Researchers Explore CBD as an Option to Help COVID-Related Anxiety
by Chane Leigh
Note: Veriheal does not intend to give this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided on this page. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the natural compounds found in the cannabis plant. Because it does not produce a “high” feeling, CBD has grown incredibly popular in the past few years for the treatment of medical conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, and epilepsy. It is readily available in various forms like CBD oil, lotions, tinctures, hemp flower, gummies, etc. We’ve gotten a lot of questions over the years about how CBD works, the differences between CBD and THC, and how to use CBD oil. This beginner’s guide to CBD covers everything you need to know, including types of CBD, dosages of CBD, the legality of CBD in the U.S., and more.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is an extract of the cannabis plant that is mixed with a carrier oil to form CBD oil. In states that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis, there are varieties of high CBD strains of cannabis that you can purchase at your local dispensary.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a chemical component that causes the intoxicating effects found in cannabis plants. However, high-CBD and low-THC strains of cannabis do not produce intoxication but offer the ability to alleviate many ailments including seizures. These strains, such as Charlotte’s Web, highlight the miraculous characteristics of cannabis in the form of cannabis oil and edibles, which is safely administered by a doctor’s care for children suffering from seizures due to epilepsy. CNN’s medical correspondent Doctor Sanjay Gupta hosted a documentary highlighting CBD for children diagnosed with epilepsy and seizures. In the documentary, Weed 4: Pot vs Pills, Doctor Sanjay Gupta emphasized the medicinal value of cannabidiol.
Many doctors and proponents of holistic and all natural medicine trust in the therapeutic component of CBD as an alternative medicine to reduce various symptoms to alleviate the following conditions, according to the World Health Organization: “nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, post traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety, depression, glaucoma, appetite stimulation, cancer size reduction, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, inflammatory disease, and infection.”
Research has also proven that CBD is not toxic to the human body. As a result, major studies from the scientific community continuously approve the medicinal benefits of CBD. It is clearly evident that more research needs to be done to prove the effectiveness of this medicine. Our country can no longer rely on doctors continuously prescribing addictive medications that aren’t giving patients relief.
The World Health Organization reported in 2017 that no “public health related problems” have been connected to the use of pure CBD. The report adds that, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” Therefore, CBD is a safe alternative treatment, as long as you consult your doctor to be sure that CBD won’t interfere with your other medications.
Researching cannabis and CBD can be confusing and daunting, especially if you are brand new to the scene. Many are unfamiliar with the key differences between cannabis’ headlining cannabinoids THC and CBD. There can be a lot of conflicting information out there, and we’re here to set the record straight.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. Cannabis contains more than 100 cannabinoids; the two primary and most popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD. As cannabis research evolves, we are learning more about other cannabinoids like cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC). These natural cannabinoids play a major role in the endocannabinoid system, a system of the human body that was not well-known until recently.
Although it is one of the oldest biological systems of the human body, you may have never heard of the endocannabinoid system. Our bodies come equipped with this entire system that is responsible for managing a multitude of physiological processes. The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a map of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body.
The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate a variety of bodily functions such as mood, memory, fertility, appetite, hormones, and responses to pain or stress. In the end, the ECS helps our bodies maintain homeostasis or balance.
In fact, the discovery of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant led to the naming of the ECS. “Since the time when exogenous cannabinoids revealed their existence, the entire natural complex came to be called the ‘endogenous cannabinoid system,’ or ‘endocannabinoid system’ (ECS),” according to Dr. Bradley E. Alger in his 2013 paper published in Cerebrum.
In other words, endocannabinoids are the body’s natural endogenous cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that activate the cannabinoid receptors of the ECS.
However, we also react to exogenous (meaning external) cannabinoids like those found in cannabis. Phytocannabinoids, phyto meaning plant-derived cannabinoids, also attach to our receptors that initiate a physiological response. Essentially, our receptors are the lock and cannabinoids are the keys that unlock feedback.
At this time, there are two known receptors in the ECS: CB1 and CB2. Both are dispersed all over the body; however, CB1 receptors are mostly found in our brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are condensed in our organs and immune system. Each of the two types of receptors is, in one way or another, responsible for strategically keeping order of our immune and nervous system functions. In due time, we’ll be able to learn more about our other receptors and their effects when more research is conducted.
Most are familiar with the more popular cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is the one that causes intoxicating and euphoric effects. THC’s molecular form is very similar to our bodies’ naturally occurring endogenous neurotransmitters. If you take the lock and key analogy and apply it here, THC adequately fits into the CB1 receptors’ lock which our bodies’ then accept. This subsequently activates and interferes with our brains’ natural response, thus causing impairment.
Essentially, the word hemp distinguishes low THC variations of the same plant from high THC cannabis. Hemp and cannabis are the same species of plant, but hemp is federally legal and contains less than 0.3% THC content, meaning that it does not intoxicate users like most cannabis in the recreational market does.
Another main difference between hemp and cannabis is the use of hemp for industrial purposes like the production of paper, building materials, skincare products, food, and clothing.
There are hundreds of different types of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. When ingested, all of these cannabinoids and other compounds work together and produce a complete well-rounded effect also known as the ‘entourage effect’. Dr. Raphael Mchoulam, the founder of THC, conducted research in 1999 that introduced the concept of the entourage effect. Today, the term entourage effect is used to describe how individual chemical components synergistically work together to produce superior effects and improve the cannabis experience.
So what else plays a role in the entourage effect? There are six main cannabinoids:
While THC and CBD are the most popular, the other four main cannabinoids are getting more attention. Terpenes are another component of the cannabis plant that create the scents of individual strains and are believed to contribute to the entourage effect. Cannabis researcher Dr. Ruth Fisher points out that terpenes can increase the body’s rate of absorption of cannabinoids.
The entourage effect, in other words, is the idea that CBD is enhanced by the other cannabinoids and compounds found in cannabis and/or hemp derived plant medicine.
The answer to this is a little complicated. CBD alone won’t produce an outright intoxicating response or get you high. In fact, CBD can be used to counteract the intoxicating effects of THC. However, it is important to note that CBD is technically psychoactive, meaning that it affects the mind. Some who are more perceptive of their physiology might feel a subtle uplift in their mood. But it won’t be enough to cause a mind-altered state as THC does. CBD will not make you lose your control or even alter your behavior, although many have this experience with THC, which is intoxicating and psychoactive. Though, be aware that there are some risks depending on what products you use like supplements and medications.
Many people also believe that the word psychoactive automatically implies something bad or negative, but something that affects your mind is not always a bad thing. We consume many foods and compounds that have psychoactive properties without any adverse effects. Chocolate is one such example. A popular treat, chocolate does have psychoactive properties, particularly dark chocolate. For example, both chocolate and CBD influence serotonin levels.
When individuals see the word ‘psychoactive’, they automatically associate it with the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Due to this stigma, companies end up putting CBD under the ‘non-psychoactive’ label. Another benefit in doing so would be that the CBD products come off as the safer-option and it creates some distance from intoxicating cannabis strains containing high potency THC that are popular at recreational dispensaries.
You’ll want to become familiar with the differences between Broad Spectrum CBD and Full Spectrum CBD products because full-spectrum products utilize the entire plant and have very little THC in them. And for CBD to be legal, it is required to have less than .3% THC. Although rare, those that are sensitive to THC might experience minimal intoxicating effects when using full-spectrum CBD goods. Broad-spectrum products have undergone processing that removes all THC compounds, therefore eliminating the risk of feeling high. We cover different types of CBD oil in-depth in a later section of this guide.
CBD, the cannabinoid known as cannabidiol, works a bit differently. Since CBD molecules do not adequately fit into our CB receptors like a lock and key, the activation does not occur. So, our brain and nervous system experience little to no disruption. However, this doesn’t mean that it is without effect! While CBD won’t provoke an intense response from our CB receptors like THC, it will impact them and the way they operate. It’s not limited to just our CB receptors either! CBD can bind to other receptors in the body and influence them as well. For example, CBD has known effects on our serotonin receptors that reduce stress. While at the same time, it can also inhibit functions in others like our pain receptors.
CBD affects the mind in positive ways like alleviating stress and anxiety, boosting mood, improving depression and addiction as well as helping you get some sleep. These are just a few of its health benefits. It is more widely used for pain and inflammation.
“CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications,” according to the World Health Organization in the report mentioned above.
Although this is all good news, the way in which the cannabinoid compounds interact with our brain is yet to be proven with concrete evidence. Many studies are still underway while experiments exploring potential treatments are being tested on mice. Rest assured, while we may not have concrete evidence on a lot of aspects regarding CBD, its safety has been confirmed and remains unchallenged.
Those who are subject to regular drug screenings such as federal employees often wonder if CBD will pose an issue for them. “Will I fail a drug test if I take CBD?” is a common question we get. It’s not unusual for CBD consumers to feel confused when the terms on the product labels aren’t generally well-known.
The type of CBD product you ingest will impact whether or not cannabinoids will appear on a drug test. Now, if you aren’t familiar with the various terms associated with CBD, watch the following video to learn more:
‘Full Spectrum’ CBD means that the entire plant and its compounds are included in the production process. Albeit a very low percentage, THC molecules still make it into the end product since full-spectrum goods include the complete plant profile and material.
CBD ‘Isolate’ means that only the CBD compounds have been extracted from the plant. Isolate is 99.9% pure CBD. The other cannabinoids and THC left is a small trace amount. Sometimes, manufacturers will add artificial terpenes and flavonoids to improve the smell, taste, and texture of the product.
Broad-spectrum CBD products belong in a category that is somewhere between full-spectrum and isolates. While all of the organic plant matter is processed, the THC molecules are isolated and thoroughly processed out. We go into more detail on the differences between full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and isolate CBD in a later section of this beginner’s guide to CBD.
It’s important to be informed about the terminology behind these products. CBD that is derived from industrial hemp is legal in all 50 states. In order to meet legal requirements, all CBD goods MUST contain less than .3% THC.
Be wise when it comes to shopping for CBD, and ensure that the proper lab results are publicly available wherever you decide to purchase. These results should detail the levels of various cannabinoids, terpenes, and solvents used in the manufacturing process.
So, yes, depending on which CBD products you are taking, CBD can show up on a drug test. While it is extremely rare, full-spectrum CBD products have the ability to produce a false positive on drug tests that screen for THC.
If you’ve been following the recent CBD craze, you’ve likely encountered products on the market that are labeled as ‘Broad Spectrum’, ‘Full Spectrum’, or ‘Isolate’. These terms can be confusing for everyone, especially for beginners and curious folks alike. For example, you will see full- and broad-spectrum CBD oil as options, but what’s the difference? We are happy to enlighten you on the key differences in these descriptions and how to use CBD oil because everyone deserves to know what exactly they are putting into their bodies! We briefly touch on the subject in the video below, but let’s explore these terms more in-depth.
Full-spectrum CBD, or whole plant CBD, is created using the whole hemp plant, meaning that it still contains different components of the plant like multiple cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBG, etc.), terpenes, and flavonoids. THC is also present but still below 0.3% (otherwise it would not be federally legal).
A study published in 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Neurology analyzed medical records and patient surveys for those being treated with CBD for refractory epilepsy. The researchers found that “CBD-rich extracts seem to present a better therapeutic profile than purified CBD, at least in this population of patients with refractory epilepsy. The roots of this difference is likely due to synergistic effects of CBD with other phytocompounds (aka Entourage Effect), but this remains to be confirmed in controlled clinical studies.” In the study, patients taking full-spectrum CBD needed lower doses of CBD in comparison to those taking pure or isolated CBD.
Broad-spectrum products belong in a category that is somewhere between full-spectrum and isolates. While all of the organic plant matter is processed, the THC molecules are isolated and thoroughly excluded. Those that use broad-spectrum products are able to experience the benefits from the entourage effect, because all of the other collaborating cannabinoids and terpenes remain included in the product. Since all THC molecules are eliminated, broad-spectrum products are less likely to show up in routine drug testing and may be a good choice for those who want to refrain from consuming THC.
Isolate means that only the CBD compounds have been extracted from the plant. The original plant matter has been extensively refined to narrow down and separate molecules, so that the only thing left is CBD. Isolate is 99.9% pure CBD. Sometimes, additives like artificial terpenes and flavonoids are included to enhance the taste, smell, or consistency. Otherwise, there should be virtually zero traces of any other compounds in it. CBD isolate is a great option for those who want to avoid the euphoric effects of THC or are concerned about passing a drug test because the THC molecules have been completely eradicated.
Are you one of the millions of people turning to the CBD market as an alternative to over-the-counter (OTC) prescription meds? If so, congratulations! More Americans are substituting opioids with cannabis, which unlike opiate-based medications, are non-addictive, and many find that they experience fewer side effects with CBD.
Between the years 1999 and 2017, drug overdoses killed 702,568 people in the United States and almost 400,000 of those deaths involved the use of opioids. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which claims that from 2015-2016, illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids like fentanyl killed more people than any other drug category.
Thankfully, cannabis may produce some of the same sedating effects produced by drugs in the opiate class. Cannabis’ non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) is being widely used as a natural and safe pain management treatment. In fact, a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed how CBD could even reduce opioid cravings two to three-fold.
If you’re using CBD for another purpose, such as for anxiety relief, as a painkiller, or as a means of establishing proper overall health and wellness, the following information will be equally as important for you to absorb. But how do you take CBD oil? Read on to learn more about dosage considerations.
Now, we are going to talk about dosage and what is the optimal amount of CBD to use for you personally. While you can’t overdose from this cannabinoid, each consumer’s optimal dosage is dependent on a few factors, of which we will touch upon below.
Determining the best CBD dosage generally depends on the following factors:
In addition to the aforementioned guidelines for choosing a CBD dosage, you should pay attention to the concentration of whatever product you wind up buying. Low potency would be in the range of 1-10 mg per serving, whereas a medium potency oil should deliver around 10-25 mg of CBD per serving, e.g. per capsule, per spray, per tincture, etc. Anything higher than this is considered highly potent.
CBD products are gaining popularity on their own aside from the legalization movement of cannabis worldwide. Times are changing in the cannabis industry as the U.S. federal government is taking the necessary steps to end the War on Cannabis. Effective September 28, 2018, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made a groundbreaking announcement:
“With the issuance of this final order, the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration places certain drug products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and which contain cannabidiol (CBD) in Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Specifically, this order places FDA-approved drugs that contain CBD derived from cannabis and no more than 0.1 percent tetrahydrocannabinols in schedule V.”
It is important to note that GW Pharmaceutical’s CBD derived pharmaceutical medication, Epidiolex, is the only CBD based medicine approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of seizures in children. Under the DEA’s Schedule IV status, CBD is now classified as the least restrictive substance. Hemp derived CBD products are legal to purchase in stores and online in all 50 states.
Epidiolex is an oral solution that is supposed to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in children of two years and older. Ever since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel approved Epidiolex, people have been confused about the legal status of this cannabis-derived substance.
To summarize, cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of compounds found in the cannabis plant. The substance has a range of medicinal and therapeutic effects that have been shown to be beneficial for different medical conditions, including insomnia, physical pain, depression, anxiety, and even for children with epilepsy.
Since CBD is a targeted medicine for the treatment of epilepsy and given to children to treat their seizures, the lack of intoxication makes CBD a perfect medicine for treating medical problems in children. For the first time in U.S. history, a hemp derived medication won federal approval in the US.
Yes and no. There is a legal distinction between cannabis and hemp. Cannabis, for instance, is typically bred for recreational dispensaries is high in THC content, which provides inebriating effects. On the other hand, hemp is bred and grown for the industrial use of fiber as well as seed, and all hemp must legally contain below 0.3% THC. With hemp, there is no way to induce intoxication by consuming any reasonable amount of it.
All that being said, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a DEA rule that defines any cannabis extract as a Schedule I controlled substance if it contains one or more cannabinoids, a definition that CBD seems to fit.
“Contrary to some early reports, this ruling does NOT classify hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) as a controlled substance, nor does it signify that the popular hemp product is federally illegal…In short, the DEA’s ‘marijuana extract rule’ does not apply to hemp or derivative products such as hemp-derived CBD. Period…Anybody out there that says the law is definite one way or another is lying.” –Jonathan Miller, The Hemp Industry’s Lawyer
Until the situation becomes clearer, it’s best to check out the laws in the state in which you live.
Where to buy CBD oil is a question that many readers ask us. Anyone in the U.S. can purchase CBD derived from hemp online right now. There are lots of CBD products available such as oil, lotion, coffee, shampoo, candy, beauty products, and of course, vape juice.
If you don’t live in a state in which cannabis is legal, you may have some difficulties in finding legitimate CBD products. Whenever you’re buying online, make sure to do some due diligence and read some reviews, because there are no testing regulations to see if the product is effective or not.
Yes, there are companies that comply with the 2014 Farm Bill, and they can ship their products anywhere in the U.S. This bill differentiates cannabis from industrial hemp and allows the cultivation of hemp within the United States.
There are currently 33 U.S. states that have medical marijuana programs. The other 17 states allow the use of CBD. Note that some of these states only allow CBD in oil form containing a low percentage of THC, and some only allow CBD oil for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy. These 17 states include:
The following states have medicinal cannabis programs that only allow CBD oil:
CBD is an option for those who need relief from their medical ailments without the intoxicating effects of THC or other drugs like opioids. CBD is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in the cannabis and hemp plants. It is not a mind-altering substance, unlike the plant’s well-known intoxicating constituent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
While you can’t overdose from CBD, it can provide plenty of therapeutic effects for the human body. Studies show that extracts containing a high-CBD content tend to work well as anxiolytic (meaning that it reduces anxiety), antidepressant, and antipsychotic medications.
Below are some of the many conditions for which CBD is used to treat symptoms:
Thanks to the pain relieving effects of CBD, some patients are able to stop taking addicting opioid medications for their chronic pain. CBD works to fight inflammation (it is an anti-inflammatory), addiction, and anxiety. Speak to your doctor and make sure that taking CBD won’t interfere with any of your prescription medications or supplements.
Unlike medications that are often prescribed by doctors, such as Hydrocodone (prescribed 127,859,000 times in 2017), Oxycodone/OxyContin (16,440,000), and Morphine sulfate (9,658,000), CBD consumption is by no means limited to consuming a capsule. CBD comes in many forms like CBD edibles, beverages, topicals, tinctures, and more. You can read more about ways to take CBD oil in the next section.
It’s always important to be well informed on how remedies work and the effects that they may have on your body. Again, speak with your doctor before using CBD, especially if you are currently taking other medications, and see if it’s the right thing for you.
CBD oil – whether in its isolated, full-spectrum-, or broad-spectrum form – can be baked into edibles for slow-releasing effects, vaporized for fast symptomatic relief, spritzed onto the tongue for quick absorption into the bloodstream or, if you so wish, consumed in the form of a suppository or capsule. CBD can even be applied topically to affected muscles or areas of skin for localized relief in the form of topicals and lotions.
The best way to take CBD oil is going to be different for each individual depending on their preferences and needs. CBD can be delivered to your body in multiple ways, ranging from applying topical cream over your skin to eating CBD infused products. High-quality CBD products are available for users from high-quality chocolates to refreshing infused beverages. Without a doubt consuming these products is another way for users to be able to receive the medical benefits aside from the conventional ways of either vaping or taking CBD drops. There are endless possibilities with infused foods and drinks ranging from CBD coffee, to CBD candy, and even hemp seeds for smoothies.
We emphasize doing your due diligence and making it a point to only purchase CBD products that have been thoroughly lab tested.
Remember to speak with your doctor before using CBD to learn if it’s right for you, especially if you are taking prescription medications. At Veriheal, we can set up an appointment for you with a medical marijuana doctor or a cannabis coach to learn more about how cannabinoids like CBD and THC may be able to alleviate the symptoms of your condition(s).
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