CBD Education

What is CBD?

CBD is one of 400 different compounds produced by the cannabis plant. Out of these 400 compounds, approximately 60-70 are unique to the plant genus cannabis which scientists call cannabinoids. CBD is one of these cannabinoids and exerts its medicinal and therapeutic effects by interacting with our Endocannabinoid System. CBD is non-intoxicating and as such cannot get you high.

CBD has two main sources from which it is principally derived, hemp plants and marijuana plants. CBD from industrial hemp (and industrially grown Cannabis Sativa plant principally grown for fiber and seed) has less than 0.03% associated THC. CBD derived from marijuana plants may have associated THC levels ranging from 0.03% all the way up to as much as 15-20% in some hybrids. In a marijuana illegal state your CBD will principally be hemp derived. The general consensus is that CBD derived from marijuana is more potent and effective, the entourage effect, or that multiple cannabinoids work better than one in isolation. Extracting CBD from cannabis flower keeps the other cannabinoids intact which is why most manufacturers and individuals prefer it. Simply stated, the flower of the cannabis plant is richer and has a wider complement of cannabinoids compared to an industrial hemp plant for which most of the CBD is principally derived from the stalk and leaves with few other, if any, cannabinoids.

How do we dose CBD?

This is a frequently asked question and a source of significant confusion. A few things are very clear. First, everyone is different with respect to what amount product provide stem with the therapeutic response they are looking for. Secondly, CBD-containing products will come in a variety of concentrations and forms, such as, tincture’s, vapes, sprays, beverages, and creams all of which will have different absorption, bioavailability and time of onset with regards to effect. Some preparations will work better and faster than others creating the variability in dosing between different methods of CBD usage.

The general consensus is to start at a conservative low dose gradually increasing the dose until you experience you’re desired result. CBD products have, as part of the labeling process, a starting dose and it is important to note that dosing evenly and consistently throughout the day (except for sleep products) will provide a more uniform even level of product for therapeutic purposes.

What is the Endocannabinoids system?

The Endocannabinoid System is a body wide surveillance and signaling system designed to keep us in good health. As a system, its discovery in the late 1980s occurred while researching how THC exerts its effects in the body.

The Endocannabinoid System monitors our intracellular and extracellular chemistry and responds to changes that might occur as a result of disease, illness or injury. When these changes occur, the Endocannabinoid System initiates, on demand, the production of certain molecules (called Endocannabinoids) which send out biological signals designed to improve the situation and bring us back into good health.

Learn more

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors. Think of cannabinoids as a key and receptors as a lock. When the key enters the lock with the right fit the lock turns resulting in a biological signal. That signal could be to decrease pain perception, lower blood pressure, manage inflammation, reduce anxiety or increase appetite just to name a few. Cannabinoids are divided into 3 main types. The first type of cannabinoid are Phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are those produced and concentrated in the resinous glands of the Cannabis Sativa plant of which approximately 113 have been identified to date. The second group of cannabinoids are Endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are a group of cannabinoids produced in almost every organism in the animal kingdom, is naturally produced, and binds with cannabinoid receptors forming our Endocannabinoid System. The third type of cannabinoids are synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are, as stated, fully synthetic or created in the lab. The most common synthetic cannabinoid would be Dronabinol which is a synthetic delta 9 THC under the trade or brand-name of Marinol.

How does CBD work?

CBD is a cannabinoid, which is a compound, and is able to lock or bind to certain sites on cell surfaces. The cell surface binding interaction between the CBD and the receptors will result in some modification of that cells activity, unique to that individual cell type. A few examples of these modifications may include 1. CBD binding to receptors on the surface of immune cells to decrease cytokine production resulting in decreased inflammation. 2. CBD binding serotonin receptors to help modulate depression. 3. CBD binding to Central nervous system cannabinoid receptors to modulate the effects of THC. 4. CBD binding to receptors at nerve cell synapses to modulate nerve conduction. 5. CBD supplementing our natural Endocannabinoid levels during states of deficiency. 6. CBD’s ability to modulate certain enzyme activity to increase our natural Endocannabinoid levels specifically and Anandamide. This is but a few of the multitude of activities and functions that CBD performs in the body to help keep us in our best state of health.

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of atoms, molecules, and compounds reducing their scale to between 1 and 100 nanometers (1 inch equals 25,400,000 nm). The benefits of nano scale reduction are the dramatic increase in the properties of your product. For cannabinoids like CBD, nanosizing results in a significantly wider distribution of product throughout the body, increased speed of delivery, and improved stability in solution. Nanotechnology allows CBD, an oil, to be soluble in water for CBD infused beverages.

Why is nanotechnology important with CBD?

Principally because of improved bioavailability, distribution in the tissue, delivery and stability. Cannabinoids, like CBD, are not water soluble which substantially decreases the absorption and bioavailability of CBD after ingestion. Nanotechnology as applied to CBD, encapsulates the CBD increasing its solubility in water and dramatically improving its delivery to target cells. This is a powerful way to overcome CBD’s poor solubility, poor stability and rapid illumination from the body.

What is the difference between Hemp and marijuana plants?

To be simple the answer is very little. Both marijuana and Hemp come from the plant species Cannabis Sativa L. Years of breeding have resulted in the emergence of 2 plants, one used for medicinal and spiritual purposes and the other for agriculture and industrial uses. The trichomes or resin glans of the marijuana plant produce the psychoactive precursors of THC that we recognize as marijuana.

Industrial hemp is grown principally for seed and fiber used in food, clothing, construction and manufacturing that contains less than 0.3% THC. Physically, the marijuana plant is shorter and wider as opposed to the hemp plant which is taller and considerably narrower. The hemp plant priority is not flower or bud production but fiber production.

What is beta-caryophyllene?

Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene, specifically, a sesquiterpene. This primary terpene is found in high concentrations and a major constituent of pepper as well as hops, rosemary and cannabis. Beta-caryophyllene is one of the first terpene’s to be designated as a cannabinoid that can selectively bind to the CB2 to receptor of the Endocannabinoid System. Beta -caryophyllene is thought to have a meaningful entourage with cannabis-based extracts.

What is Humulene?

Humulene is a sesquiterpene characteristic of hops. This terpene is also found and cannabis, sage, ginseng and is also known as alpha caryophyllene or the alpha isomer of beta-caryophyllene? This terpene has similarly been shown to have a powerful entourage effect with other cannabinoid extracts and is a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic used either topically, orally or by aerosol.

What does live resin mean?

Live resin refers to the use of fresh or fresh frozen hole cannabis flower as opposed to the buds that had been dried and cured. Fresh cannabis flower preserves a high terpene content and more of a fresh plant terpene profile than cured bud extract. The oils from a fresh plant capture a much more unique aroma lost in the natural curing or drawing process. Live resins have a considerably higher content of monoterpenes (as opposed to sesquiterpene’s). Curing can result in a 50-55% loss of the essential oils, for which terpene’s makeup a considerable content. The monoterpenes seen in higher concentrations in live resins include myrcene, limonene, terpinolene and linalool. The monoterpenes are those terpenes with a later more floral aroma. The sesquiterpenes are heavier terpenes, such as beta caryophyllene and Humulene, which provided a heavier scent and strong aroma such as pepper, oregano and hops. As a general rule, live resins are approximately 2% richer in monoterpenes but 11% less rich in the sesquiterpenes. There is no more THC in live versus non-live resins. It clearly comes down to the terpene profile that principally explains the fresher flavor profile.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes refer to the wide variety of chemicals and compounds found in plants of which approximately 140 or more are unique to the cannabis plant and belong to a large class of volatile aromatic Hydro carbons. Terpenes are found in highest concentration in the unfertilized female cannabis flower and are synthesized in the secretory cells inside the glandular trichomes. These aromatic terpenes likely exist in the plant, is a natural protectant against bacteria or fungus and likely protect the plan from insects and other environmental stresses. Terpenes are the essential building blocks of complex plant hormones, molecules, pigment and even cannabinoids. Most important and apparent is that terpenes are responsible for the aroma of plants in general and specifically the cannabis plant.

An example of some of the more common terpenes would be myrcene which has a musky clove aroma, pinene which gives the pine smell to pine trees and conifers, limonene which has a characteristically lemon smell and found in high concentrations in the vines of citrus fruits to name a few. Terpene profiles are what allowed chemists to manipulate the medicinal value of cannabis varietals. Myrcene, a monoterpene, is the most common terpene in cannabis accounting for up to 60% of the glandular oils.

Its aroma is characteristically musky, earthy and herbal. Myrcene is also found in non-cannabis sources such as hops, citrus fruits, Bay leaves, Eucalyptus and thyme.

Is there a difference between terpene’s and terpenoids?

Although used interchangeably, these compounds are in fact not the same. Terpenoids have been denatured by oxidation. Curing negatively impacts the overall terpene profile and aroma.

Can I take CBD at work?

CBD is 100% non-intoxicating and can very safely be used during periods of work and recreation. It is important to recognize that even CBD derived from hemp may have a small but present THC content, and if your workplace subjects you to random drug testing, it may cause you to have a positive test result. Under these circumstances, you may wish to source a CBD product where the CBD added is an isolate (pure CBD) as opposed to a full spectrum product.

It is also important to realize that some preparations of CBD will have more or less terpenes and secondary cannabinoids which may affect how you feel and how well the product works for you. CBD products can be alerting or sedating and is dependent upon the overall profile of the product not the CBD itself. CBD ingredients can vary considerably and significantly impact your experience. It would be a smart habit to carefully evaluate the certificate of analysis (COA) that accompanies your product as well as be aware of the other product ingredients listed to guide you in your product choice.

Is CBD safe?

CBD is very safe with no known toxicity. However, it is important to recognize that CBD can interfere with the body’s mechanisms used to metabolize certain prescription medications. As a result of this interaction, it would be important to ensure that the prescription medications you are taking are not affected by your CBD usage. There are no CBD receptors in the respiratory center of the brain and so unlike narcotics, there is no potential for respiratory depression. It is also known that high doses which would typically be in excess of what most of us would take on a daily basis, may have side effects such as diarrhea, malaise, fatigue, and decreased appetite.

What is CBDA and THCA?

The cannabinoids, THCA and CBDA, are the acidic precursors to the well-known metabolites THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid and CBD, the primary non-psychoactive cannabinoid. THCA and CBDA are found most abundantly in fresh cannabis. THCA and CBDA decarboxylate the acidic molecular element by smoking, vaping, heated extraction and the curing process. This decarboxylation results in the conversion of THCA and CBDA to THC and CBD respectively. THCA is therapeutically valuable, however, in this form it is non-psychoactive.

Do CBDA and THCA have any therapeutic value?

Until recently THCA and CBDA were not considered to be pharmacologically active. Nor were THCA and CBDA thought to survive inhalation or digestion within the gastrointestinal tract. Recent studies have been able to demonstrate measurable levels of THCA and CBDA after inhalation and/or oral ingestion as well as measurable binding activity at certain receptor sites.

What is known about THCA and CBDA?

THCA and CBDA lack any intoxicating effects. Smoking cannabis yields approximately 30% conversion of THCA to THC whereas other methods such as cooking or heated extraction yields 70-90% conversion of THCA and CBDA to their respective metabolites THC and CBD. THCA and CBDA, independent of any other phytocannabinoids, may provide significant anti-nausea and anti-vomiting effects likely mediated through serotonin receptors. CBDA and THCA show varying degrees of both COX- 1 and COX-2 blocking thereby decreasing pain and inflammation.

Interestingly, common pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Naprosyn, indomethacin, and diclofenac all contain a carboxylic acid group and work as nonselective COX-1 andCOX-2 inhibitors.

What is a full spectrum CBD oil?

A full spectrum CBD oil is an extract product that has not undergone the refinement process necessary to isolate CBD. This oil will contain other dominant cannabinoids that complement CBD which would be partially inclusive of CBDA, CBDV, CBC, CBG, and CBN. A full spectrum oil would also maintain a more robust terpene and flavonoid profile. Multiple cannabinoids working together are thought to provide a synergistic effect or, entourage effect, enhancing the beneficial effects of CBD alone.

What are flavonoids?

Flavonoid’s are biologically active water-soluble plant compounds that give all of the non-green color to the Plant Kingdom. Flavonoid’s, also called phytonutrients, have been shown to possess powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory as well as immune system benefits. A few more familiar flavonoids are catechin found in green tea, cacao, and quercetin in found in fruits, vegetables and the cannabis plant. Flavonoids, unique to the cannabis plant, are called Cannaflavins of which the 3 most studied include Cannaflavin A, Cannaflavin B, and Cannaflavin C. Cannaflavin A is known to inhibit PGE-2 a prostaglandin responsible for inflammation and shown in some studies to be more powerful than aspirin as an anti-inflammatory. Flavonoids contribute to the entourage effect in full spectrum hemp oils by virtue of their ability to work in conjunction and synergistically with other cannabinoids and terpenes.

What is the entourage effect?

Simply stated, the multitude of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoid’s and other components of the cannabis plant work better together than they work in isolation. For example, a pure CBD isolate devoid of other cannabinoids or terpenes will be less effective than a CBD extract rich in other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.

Why is MCT oil used in the CBD products?

MCT oil stands for medium chain triglycerides. CBD, as all cannabinoids, are lipophilic (fat loving) and are fat soluble. MCT oil is utilized as a carrier oil for CBD and other cannabinoids to ensure the cannabinoids remain in a dissolved state and help facilitate better absorption and utilization after oral delivery.

With respect to its physical properties, MCT oil is a shorter length triglyceride which helps to improve both digestion and absorption. 50% of coconut fat comes from its medium chain triglycerides content. Of the approximately 4 types of MCT oil the most commonly used are caprylic acid and capric acid.

The benefits of MCT oil as a popular carrier can be summed up as follows: MCT oil in moderation can promote weight loss principal by its release of 2 hormones, peptide Y Y and leptin. MCT oil has roughly 10% fewer calories than longer chain triglycerides and can be utilized as a near instantaneous source of energy by virtue of its ability to be converted to ketones as usable fuel. MCT has also been shown to optimize good digestive system bacteria. MCT may also modestly help with epileptic seizures by virtue of its ability to be broken down into ketones which are known to decrease the frequency of epileptic seizures. MCT oil may also have a small but helpful effect in improving Alzheimer symptoms and possibly autism again through its ability to generate ketones which act as an immediate source of brain fuel under conditions of low fat and carbohydrate intake.

8 points for shopping CBD products

  1. Decide why you want to use CBD and in what form. The most popular consumer uses are to lessen anxiety, as an anti-inflammatory and as a pain reliever. There are a host of advantages, disadvantages as well as likes and dislikes for all methods of CBD usage. CBD can now be found in tinctures, beverages, edibles, sprays, topicals and as vapes.
  2. Consider how much if any THC the product contains. The true THC content may not be accurate if any products to adjust for viscosity were added after lab testing. Be careful to ensure that your product is THC free if you are employed where random or mandatory drug testing takes place. The intoxicating effects may be undesirable and, in some instances, unsafe for some people such as the elderly.
  3. For hemp products find out, if possible, if the plant was sourced from an organic or non-organic farm. Ask questions about the country of origin as growing standards very considerably from country to country.
  4. Ask for test results or a Certificate Of Analysis (COA) every time. The accompanying COA will always be your assurance of quality, purity, and ascertain the presence or absence of contaminants like pesticides, metals and solvents.
  5. Look for products that list CBD quantity per dose. To properly dose one needs to know how much CBD they are ingesting per unit dose. For a tincture, for example, the amount per cc. For an edible, the amount per individual gummy or perhaps individual mint. For a vape product, the amount of CBD per metered inhalation.
  6. Know what other terms on the label mean. Other ingredients in your CBD product can have a profound impact on the experience. Additives to CBD can offer an experience that may be sedating alerting or have little to no change on how you feel. For people with allergies is important to scrutinize the label for potential triggers or allergens. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, or what it means, look it up. That is just being a smart consumer.
  7. Avoid products making sweeping health claims. The CBD space is an unregulated industry and it is imperative to be smart and well educated about what these products can do for you. There are unfortunately many companies preying on consumer’s lack of education often times making claims about disease treatment which are simply not true. As a general rule, the best companies will avoid statements with respect to treatment of disease.
  8. Be a smart consumer when shopping for vape products. In general, avoid ingredient lists containing propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and/or MCT as these may all have potentially harmful breakdown products during heating. Quality cartridges will contain cannabis or hemp extract with the addition of cannabis derived terpenes to improve taste and aroma. A better vape will come with a more premium price but a fresh frozen terpene extract added to a quality distillate will provide optimal flavor with a preferred viscosity.

Current legal status the 2018 Farm Bill

The regulatory framework of the 2018 Farm Bill has not been fully implemented as yet. The implications of the 2018 Farm Bill mean at present that raw hemp, as well as, cannabinoid extracts and derivatives in their form is to be treated as an agricultural commodity and not a drug.

The 2018 Farm Bill means hemp will be regulated by the US Department of Agriculture and not the drug enforcement agency.

The 2018 Farm Bill expressly prohibits interference with Interstate commerce of hemp and hemp products.

Before full implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill steps need to be completed by on both a state and Federal level.

Now that the US Department of Agriculture is in charge, it must create guidelines of how to implement the Farm Bill provisions.

States must submit their own plans for approval to the US Department of Agriculture.

The creation of guidelines and regulations on both a Federal and state level, including the process for approving state plans and implementing them, is months to potentially more than a year away before the 2018 Farm Bill will be in its full effect.

Until the regulatory framework of the 2018 Farm Bill is fully implemented, hemp remains covered under the existing 2014 Farm Bill and the rule of corresponding state pilot programs.

Legal update from Hoban Law Group.

The 2018 Farm Bill will effectively exclude hemp from being treated as marijuana under the controlled substances intact.

The 2018 Farm Bill means hemp will be regulated by the US Department of Agriculture and not the drug enforcement agency.

Hemp’s broader definition now includes cannabinoid derivatives and extracts.

The US Department of Agriculture regulates all cultivation at a Federal level and is instructed to implement regulations of the Farm Bill.

Individual states retain the right to enact legislation and promulgate regulation at the state and local level and must submit to the US Department of Agriculture for approval.

Tribal governments are specifically authorized to cultivate and produce hemp.

Interference with Interstate commerce of hemp products is expressly prohibited.

The 2014 version of the Farm Bill is to be repealed after allowing for this transitional period.

The Farm Bill does NOT affect the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act which provides the US food and drug administration or FDA authority to regulate permissible ingredients in ingestible products.

**(Attention turns to the FDA with respect to ensuring that hemp, its cannabinoids, including extracts containing CBD are to be treated as permissible ingredients.)