So is it possible that despite all this anecdotal evidence, low-dose CBD is a placebo? Sure, because, say it with me: We don’t know anything about CBD. “Unfortunately,” says Baron, “we are nowhere near close to having any definitive trials on effectiveness for most symptoms claimed to benefit from CBD with trials that are scientifically relevant, such as prospective randomized placebo-controlled trials.”
^ Jump up to: a b Resstel LB, Tavares RF, Lisboa SF, Joca SR, Corrêa FM, Guimarães FS (January 2009). "5-HT1A receptors are involved in the cannabidiol-induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to acute restraint stress in rats". British Journal of Pharmacology. 156 (1): 181–8. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2008.00046.x. PMC 2697769. PMID 19133999.
THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance responsible for the psychoactive effects for marijuana we associate with getting high, comes with side effects such as reduced short-term memory, impaired thinking and potential anxiety, while CBD, cannabidiol, possesses therapeutic effects such as relief of pain, stress, depression, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, as well as protecting those parts of the brain associated with memory and learning. CBD's positive effects are due to its ability to bond with receptors in the brain, hence the anti-anxiety, anti-spasmodic and neuroprotective effects, as well as receptors throughout the body, lending itself to anti-inflammation and pain relief.
When discussing coffee, some coffee roasts do however include both CBD and THC, and these can potentially deliver a pretty significant high. However, what people really seem to be interested in as of late is pure CBD coffee, which you can drink every single morning just like a regular cup of joe — it provides loads of health benefits (see below), without getting you stoned in any way.
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).
Tinctures are liquid cannabis extractions that are applied under the tongue. Soaked in either alcohol or vegetable glycerin, cannabis tinctures were among the earliest forms of cannabis medicines prior to its prohibition in the United States. They tend to be less concentrated than other oil extracts, but their effects kick in faster than ingestible oils and edibles.
Even if a topical contains active THC, it still won’t induce that intense “high” you’d get from smoking or ingesting cannabis. With most topicals, cannabinoids can’t breach the bloodstream; they only penetrate to the system of CB2 receptors. Transdermal patches, however, do deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream and could have psychoactive effects with a high enough THC content.
When compared with the effects of caffeine, one could go out on a limb and say that CBD and caffeine are on different sides of the spectrum. Sure, they’re both anti-inflammatories, but you’re not as likely to fall asleep in your cereal after chugging a mug of coffee. You can see where I’m going with this, right? CBD coffee is a liquid contradiction.
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What makes CBD so appealing is that it’s non-intoxicating, so it won’t get you high, though it “is technically psychoactive, because it can influence things like anxiety,” Jikomes said. Although much of the marketing blitz around CBD centers on the fact that you can take it without getting stoned, there isn’t much research looking at the effects of CBD when used in isolation, with a couple of exceptions. One is the use of CBD to treat seizures: CBD is the active ingredient in the only cannabis product that the Food and Drug Administration has signed off on — a drug called Epidiolex, which is approved for treating two rare forms of epilepsy. Animal models and a few human studies suggest that CBD can help with anxiety, but those are the only conditions with much research on CBD in isolation.
Laboratory evidence indicated that cannabidiol may reduce THC clearance, increasing plasma concentrations which may raise THC availability to receptors and enhance its effect in a dose-dependent manner. In vitro, cannabidiol inhibited receptors affecting the activity of voltage-dependent sodium and potassium channels, which may affect neural activity. A small clinical trial reported that CBD partially inhibited the CYP2C-catalyzed hydroxylation of THC to 11-OH-THC.
Despite this, CBD is something nobody knows much about, and certainly nobody is monitoring it properly. CBD is widely marketed as a supplement, despite the Food and Drug Administration saying it does not qualify as such (this is because it is an active ingredient in drugs which are either approved or under investigation to be approved). CBD goes largely unregulated by the agency; on the FDA’s FAQ page, a vague answer maintains there are “many factors in deciding whether or not to initiate an enforcement action.” The Department of Agriculture handles research grants and pilot programs for hemp, but that’s where its involvement ends.