The Apothecarium

Cannabinoids 101: CBD

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are partly responsible for the wide array of medicinal and psychoactive effects cannabis may provide. Currently there are over 110 known cannabinoids with more likely to be discovered as studies continue to reveal the complex molecular structures of the cannabis plant.

Cannabinoids interact with human physiology through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the set of receptors that function to regulate health and promote homeostasis throughout the body. The ECS has two primary receptors, the CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor binds primarily to the brain and nervous system, while the CB2 receptor interacts largely with the immune system. The cannabis plant relies on cannabinoids binding to these receptors to produce the array of potential benefits and effects. Each cannabinoid holds unique characteristics of their own that are worth noting in order to maximize desired effects from medicating with cannabis.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis used to treat the symptoms of conditions such as epilepsy, nausea, pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, neurodegenerative disorders, opioid withdrawal and PTSD. CBD has also demonstrated a potentially pivotal role in battling adverse side effects of chemotherapy and has shown promise in inhibiting growth in certain types of tumors.

CBD is extracted from either hemp or cannabis and found in a variety of forms, including smokable flower, edibles, tinctures, capsules, drinks, cartridges, concentrates, topicals and more. Hemp derived CBD differs from cannabis derived as it doesn’t contain any THC. The FDA recently approved the first CBD based drug called Epidiolex, an oral medication designed to control seizure related activity for two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

How does CBD work?

CBD acts as an agonist to 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), one of the body’s endogenous cannabinoids. 2-AG modulates the immune system and influences several bodily functions including mood, appetite, sleep, memory retention, and pain reception. CBD doesn’t have direct interaction with the ECS receptors but can increase the production of 2-AG, which binds directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This indirect interaction seems to account for CBD possibly counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC.

CBD is often paired with THC, and other cannabinoids and terpenes, in varying ratios to maximize the synergistic healing effects of cannabis. These two primary cannabinoids are thought to elevate each other’s properties, allowing CBD and THC to become advanced analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents, in addition to a host of other potential medical benefits and applications. Feel free to ask any of our knowledgeable patient consultants with any questions you may have.

The Research

CBD was studied as an antioxidant neuroprotective agent in March 2006, suggesting neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s may potentially benefit. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD from a September 2011 study also focused on its treatment potential for several conditions known to activate the immune system. CBD’s anticonvulsant properties were examined in a June 2012 study that demonstrated promise for a variety of seizure related disorders. A June 2015 study centered around the anti-tumor activity CBD potentially produces, showing promise to inhibit cancer cell progression and induce apoptosis. A July 2016 study looked at CBD and its potential anti-inflammatory and pain relieving potential applied topically to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.



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