Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming one of the most talked about aspects of the cannabis industry, and for good reason. People who are taking CBD have reported a great number of benefits in treating a number of symptoms including ailments that have, until recently, been treatable only with prescription drugs or synthetic cannabinoids. Cancer patients suffering from pain and nausea from chemotherapy, Alzheimer’s, seizures caused by Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Anxiety, and Depression are just a few of the notable ones. CBD’s benefits have been studied and documented extensively and the number of patients reporting improvement of their systems is growing, so what is Cannabidiol and how does it work?
Cannabidiol, as the name suggests, is a cannabinoid. Most cannabinoids come from plants like the cannabis plant but there are others that produce them as well. There are currently 3 categories of cannabinoids and it is important to understand what they are, if we are going to also understand how they work together. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are produced in plants. As mentioned above, plants like the cannabis plant and cacao plant are the most notable. Synthetic cannabinoids, are cannabinoids produced in a lab setting, by pharmaceutical companies and Endocannabinoids are produced inside your body and work with the Endocannabinoid System. Although the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System is relatively new, it was named after phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant. In 1964, researches stumbles on CBD and then THC and then, “On July 18, 1990, at a meeting of the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, Lisa Matsuda announced that she and her colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) had achieved a major breakthrough — they had pinpointed the exact DNA sequence that encodes a THC-sensitive receptor in the rat’s brain.”1 From there, further research was able to discover the two Endocannabinoids that act as neurotransmitters for the system, anandamide and 2 AG. Then the breakthrough that changed cannabinoid research, the discovery that the same receptors that exist in rats also exist in almost every living animal on the planet, including humans. “By using a plant that has been around for thousands of years, we dis- covered a new physiological system of immense importance,” says Raphael Mechoulam, the dean of the transnational cannabinoid research community. “We wouldn’t have been able to get there if we had not looked at the plant.”2
When we look at CBD’s effects on the Endocannabinoid System, it is important to understand that anandamide and 2 AG are neurotransmitters that carry signals between receptor ends. One of CBD’s benefits is it’s ability to act as a modulator at the receptor itself. Cannabinoids strive to maintain a physiological balance and influence the system either negatively and positively, to achieve homeostasis. This means that if the receptors are inflamed and overactive, the cannabinoids try to calm the receptor and reduce inflammation. CBD, in particular, can also alter the life span of anandamide and 2 AG, leading to over production of cannabinoids and allowing them to work better. As well it has the ability to penetrate the cell walls of the receptors and influence the rate of neurotransmitter release. This is very simplified view of the Endocannabinoid System and how it works but it does give us a glance into the value of CBD to our ECS.
To get maximum benefit from CBD, you need to identify the sight of the symptom and use the delivery system that makes the most sense. CBD topicals are of great benefit to people suffering localized joint and muscle pain, because the CBD is able to penetrate the tissue directly at the site of the injury or symptom. People with psoriasis, eczema, pain, inflammation, arthritis, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia see benefits from CBD lotions, salves, and balms. The sublingual CBD delivery system most commonly used with the most benefits for people suffering from anxiety, depression, chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, side effects of Cancer treatment, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological disorders, is what is known as Full Spectrum CBD Tincture. Some CBD tinctures are suspended in products that come with amazing benefits of their own including non gmo organic Hemp Oil and Medium-Chain Triglyceride Oil, aka MCT Oil. MCT has been classified as a Superfood in it’s own right and has been shown to help with weight maintenance, it’s ability to lower blood sugar, increase nutrient absorption, improve athletic performance, and is a natural anti-convulsant. When combined with CBD, these benefits are increased.
Dosing of CBD can also influences its benefits and is currently one of the least understood aspects of taking CBD. Part of the problem lies in the bioavailability of certain products, which is the measure of the amount of CBD, or other medication, that reaches our blood stream. Taking any supplement orally, subjects it to digestive enzymes and fluids that start to break down the medication, before it can reach the blood stream. Taking CBD tablets and capsules, although they have benefits, don’t produce the full amount of CBD you are taking. Taking CBD tincture or vaping CBD are proven to be the best delivery methods, getting CBD directly into the blood stream. Vaping delivers CBD faster than sublingual (under the tongue) application but it’s benefits have been proven to fade faster than CBD oil topicals or tincture. At this point, the only delivery systems that are more effective than straight injection are sublingually applied tincture or topically applied to skin. Dosing depends a lot on the weight of the person taking CBD, as well as the ailment that you are taking it for. Another variable is CBD’s affinity to bind to other receptors in the body, beyond just the Endocannabinoid System. In smaller doses, CBD will centre it’s effects on the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS, however, it will bind to others, adding to its effectiveness overall. So, not taking too much and taking too little can hinder the effects that CBD has on your system. Just remember that you cannot overdose on CBD, however, you do get to a level where more CBD in your system is of no added benefit.
Approximate dosages are posted below with the low ranges considered a starting point for fine tuning based on individual requirements.
The following chart from Mayo Clinic provides specific dosage recommendations for various illnesses:
Loss of Appetite in Cancer Patients: 2.5mg of THC (orally), with or without 1mg of CBD for six weeks.
Chronic Pain: 2.5-20mg of CBD [with or without THC] (orally).
Epilepsy: 200-300mg of CBD (orally) daily.
Movement Problems Due to Huntington’s Disease: 10mg of CBD per kg of body weight daily for six weeks (orally).
Sleep Disorders: 40mg-160mg of CBD (orally).
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms: Cannabis plant extracts containing 2.5-120 milligrams of a THC/CBD combination daily for 2-15 weeks. Patients typically use eight sprays within any three hours, with a maximum of 48 sprays in any 24-hour period.
Schizophrenia: 40-1,280mg oral CBD daily.
Glaucoma: A single sublingual CBD dosage of 20-40mg (>40 mg may increase eye pressure).