Cannabidiol, also widely known as CBD, is a molecule contained in cannabis: one of more than 100 phytocannabinoids that have been clearly identified thus far in this fascinating plant that has been used for millennia.
Cannabinoids are a group of naturally occurring active compounds found in marijuana that give the plant its medical and recreational properties. The most well-known one is THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the primary psychoactive element in cannabis, the one that makes you feel “high” or “stoned”.
Then comes CBD, a somewhat new and very trendy ingredient within the industry of natural products. CBD has been found to be non-psychoactive, to not have any cardiovascular effects and to be non-addictive[i]. There is even a number (limited for now) of preclinical studies suggesting that CBD could have therapeutic properties on addiction to cocaine, opioids, and other psychostimulants, and that it could be beneficial to tobacco addiction in humans[ii].
It’s become so popular that you can now find an incredibly large range of products such as sublingual oils, concentrates and pure extracts, vaping liquids, food supplements (for humans, and pets!), massage balms, skin and face cream, tea, coffee, energy drinks, gummies; and these are only some of the most popular ones. A range so wide and deep that we decided to create Kanabiz, to allow you to find them all in one convenient place. Yes, we sell them all, and more.
How it works
Here comes the somewhat technical part. Brace yourselves.
The crucial aspect of CBD (and other cannabinoids) on the human body is related to its interaction with receptors that are part of the recently discovered endocannabinoid system (ECS)[iii]. The evidence scientists found until now suggests that the ECS is present in all studied animals (except insects) and is affected by a variety of factors such as diet, sleep, stress and our own natural endocannabinoids[iv].
Following the discovery of the ECS, countless researchers have decided to dig deeper into it, quickly realizing the importance of a well-regulated ECS. A study published in 2013[v] suggests that the ECS modulation plays a role in diseases such as “neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders, obesity/metabolic syndrome, cachexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, tissue injury and pain, among others”.
To cut it short, if you’re suffering from some condition or disease, there’s a high probability that your ECS will show it’s not modulated correctly.
While THC and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) are the only cannabinoids interacting with the best known CB1 receptor (found in the brain, spinal cord and immune system cells), CBD has an indirect impact on CB2 receptors (immune tissues, lymphoid tissues, heart and liver), due to its direct interaction with other less-known receptors: namely GPR55 that regulates anxiety or motor activity, Serotonin that can influence pain and emotions, and Adenosine that has anti-inflammatory properties.
The amazing part about cannabinoids is that they tend to mimic and increase the effect of our own endogenous cannabinoids – these fatty-acid neurotransmitters found in our body and acting as signaling molecules of the ECS. Essentially, it makes the ECS work better; and as explained above, it has a tremendous influence on health.
Will CBD products make you fail a drug test?
In all honesty, this is a tough one: there is no clear-cut “yes or no” answer. It depends on a wide variety of factors (so wide that we won’t dive into a fully detailed explanation here, but that may be the topic of a standalone article in the near future). Anyone telling you otherwise would, at best, be misinformed.
The presence of CBD itself should not trigger any false positives on a drug test, simply because such tests usually aim at detecting THC, and trigger if too much of it is present. However, things are not so simple. Traces of THC may be found in many CBD products, and some of them do mention it clearly. Also, different testing methods (blood, urine, saliva, hair) allow for different cut-off limits of THC, and may detect it for varying periods of time
Different types of CBD will contain different levels of THC. Hemp-based CBD will have by nature lower amounts of THC compared to marijuana-based CBD. These are two plants from the same family, but with different concentration of the various cannabinoids.
The type of extracts you use is also a factor. Full-spectrum CBD contains the entire range of cannabinoids of the plant it is extracted from, and that can include THC. Broad-spectrum CBD is usually made by removing all the THC, but we’re never 100% safe from “cross-contamination” and perfectly efficient extraction process is hard to warrant. CBD isolates are the safest way to go if you are scared to fail a test, because it does not contain any other compounds of the plant it is extracted from.
Look closely at the product description and certificates, and compare them to make the best choice. Also do not hesitate to have a look at this excellent article written by healthline for additional useful information.
Health possible benefits and research
Cannabis having been forbidden in most parts of the world for decades, the number of studies and conclusive research regarding the plant’s therapeutic value is still quite limited. However, laws getting more flexible in many countries, along with some preliminary conclusive studies, a case for researching more about CBD and other cannabinoids has clearly been made in the last few years. Research is now ongoing to a far greater extent than it used to, with some positive and promising results.
Preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.<a href=”#_edn6″ name=”_ednref6″>[vi]</a>
Cannabidiol has also proven effective and with a very remarkable safety profile for patients suffering from psychosis, and more specifically schizophrenia[vii].
A study[viii] also describes CBD as an “anti-inflammatory analgesic” and it would not take you long to find countless anecdotal testimonies online of CBD users finding it very efficient for back pain, joints pain and other types of inflammations. 22% of CBD users in the UK actually claim to be using it for pain relief[ix]. Another big advantage of CBD is that contrary to usual painkillers, it appears to have very few side effects. Some more research is needed to get conclusive evidence, but what has been found so far is very encouraging.
In the USA, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has recently approved[x] the use of a CBD-based therapy (Epidiolex) for the treatment of seizures associated to two severe forms of epilepsy, following a conclusive clinical trial[xi] published in 2018 by the New England Journal of Medicine – showing once again the therapeutic value of CBD and justifying the high hopes in possible future findings.
There are countless other conditions that consumers claim to be using CBD for, including: Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, diabetes, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, IBS, sclerosis, osteoporosis, or Parkinson’s disease (list not exhaustive). Hard proof of CBD successfully treating those are still to come though, and no such medical claim can be made as of now.
What about the future? A quick search on ClinicalTrials.gov – a US federal database of accredited clinical trials worldwide – shows 598 results of studies for “CBD” and 212 results for the word “cannabidiol”. These trials are testing CBD as a treatment for a wide variety of health conditions, including autism, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glioblastoma (brain tumor), heart failures, various types of pains, Parkinson’s, and many others.
People want CBD. More and more people, in many countries, are asking for it. CBD is not a temporary fad that is meant to fade away in a few years. It is meant to remain and grow. It does not mean it is for everyone, but there is no doubt it could have a legitimate place in the life of millions.
While this incredible enthusiasm has led MANY companies to start producing and selling CBD products, standardized quality and certification practices are yet to be implemented with increased regulation. Standards of high quality are not necessarily met, and we can only advise you to make sure you can find certificates of products you are considering getting. Fortunately, even this aspect is being more and more considered by manufacturers who start realizing the importance of delivering safe and high-quality products in such a competitive market.
CBD has potential. Huge potential. It’s no coincidence if hundreds of studies are being made worldwide. It already has some proven benefits for the health, consumers claim many others that remain to be confirmed, so let’s hope that governments will not miss the opportunities of encouraging ever more comprehensive research, advanced CBD extraction methods and growing interest from people all over the world.
As mentioned by Dr. Ed’s founders[xii], “while clinical evidence in humans remains lacking, [we should expect that] the next decade will see markedly more publications potentially unlocking the full power of cannabidiol in the context of human health.” Hopefully for the best.
[i] World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (2018) –https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/279948/9789241210225-eng.pdf?ua=1 – pages 14 & 15 [ii] Prud’homme, M., R. Cata, and D. Jutras-Aswad, Cannabidiol as an intervention for addictive behaviors: a systematic review of the evidence. Substance abuse: research and treatment, 2015. 9: p. 33 – quoted in WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence – Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report (2018) – page 19 [iii] https://beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/eCBSystemLee.pdf [iv] Steve Caroll, Dr; Edward Jones, Alex McMillan, The Case for CBD – The Endocannabinoid System and its Modulation by Cannabidiol (CBD) (2019) – https://dr-ed.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Case-for-CBD-2019.pdf [v] Pál Pacher & George Kunos, Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease: successes and failures (2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684164/ [vi]Esther M. Blessing, Maria M. Steenkamp, Jorge Manzanares, Charles R. Marmar, Neuropathics (2015) – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1 [vii] Zuardi AW, Crippa JA, Hallak JE, Bhattacharyya S, Atakan Z, Martin-Santos R, McGuire PK, Guimarães FS, A critical review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of a translational investigation (2012) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716160 [viii] Ethan B Russo, Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain (2008) [ix] Steve Caroll, Dr; Edward Jones, Alex McMillan, The Case for CBD – Dr Ed 2019 Survey – https://dr-ed.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Case-for-CBD-2019.pdf [x] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms (2018) [xi] Orrin Devinsky et al., Effect of Cannabidiol on Drop Seizures in the Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome (2018) https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1714631 [xii] Steve Caroll, Dr Edward Jones, Alex McMillan, The Case for CBD (2019) – https://dr-ed.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Case-for-CBD-2019.pdf