Medical reviews published in 2017 and 2018 incorporating numerous clinical trials concluded that cannabidiol is an effective treatment for certain types of childhood epilepsy. An orally administered cannabidiol solution (brand name Epidiolex) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in June 2018 as a treatment for two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
CBD interacts with the body through the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) or endocannabinoid system. First discovered in the late 1980’s, the endocannabinoid system regulates the body’s homeostasis, or general state of balance, impacting such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response. Like an acrobat on a highwire, as the environment around us impacts our normal balance, the endocannabinoid system “corrects” by mediating our body’s reaction to keep us level.
These products are from places like Xi’an Lyphar Biotech Co. Ltd., which doesn’t mention that it’s one of the largest CBD sellers on Alibaba on its website, let alone reveal where it’s sourcing its CBD from. There are big companies and small companies, companies that provide elaborate chemical charts and companies that have no online presence at all. There are companies that run their goods — either as raw materials or as consumer-stage final products — through lab tests. There are those that say they do but provide no information on what the labs found or which labs tested their products.
CBD is derived by growing cannabis, drying it out, pulverizing it, and then, often, using a rotary evaporator filled with an ethanol solvent to extract the CBD. (There are some other methods, but the ethanol one is common.) It’s a pretty old and fairly low-tech technique, but it’s effective. What you end up with is, hopefully, about 99 percent pure CBD in the form of white powder, which is called CBD isolate. (Some CBD is billed as “full spectrum,” which means it contains other things from the cannabis plant, like a bunch of other cannabinoids, but there’s no formal definition for full spectrum.)
As marijuana is legalized in more and more states, the wellness world has whipped itself into a frenzy over a non-intoxicating cannabis derivative called cannabidiol. CBD products can be found on the internet and in health-food stores, wellness catalogs and even bookstores. (A bookstore in downtown Boulder, Colorado, displays a case of CBD products between the cash register and the stacks of new releases.) Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, disgraced cyclist1 Floyd Landis and former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer are all touting CBD products, and according to Bon Appétit, CBD-infused lattes have become “the wellness world’s new favorite drink.”
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“The standard dosage, I would say, is around 20 mg per serving,” says Joshua Tavares, the general manager of Clover Grocery, which sells a wide variety of CBD products including gummies, tinctures, and topical lotions. (Tavares describes the shop, which also sells artisanal potato chips, as a “bougie bodega.”) “The main benefits that we touch upon when selling the products are that CBD is helpful for anxiety and providing you with a sense of calm. I would say it’s our top seller since we brought it in. The CBD category in general is really booming right now for us.”
Dry mouth: As is the case with many other hemp- and marijuana-based products, CBD oil often leads to a condition known as dry mouth (or cottonmouth). This is likely due to cannabinoids altering receptors in the lower jaw that trigger salivation. In most cases, mild discomfort and stronger-than-average thirst are the only issues associated with dry mouth.
CBD oil derived from whole-plant marijuana has seen promising results for numerous medical treatments, including treating children with epilepsy. (In 2013, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduced the world to a child who after using CBD oil went from having 300 seizures a month to only two.) On April 19, the AP reported that an FDA panel is reviewing a a pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil made from whole-plant marijuana called Epidiolex, a possible treatment for rare forms of pediatric epilepsy. If approved, it would be the first marijuana-made medication sold on the U.S. market. A day later, on the marijuana community’s “high holiday,” April 20, New York Senator Chuck Schumer introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level. Forecasters are predicting that legal cannabis in the U.S. will be outselling soda by 2030.
Though clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests CBD’s benefits in managing different conditions, it became most famous for treating a rare and debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy. Dravet’s Syndrome is notoriously resistant to current approved treatment methods. Sufferers are plagued by seizures, often up to hundreds a day, that worsen as they age and can be life-threatening. Currently, treatment methods include having the child wear an eyepatch, specialized diets, and brain surgery, but all have mixed success rates.
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The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.
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Cannabidiol is currently a class B1 controlled drug in New Zealand under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is also a prescription medicine under the Medicines Act. In 2017 the rules were changed so that anyone wanting to use it could go to the Health Ministry for approval. Prior to this, the only way to obtain a prescription was to seek the personal approval of the Minister of Health.
Everyone wants a piece of CBD, and nobody is watching. Remember: There’s no regulation by the FDA or anyone else. An investigation by Natural Products Insider, a trade publication for the supplement industry, revealed that CBD producers are, at best, claiming to follow “good manufacturing practices” without any official oversight. It’s illegal to sell something that isn’t what its packaging claims it is — that falls under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission — but nobody is doing onsite testing.
High-CBD strains can be smoked or vaporized for immediate effects with little to no high, depending on the strain’s THC content. A strain may contain only trace amounts of THC for clear-headed relief, or it may have balanced levels of THC and CBD, delivering a mild high but potent relief. Explore the menu of your nearby dispensary for a full list of the offerings near you, or browse high-CBD strains on Leafly for an idea of popular varieties to look out for.
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Scientists have made a lot of progress in understanding how CBD produces its calming, pain-reducing, anti-inflammatory effects in the body—and there’s still more to learn. We know that CBD interacts with many different receptors, proteins, and other chemicals in the brain. These interactions create changes in the activity of neurotransmitters, hormones, and other cells throughout the brain and body. Through these interactions, CBD appears to be able to affect many of the body’s functions, from sleep-wake cycles and emotional regulation to inflammation, pain perception, and seizures.