The most important things you should know about CBD (Cannabidiol) before you try
What is CBD?
The cannabis plant contains more than 100 naturally-produced cannabinoids called phytocannabinoids (phyto for plant). Next to THC, CBD is the most commonly found compound in the cannabis plant; it’s found at its highest levels in the hemp varietals of the cannabis plant. CBD provides many of the therapeutic benefits of THC without producing a psychoactive “high” like THC is known to do. CBD is fat-soluble and most effectively administered through ingestion in fats like oil or butters.
What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
CBD works in humans by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a neurotransmitter system that uses cannabinoid receptors to provide a chemical messaging pathway in the brain and body. The ECS serves as a modulator of other neurotransmitter systems, helping the body reach and maintain homeostasis. By helping the body maintain homeostasis, the ECS influences mood, pain sensation, inflammation response, memory, and movement. To read more about the ECS, see our post here.
How does CBD affect your body?
CBD interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. CBD has also been shown to interact, via endocannabinoid signalling, with serotonin receptors, opioid receptors, and receptors responsible for modulating inflammation (TPVR-1). New research shows that CBD may interact with a receptor in the brain related to reward called GPR55.
CBD has been shown to inhibit the P-450 enzyme system. This system is responsible for breaking down drugs that are processed in the liver (hepatic drugs). When this system is inhibited, drugs that are processed by the system may be metabolized more slowly. Always consult a medical professional before changing or adding to your medical regimen.
Studied effects of CBD
As with most of the medical information available on Cannabis products, the benefits of CBD demand further research. The studies that are available are pre-clinical, and are not sufficient for users to treat, diagnose, or cure any disorder or disease. The safety and efficacy of CBD have not yet been proven in humans. Nevertheless, the medical information that is available is promising:
- CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects by modulating, through the ECS, systems that lead to inflammation and pain resulting from inflammation.
- CBD may reduce pain; a scholastic review of the results of 18 published trials revealed a “significant analgesic effect of cannabinoids as compared to placebo.”
- CBD may reduce feelings of anxiousness; a double-blind study of 57 men participating in public speaking found that the correct dose of CBD may significantly reduce anxiety while speaking.
- CBD has shown anti-depressant effects in mice, as measured using tests applied to other potential anti-depressants.
- CBD may have neuroprotective properties, and has been shown to improve neurological plasticity and health.
CBD and Pets
Because CBD is non-psychoactive, it is generally considered safe for use with pets. To date, there are no reports of toxic effects when using CBD with pets. The metabolism and effectiveness of CBD with pets are reported to be largely similar to humans. There are, however, some differences in the metabolism of CBD in pets that are not yet fully understood.
Pet owners have reported using CBD to help pets suffering from symptoms of inflammation, pain, arthritis, and epiliptic seizures. CBD has also been reported to help pets with symptoms of separation anxiety, loud noises and other anxiety-inducing environmental changes.
While research into the safety and efficacy of CBD with pets is ongoing, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian before changing your pet’s dietary or medical regimen.
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