CBD works by attaching itself to specific receptors of the body’s own endocannabinoid system. The human body is known to produce cannabinoids of its own, which affect the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are generally found in the brain, and deal with pain, mood and emotions, movement, appetite, among others. THC acts upon the CB1 receptors. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are more commonly found throughout the immune system, affecting inflammation and thus pain. CBD is thought to act upon these receptors, by influencing the body to produce its own cannabinoids in order to rebalance itself.
CBD is well tolerated in humans with doses up to 600 mg not resulting in psychotic symptoms (15). In the few small placebo-controlled studies performed, no significant CNS effects were noted. Oral CBD undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism via CYP3A4, with a bioavailability of 6%. Following single doses in humans, the half-life of CBD when taken orally is about 1 to 2 days.1 In vitro studies have shown that CBD is a potent inhibitor of multiple CYP isozymes, including CYP 2C and CYP3A (16, 17). Whether these in vitro observations are relevant at plasma concentrations likely to be seen in patients is unclear. In addition, given its metabolism via CYP3A4, clinical trials of CBD in patients receiving enzyme-inducing AEDs, such as carbamazepine or phenytoin, will require detailed pharmacokinetic studies.
The review evaluated how targeting the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) could impact colitis. The ECS is a biological system within mammals that is made up of three components: cannabinoid receptors (the things that receive chemical signals outside the cell), endocannabinoids (small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors), and metabolic enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after they are used.
But because all these products are illegal according to the federal government, cannabis advocates are cautious. “By and large, the federal government is looking the other way,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the Washington, DC–based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), but until federal laws are changed, “this administration or a future one could crack down on people who produce, manufacture, or use CBD, and the law would be on its side.”
Cannabidiol hemp oil, or CBD hemp oil, is made from high-CBD and low-THC hemp, unlike medical marijuana derivatives that often contain high quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD hemp oil, a natural botanical extract of the common hemp plant, is therefore non-psychoactive. And, whereas in the cannabis plant CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid after THC; in hemp it dominates the cannabinoid makeup, as THC is found only in trace amounts. CBD’s myriad of health benefits, however, are still present.
Another field in which CBD is creating a buzz is in the area of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Both conditions have been treated with a variety of medications, courtesy of Big Pharma, that have had varying levels of success. Again, the long list of side effects can be off-putting to someone who just wants to get through the day without the sweaty tension of anxiety or the gray haze of depression.
Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.