.
On the other hand, CBD isolates isolate the molecules only to contain CBD and remove THC. Isolates also have a more researched and broader therapeutic value to deliver the most therapeutic dose.
Advocates of Full Spectrum CBD also argue that since CBD and THC affect the endocannabinoid system in different ways, using a full spectrum, CBD has more significant benefits.
How does CBD affect the body?
CBD interacts with your body via your endocannabinoid system, a network of lipid (fat) based neurotransmitters responsible for regulating certain body functions and stopping them from getting out of control.
This is particularly useful in explaining post-workout soreness. When your endocannabinoid system gets overwhelmed and cannot process the amount of inflammation flooding the body after exercise, the resulting experience is muscle pain.
Endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body. They regulate the secretion of hormones, most notably reproductive, stress and inflammation, and are responsible for maintaining a healthy immune system and stress response.
CB1 and CB2 Receptors
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors found naturally within the body: CB1 and CB2.
Both CB1 and CB2 respond to several endocannabinoids, both naturally occurring, such as anandamides (an-and-a-meads), as well as THC and CBD,
This is important because external cannabinoids such as CBD and THC affect them.
CB1 and CB2 receptors are both found throughout the body but are found in higher concentrations in specific locations.
CB1 receptors are primarily located in the nerve cells of the brain and the spinal cord. These receptors are mainly affected by THC.
CB2 receptors are primarily found in the white blood cells, endocrine glands, and peripheral organs such as the spleen and tonsils and are in the most significant concentration throughout the gastrointestinal system and are most affected by CBD.
Anandamides and CBD
Anandamides are fatty acid neurotransmitters produced in the brain that binds directly to CB1 receptors and are responsible for reducing your body’s response to inflammation. Like THC, some researchers believe anandamides are accountable for the feeling known as “runner’s high because they also bind directly to THC.”
On the other hand, CBD works differently because it does not bind directly to CB2 receptors. However, CBD has been shown to increase the bioavailability of anandamide and therefore help to reduce inflammation.
Since an increase of anandamides results in a decrease in pain and inflammation, a lack of anandamides may be responsible for the phenomenon known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Since CBD increases the amount of available anandamide, CBD could help prevent DOMS in long-distance endurance runners.
CBD and Receptor Expression
Receptor expression means how sensitively your body reacts to CBD products. The higher the number of receptors in one area, the higher the expression and the less CBD you need to feel the benefits.
This is why there isn’t a universal “one size fits all” dosage and why the same dose of CBD can affect two people very differently.
A variety of factors, including the concentration of CBD, body weight, body chemistry, and receptor expression, will all be factors in determining how much CBD you should take and how it will affect you.
CBD and Science
The two significant claims against CBD use are 1) It hasn’t been scientifically proven to help many conditions and 2) lack of research.
The FDA approval of Epidolox refutes claim one.
CBD’s Schedule I classification makes broad or generalized studies difficult, but that does not mean it’s never been studied. Columbia University recently surveyed patients with glioblastoma brain cancer that proved very positive in CBD’s ability to destroy cancer cells without destroying healthy cells.
CBD benefits for athletes
CBD first became popular among trail and ultra-marathoners for its claims in reducing pain and inflammation in the body. A 2007 study revealed that CBD significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation in rats.
It also has reported benefits both pre-and post-workout.
Pre-workout runners who experience pre-race anxiety may find relief with CBD. One study of CBD’s effect on anxiety proved significantly lower anxiety levels in a group before a public speaking engagement vs. the placebo group.
This study on patients' during post-chemotherapy treatments found CBD could also ease nausea.
CBD may help with post-workout recovery as well. Exercise produces many hormones, including cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Cortisol on its own isn’t bad; in fact, cortisol is catabolic, meaning that it breaks down molecules in the body into smaller ones so they can be used throughout the body. On the other hand, excess cortisol has been linked to increased fat storage, weight gain, and the slowing of protein synthesis responsible for tissue growth.
CBD is anti-catabolic and could potentially slow down or control the excess amount of cortisol, potentially reversing the effects of the hormone.
It also has been linked to a decrease in muscle spasms in those with MS.
CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation in tendon injuries resulting in faster healing for conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
We have had tremendous results in our independent clinical study using CBD Clinic on our clients suffering from extreme nerve pain.
CBD has also been shown to help you get a better quality of sleep, resulting in a decrease in excess cortisol and an increase in HGH (human growth hormone) which is responsible for everything from tissue repair to new tissue growth. We carry Charlotte's Web Sleep gummies in our wellness store and have seen incredible sleep results from our clients.
Should you try it?
Advocating the benefits of CBD is different than supporting the use of CBD. Consumers should make their own decisions regarding whether the use of CBD is right for them. CBD has several practical benefits, but it’s not for everyone. For example, people using blood thinners and certain antidepressants should not take CBD. It’s always best to consult your doctor or pharmacist for these and other possible drug interactions, including other herbal supplements and OTC medications.
If you’re considering adding CBD to your pain management plan, I hope this article helps you understand what CBD is and how it can benefit you and gives you information to make the best decision.
We carry a complete line of CBD products at Proactive Massage & Bodywork. We would be happy to help you find the best products for you.
If you are a Healthcare provider looking to add CBD safely into your practice, pick up a copy of my step-by-step guide today. This comprehensive tool will walk you through what you need to know to add CBD into your practice and service menu safely. Click below to get your copy from Amazon.
If you don’t remember what it’s like to feel good, or you haven’t been getting a massage regularly, make an appointment at www.ProactiveRVA.com and get started. Your body and brain will be glad you did.