As the interest in cannabidiol (CBD) increases so does the number of different CBD products. Recently, this list of products has started to include CBD-based medications. There is one specific medication that has received much attention: Epidiolex. But what exactly is Epidiolex? What does it do?
Laying down some groundwork: what is CBD?
Before we start talking about the specifics surrounding Epidiolex, we should cover what exactly CBD is and why it is such a big deal.
In cannabis plants there are over 113 different chemical compounds that are known as cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid has its own name and properties, but most of them are not very well-known. However, there are two that you have more than likely heard of. One is CBD, the other is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Because they are both cannabinoids, THC and CBD are often lumped together, which leads to some serious misconceptions about the compounds. One of them comes from the fact that CBD is psychoactive. That means that it creates the intoxication that is commonly associated with cannabis and is more often referred to as a “high.” Because of their connection, many think that CBD will also make people high. However, this is not true. CBD does not have any sort of psychoactive effects.
Another important difference to remember about these cannabinoids is that CBD products are usually made from a specific kind of cannabis plant. Most CBD products are made using hemp instead of marijuana. We will get into more detail about why a little bit further down.
There are many potential benefits CBD offers that researchers have found. One that is talked about often is CBD’s ability to help people achieve a greater sense of calm. This study had test subjects engage in one of the most anxiety inducing activities of all: public speaking. The researchers found that the subjects that were given CBD were much calmer when having to face their challenge.
Another common area of study for CBD is how it interacts with inflammation. One study looked at inflammation caused by oxidative stress. The researchers concluded that the CBD was able to greatly reduce the inflammation. Another study looked at the intestinal inflammation that often leads to conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The researchers found that CBD was able to help with that form of inflammation as well.
Those are just a couple of examples of the potential help that CBD may be able to offer people. There is another potential benefit that has caught the eye of many people. That would be CBD’s effect on epileptic seizures.
What is Epidiolex and how did it come to be?
Epidiolex is a CBD-based medication that is aimed at helping reduce epileptic seizures, especially in children. But how is CBD supposed to help with that?
There have been many studies evaluating CBD and epilepsy, and most of them, in not all, have shown very promising results. For example, this study studied the cannabinoid’s potential using seizures induced in both in vitro and in vivo animal models. The researchers concluded that CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures the test subjects experienced.
Another study wanted to look at how CBD dealt with epileptic behaviors (including seizures, of course) in rats. This was done by inducing the seizures after having treated some of the rats with CBD. The researchers found that the rats who had been given CBD beforehand did not have or did not have as intense seizures as the ones who were not given any of the cannabinoid.
These and many other studies gave researchers more confidence to say that there is evidence that CBD could help reduce the number of seizures experienced by those with epilepsy. That led to the development of Epidiolex. But there is an important question to be asked; is it legal, seeing as it comes from cannabis?
Is it legal?
The quick answer is, yes, Epidiolex is perfectly legal when prescribed by a doctor. But let’s get into the details of CBD and CBD-based medications and their legality.
As discussed above, CBD is usually extracted from hemp rather than marijuana. This is not just because of the content of CBD within these plants. It is also because hemp is federally legal in the United States and marijuana is not. Some states have legalized marijuana on some level, but as a whole, it is still illegal. This is because marijuana has high levels of THC. There is concern over the effect that THC has on people, so it is difficult to legalize it.
Hemp, by legal definition, has less than 0.3% THC content. This was one of the driving arguments in the legalization of the plant. This happened in late 2018 when the Farm Bill was passed. This is a bill that is passed every five years and deals with all things agricultural, including what farmers can and cannot grow and sell. That year the bill included a provision that allows farmers to grow, sell, and distribute hemp.
So, CBD products are legal. However, in order for a substance to be legally advertised and prescribed as a medicine, it needs to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Luckily, this is where Epidiolex has made history. In 2018 it became the first pure CBD based medication to ever be approved by the FDA.
There are other CBD-based medications that have been approved since 2018. These are mainly aimed at helping alleviate the nausea that comes with many cancer treatments.
To sum up, as long as the Epidiolex is prescribed by a licensed medical professional, you should have no worries about the legality of the medication.
What other CBD options are there?
While there is the option of medication for those who want to take CBD for their epilepsy, what about those who want to use it for other reasons? Luckily, there are many, many options out there. CBD extract is versatile and is easily made or mixed into just about anything you can think of. Let’s talk about what some of the products out there are.
Oil & tinctures
These are often considered the more basic way of taking CBD. They are usually just CBD mixed with a carrier oil, like palm oil. They offer a couple of different ways to take them. Some people prefer mixing a drop or two in with a drink. However, many oils and tinctures are flavored, so other people tend to place the drops directly into their mouths, placing them under their tongue. This is a slightly faster way for the CBD to start working. Mixing them in with something you eat or drink means that you need to wait for that food or drink to digest before the CBD can get to work. Placing the drops under the tongue allows them to absorb into the system more quickly, as the skin under the tongue is thin.
Tablets & capsules
These are pill-like products made with CBD. The tablets are a faster way to take CBD. Most of them are sublingual, meaning that you place them under your tongue and allow them to dissolve there. As mentioned before, the skin under your tongue is thin and allows things to enter the bloodstream more quickly. Capsules are bit slower. Most CBD capsules are soft gels, meaning that they are made with liquid CBD extract. These tend to digest more quickly than hard-packed pills, but they still need to digest, nonetheless. So, they tend to be a bit slower than the tablets.
CBD can be easily used in the making of many food and drinks, leading to CBD edibles. These are one of the most popular kinds of CBD products. This is likely because they taste great and are very easy to take (after all, you just eat or drink them). However, they are one of the slowest ways to take CBD. Like capsules, they need to digest before the CBD can enter the system.
This category of CBD product includes things like lotions, salves, and cremes. They are basically anything that you rub on your skin that is made with CBD. Topicals are less likely to provide an overall effect. They are more likely to have a localized effect instead. This is because the CBD does not absorb into the bloodstream. Instead, it is just absorbed into the pores allowing the CBD to do its work just in the area that the topical is applied.
As of right now, there are not many CBD-based medications. But the existence of Epidiolex shows that there is much potential for the medical community to fully utilize the benefits of the cannabinoid. It will be interesting to see what other medications may pop up as research continues.
Craving to learn more about CBD? Wanting to try out some of the products mentioned in this article? Have questions that were not answered? No need to look any further. On the Panacea Life Sciences website, we have articles covering just about everything there is to know about CBD. We have a wide range of high-quality CBD products. You can also contact us through our site or by emailing us at [email protected]