What is it?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, a naturally occurring compound in the resinous flower of the Cannabis plant. Cannabis comprises of Hemp and Marijuana. The difference between the two is the ratio of CBD to THC.
THC is the compound that gets you high, CBD is the other compound that does NOT have this effect, and potentially has a host of health benefits for both mind and body.
Hemp has a rich history as a Medicinal Plant going back thousands of years and today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe and non-addictive substance, it is one of more than 100 medicinal 'phytocannabinoids' (cannabinoid molecules derived from plants, aka 'exogenous cannabinoids').
Safety and Quality when purchasing CBD
The first CBD prescription to be approved by the FDA and made available for medical use was Epidiolex in 2018. It's used to treat seizures caused by two forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These rare but severe conditions usually appear in early childhood or infancy.
For those looking to take over the counter remedies as a health supplement, there is a rapidly growing number of options available. However it is of primary importance that quality and safety are made clear. Many stockists are misleading - Hemp seed oil is not the same as Hemp oil, as CBD comes from the leaves, not the seeds. If a product doesn't list the concentration of CBD in mg on the packaging, or it lists it at the last ingredient, it may as well contain zero.
There are many poor quality, fake or rip-off products in the beauty, health and wellness market, especially in large online market places. It's important to find brands and stockists that you can trust, which is why we make all our certificates and lab test results public, and carefully curate a select array of partners. Make sure you do your research and find a trusted supplier that is sustainable, ethical, high quality and complies with UK regulations.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) provided data, and stated a position, that pure CBD is safe for consumption. To overdose you would have to take around 20,000mg+ before it could be considered harmful. For comparison, Ibuprofen is only 1000mg max, which is around 4-6 standard tablets.
The current research is a new and emerging field and currently supports the use of CBD as a supplementary compound rather than curative, with fewer side effects than some of the synthetic alternatives in the market. Whilst we are not able to make any medical claims about specific products in accordance with the MHRA, we will present some of the most recent findings and theories in scientific research below.
From a neurological perspective, the human body is wired to interact with nature in its processing of Cannabis, given that the molecules are strikingly similar and interact perfectly with our receptors. 'Endogenous Cannabinoids' is the term given to the natural cannabinoids that our bodies produce naturally, 'Exogenous Cannabinoids' is the name for the cannabinoids we get from other sources, like the Cannabis plant.
The endocannabinoid system runs throughout the body meaning CBD affects almost every part of the anatomy to varying degrees, providing the potential of a natural solution to regaining homeostasis (balance), without the high of recreational use.
How does it work?
The complex and exact mechanisms of CBD is still a bit of a mystery, as such substances have been previously difficult to research due to prohibition, the science is not where it should be. However our knowledge is rapidly scaling and expanding, with some exciting results.
We do know that CBD interacts with the body in a variety of different ways. For one, they affect levels of Endogenous Cannabinoids, which comprise part of our endocannabinoid system.
The discovery of this system within our bodies has significantly advanced our understanding of health and disease. It has major implications for nearly every area of medical science and helps to explain how and why CBD and THC are such versatile compounds.
Our endocannabinoid system contains CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system. The CB2 receptors are found mostly in the peripheral organs, especially cells associated with the immune system. CB1 and CB2 receptors are G-protein receptors (cell membrane receptors that act like an inbox for messages in the form of light energy, peptides, lipids, sugars and proteins).
Due to its extensive presence, this system is believed to play a role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect our every day experiences, including: mood, energy levels, intestinal fortitude, immune activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, the way we experience pain, stress, hunger and more.
Within the brain, CBD may mimic serotonin by binding and activating your body's 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. This neurotransmitter has a large impact on mood and emotions in the brain. 95% of serotonin is believed to be housed in the gut, with effects on digestion, immunity, bone synthesis and cardiovascular function.
Cannabidiol is believed to have more than 65 targets throughout the body, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact sources and mechanisms of its many different therapeutic properties. Most people associate Serotonin with happiness. However like everything in life, the role of this neurotransmitter is actually a lot more complex, and its effects depend on where it is and what it binds to.
Contrary to popular belief, more serotonin is not necessarily better, and dysfunction can stem from low or high levels, as well as malfunctions at the receptors. Serotonin has at least 14 different receptors, but 5-HT1A is thought to have the strongest role in anxiety disorders. The anti-anxiety drug Buspirone also binds to this particular receptor.
Studies show that CBD may bind to CB1 at a different spot from where other cannabinoids normally bind to the receptor. This process is called allosteric modulation. It leaves the normal binding site free, but changes the shape of the receptor so that it has a weaker affinity - rendering it less responsive.
Although decreasing your body's endocannabinoid response might seem counterintuitive, it's believed that many disruptions to the endocannabinoid system might actually stem from an overactive system. If your body struggles with the burden of constant anxiety or excess weight, then certain receptors may be over-stimulated. Scientists also believe that this dampening effect is one of the main reasons why CBD can buffer some of the negative side effects of THC.
CBD is also a positive allosteric modulator of the mu and deltoid opioid receptors. This means it enhances the ability of these receptors to receive endogenous Enkephalins. Endorphins and Enkephalins are the body's natural pain killers. The former works principally at the brain stem, whereas the latter is believed to block signals in the spinal cord. Both are morphine-like substances.
As well as interacting with our receptors, CBD has been shown to interact directly with a variety of enzymes and other proteins in the body.
For example, CBD is a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme that normally degrades the 'Bliss Molecule', aka Anandamide. This is a neurotransmitter involved in learning, memory and mood via its interactions with the CB1 receptor.
When the enzyme that recycles this neurotransmitter is inhibited (the FAAH enzyme), there is more Anandamide in our synapses, allowing it to work its magic for longer. This is called reuptake inhibition. The term might ring a bell for those familiar with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the synthetic pharmaceutical drugs commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety.
Anandamide is being investigated for its anti-anxiety effects, ability to slow the proliferation of breast carcinoma, and increase neurogenesis. Anandamide plays a role in memory and forgetting, creating a potential natural value for PTSD, which also needs to be studied further.
Other enzymes believed to be targeted by CBD are involved in Cholesterol metabolism, Mitochondrial function, and Melatonin synthesis - to name a few.
Although chronic stress can negatively affect neurons and even shrink areas of the brain, the nervous system is still capable of regeneration. Throughout our lives we continue to form new neurons, make new connections and grow our grey matter - and CBD holds the potential to boost this process.
This is one of the ways in which CBD counterbalances some of the effects of chronic stress. A few studies have demonstrated that CBD encourages neural regeneration, particularly in the hippocampus.
CBD has demonstrated a number of anti-inflammatory properties. An example of this is its effect on acne. Acne is a common skin condition thought to be caused by numerous factors such as genetics, diet, bacteria, inflammation and sebum production. A recent study conducted in vitro (via a test tube), found that CBD oil prevented sebaceous gland cells from producing too much pore-clogging sebum, and prevented the action of 'pro-acne' agents such as inflammatory Cytokines.
CBD also interacts with TRPV1 receptors (short for transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1). These are located throughout your body where they detect temperature and deliver the sensation of heat and pain. It's TRPV1 that's essential for helping you to quickly respond to situations that could damage your body - like if you accidentally place your hand on a burning hot pan.
Unfortunately, when faced with inflammation or injury, chemicals released by your body can increase the sensitivity of these pain receptors. Fortunately, some molecules such as the active compound in chilli peppers: Capsaicin, can activate and then desensitise TRPV1 receptors. Similarly, CBD also de-sensitises these pain receptors, and this effect on TRPV1 is considered pivotal to CBD's usefulness in other conditions.
This list is by no means exhaustive, the exciting area of CBD research is a rapidly growing and changing landscape, to stay up to date with the latest information subscribe to drugscience.org.uk - you can find further information about them at the end of the page.
The Entourage Effect
Full Spectrum Oil: Contains all molecules from the Hemp or Marijuana plant, including the psychoactive molecule THC
Broad Spectrum Oil: Contains all molecules from the Hemp plant, without any THC
CBD Isolate: Contains only concentrated CBD
The 'entourage effect' describes the phenomenon where the 400+ compounds in Hemp oil work in concert to have a synergistic effect. In other words, it is the holistic sum of its parts that makes this potent plant remedy so effective.
Vitamin C may be a good analogy. Many Vitamin C supplements are presented in the form of ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is just one of the many compounds that comprise the whole vitamin C. In order to be most effective, Vitamin C must also exist amongst Rutin, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, and Ascorbigen. In fact, in all of his years of research, the discoverer of Vitamin C and Nobel Prize Laureate Dr Albert Szent-Georgi, was never able to cure Scurvy with isolated ascorbic acid. In contrast, eating an orange, lemon or lime, provides whole Vitamin C with all the necessary co-factors for optimum absorption.
The Cannabis plant has nearly 500 natural chemical compounds: CBN, THCA, CBG are just a few examples. As well as working together, they also have their own effects. CBN is being investigated as a natural sleep aid, THCA is thought to offer some of the benefits of THC without the high and both CBD and CBG have neuroprotective properties and are believed to help regenerate new brian cells.
Terpenes are a family of compounds that give Cannabis its unique smell. Citrus plants have them as well, as many plants use them to ward off insects.
While it may be cheaper and more cost-effective to extract CBD from Industrial Hemp, users may ultimately experience fewer benefits due to the absence of clinically significant levels of Terpenes and other compounds that occur in abundance in high-CBD cannabis.
This is why our pro-absorption blend in our De-Stress rollers contains Terpenes as well as CBD. The Terpenoids found in Cannabis extracts are so good at moving CBD across skin barriers, that they are generally added to high quality oils designed for transdermal delivery.
We blend our CBD with MCT Oil from coconuts. This is a form of healthy fat that allows CBD to be effectively absorbed by the body, and also demonstrates wellbeing-boosting properties of its own. It has been shown to increase the release of two hormones that promote fullness in the body: peptide YY and Leptin.
One study found that people taking 2 spoonfuls of MCT oil as part of their breakfast ended up eating less food for lunch, compared with those taking coconut oil. It has 10% fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides found in nuts and avocados and MCT is used as an instant source of energy.
Some retailers sell water-soluble cannabidiol as a nanoemulsion. Although this provides a much higher bioavailability (is absorbed into the blood stream more easily), there are some major trade-offs that may cancel out the alleged advantages. For one, it is absorbed faster but also metabolises faster, reducing the duration of its effects. CBD isolate also requires a much higher dose for therapeutic efficacy than whole-plant CBD rich concentrate.
The CBD:THC Ratio
In the natural Cannabis plant, CBD and THC are balanced in a healthy ratio, unlike the illegal variety of cannabis one might buy off the street, which is incredibly THC heavy, as this is the component that gets you 'stoned'. Skunk is purposefully bred to be low in CBD, as CBD cancels out some of the negative effects of THC including paranoia and anxiety.
There are many reasons to choose sun-grown CBD from sustainable US farms (like ours), over Industrial Hemp. Lower quality CBD may be the same strength, but if it comes from a source with lower purity standards it could contain synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and even heavy metals.
Happy plants that live in the outdoors under sustainable and organic farming practices are unsurprisingly better for your body. Farm-fresh vegetables often smell and taste better than their supermarket counterparts because they're brimming with healthy Terps and Phenolics.
At Portland State University, researchers are toying with the idea that the soil can lend unique characteristics to Cannabis, like terroir for wine. They distributed genetically identical plants to farmers that shared a climate, yet grew on different soils. Over the coming years they will then track if the identical plants provide flower with varying levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, with the current hypothesis ruling in favour of this.
Treat things with care, and they will care for you.
Most CBD is extracted from the leaves, flowers and stalks of the Hemp plant via heat or solvent extraction methods. Using heat requires steam to extract the oil in a gentle and effective way. Using solvent is also a powerful way to extract high quality compounds from the plant, and can either be done by using CO2 as the solvent on the high quality end, or harsh chemicals such as ethanol, butane, or kerosene on the low quality end. We use CO2 extraction which is also more environmentally friendly.
If the body's endocannabinoid system is not functioning properly and is either deficient or overactive, it will manifest as disease. Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in many pathological conditions. For those with serious medical conditions, pharmaceutical grade CBD is an option you can discuss with your health practitioner.
Natural CBD oil is a supplement that can be taken by healthy individuals as means of enhancing a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Whether you put it on your skin, inhale, or ingest it, the benefits may be many and varied.
There is no one-size fits all approach to health, and everyone has a natural intuition about their health and wellness, housing a system that is unique to them. There are no official dosing regulations for CBD supplementation in healthy individuals, meaning that the best way to start is to take a low dose once or twice a day, and experiment with how you feel in gradual increments from there.
If you had a 10ml solution of 300mg CBD, a 1ml pipette would be a 30mg serving. Dosage is daily and should build gradually over time.
The best way to take an oral supplement is sub-lingually, meaning you place a drop under the tongue and hold for 60 seconds so that it can be absorbed into the blood stream. Topically, CBD will interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the skin.
Read our more detailed article on dosage here.
At Yūgenial, our products are sustainable, safe, high-quality, non-toxic and considerably more palatable than fossil fuel based extraction. All products are THC-free and comply with existing UK laws and are sourced from non-GMO hemp grown in Europe without herbicides or pesticides.
Mother nature knows best, especially when combined with the latest and greatest in sustainable and responsible scientific research and innovation.
CBD and Prescription Medication
Cytochrome p450 enzymes are involved in metabolism - the breakdown of molecules by your body. These enzymes are especially important for your body's ability to metabolise drugs into inactive or more active compounds.
It turns out that CBD is a potent inhibitor of some cytochrome p450 enzymes. CBD's interaction with cytochrome p450 probably contributes to its above-mentioned therapeutic effects, but could also pose a health risk when combined with certain prescription drugs.
If you currently take a pharmaceutical drug that is processed by cytochrome p450 (they often come with a warning not to consume grapefruit), CBD may interfere with your body's ability to process these pharmaceuticals.
However, this does not rule out CBD as an option altogether. In fact in some instances, CBD may help increase the effectiveness of medication, thus lowering required dose.
Depending on how the drug is processed by cytochrome p450, CBD could elevate or decrease the concentration of the active compound in your blood stream. This is why you should always discuss with your medical practitioner before incorporating a new natural or synthetic supplement into your regime. Your doctor may suggest extra blood monitoring in order to keep these drugs at a healthy level.
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Recently, Imperial College London opened up the world's first Psychedelic Research Centre, with many prohibited, natural substances such as Marijuana and Psilocybin now starting to show good evidence of therapeutic potential, especially within the realms of mental health (it should be noted that the use of these drugs in a clinical setting is not the same as experimenting recreationally and these substances must be used responsibly and safely. We also believe in a holistic and integrated approach to care that does not rely solely on popping pills).
Led by Professor David Nutt, they hope to be pioneers when it comes to giving areas like Psychiatry the upgrade they so desperately need. Drug Science run many events and talks open to the public, if you are interested in keeping up to date with the latest in the field.