WHAT IS IT?
Cannabidiol—CBD— is a chemical that makes up one of the 113 cannabinoids discovered in cannabis plants. It was discovered in 1940 and is considered a phytocannabinoid – meaning it triggers cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. These receptors are responsible for a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. We’ve heard a great deal about CBD this past year, but why all the buzz? Well for one, it has an abundance of uses from common headaches to anxiety all the way to epilepsy. CBD also has a unique draw in that it is safe to use by almost everyone even dogs.
HEMP vs. MARIJUANA
The words “Cannabis”, “Hemp”, and “Marijuana” are used so often they are frequently interchanged causing a common misunderstanding. Cannabis, Hemp and Marijuana are not the same things. Cannabis is the family of plants that make have two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa. Marijuana can be classified as either, whereas Hemp is a member of the Cannabis Sativa family. What this means is that there are distinct and crucial differences between the two. While Hemp contains a very low concentration of THC (0.3% or less), Marijuana is abundant in THC with concentrations between 15% to 40%. Hemp is suitable for producing hundreds of crucial resources such as paper, clothing, building materials, biofuel, food products, oils and in recent years largely CBD. This distinction between the two plants is important when understanding the legality between hemp and marijuana or THC and CBD.
THC vs. CBD
While CBD is thought to account for up to 40% of the plant’s extract, it is the THC cannabinoid that gives cannabis its reputation. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is psychoactive meaning it is responsible for the mood or mind-altering effects of cannabis. CBD is not psychoactive and thus does not produce a euphoric high. THC has been used medically to help individuals for hundreds of years. Medical Marijuana (THC) has been prescribed for:
- Chronic pain (this is the most common use for medical marijuana)
- Nausea or throwing up from chemotherapy
- Seizures from epilepsy
- Stiff muscles or muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis
Scientific and clinical research—much of it sponsored by the US government—underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. Medical CBD is typically used through tinctures but other consumption methods include topical products, oil, vapor, edibles, sublingual spray, and drinks.
A recent World Health Organization (WHO) review determined that “to date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”. While still more research needs to be done on its long-term effects, the research towards its potential treatment towards a vast variety of complications looks promising.
CBD has been shown to be effective at treating a variety of complications including:
and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria.
SIDE EFFECTS of CBD
There are few negative side effects when using CBD. CBD has been shown to be effective at treating a variety of complications from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria. The most common side effects of CBD administration appear to be tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in both weight and appetite. Overdosing has been shown to be nearly impossible, and severe negative effects on the body are almost non-existent!
The major side effect takes place when CBD is mixed with other pharmaceuticals. CBD interacts with the enzyme cytochrome P450 and if a pharmaceutical drug also happens to metabolize with this enzyme it could cause metabolism complications within the liver. If you are taking prescribed medication, always talk to your doctor about using CBD. Common prescription drugs that also interact with the cytochrome P450 enzyme family are:
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (Statins)
- Calcium Channel Blockers
- HIV Antivirals
- Immune Modulators
- Beta Blockers
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
- Angiotensin II Blockers
- Oral Hypoglycemic Agents
HERE’S THE CATCH
LACK of EVIDENCE to SUPPORT HEALTH CLAIMS
Can Cannabidiol really be a panacea without any drawbacks? There is strong evidence supporting its effectiveness to treat epilepsy, but for all other uses, the evidence is thin.
LOW STANDARDS and REGULATIONS
Because CBD comes from a plant, it can be hard to regulate and therefore it makes it difficult for anyone to know exactly what they are ingesting. Limited standardization and nationwide quality assurance testing for CBD products mean that CBD found at Walmart is entirely different from the CBD at your local gas station. Your typical over-the-counter drug is made synthetically and therefore, how it is made and what it is made of can be held to a standard. Because CBD can be made and extracted differently. There are no current laws requiring one method over the other and therefore creates a large disparity between the quality of products.
Epidiolex is the only CBD medication that has been approved by the FDA and is only intended for Epilepsy. In regards to the over-the-counter CBD, there is little to no regulations. A study in 2017 led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label.
Cannabis plants obtained from uncontrolled sources can also contain contaminants. Indirect contaminants like heavy metals, molds, and bacteria, and aflatoxin can make their way into the hemp plant along with other chemicals used by growers to obtain high yields; like fertilizers, and pesticides. For instance, CBD from Asia typically returns a much higher concentration of heavy metals so it is always good to buy CBD made in the United States.
President Donald Trump legalized hemp by signing the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018. This made CBD officially federally legally to be extracted from hemp. Before this, CBD was technically illegal (from a federal standpoint) and as a result, no laws were set in place to regulate the drug. Now that CBD can be made legally our of hemp, we can demand accurate and proper labeling, reflecting in detail what each product does and does not contain, and how it was manufactured.
CBD for ADDICTION TREATMENT
CBD has been shown to be effective at treating a variety of complications from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria. Canabidiol is also non-addictive. This makes CBD a very suitable candidate for substance abuse treatment!
Drug addiction changes different aspects of the brain. Individuals who have abused drugs have a chemical imbalance that disrupts their ability to experience pleasure and other emotions normally. This inability to feel pleasure and cope with stress can cause drug cravings that persist for years, often triggering relapses.
CBD could be a potential for reducing these cravings. Some studies have found CBD to reduce cravings for both heroin and tobacco users. In one study, a group who used CBD inhalers compared to a control group smoked 40% fewer cigarettes. The ability of CBD to stop drug cravings looks promising but more studies and clinical trials are needed.
Maybe one of the main uses for CBD today is for the reduction of anxiety. There is strong evidence to support the claim that CBD can reduce negative states and overall mental health. Anxiety is one of the most common underlying causes of addiction. Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to relieve feelings of stress, discomfort, and fears. Of course, this can spiral out-of-control and the long term effects of these drugs can be detrimental. Because it is non-addictive and has very little negative side effects, CBD can be a much safer and effective way to treat stress and anxiety disorders for individuals vulnerable to abuse.
Repairs Damage to the Brain as a Result of Addiction
Long term drug abuse has been shown to cause long-term neurodegeneration. Drugs often use glutamine receptors and these receptors can be overworked and worn-out with continual use. This overactivation of glutamine receptors eventually causes neuron loss.
CBD has the ability to inhibit these glutamine receptors. This, in turn, may help alleviate some of the damage caused by addiction-related neurotoxicity. Studies have yet to be done on humans, but animal testing shows positive results for using CBD to combat alcohol-induced neurodegeneration
Possible Alternative to Addictive Opioid Medication
Another popular use for CBD is to help alleviate pain. CBD is known to affect the body’s endocannabinoid system known to effect functions like memory, mood, and pain. CBD is also a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help alleviate many things from joint pains to headaches.
Unfortunately, much of the evidence for CBD’s effects on pain management comes from animal-based research but there are many people who advocate for CBD to relieve their pain problems. Until more studies are done we will not know the full effect CBD has on pain.
Clearly, more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of CBD. Although, as of today, CBD does not seem to have any negative side effects and overdosing is nearly impossible. So, if you think CBD could be helpful to you, try it out for yourself. Make sure you are obtaining CBD from a reliable source. It can be hard to find a brand that checks off everything you need: extracted in the United States, grown without harmful chemicals, and measured/labeled consistently and accurately. Coalition Recovery offers CBD if people feel it could help them during recovery. We buy CBD from a company that holds their product to the highest standards of quality. If you have an interest in CBD treatment, call us to learn more about how we may be able to help!