Cannabidiol or CBD is one of over 400 constituents found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The long history of the cannabis plant starts some 2,800 years ago with its use for various medicinal purposes in Asia. In the Western world, its relevance in the field of medicine began in the early 19th century. During this time, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another compound present in cannabis, received most research interest and public attention. THC is present only in the female cannabis plant, more commonly known as marijuana, which produces resinous flowers containing psychoactive elements.
It was first discovered in 1940 along with CBN when it was isolated by Roger Adams in Mexican marijuana and by Alexander Todd in Indian charas. After more than 20 years, it was also traced in Lebanese hashish. CBD identified as having a different chemical nomenclature from that of THC, which does not contain THC's pyrene ring and numbering system, thereby establishing its stark difference versus the euphoric chemical structure of THC.
Recognized as one of the predominant cannabinoid constituents of cannabis and one among a total of 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis, CBD accounts for about 40% of the plant extract. CBD is known to be the key to a range of therapeutic and medicinal effects offered by cannabis.
People commonly ingest CBD in four primary forms: CBD isolate or crystals, full-spectrum oil, broad-spectrum oil, and water-soluble CBD.
CBD Isolate or crystal is the purest form available. All other compounds present in the cannabis plant, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and other numerous cannabinoids, are removed. Even with the minute amount or trace presence of THC in the hemp plant, the process for creating CBD isolate completely removes THC. Some argue that CBD isolate is best reserved for topical use because it lacks the complex, whole-plant components that form the "entourage effect."
Full-spectrum CBD oil preserves all the naturally-existing compounds in the hemp plant, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids commonly removed from CBD isolate. About 400 compounds present in cannabis work together to magnify the therapeutic effects of each, thereby creating the phenomena called the "entourage effect." Moreover, the naturally-occurring trace amount of THC is intentionally left in the full-spectrum CBD oil, as it compliments more inclusive cannabinoids leading to more beneficial effects. Many people report that full-spectrum CBD oil provides higher levels of pain and stress relief compared to pure CBD crystal.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is very similar to full-spectrum CBD. Although THC is wholly absent in broad-spectrum CBD, enough components of the hemp plant are preserved to create the "entourage effect." Similar to CBD isolate, no traces of THC remain, but a much closer whole-plant profile is protected.
Water-soluble CBD solves the absorption problem found with CBD isolate. The CBD is attached to a fat molecule to make it water-soluble and suitable for teas, coffees, and other beverages. However, when taking any CBD products, water-soluble CBD has the fastest rate of absorption, just 30 seconds compared to 30 minutes before the impact of CBD oil manifests.
CBD Sources & Legalities
CBD products seen flooding the marketplace today derive from hemp stalks, leaves, and flowers in accordance with the Agricultural Act of 2014 and the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which became law December 20, 2018. The 2014 Act allowed States and Universities to create pilot programs to begin growing and studying hemp and the impact of the derivatives of hemp under regulated conditions. The Hemp Act of 2018 devised to remove hemp, a low THC-concentration cannabis, from the list of Schedule I drugs under the United Stated Controlled Substances Act. According to statute, CBD derived from hemp must contain less than <0.3% THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid so recognized in hemp's close cousin, marijuana. Both belong to the cannabis family of plants with hemp being devoid of any effects of intoxication or feeling "high".
Cannabinoids are also observed in other plants and fruits such as the rind of oranges. One CBD manufacturer has spear-headed the production of non-hemp-derived CBD in both a liquid extract and several capsule forms composed of CBD derived solely from citrus by using orange rinds. This CBD source generates the assurance that there need be no solvent process for removing THC and no chance of failed drug testing when using this unique CBD.
Biosynthesis in Hemp
Cannabis constitutes Geranyl-pyrophosphate-olivetolic acid geranyltransferase, which is an enzyme comprising geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid. These compounds together produce cannabigerolic acid. The cannabigerolic acid is a key intermediate for a number of cannabinoids that when cyclized by CBDA synthease enzyme gives CBDA (cannabidiolic acid). The resultant CBDA gets decarboxylated over time, or when heated, to produce Cannabidiol (CBD).
Recently, CBD has become a hotbed of research. Despite the research listed here suggesting potential benefits from CBD, extensive research including clinical trials have not been definitively concluded to support recommendations for use of CBD as a medical treatment, nor has there been any approval by the Food & Drug Administration of the United States for over-the-counter remedies of hemp-derived CBD.
Anti-Inflammatory – CBD possesses anti-inflammatory effects according to research titled "Anti-inflammatory role of cannabidiol and O-1602 in cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in mice" performed at the Institute of Digestive Disease, Department of Pathophysiology, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.
Anxiety Relief – A research article on the topic, "Involvement of serotonin-mediated neurotransmission in the dorsal periaqueductal gray matter on cannabidiol chronic effects in panic-like responses in rats" from the Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 3900 Bandeirantes av., Monte Alegre, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil, established that CBD helps reduce stress and physiological effects of anxiety.
Anti-Seizure – CBD has been found to help the body regulate healthy nerve responses and offers hope for several seizure disorders.
Neuroprotective – Researchers have discovered the CB1 receptor in the brain to determine the ways in which CBD can help those who are suffering from neurodegenerative disorders. Research continues to determine "The Biology and Potential Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol" using CBD oil.
Possible Side Effects
CBD in some case may have side-effects like fatigue, decreased appetite, sleeping problems, weakness, sleepiness, and more. But, it does not have any of the intoxicating effects caused by THC.
To tackle this problem, research is going on to establish the effects of CBD on various biological targets, including neurotransmitter receptors and cannabinoid receptors.
At the time of this writing and after the consumption of hundreds of thousands of CBD products by humans and animals, no toxic or damaging effects have been reported. Therefore, CBD is typically recognized as safe.