Cannabidiol—CBD—is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis is non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC-dominant strains makes it an appealing option for patients looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria.
Scientific and clinical research—much of it sponsored by the US government—underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrable neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere. Further evidence suggests that CBD is safe even at high doses.
Project CBD responds to inquiries from all over the world. Almost everyone wants to know where to get CBD-rich products and how to use them for maximum benefit. After decades in which only high-THC cannabis was available in North America and beyond, CBD-rich strains and products are now available to medical users.
“CBD-rich” versus “CBD dominant:” By “CBD-rich,” we mean a cannabis strain or product that has equal amounts of CBD and THC, or more CBD than THC (usually at least 4 percent CBD by dry weight.). By “CBD-dominant,” we mean strains or products that are CBD-rich but have very little THC content.
Cannabidiol (INN; abbreviated as: CBD) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract.CBD does not appear to have any intoxicating effects such as those caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but it may have a downregulating impact on disordered thinking and anxiety.
Nabiximols (USAN, trade name Sativex) is an aerosolized mist for oral administration containing a near 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC. The drug was approved by Canadian authorities in 2005 to alleviate pain associated with multiple sclerosis.
In 2015 a case study on CBD and addictive use of marijuana was published. A bipolar man who had a daily marijuana habit was given CBD along with his regimen of medication and reported less anxiety and no marijuana use. A 2015 systematic review of studies on CBD and addiction (five on humans, nine on animals) found that CBD acts on neurotransmittors involved in addiction; animal studies showed some relation in opioid and psychostimulant addiction and human studies showed beneficial effects for tobacco and cannabis dependence. However, the anti-addictive properties displayed might be due to CBD’s protective effect on stress and neurotoxicity, the review also mentions the need for more research.
Anecdotal reports and early studies suggested that CBD may be of value in treating epilepsy, but the quality of the studies were too poor to draw definitive conclusions. A 2014 Cochrane review included four randomized controlled trials, but all were of poor quality. A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study of CBD oil on treating Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that begins in infancy and is difficult to treat, was conducted in 2017 and found that CBD oil significantly reduced the number of seizures. However, it also caused increased diarrhea, vomiting, fevers, fatigue, abnormal LFTs, and somnolence.
GW Pharmaceuticals is seeking FDA approval to market a liquid formulation of pure plant-derived CBD, under the trade name Epidiolex (containing 99% cannabidiol and less than 0.10% Δ9-THC) as a treatment for Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex was granted fast-track status and orphan drug status in the United States for treatment of Dravet syndrome in July 2015.
CBD safety in humans has been studied in multiple small studies, suggesting that it is well tolerated at doses of up to 1,500 mg/day given orally or 30 mg given intravenously. Daily doses of CBD (700 mg) for 6 weeks did not induce any toxicity in patients being treated for Huntington’s disease.
There is preclinical evidence to suggest that cannabidiol may reduce THC clearance, modestly increasing THC’s plasma concentrations resulting in a greater amount of THC available to receptors, increasing the effect of THC in a dose-dependent manner. Despite this, the available evidence in humans suggests no significant effect of CBD on THC plasma levels.
Cannabidiol has very low affinity for the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors but acts as an indirect antagonist of these receptors. It may potentiate THC’s effects by increasing CB1 receptor density or through another CB1receptor-related mechanism. Cannabidiol may also extend the duration of the effects of THC via inhibition of the cytochrome P450, CYP3A and CYP2C enzymes.[unreliable source?]
Cannabidiol has been found to act as an antagonist of GPR55, a G protein-coupled receptor and putative cannabinoid receptor that is expressed in the caudate nucleus and putamen in the brain. It has also been shown to act as a 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist, and this action may be involved in the antidepressant, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol. It is an allosteric modulator of the μ- and δ-opioid receptorsas well. Cannabidiol’s pharmacological effects have additionally been attributed to PPARγ agonism and intracellular calcium release.
Research suggests that CBD may exert some of its pharmacological action through its inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which may in turn increase the levels of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, produced by the body. It has also been speculated that some of the metabolites of CBD have pharmacological effects that contribute to the biological activity of CBD.
Cannabidiol is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents such as pentane. At room temperature, it is a colorless crystalline solid. In strongly basic media and the presence of air, it is oxidized to a quinone. Under acidic conditions it cyclizes to THC. The synthesis of cannabidiol has been accomplished by several research groups.