CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the hemp plant albeit industrial or marijuana.
What exactly is a cannabinoid?
Cannabinoid is a classification of diverse chemicals found throughout nature with the ability to influence the activity of the human endocannabinoid system. This goes for the body as well, as it is an organism found in nature. This system only earned the name ‘endocannabinoid’ once scientists distinguished the effects constituents of cannabis have on the human body. After decades of study, researchers eventually established a relationship between the endocannabinoid system, inflammation, and pain. What’s more, studies conducted in the U.K. and Canada began revealing potential medical benefits of CBD with a number of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. Unfortunately, a link to one documentary in particular is not available to the general public as it is reserved for a variety of health-related college level courses. Nevertheless, it’s apparent these studies were taken seriously by a large segment of the scientific and medical communities as it is heavily promoted with numerous health benefits for pain, inflammation, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Crohn’s and much more. However, there is very little evidence to confirm these claims. Regardless of this fact, CBD merchants are popping up everywhere with the goal of providing a product with remedial advantages.
What are the facts?
CBD is a CB2 agonist, activating a number of systemic processes through its influence on this particular receptor. While this may be the determination, there is a little known side to cannabidiol that poses a potential problem with a number of medications.
Although notably beneficial, CBD also inhibits activity on the CYP450 3A4 enzyme which is required for drug metabolism. Unfortunately, there’s more. As it turns out, both the CYP450 2C9 and CYP450 2C19 are also affected by cannabinoids and when combined with medications that are designed to be metabolized through these specific enzymes, the potential adverse reactions are real. The problem, however, lies in our ability to recognize or even understand the nature of adverse reactions.
As it goes, adverse reactions are anything that keep the body out-of-balance and unstable. The challenge is accepting the fact that adverse reactions are not always noticeable problems. Sometimes, they are silent and go undetected for years before ‘blossoming’ into some type of health issue. At other times, they trigger additive effects i.e. being a CNS depressant
Cannabinoids, found throughout nature …
Many plants contain cannabinoid constituents; not just cannabis. An interesting fact given the amount of public attention that’s been displayed regarding the legalization of cannabis / hemp / CBD. What we ended up with is a Farm Bill that now heavily regulates the farming of hemp as well as prohibits the sale of CBD as a medicinal product, unless it comes from a very specific grower and is used as a pharmaceutical. Otherwise, it’s illegal due being a schedule one substance. The reason for this has everything to do with it being studied as a new drug, prohibiting its use in foods and dietary supplements; although, not cosmetics. This latest development puts CBD on the shelf next to essential oils.
Not surprisingly, a number of constituents in essential oils also influence genetic activity, just like cannabidiol. The difference is there is no public backing to ‘legalize’ them at this time. At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence to support their impact on the human body. Keep in mind, CBD is a single constituent with an ability to activate CB2 receptor activity. The reason this chemical was initially isolated as beneficial for the brain is because it counters the effects of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol. This is a significant discovery as it indicates the effect CBD has on the metabolism and clearing of THC … or does it?
There are over 100 recognized cannabinoid constituents in the cannabis plant, in addition to over 300 more terpene-type chemicals. While scientists understand the pathway CBD takes in the body, they know next to nothing about the synergy of constituents. The production and pharmaceutical use of CBD is no different than the production of any other medication.
A widely researched sesquiterpene
Beta-caryophyllene is considered an atypical cannabinoid, also found in cannabis as well as other plants, that follows a similar ‘path’ through the human body as cannabidiol, relieving inflammation and various types of pain. However, because this chemical also influences both CB2 receptor and CYP450 3A4 enzyme activity, it should not be used with medications affecting the very same enzyme family.
Which essential oils contain beta-caryophyllene?
- Black pepper
- Roman chamomile
- Cinnamon bark
- Helichrysum, and more.
Again, what adverse reactions can a person expect?
This depends on the individual genome, the quality of the essential oil being used, the types of medications being taken as well as whether or not, the beta-caryophyllene is being ‘consumed’ as a single constituent rather than in an essential oil, much like CBD.
The bottom line to this is the public is being used to generate the next big U.S. commodity. Hemp is easy to grow and now that it’s legal to do so, people are signing up to be certified growers and producers of CBD. As long as this chemical comes from one of the government approved farms, the pharmaceutical industry wins.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences