What are CBD Oils?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oils are created by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and hemp seed oil. As the name suggests, CBD oil is made solely of cannabidiol – a naturally occurring chemical compound in the cannabis plant.
CBD oils lack any psychoactive effects when consumed. This is due to the absence of the psychoactive chemical compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in its composition. In some compositions, THC can be present, although usually in trace amounts. Generically, any cannabis oil which contains higher concentrations of CBD in comparison to THC is referred to as CBD oil.
It is important to note that as long as CBD is in a higher concentration, the oil will produce little to no psychoactive effects – even with the presence of THC.
CBD oil. Source
A brief note on CBD
The cannabis plant contains over 113 naturally occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids, the two most popular of which are the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol and non-psychoactive cannabidiol. To date, there have been no clinical studies on the effects of CBD on the body. However, there is significant anecdotal evidence on the therapeutic benefits of the substance. CBD has been cited as a natural treatment for a number of conditions ranging from chronic pain to anxiety, epilepsy, even cancer symptoms and more.
How CBD oils work: Understanding the endocannabinoid system
In order to understand how cannabidiol affects the human body, one would need to understand the Endocannabinoid System – or ECS.The Endocannabinoid System is a neurotransmitter network that interacts with cannabinoids produced by the human body. These human produced cannabinoids are called endocannabinoids, and they interact with the ECS via receptors known as cannabis receptors. This interaction regulates the internal environment of human bodies in order to maintain balance – a state known as homeostasis.
The ECS regulates bodily functions such as:
- Pleasure; and
- Motor control.
The ECS contains two main types of cannabis receptors:
- Cannabis Receptor 1 (CB1) – CB1 receptors are primarily located in the nervous system and brain. They can also be found in the lungs, liver, and kidneys. CB1 receptors primarily interact with our natural endocannabinoids as well as the cannabinoid, THC. These receptors can interact with THC due to its similar molecular structure with endocannabinoids. The interaction of these chemical compounds is known to alleviate nausea, pain, and depression, amongst other conditions.
- Cannabis Receptor 2 (CB2) – CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system. They can also be found in heavy concentrations in the spleen and gastrointestinal system. In similar manner to the CB1 receptors, the CB2 receptors interact with the endocannabinoid 2-AG and, more importantly, cannabidiol. This interaction works to regulate bodily functions such as appetite and immune system function.
The cannabinoids present in CBD oils interact with the CB2 receptors present in the endocannabinoid system. These interactions influence bodily functions. CBD oils are able to aid in the treatment of numerous ailments by impacting the CB2 receptors. Some of these ailments include:
- Chronic pain;
- Mental health disorders including anxiety and depression;
- Epilepsy; and
A small University of Colorado School of Medicine study by Dr. Margaret Gedde suggests a reduction in seizures in highly refractive pediatric epilepsy patients exposed to a cannabis treatment. Source
How can CBD oils be administered?
CBD oils can be administered in three major ways:
- Orally – Infused into food and drinks.
- Topically – Applied directly to the affected area.
- Sublingually – Applied under the tongue.
CBD oils interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce effects. Specifically, CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which results in the therapeutic effects that have come to be associated with the component. According to several studies, CBD aids in the treatment of ailments such as chronic pain, mental health disorders, epilepsy and more. Albeit the anecdotal evidence available, no clinical studies have been forthcoming so far. However, there is hardly any denial of the therapeutic effects of CBD products and it has become even more easily accepted than its THC counterpart, given its lack of psychoactive effects.