Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has been the center of extensive media attention for the last several years, serving as the subject of thousands of national and locally aired news segments and countless publications. In fact, if you search “CBD” on Google, up comes 193 million posts, with CBD mentions linking you to articles published on mainstream sites including Harvard, WebMD, Forbes, The New York Times, Shape Magazine, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and The Chicago Tribune – just to name a few.
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound – one of over 140 cannabinoids – found in hemp and marijuana plants. Most of the stories covering CBD speak to its many alleged positive health claims – claims which have helped to fuel CBD’s explosive popularity among consumers seeking general wellness and/or relief from a wide range of chronic illnesses and diseases. Another reason for its popularity is the fact that unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (also a naturally-occurring cannabinoid) CBD is not psychoactive and will not cause the mind-altering sensation of being ‘high’ that is often associated with marijuana use.
Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018, CBD derived from hemp (Cannabis sativa plant) is no longer classified as an illegal Schedule I drug, thus hemp can be legally cultivated in all 50 states, U.S. territories and Indian tribal nations which comply with state and federal regulations. This has given rise to the legal manufacturing and marketing of CBD products for humans and pets that span skin and hair products known as topicals. This includes lotions, salves, balms, shampoos, conditions and other beauty products; to capsules, concentrates, transdermal patches, vapes and suppositories. Currently, it is illegal to market CBD by adding it to food, making therapeutic claims or labeling it as a dietary supplement.
CBD Oil – The Most Common and Preferred Form of Cannabidiol
Among the most popular form factor is oil-based tinctures, often referred to simply as CBD oil. It is an oil-carried form of CBD that is consumed sublingually by placing a few drops under the tongue and held there for up to two minutes. The CBD carried in the oil is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through mucous membranes located under the tongue.
CBD oil can be produced from either CBD extract or CBD isolate bases. An extract base will often include a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and other plant material extracted from hemp, while an isolate base will provide single-molecule CBD content. A carrier oil, such as olive, coconut or hemp seed oil, is mixed with the extract or isolate to balance potency and help the CBD absorb into the stomach walls and membranes within the body. In addition to the carrier oil and the extract or isolate base, CBD oil may also contain additional additives, such as sweeteners and flavors to improve the taste profile. Furthermore, it may also contain terpenes.
What are Terpenes?
In brief, terpenes are aromatic metabolites that can be found in the oils of all plants. There are more than 20,000 terpenes known, and at least 140 of them are produced by the cannabis plant. Some of the latest research studies have determined that terpenes found in cannabis do not only affect how a strain will taste and smell, but more importantly, they may help influence what they do on a chemical level. In fact, terpenes are believed to have a unique effect on the endocannabinoid system and other neurotransmitter systems in the human body, since each type may deliver a different sensory experience. Full spectrum CBD oil produced from an extract base means that most of the terpenes and cannabinoids available stay intact during the extraction process and remain in the CBD oil.
Medical and Scientific Community Works to Confirm Therapeutic Impact of CBD Oil
There are dozens of purported health and wellness benefits associated with the use of cannabidiol. Therefore, this naturally occurring cannabinoid found in both hemp and marijuana plants has been the focus of a growing body of scientific and medical research. The scientific research is intent on either affirming or refuting CBD’s many positive therapeutic claims.
CBD acts in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent. Therefore, it is a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia. Furthermore, this may just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Many believe, and several preliminary tests show that CBD can also help with
- Cigarette smoking addiction
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Insomnia, among other ailments.
But, let’s dive a bit deeper into actual studies that show great promise and hope for those suffering.
Treatment of Epilepsy
One of the most promising points on the medical treatment front appears to be CBD’s effectiveness for treating epilepsy. In January 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD-based drug, known as EPIDOLEX®, to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravel syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. EPIDOLEX is also currently under regulatory review by the FDA for treatment of seizures associated with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, a rare multisystem autosomal dominant genetic disease that causes non-cancerous tumors to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, liver, eyes, lungs and skin.
The same company behind pioneering EPIDOLEX, GW Pharmaceuticals, has also commercialized the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug, Sativex. This drug is approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) in numerous countries outside the United States. GW is now commencing a pivotal clinical program with the goal of submitting an NDA for Sativex with the FDA for the treatment of spasticity due to MS and spinal cord injury.
According to a medical study conducted in September 2012, researchers reported that CBD oil may help those who suffer from anxiety to manage panic-like responses to high stress situations. In the animal study, results revealed that cannabidiol may change the way the brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, a chemical linked to mental health. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to cells that receive chemical messages and help cells to respond to different stimuli.
In an earlier study published in the peer-reviewed Neuropsychopharmacology in February 2011, researchers concluded that pre-treatment with CBD administered to individuals who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance. In addition it significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. In this preliminary double-blind study, researchers compared the effects of a simulation public speaking test on healthy control patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients, who received a single dose of CBD or a placebo.
Neurodegenerative disease is an umbrella term for a range of conditions which primarily affects the neurons in the human brain, including insidious diseases such as Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Prion, Huntington’s and Spinal muscular atrophy. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are more than 600 neurologic disorders with approximately 50 million Americans affected each year.
These illnesses are incurable and come with debilitating conditions that result in progressive degeneration and/or death of nerve cells. However, in a paper published in February 2009 by researchers at the University of Naples and the University of Rome, it was noted that “among cannabis compounds, cannabidiol (CBD), which lacks any unwanted psychotropic effect, may represent a very promising agent with the highest prospect for therapeutic use” in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects 33% of adults over the age of 20. Those numbers double to 55% for adults that are over 65 years old and contribute to over 400,000 deaths annually. In a 2009 study, rats were subjected to stressful situations that caused their blood pressure and heart rate to elevate. However, after a dose of CBD, both were lowered. Then, in June 2017, researchers published a study involving nine healthy male volunteers who were given a single 600 mg dose of CBD oil in a “randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study.” The data showed that acute administration of cannabidiol reduced resting blood pressure and the reduced blood pressure response to cold stress and isometric exercise. In other studies, scientists have determined that CBD’s anti-anxiety and analgesic effects helps to relax blood vessels.
Is CBD Oil Safe to Consume?
A mother uses CBD to treat her son’s seizures. A veteran hopes it will help her wean off opioids. A dietitian says it helps her sleep through the night. Even a pet owner uses it to calm his anxious Saint Bernard. These are just some of the estimated 64 million Americans who have tried CBD oil, or cannabidiol, in the past 24 months, according to a January 2019 nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of more than 4,000 Americans. The survey found that more than 25% of people in the U.S. say they’ve tried CBD for a slew of medical and physical reasons. One out of seven of those people said they use it every day.
“Americans of all ages are using it, too. It is most popular among people in their 20s, with 40 percent of them saying they have tried CBD. But so have 15 percent of people 60 and older. And our survey respondents also said it helped. Most of those who tried CBD reported that it was effective, especially among those who used it for anxiety.”
Moreover, a July 2018 study published by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that most people who try CBD for health problems learn about it and the correct dosage through friends, family or the Internet – not from their physician.
Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a contributor writer for Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, notes, “Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD oil can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication.
Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So, you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
So, what does that actually mean? Is CBD oil safe or not?
Always ask to review a CBD brand’s Certificate of Analysis, or COA. This third party document details how a CBD oil product performed when tested for CBD and THC concentration levels and tests for the presence of harmful contaminants, such as pesticides and heavy metals. In addition, make sure that the lab meets ISO 17025 standards, which adheres to high scientific standards.
Also look to see whether a company uses testing methods validated by one of three industry respected national standard-setting organizations: the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia or the U.S. Pharmacopeia.
If an online manufacturer or retail store either fails to have the COA information available or refuses to share it with you, avoid the product and the supplier altogether. You should also avoid purchasing CBD oil from providers which make specific health claims, even just the ability to treat minor problems, such as headaches. As previously noted, it is illegal for any CBD company to make any therapeutic claims. The more dramatic the claim, such as the ability to cure cancer (which CBD DOES NOT), the more skeptical you should be.
About Bespoke Extracts, Inc.
Bespoke Extracts, Inc. was formed in 2017 to introduce a proprietary line of premium quality, all natural cannabidiol (CBD) products in the form of tinctures and capsules for the nutraceutical and veterinary markets. All Bespoke Extracts’ flavor-infused tinctures and capsules are formulated using pure, all natural, zero-THC phytocannabinoid-rich (“PCR”) hemp-derived CBD sourced from one of the largest, fully and vertically integrated producers of PCR hemp oil.
All CBD isolate and oils are authenticated by an independent third party via issuance of a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which contains cannabinoid content and profile, microbiological content, heavy metal content, pesticide content, and residual solvent content. Bespoke recognizes the importance of compliance and is partnered with one of the industry’s leading CGMP certified extraction facilities. This ensures the consistency and quality of Bespoke’s product line and brand.
Bespoke’s products are distributed through its direct-to-consumers e-commerce store, found at www.BespokeExctract.com, and through select specialty retailers, pharmacies/dispensaries and care providers.