CBD is currently a fad treatment that is piquing our curiosity and filling our junk mail boxes.
But is it useful?
What is it?
CBD is Cannabidiol.
CBD is a cannabinoid that is found in hemp and marijuana. The main cannabinoid of marijuana is THC, which is psychoactive. Marijuana has been breed to be high in THC and low in CBD.
Hemp's cannabinoid is mainly CBD.
This conversation isn't about marijuana. It's about CBD.
CBD derived from hemp is a legal herbal extract. Hemp has a long history and uses ranging from a source of essential fats to the USS constitution having 120,000 pounds of hemp fiber in it's rigging.
In 2018, growing hemp in the United States became legal (again). For some time, hemp has been grown in other countries and has been a source of hemp oil, fibers and CBD. This is great news because industrial hemp is a great crop that can be used for health, biofuels, clothing, plastic, paper... but I digress again.
In our brain we have neurotransmitter chemicals. These chemicals help carry information between nerves. There are multiple neurotransmitters and each has it's own information it likes to share. For instance serotonin is the “happy” neurotransmitter. Epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are adrenalines, are the “fight or flight” neurotransmitters. Dopamine is the “reward satisfied' neurotransmitter. Gaba says relax!
Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters!
Cannabinoids also happen to communicate information between our immune cells and our nerves.
We have cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, including on our nerves and immune system cells. It's likely there are more cannabinoid receptors to be found.
We make endocannabinoids. These are cannabinoids that come from our own nerves. CBD is an external cannabinoid. We have ways of modulating neurotransmitters with prescription drugs, controlled substances and supplements. For instance an antidepressant may change serotonin levels, an anti-anxiety treatment may change gaba levels, cocaine can change dopamine levels. CBD can bind to cannabinoid receptor and effectively change cannabinoid levels... which makes it a neurotransmitter modulator.
CBD has been extensively studied. Since it isn't psychoactive, it isn't controlled as a drug. That makes it easier to study for scientists. There are many things CBD has been found to do including:
• Antispasmodic: Helps to relax muscles and your intestines• Blood Vessel Relaxing: Improves circulation and reduces pressure• Nervine: Acts as a nerve calming agent and reduces seizures• Neurotransmitter Balancing: May help insomnia, anxiety and depression• Anti-Prokinetic: Slows intestinal movement down to reduce diarrhea• Anti-Inflammatory and Immune Modulating: May help pain and inflammation.
What does it do?
The problem, when something becomes a fad is that it's used for purposes outside the mechanisms of actions. Said another way, people use it wrong. The benefit to something becoming a fad is that ethical and responsible companies can get more supply at a higher quality. People have more access to a treatment that may help.
CBD also has an ideal “dose response curve.” This means each person has to find the amount that works best for them. There is no certain dose for how much a person should take. I think this dose response is related to the neurotransmitter aspect of CBD and cannabinoids in general. For example, even though serotonin is the “happy” neurotransmitter, too much serotonin is depressing and can be fatal! I'm not saying CBD will have this same effect, I'm just illustrating that neurotransmitter levels are specific to balance, and CBD is a neurotransmitter.
CBD is a fatty extract. It should be properly tested for pesticides and herbicides, since those tend to concentrate in fat. CBD should also be tested for quality, quantity and balance with other cannabinoids. Yup, there are more cannabinoids than just CBD and THC!
The way I find a person-specific dose is to suggest a liquid first. We have 2.5 mg/drop of CBD extract. I suggest using 2.5 to 25 milligrams put into a cap. Once you know your dose, you can buy premade caps, liquids or extracts to achieve that dose.
I suggest and sell CBD for the specific actions it has. As a Naturopath, I believe that the body has the ability to heal itself. We need to support that process and CBD can help with nerve and immune function and symptom suppression, such as nerve irritation and seizures during a Lyme treatment.
Anecdotally, people have told me that they are using CBD for insomnia, anxiety, nerve irritation, pain, and stress. As with any treatment, I'm into it if it's reasonable, safe, well made, and solves or helps your specific problems. I think CBD is worth trying for certain immune and neurologic issues. I do not think CBD is the panacea for all problems, but used wisely, it can certainly help people.
CBD is another tool in our tool kit to modulate neurotransmitters and help our body balance and heal itself.
Our CBD options include• Topical cream for pain• Topical “Ultimate Healing Salve” for painful injuries and wound healing like burns• Oral CBD liquid. 2.5 mg/drop. 1500mg/ounce• Oral CBD caps: various potencies