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.
‘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.’
Because CBD works with specific neurotransmitters to reduce anxiety and increase the ability to focus, initial studies have shown promise in its ability to increase the quality of life by decreasing the symptoms of ADHD for many sufferers. Much of this research is still in the early phases (with a lot of room to learn more), however, CBD may be worth adding to a daily routine for those frustrated with traditional treatment options.
Our bodies are thought to produce endocannabinoids by the billions every day. “We always thought the ‘runner’s high’ was due to the release of dopamine and endorphins. But now we know the euphoria is also from an endocannabinoid called anandamide,” its name derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss, says Joseph Maroon, MD, clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We produce these natural chemicals all day, but they fade quickly because enzymes pop up to destroy them. That’s where CBD comes in: By blocking these enzymes, CBD allows the beneficial compounds to linger.
Due to the uniqueness of everyone’s endocannabinoid system, CBD does not affect any two people the same way. There are a host of factors that influence its efficacy, including genetics, previous history of use, general health, weight, ethnicity and so on. Therefore, while one person may find that 15 mg of CBD a day works wonders for suppressing appetite and boosting weight loss, another may require up to 100 mg (or more) in order to achieve the same results (in fact, they may not experience any results at all).
Then there is the matter of which part of the plant is used. THC tends to be more concentrated in the leaves of the plant, while CBD in its stem and seeds. It should be noted that these aspects are relative. Some degree of agreement exists that for the purest CBD, the stalk of a hemp plant (varieties of cannabis generally grown for fiber manufacturing, low in THC), or much less often the seeds. Taking into account the fact that CBD supplements are usually in an oil form, one may fathom the origins of the nearly ubiquitous hemp oil dietary supplements.