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Introduction — The Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound produced by the cannabis plant, is quickly growing in popularity and headed toward mainstream acceptance. CBD oil is finding its way into a variety of products, from tinctures and drops to CBD-infused edibles and CBD balms, as well as a wide range of cosmetics. CBD oil is even becoming popular among pet owners who wish to help their pets live healthier lives.

With that clarified, let’s delve into The Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil.

How To Use This Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil

This guide is broken up into 3 sections:

  1. CBD Oil Basic Information

  2. CBD Oil and Your Health

  3. Research Studies on CBD Oil

 

In Chapter 1 we’ll discuss some basic information about CBD oil, such as what it is and where it comes from. We’ll also provide answers to some of the most frequent questions asked by new CBD users.

In Chapter 2 we’ll go into some detail about some of the ingredients in CBD oil and how they affect the human body. In Chapter 3 we’ll delve into CBD’s potential benefits.

The information in the first three chapters falls under the heading of “good to know,” but if you’re anxious to get started, it’s not required reading.

A Short History of CBD Oil

CBD oil has a long and storied past. However, as little as a quarter of a century ago, no one had ever heard of CBD. Today, modern science has identified a family of molecules known as cannabinoids as well as the human endocannabinoid system. We’re just beginning to understand how CBD affects the human body.

The History of CBD Oil in Ancient Times

The earliest written record of the use of cannabis appears in ancient China around 6000 B.C., shortly after human civilization arose, but the most direct evidence of the use of cannabis for wellness began to appear around 2700 B.C.

In 2737 B.C., as recorded in the first editions of the Pen Ts’ao Ching, Chinese emperor Shen-Nung was using cannabis in topical ointments and teas.

As time went on and human civilization progressed, writings espousing the benefits of hemp began to appear in pharmacopeias across Asia.

The use of cannabis extracts appeared in the second century B.C. in the writing of Hua Tuo.

Around A.D. 77, the Romans began using hemp extensively in the healing arts. In his writings, a scholar by the name of Pliny the Elder claimed that cannabis extract was helpful for relieving discomfort.

In India, cannabis was considered a sacred plant gifted by the gods. The Atharvaveda was considered a storehouse of knowledge that was useful for everyday life. This manuscript details the use of cannabis flowers and seeds in a variety of balms and tinctures.

Cannabis has even been found buried in the tombs of Ancient Greeks and Egyptians who also notated formulations for cannabis remedies.

The History of CBD Oil in the West

By the sixteenth century, cannabis was being cultivated all over Europe. Hemp was so valuable to society at that time that, in 1533, Henry VIII required all farmers to grow hemp.

Many physicians of the age, such as Garcia de Orta and Li Shih-Chen, were documenting the use of hemp extract as a support for appetite and for maintaining wellness.

In the 1600s, hemp cultivation came to North American colonies. The colony of Virginia even created laws which mandated the cultivation of hemp by farmers. Similar laws were passed in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Hemp seeds were even considered legal tender and used to pay for goods and services in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

A popular medical text of the time called, “Anatomy of Melancholy,” written by Robert Burton, noted that hemp extract was helpful in supporting mood.

By the eighteenth century, hemp’s uses were documented in “The New England Dispensatory” and “Edinburgh New Dispensatory”— two highly respected pharmacopeias of the day.

As the industrial age was unfolding, a surgeon named W. B. O’Shaughnessy began to extol the virtues of hemp in the American Southwest. A professor at the Medical College of Calcutta, O’Shaughnessy conducted experiments to determine the effects of hemp extracts on animals and humans suffering from rheumatic diseases, cholera, tetanus and hydrophobia.

The History of CBD Oil in Modern Times

In the early 20th century, medicines such as opioids began to be developed. The use of cannabis-based preparations began to decline. However, many medications were developed which combined cannabis with other pharmaceuticals in everything from cough syrup to sleep aids.

By the late 1930s, the war on cannabis erupted, and the cultivation of cannabis became illegal. In 1970, possession of any form of cannabis was banned by the Controlled Substances Act, which listed cannabis — including both hemp and marijuana — as Schedule I substances with no medicinal benefits and a high risk of dependence.

In the late 1960s the mysteries of cannabinoids, including CBD, began to unfold as researchers discovered the role of the human endocannabinoid system in maintaining good health. We’ll discuss this in more detail shortly.

As the 1970s progressed, however, cannabis once again began being used for medical treatment. A quarter of a century later, in 1996, the state of California legalized the use of cannabis for treatment of certain medical conditions, despite the federal ban.

Over the past few decades, there has been an explosion of research into the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids. CBD has been quickly gaining acceptance in the U.S. as a result of media coverage by respected health experts such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The message of CBD’s effects is beginning to reach the masses.

Today, CBD oil is available to most people in the United States and research into CBD’s effects on the human body has ramped up substantially. Modern technology has provided methods of refining and isolating CBD and even increasing the bioavailability of CBD oil through technologies such as nanoemulsions, which make CBD water-soluble and increase its potency.

The demand for CBD is growing so quickly that sales are expected to surpass $1 billion by 2020.

Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil Chapter 1:
CBD Oil Basic Information

In this chapter, we’ll discuss some basic information such as what CBD oil is, where it comes from and how it’s produced. We’ll also answer some of new CBD users’ most frequently asked questions.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a natural oil which is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is used by people all over the world for a variety of purposes.

Broad spectrum CBD oil contains a variety of active compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes, which we will discuss in greater detail in Chapter 2. In each other’s presence, these compounds work even better.

Depending on the formulation of a product, it may contain other beneficial components such as omega fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

About the Cannabis Plant

Cannabis is one of a genus of plants known as Cannabaceae. There are two main species of cannabis that are cultivated for human consumption, namely Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.

Sativa plants are taller and produce more fiber and are therefore the species from which hemp cultivation arose. Indica plants are shorter and bushier and less suitable for farming for either industrial purposes or for production of food, but well-suited for producing medical marijuana.

The Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Marijuana is high in the psychoactive compound THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in marijuana that causes a high.

Marijuana is rightly considered to be a “drug.” It is cultivated mainly for medicinal and “recreational” purposes. Both indica and sativa strains, as well as hybrids of the two, are used to produce marijuana.

The United States federal government considers marijuana to be a Class I controlled substance. However, many U.S. states have instituted legislation to regulate its cultivation and allow its use as medicine. Some states have also legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Hemp is not marijuana. Although hemp does contain some cannabinoids, it has negligible amounts of THC. In fact, in order to be legally cultivated, hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. Hemp is also grown as an industrial crop for the use of fibers in textiles and even building materials. Most industrial hemp is grown for its fiber and contains relatively small concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes, so it is not the most desirable source of CBD oil.

While many of the CBD products on the market are produced from this kind of industrial hemp, the CBD oil in products is made from a CBD-rich strain known as PCR hemp. PCR is short for phytocannabinoid rich — it contains as much as ten times the concentration of CBD as generic industrial hemp and only negligible amounts of THC. It does not cause a high

Types of CBD Oil

Let’s now take a look at some of the types of CBD oil products and compare their qualities. It’s important to remember that, as the industry grows, some of these terms have evolved.

CBD From PCR Hemp vs. CBD From Marijuana

Oils can also be extracted from marijuana the same way they can be extracted from hemp. The oils made from marijuana are referred to as cannabis oil. Extracts made from marijuana may contain some CBD but are intended to contain enough THC to cause a high. Such extracts made from marijuana remain as illegal Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.

For the purposes of this document, we are only concerned with CBD oil produced from PCR hemp. We are not concerned with THC-containing cannabis oils made from marijuana, nor are we concerned with extracts of industrial hemp which have low levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Raw CBD Oil vs. CBD Concentrate

When the essential oils of the hemp plant are first extracted, the resulting product is considered raw hemp extract. This raw extract can be put through a series of filtration and distillation processes to remove unwanted compounds, such as waxes and chlorophyll, and produce various classes of oils differing in purity and CBD content. These refined oils are referred to as CBD concentrate or CBD distillate.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Earlier we mentioned another class of compounds called terpenes. Raw PCR hemp extract contains terpenes as well as other cannabinoid compounds similar to CBD. Because it retains the natural balance of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant, we refer to these products as full spectrum oils.

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Broad spectrum CBD oil is very similar to a full spectrum oil. Full spectrum CBD oil, as we mentioned, retains the original concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes found in raw PCR hemp extract. Broad spectrum CBD oil also contains these concentrations of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes but has all trace amounts of THC extracted. This is ideal for those who want absolutely no THC in their CBD products.

CBD Isolate

CBD can also be isolated and purified. Pure CBD is known in the industry as CBD isolate. In their pure form, and at room temperature, cannabinoids are solid crystals. Purified cannabinoids are colorless and odorless. CBD isolate can be consumed directly or used as an additive in other preparations such as edibles and beverages; however, it is devoid of the beneficial terpenes and other cannabinoids found naturally in the plant.

CBD-Rich Oil/Phytocannabinoid-Rich (PCR)

Another term you may hear is CBD-rich oil. This term is generally used to label a CBD oil which has gone through some initial filtration and distillation steps to remove unwanted compounds such as chlorophyll and waxes. The resulting product has a higher concentration of CBD than the raw extract, hence the term CBD-rich oil.

CBD-Infused Oil

The term CBD-infused can be used to describe either a product which has been infused with purified CBD isolate or a product which has been infused with a CBD-rich, full spectrum or broad spectrum concentrate. A properly labeled product will specify which ingredients were used. If the ingredients include “CBD isolate,” then the product is not full spectrum. If the ingredients include “CBD-rich hemp oil (or extract)” or “full/broad spectrum CBD oil,” then obviously you’re getting a full/broad spectrum product. It’s important to know which is in a product because they produce different effects.

A List of CBD Oil Products

To summarize, there are a variety of products which contain varying levels of CBD as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes.

  • Hemp seed oil — Oil produced from hemp seeds, does not contain CBD.

  • Raw industrial hemp extract — A low-quality source of CBD oil.

  • Raw PCR hemp extract — A high-quality, full or broad spectrum product which is rich in CBD and contains the naturally occurring compounds in hemp, including cannabinoids and terpenes.

  • CBD concentrate or distillate — A full spectrum or broad spectrum product from which unwanted compounds have been removed.

  • CBD isolate — Purified CBD that does not contain other beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids.

  • CBD-rich oil/Phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) — Either full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD concentrate or oil infused with CBD concentrate.

  • Broad spectrum oil — An oil rich in CBD and the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes present in hemp EXCEPT for THC.

  • CBD-infused — Generally refers to a product infused with pure CBD, but is also used sometimes to refer to a full spectrum product.

Now that we’ve cleared up these terms, let’s answer some of the most common questions asked by first time CBD users.

Frequently Asked Questions of Beginners

CBD oil, as you can see, is a complicated product, and the current CBD market can be compared to the Wild West. There is a lot of misinformation floating around and, of course, this causes a great deal of confusion.

One of the main points of confusion comes from the fact that the media often uses the term marijuana to refer to hemp and vice versa. This raises other issues, the most common of which are whether or not it causes a high or if it has any side effects. Let’s answer each of these questions in brief.

Does CBD Oil Get You High?

No, it should not. Properly produced CBD oil from hemp does not contain THC in high enough concentrations to cause a high.

THC acts upon particular receptors in the brain, which changes brain chemistry and therefore alters consciousness. CBD does not trigger these receptors. In fact, it may actually prevent them from reacting to THC and thus minimize its effects.

CBD oils produced by some manufacturers can contain trace amounts of THC. Products, however, are produced using a technology that extracts THC while leaving the other cannabinoids and terpenes intact.

It’s important to note that all human bodies are different and, if taking extremely large amounts of a product, CBD may cause drowsiness.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD Oil?

While pharmaceutical drugs are often developed to target particular bodily systems and provide particular effects, Mother Nature is not always so exacting. The effects of organic compounds can be many and can vary from person to person. Oftentimes herbal compounds can have both desired effects and unwanted effects. We call these unwanted effects adverse side effects.

In order to determine if an effect is an adverse side effect, you need to know what the desired effects are. The effects which are desired by one user may not be desired by another user.

Let’s look at an example of how CBD might work differently for different people. Some people use CBD oil in order to support a good night of rest but may also feel drowsiness during the day. If you want to feel awake during the day, as most do, feeling sleepy would be an unwanted side effect.

Will CBD Make Me Drowsy?

CBD has what are called biphasic properties. We’ll discuss this more in chapter 4, but this just means that CBD oil may have different effects depending on the serving. Taken in nominal servings, CBD is unlikely to cause drowsiness. However, taken in higher servings, there is the potential that it could cause drowsiness.

Alcohol is a perfect example of a substance with biphasic properties. Below a certain blood level, alcohol provides a stimulating effect and can make its user more active and social, while larger amounts of alcohol can have a depressant effect resulting in unconsciousness.

Can I Give My Pet CBD Oil?

Yes, high-quality CBD is safe for pets. However, the size and activity level of your pet will determine the optimal serving size. Pets can range in weight from under a pound for rodents to many hundreds of pounds for animals such as horses. Some pets are pretty much sedentary and don’t get much exercise, while others are highly active and have a much higher metabolism. It’s a good idea to talk with a veterinarian who is familiar with CBD’s uses before you give your pet CBD.

 

Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil Chapter 2:
CBD Oil and Wellness

What, Exactly, is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is just one of many different molecules called cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. CBD is not an acronym. Cannabidiol has been shortened to CBD simply because it’s customary for cannabinoids to have a three-letter designation, such as THC for tetrahydrocannabinol, CBG for cannabigerol, CBN for cannabinol and so forth. THC is arguably the most famous member of the cannabinoids family — it’s the one found in marijuana that causes a high. We’ll take a quick look at some other common cannabinoids later on.

 

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are active compounds produced by all cannabis plants. They account for most of the benefits of cannabis. Cannabinoids found in plants are technically called phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids mimic compounds which we call endocannabinoids that are produced naturally by all mammals.

  • Phytocannabinoids — Cannabinoids produced by plants.

  • Endocannabinoids — Cannabinoids produced by human or other mammal bodies.

Other cannabinoids found in PCR hemp include cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). Cannabichromene (CBC) is the third most common cannabinoid found in cannabis. Like CBD, cannabichromene is non-psychoactive. Cannabigerol (CBG) is produced early on in the hemp’s growth cycle. Both CBC and CBG are believed to have properties similar to those of CBD.

What Do Endocannabinoids Do?

Endocannabinoids, those produced naturally by our bodies, are signaling molecules. They are technically called neurotransmitters. Hormones are a more familiar type of neurotransmitter.

A vast array of neurotransmitters are produced by the nervous system in response to various states of health and also environmental factors. They interact with receptors found on the surface of cells throughout our bodies. Their job is to instruct a cell to adjust its activities. This can include changing how cells react to other neurotransmitters.

In order to illustrate how neurotransmitters work, let’s use an analogy.

The brain doesn’t connect with every cell in your body, just like traffic officers can’t connect directly with every car on the road to be able to instruct individual drivers how to behave in every traffic situation. In order to manage traffic, we implement traffic signals. These include street signs, traffic lights, the lines on the road and so on. Traffic signals inform drivers where they can and cannot travel, when they should stop and when they should go and how fast they are allowed to move.

Some of these signals can sense what’s going on in the environment, such as when a car pulls up to a traffic light. The sensor triggers a controller, causing the light to change, thereby changing the behavior of the drivers approaching that intersection.

In the same way, your body’s nervous system connects to a wide variety of sensors to keep track of every system in your body. The signals from these sensors are decoded by the brain and the nervous system. If it is determined that a system has gone out of balance, the nervous system produces neurotransmitters, which travel through the bloodstream and interact with receptors on cells, instructing them to adjust their behavior.

The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Now that we understand how neurotransmitters work to adjust our cellular activity, let’s take a look at the role of cannabinoids in particular and their role in supporting homeostasis, a state of balance, within the body.

The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) has two components. First is the endocannabinoid receptors found on the surface of cells throughout the body. Second is the endocannabinoids themselves that interact with those receptors.

For example, a well-known endocannabinoid is called anandamide. Anandamide is responsible for the production and uptake of serotonin. Serotonin is often referred to as the “bliss molecule” because levels of serotonin in the body are directly associated with mood. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for “runner’s high.”

The endocannabinoid system is vast and far-reaching. It regulates a wide array of bodily functions, from appetite regulation to sleep patterns, moods, metabolism, immune response, the lifespan of cells and much more.

List of Common Cannabinoids

Below is a list of the most common cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis.

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) — The second most common cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant that is non-psychotropic (it doesn’t get you high).

  • Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives users a feeling of euphoria.

  • Cannabichromene (CBC) — This third most common cannabinoid, also non-psychoactive, is thought to support mood and joint and muscle function.

  • Cannabinol (CBN) — Believed to support joint and muscle function and aid a good night’s rest.

  • Cannabigerol (CBG) — Non-psychoactive and used to support mood and joint and muscle function.

  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv) — Less psychoactive than THC.

  • Cannabidivarin (CBDv) — Similar to CBD in its effects.

  • Delta(8) THC — Similar to delta(9)-THC, less psychoactive and may support a relaxed mood.

  • THCa and CBDa — Compounds found in raw cannabis that are non-psychotropic.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are a class of volatile hydrocarbon compounds produced by the cannabis plant as well as most other plants. However, cannabis is currently the most terpene-dense plant known to humans. Terpenes readily evaporate at room temperature and our noses are highly sensitive to them.

Terpenes are recognized as safe for human consumption by the Food and Drug Association and are used in a wide variety of food and cosmetic products.

In nature, terpenes act as both a repellent for pests and as attractants for pollinators and seed spreaders.

Although terpene molecules are all very similar, each has its own unique scent and flavor. Various combinations of terpenes are responsible for the distinct aromas of cannabis strains.

Terpenes can also have powerful effects on our bodies. In fact, terpenes have been utilized by humans for millennia in what’s commonly known as aromatherapy. For example, the scent of citrus is produced primarily by a combination of limonene and pinene, both of which are thought to elevate mood.

Some common terpenes include linalool, myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, terpinolene, citronellol and camphene. The traditional uses of these terpenes and others vary, but they include use as support for muscle and joint function, mood and overall wellness.

In cannabis, terpenes are produced in the highest concentrations in the plant’s female flowers. Terpenes also act on cannabinoid receptors and are known to modify the effects of cannabinoids.

The Entourage Effect

Although not as potent as cannabinoids in terms of their overall effects, terpenes are valuable components of cannabis.

The overall effect of the rich combination of cannabinoids and terpenes is known as the entourage effect. In the case of cannabis, these cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce a range of effects which is thought to be greater than the sum of its individual components.

More research is needed to determine the exact role that terpenes play in the overall effects of CBD oil, but it seems clear that terpenes work in concert with cannabinoids to produce a richer effect than CBD alone.

As we mentioned earlier, some CBD oil products are actually oil infused with pure CBD. These products do not have the added benefits of terpenes and other cannabinoids and do not produce the entourage effect. They are not recommended.

 

Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil Chapter 3:
Research Into CBD’s Benefits

In just over a half century, cannabinoids have gone from obscurity to the subject of intense research.

The secrets of cannabinoids are vast and they run deep. After many years of study, still very little is known about how cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system as well as other complex organs and systems in our bodies.

But one thing is certain — CBD does have an effect on these complex systems that themselves are not fully understood. Determining the exact mechanisms that are producing CBD’s vast array of effects might take many more decades. In the meantime, much research is underway, and many studies about CBD’s effects on the human body have already been published. In this chapter, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons why CBD is being studied.

History of CBD Research

In 1968, a report written by the UK government’s Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence stated that “the long-term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects…Cannabis is less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines and barbiturates, and also less dangerous than alcohol…” That same year, the University of Mississippi was entrusted to grow marijuana for research by the predecessor agency to the DEA.

Only two years later, the United States declared marijuana a Class I substance with a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value. Two years after that, in 1972, a report based on a comprehensive study by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare recommended that marijuana be removed from the scheduling system and decriminalized. Then-President Richard Nixon rejected the recommendations.

In a court battle in 1976, a federal judge ruled that a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the government was using marijuana out of “medical necessity,” making the plaintiff, Robert Randall, the first legal medical cannabis patient.

In 1978, as a direct result of the lawsuit, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) began supplying cannabis to several patients whose physicians applied for and received “compassionate use” rights under Investigational New Drug Applications (IND) rules. Most of the medical research done on cannabis has taken place in the 40 years since 1978.

The human endocannabinoid system was discovered in steps. In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor was found in the brain of a rat. In 1992, researcher Raphael Mechoulam and NIMH researchers William Devane and Dr. Lumir Hanus discovered the first endocannabinoid. These discoveries resulted in a wave of new studies into the effects of cannabinoids.

In 1993, the American Medical Student Association unanimously endorsed a statement calling for the down-scheduling of cannabis to Schedule 2. Since that time and based on reams of data, there have been scores of attempts to pressure the federal government to relent on this matter. So far none have been successful.

Let’s now take a look at some of the research that has been done in the past few decades into the mechanisms and effects of cannabinoids and the ECS.

What We’ve Learned About CBD

CBD’s Effects On Mood

CBD is commonly used to support emotional stability. Research shows that CBD has an effect on levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which we mentioned earlier. Anandamide is produced by the nervous system to stimulate the uptake of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is often referred to as the “happy molecule” because of its ability to improve mood.

When your mood is low, you might be dealing with a low amount of serotonin. An increase in serotonin can correspond to an increase in feelings of wellbeing. It all goes back to the endocannabinoid system — a balanced ECS is a happy ECS.

CBD’s Effects On Sleep

Another common use for CBD oil is to help normal healthy sleep cycles. It’s no secret that a rough sleep usually results in a bad mood the next day, and nobody wants that. Taking CBD before bed may help you roll out of bed feeling fresh and energized the next day.