Frequently Asked Questions
CBD is the acronym for CannaBiDiol, one of many cannabinoids contained in the Hemp plant. There are over 480 natural compounds and in excess of 100 cannabinoids identified in the Hemp plant. CBD is the second most prevalent active compound found in cannabis behind another cannabinoid called THC - TetraHydroCannabinol (or Delta-9-THC). THC is the psychoactive compound and by law, hemp must not contain THC above 0.3%. Both of these cannabinoids are the most widely studied. Cannabinoids produced by plants such as Hemp are known as phytocannabinoids.
In addition, cannabinoids are also naturally made in the body. These are called endocannabinoids or endogenous cannabinoids and are designed to ensure that the body functions normally and are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. These receptors are found throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS - a system in the body known as the EndoCannabinoid System - needs to take action. The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC. Whilst experts haven’t yet determined exactly how it works or all of its potential functions, they believe that the primary role of the ECS is maintaining homeostasis – the stability of your internal environment.
Cannabinoids can work better together than they do in isolation and this is known as the “Entourage Effect”. The entourage effect was first described by Raphael Mechoulam, a renowned Israeli cannabis chemist. Mechoulam is credited as the foremost innovator and pioneer of cannabis research. The term coined by Mechoulam refers to how the different compounds within cannabis synergise to influence a wide variety of outcomes on the body. Mechoulam and his team of researchers published their findings in 1998 in the European Journal of Pharmacology. In this study, Mechoulam et al describe the intricate ways in which different compounds within cannabis seem to work in concert to give the plant its distinct effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both naturally occurring compounds found in plants in the cannabis genus. Known as phytocannabinoids, these compounds interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the endocannabinoid system present in all mammalian species. CBD was first isolated in 1940 whilst THC was isolated in 1964 by the preeminent cannabis scientist Raphael Mechoulam. At the most fundamental level, THC and CBD are different because of their differing physiological effects. CBD is non-psychotropic and therefore does not illicit a “high” whereas THC is psychotropic and is the only known cannabis-derived compound to illicit a “high”.
It is widely reported that CBD has very positive effects on people suffering from a variety of ailments. Anecdotal evidence and reports suggest that sleep, anxiety and depression and other complex conditions have been greatly helped by taking CBD from a tincture orally or in capsule form.
For example, In June 2018, the US FDA approved Epidolex (a plant based formulation of CBD) to treat seizures of people 2 years of age and older with Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS) which are two severe forms of epilepsy.
Many other studies both on animals and humans have overwhelmingly concluded that CBD has immuno suppressive and anti-inflammatory properties which may make it a good choice for some auto-immune conditions or inflammation related complaints
Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body embedded in the cell membranes. They are responsible for regulating multiple processes that we experience daily including mood, appetite, memory and pain sensation. When they are activated, it can be by naturally occurring endocannabinoids, as well as by the phytocannabinoids.
There are two major cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2 (Researchers speculate there may be a third cannabinoid receptor waiting to be discovered.)
CB1 receptors: CB1 receptors are concentrated in the brain and central nervous system but also sparsely populate other parts of our bodies. CB1 receptors deal with thinking, mood,appetite, memories, pain, emotion, movement, coordination, and several other functions.
CB2 receptors: CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs especially cells associated with the immune system. CB2 receptors affect inflammation and pain.
Scientists once believed that CBD attached to the CB2 receptors, but new studies have indicated that CBD does not attach directly to either receptor. Instead, it’s believed that CBD influences the endocannabinoid system indirectly and it is through this activity that scientists believe CBD helps with inflammation and pain relief.
There is still a lot to study when it comes to the endocannabinoid system and CBD.However, it’s clear that CBD has a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system and can be useful in treating a multitude of different medical conditions. Research into the possible applications of CBD is growing and this will make an even larger impact on medicine and health into the future.
Hemp is the common name for a variety of the fibre plant Cannabis Sativa. It is the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana. To be classified as hemp, a cannabis plant cannot contain more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). Because both are cannabis, many people mistakenly think that hemp and marijuana are the same, when they are not
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signalling system in the human body identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC and CBD. Endocannabinoids are those produced in the body by mammals (including dogs and cats). Both types of cannabinoids are linked to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Phyto-cannabinoids are able to interact with our body’s natural systems because their make-ups and behaviours mimic endo-cannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are synthesized on demand by our own bodies. Phyto-cannabinoids have been found to inhibit the breakdown of endocannabinoids and prolong endocannabinoid action.
Experts are still trying to fully understand the ECS. But so far, we know it plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes, including, sleep, mood, appetite, memory reproduction and fertility. The ECS exists and is active in your body even if you don’t use cannabis. The ECS involves three core components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
Endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, and are molecules made by your body. Experts have identified two key endo-cannabinoids so far:
anandamide (AEA)2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action.
There are two main endocannabinoid receptors:
CB1 receptors, which are mostly found in the central nervous systemCB2 receptors, which are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells
Endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor. The effects that result depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to.
For example, endocannabinoids might target CB1 receptors in a spinal nerve to relieve pain. Others might bind to a CB2 receptor in your immune cells to signal that your body’s experiencing inflammation, a common sign of autoimmune disorders. The ECS is complicated, and experts haven’t yet determined exactly how it works or all of its potential functions. These functions all contribute to homeostasis, which refers to stability of your internal environment. For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation which is the primary role of the ECS.
In 1940, a team from Illinois University isolated CBD for the first time, bringing to life the fact that there were active compounds in the cannabis plant that did not contain the psychoactive qualities commonly associated with the plant. In the 1970s, following the war on drugs and the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana became difficult for scientists, doctors, and any other persons to obtain. The Act established various “schedules” that drugs and substances were placed in, varying according to potential benefits, potential for abuse and more, with Schedule 1 as the most restrictive.Marijuana fell into this category.
In the 1980s and ’90s, CBD started to gain more interest, for pain-relieving qualities that were independent of the negative effects associated and documented with THC usage. In 1998, a British pharmaceutical group, GW Pharmaceuticals, began official medical trials to better understand the capabilities of CBD. This early research led to international studies conducted by numerous medical societies around the world.
A significant milestone in the CBD story was when an Israeli researcher, Raphael Mechoulam, began to uncover the chemistry behind multiple cannabinoids around 50 years ago, specifically, how to isolate individual cannabinoids like THC and CBD from the plant as a whole. This allowed for additional research. Mechoulam received numerous international awards for his research that helped bring the medical benefits of CBD to the forefront.
Through these studies, various observations were noted, including lower pain levels, fewer seizures in epileptic patients and even lower levels of anxiety in those prone to it. Cultivation on a small scale of low-THC, high-CBD crops and products began. Furthermore, evidence of the way CBD interacts with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) became clear (and promising, since CBD does not create the same intoxicating, psychoactive effects as traditional marijuana and THC).
As technology increased the spread of information, interest in the potential for CBD use in the medical setting continued to grow, as people began to push for the right to treat chronic conditions and pain – especially in terminal conditions.
CBD has come a long way since. It’s potential for medical use and therapeutic use, along with the treatment of various medical conditions is more than promising based on anecdotal and clinical evidence.