The last few years have been exciting ones for cannabidiol (CBD). It seems like CBD products are everywhere these days. You can find it in food products, as oil, and in lotions. But for all its notoriety, few people know what CBD is. Is it a supplement? A medication? If it can stop seizures, it’s a medication, right?
Starting simple: what is CBD?
Before we can talk about CBD medications, we need to talk about what exactly CBD is. Afterall, if you are looking to take a CBD-based medication it is probably best to understand what this compound is.
Cannabis sativa plants, like hemp and marijuana, have several chemical compounds in them like cannabinoids. There are over 113 cannabinoids found in the plants, CBD being one of these cannabinoids. There are additionally a number of other compounds called terpenes that give cannabis its unique smell and taste. CBD has a number of reported positive health effects different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It is important to know that while CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, they are not very similar in effect. THC has what is called a psychoactive effect on people. This means that it creates a high. In fact, THC is the cannabinoid that creates the high that is so often associated with Cannabis.
Before we talk about the effects of CBD, let’s get into more detail about the compound. To start with, it is normally extracted from hemp and not marijuana. There are a few reasons for this. One of the main ones is that hemp has high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, has the opposite; it has low levels of CBD and high levels of THC. As you can imagine, these levels of CBD make it possible to extract high purity CBD from hemp.
The other reason why CBD is extracted from hemp more often than marijuana is that industrial hemp is legal in the United States, while marijuana still is not. Hemp was legalized in America in late 2018 with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill made it legal for people to grow, sell and make products from industrial hemp (we go into more detail about the Farm Bill and its effects in this article).
Most CBD products are made with one of three CBD extracts. The three different CBD ingredients are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate. The differences between these are based on how many other cannabinoids and compounds are in the extract with the CBD. Full-spectrum has the most other cannabinoids and compounds with all of the other compounds found in the hemp with the CBD, including THC (though it is only 0.3% which is not enough to have an effect on anyone). Broad-spectrum is similar to full-spectrum, the main difference is that it does not have any THC in it. Broad spectrum products are a good option for those who have interest in taking advantage of what is sometimes called the entourage effect without THC. CBD isolate is just CBD. There are no other compounds and cannabinoids in the extract with the CBD.
Research on CBD has spiked in recent years. As a result, we obtaining a better idea of the kinds of effects it may have on people. For example, this study found that CBD was able to help with acne. This is because the CBD was able to help reduce sebum production (the oil that skin produces to help protect it and also causes acne).
Other studies have looked at CBD and inflammation. This study, for example, found that CBD was greatly able to help reduce inflammation in acute lung injury. This and other studies have been showing that CBD may be able to help many people with their inflammation.
One of the most exciting areas of study for CBD is evaluating at how it may affect epilepsy.
Focusing on Epidiolex
The first pure CBD medication to officially be approved by the FDA is an epilepsy medication called Epidiolex. The goal of the medication is to help calm the frequency of epileptic seizures, especially in children. Epidiolex may be used by anyone two years and older.
Epidiolex was developed because of the studies that have been done on CBD and epilepsy. For example, this study found that CBD was able to help calm seizures in animals. Another study found that CBD was also able to help with rats struggling with epileptic-related behaviors. These are just two examples of the many human clinical trials that have been done on the way that CBD and epilepsy interacts.
In mid-2018, the FDA officially approved Epidiolex for use with a prescription drug for the treatment of severe epilepsy, providing many people with relief. This includes those who have epilepsy and their loved ones, as the seizures may have a toll on everyone.
Epidiolex appears to have minimal side effects, including when taken at very high doses. Side effects such as nausea and loss of appetite are possible, but not common. However, those who take Epidiolex need to be on the lookout for side effects that may suggest issues with the liver. This includes issues like jaundice and stomach pain. Beyond that, there do not seem to be any overly serious side effects.
Epidiolex is just one example of a CBD-based medication. However, many have yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so we are not yet sure what benefits they may offer.
Other uses of CBD
There are not many CBD-based prescription medications, yet. Epidiolex is the main one right now. There are many additional formulations going through the approval process with the FDA. If you are interested in taking CBD, but there is not a medication made for with the effect you are looking for, you may want to try a different CBD product. There are many available and as a result, there is a lot of versatility. Let’s talk about what some of those options are.
Tinctures and oils
Oils and tinctures are the more traditional route for CBD products. The oils are CBD extracts that have been placed in a carrier oil, like coconut oil for example. Tinctures are similar, but they are generally just the extract. There are a few ways that you can take these. You can either mix them in with food or drink and take it that way. Or you can put as many drops as you need under your tongue and allow the CBD to enter your bloodstream.
These products are things like lotions and creams. They are made for localized use to benefit skin health. CBD in topicals remain where the lotion is applied. This means that topicals will not provide the more overarching effect that other products do.
Tablets and capsules
Capsules and tablets are pill-like products formulated with CBD. Soft gel capsules are like regular pills, but are more flexible, making them easier to swallow. They also tend to work faster than regular pills, they take less time to digest. CBD tablets tend to be a little different as they are often the kind of tablet that you place under your tongue and let dissolve. These are like oils and tinctures, as the skin under the tongue tends to be thin, making it easy for things to enter the bloodstream sublingually.
These are like they sound: CBD products that are made to be eaten. They come in many different forms, from candy to crackers. They even are in drinks, from soda to tea. As a result, there a lot of options for you to pick from. Edibles are a good option for those who want to take CBD, but either do not like the flavor of the oils or have a hard time taking capsules. The thing that is important to remember is that edibles do not start working for a while, as they need time to digest. This means that you need to be careful and give them enough time to start working before taking more to be sure that you do not take too much.
Epidiolex, a CBD-based medication, may offer some much-needed help for those who struggle and those who have loved ones who struggle with epileptic seizures. It is exciting to consider the other CBD medications that appear to be on the horizon as they go through the FDA approval process. Anyone who is interested in CBD should keep an eye out to see what else comes out.
Are you interested in CBD? Do you want to know more about the cannabinoid? Do you want to explore your options for quality CBD products? You are on the right site. On the Panacea Life Sciences’ site, we have several articles covering every CBD topic from A to Z. Plus you can find many high-quality CBD products. You can also find ways to contact a member of Panacea Life Sciences team. Or you can email any comments, questions or concerns to us directly at [email protected].