Lynn owns and operates Walsh Natural Health, a community health food store that has served the North shore of Chicago for 25 years. She has an intimate knowledge of the proper use of supplements, herbs, homeopathic medicines, essential oils, flower essences, and body care products. Lynn believes that health is a constant creative process that takes into account genetics, current health conditions, lifestyle & diet, emotional health, body movement, social connection, and self-development.
CBD and hemp products are all the rage right now, but what’s the real scoop on these products? CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 150 different cannabinoids. Cannabinoids affect the endocannabinoid system in the body, which has wide-ranging effects on body systems. Cannabinoids can be found in marijuana, hemp, and many other plants. CBD is a cannabinoid that does not have any psychoactive effects. It opposes the effect of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.
Though marijuana does contain CBD, products that are commercially available are from hemp. Hemp can legally be grown and consumed under current law in the U.S. The current requirement is that hemp products must contain less than .3% THC. This can be assured by doing business with companies that are regulated by the states they grow in, and that control the genetics of the plants that they use in their product. So if you see CBD or hemp on your local health food store’s shelves, it is from hemp, not marijuana. Make sure that the staff is aware of the sourcing of the raw material, and are confident in the companies they choose to represent.
As mentioned, the endocannabinoid system is crucial to balance in the body. Receptors of this system can be found in the digestive, nervous, immune/lymphatic, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive, cardiovascular, renal and musculoskeletal systems of the body. The nervous system has a particularly high concentration of receptors. The body can make its own cannabinoids, like anandamide and 2-AG, called endocannabinoids. Factors like poor diet, stress, toxic exposure, lack of exercise and genetics can cause deficiencies in this internal production. Reduced activity of the endocannabinoid system has been linked to many illnesses. These include fibromyalgia, anxiety, seizure disorders, migraines, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and more. CBD and other cannabinoids in food and supplements can provide support when needed.1
The two main cannabinoids that have been studied for their pharmacologic properties are THC and CBD. Some of the increased dangers of cannabis over the last several years relate to two things: 1) a dramatic increase in the THC/CBD ratio and 2) the use of synthetic cannabinoids. One study found that the ratio of THC to CBD in the U.S. increased from 14:1 to 80:1. This is problematic in that THC is the psychoactive compound and CBD is thought to modify its effects. Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are even stronger than THC because they have greater affinity to receptors. This potentially makes these compounds more dangerous. Following SC use, there have been reports of ruminations, panic attacks, and anxiety.2
CBD, on the other hand, does not produce these side effects and has the following properties:
We see many clients that have had success with CBD relative to anxiety, sleep, PMS, and pain reduction. Preclinical studies suggest that CBD may also be effective for treating opiod-cocaine addiction, and psycho-stimulant use disorders.3 Although the research on CBD and the other cannabinoids is still in its infancy, it is showing great promise in supporting the resolution of a wide variety of conditions. Animal studies have shown that it may help to resolve collagen-induced arthritis, excess motility in IBS, and any condition where immune system activation and oxidative stress are a factor. This includes rheumatoid arthritis, Types I & II diabetes, atherosclerosis, Metabolic Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis.4
We are sure to see more research on CBD and the other cannabinoids in the near future. Some excellent brands include Charlotte’s Web hemp oil, Plus CBD, and Vital Leaf. By law, these brands must be less than .3% THC and as such will not have a psychoactive effect. These brands are also full-spectrum, meaning that they contain a range of the other cannabinoids that naturally exist in hemp. We like this full-spectrum hemp for its “entourage effect”. Products that contain a range of cannabinoids require lower doses than pure extracts of CBD. Emerald Health & Hempceutix, have combined hemp with other herbs that affect the endocannabinoid system or address a specific condition. I have found their products very effective as well. Hemp products come in all forms including oil, capsules, topical applications, gummies, chocolates, and even honey.
If you have additional questions, or are not sure if a product is right for you, stop by our store and speak with one of our staff about hemp extracts, and CBD in particular. We look forward to assisting you!
- Murray MT, Appendino G, Morello G. The healing power of the endocannabinoid system. Impact Health Media. 2017.
- Lotsch J, Weyer-Menkoff I, Tegeder I. Current evidence of cannabinoid-based analgesia obtained in preclinical and human experimental settings. Eur J Pain. 2017 doi: 10.1002/ejp.1148. [Epub ahead of print]
- Lafaye G, Karila L, Blecha L, Benyamina A. Cannabis, cannabinoids and health. Dialogues Clin Neuro. 2017; 19(3): 309-316.
- Burnstein S.Cannabidiol and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry.2015; 23(7): 1377-1385. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2015.01.059