For the past couple of years, the field has been experiencing a boom in cannabidiol-related research. What has permeated the scientific consensus stems from efforts undertaken to explain effects of THC, with descriptions of cannabidiol just a by-product of the initial purpose. For example, CBD was thought to have been simply a precursor of THC, mainly due to the structural similarities between the two.
At present, we have the following classification of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids (produced naturally in the body, mainly from fatty acid precursors), phytocannabinoids (compounds that have a plant origin, with the cannabis plant being the best-studied source of phytocannabinoids though not the only one), and artificial cannabinoids (created while studying THC, to garner the benefits of marijuana without the recreational component).
This turn is due to a comprehensive 2015 study aimed at two notoriously difficult manifestations of epilepsy – Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – most often encountered in children. Seizure frequency was found to decrease between 54 percent and 67 percent for the six months cannabidiol medication was used, although a small part of individuals did not continue after three months, as their condition did not improve.
Is CBD Legal? Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Check your state's laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
‘CBD has proven anti-anxiety effects and may be helpful in depression, based on anecdotal reports,’ says Dr Gordon. ‘I use high CBD prescription cannabis medicine products as part of a mental health protocol with my patients suffering with anxiety and depression. The antidepressant effects of CBD have been shown in animal models, but we now need large, depression-specific studies in humans as the next step.’
The list of cannabinoids currently comprises 113 entries, with more and more additions each year. Of these 113, by far the best documented are tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (in this order), with the two also being the most abundant constituents of the cannabis plant. In a typical chemical isolation process, cannabidiol makes up a little under half of the entire extract.
Alicia Salazar, a New York state board certified health coach, uses CBD with her clients to maximize their health outcomes. “I don’t look at CBD as a magic bullet for weight loss,” she said. “But CBD along with a healthy diet – one that contains healthy fats, whole grains, grass-fed meat and dairy, and plenty of greens, without processed foods and sugar – sets the tone for a healthy weight. And for some, that can naturally include weight loss.”
The previously mentioned study which established improved mitochondrial function with CBD use also observed that CBD stimulates gene expression within white fat cells. This initiates the “browning” of these cells. This mechanism shows promise with converting hard-to-lose white fat into a more easily burnable form. Additionally, researchers found that CBD decreased the rate of new fat cell creation.
Unlike THC, CBD will not make you high. That said, this doesn’t mean CBD is not at all psychoactive, as many assert, says Jahan Marcu, PhD, director of experimental pharmacology and behavior at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City: “CBD does change cognition. It affects mood, which is why people take it for anxiety. And some find that it makes them more alert.”
There has been a fair amount of confusion surrounding the legality of CBD oil. But while the vast majority of cannabinoids are controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act, rest assured that CBD oil is legal across the UK for medicinal purposes, provided it has been derived from an industrial hemp strain that is EU-approved. These strains contain very little to no THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid).
Dietary changes are the most important action individuals can choose to get off the roller coaster. But CBD could lend a hand in the process. A 2018 study showed that the cannabinoids THC, CBD and CBN enhance cells’ ability to take up glucose. And they perform even better than metformin, a common pharmaceutical prescribed to lower elevated blood glucose.
If you haven’t been bombarded with CBD marketing or raves about it from friends, get ready. This extract—which comes from either marijuana or its industrial cousin, hemp—is popping up everywhere. There are CBD capsules, tinctures, and liquids for vaping plus CBD-infused lotions, beauty products, snacks, coffee, and even vaginal suppositories. Already some 1,000 brands of CBD products are available in stores—and online in states that don’t have lenient cannabis laws. This is a tiny fraction of what’s to come: The CBD market is poised to exceed $22 billion by 2022, per the Chicago-based research firm Brightfield Group.
It’s important to remember, though, that these areas of study are still very new and in their early stages. This makes it hard to predict just how far their reach and impact will be. Combined with lifestyle and dietary changes, prescribed cannabinoid use will very likely be a pivotal intervention in the future of obesity and diabetes management and recovery.
‘The media has no doubt helped drive this popularity,’ says Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director at Healthspan. ‘However, the main drive is because people who take it experience the benefits very quickly, and “word of mouth” is a powerful thing. CBD oil also has such a wide range of benefits, reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, ensuring a good night’s sleep, reducing pain perception and improving general feelings of wellbeing. It therefore appeals to a wide range of people.’
There are a number of possible side effects to using CBD oil, such as fatigue, dry mouth, lightheadedness, hypotension, and impaired motor functions. However, when used in moderate amounts, most people do not experience these side effects, and none of them are known for being fatal or particularly dangerous. More than 20,000 studies have been done in the past 15 years on cannabis, hemp, and cannabinoids, and the results have been overwhelmingly supportive of the therapeutic potential and viability of CBD oil. That being said, some people should be cautious before using this powerful oil.
Correcting a calorie excess with a calorie deficit sometimes works for weight loss, but it can be difficult. First of all, reducing calories leaves people feeling hungry, which can be incredibly uncomfortable. Second of all, weight gain can cause changes to hormone levels and balance, metabolic patterns, inflammation status, and balance within the endocannabinoid system.