Masters of Health Magazine April 2019 - Page 81

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Silvia Nakkach

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of ingredients called cannabinoids. Until recently, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was getting most of the attention because it’s the ingredient in cannabis that produces intoxicating effects in users. But CBD is also present in high concentrations — and the medical world is realizing that its list of medical benefits continues to grow.

CBD is the major non-euphorigenic component of Cannabis sativa. According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD benefits include acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent. It serves as a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Research is beginning to show that CBD is different than other well-studied cannabinoids. All cannabinoids act as ligands, meaning they dock onto the binding site of a protein and have the ability to modulate a receptor’s behavior. CB1 receptors are widely distributed, but are particularly abundant in areas of the brain, including those concerned with movement, coordination, pain and sensory perception, emotion, memory, cognition, autonomic and endocrine functions.

CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system, and they seem to reduce inflammation and certain kinds of pain. Although cannabinoids all have similar structures, they display a wide array of actions at each of the different receptor sites.

However, scientists are finding out that CBD has very little effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors, which probably explains why it doesn’t have the same mind-altering effects as THC, the compound that positively regulates the CB1 receptor. That’s why most cannabis grown for recreational purposes are typically very low in CBD and high in THC.

THC does come with a long list of health benefits, too, but the clinical use of this cannabis compound is often limited by its unwanted psychoactive side effects in people. For this reason, interest in non-intoxicating phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, has substantially increased in recent years. In fact, CBD is being used to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as paranoia and memory impairment.

CBD also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC. This is what makes CBD so appealing to the medical community, as the cause of psychoactive side effects has been a major barrier in the acceptance of “medical marijuana.” While THC is known to cause anxiety and paranoia in some people, CBD works to counteract those side effects. For this reason, CBD oil’s benefits extend to being used in clinical trials on young children with epilepsy.

Side note: In our CBD articles, we use the term cannabis to describe this plant rather than “marijuana” because of the latter’s racist history. During the Prohibition Era in the U.S., this exotic-sounding marijuana word (which potentially dates back to Aztec times) was used by prohibitionists to emphasize its foreignness … and they went on to create many racist, xenophobic memes in regard to cannabis’ supposed influences. In fact, the idea that cannabis is considered addictive and dangerous rather than herbal and holistic continues to today, as this stigma still plays a role in preventing cannabis legalization efforts in the U.S.