According to a growing body of research, CBD may play a role in the growth of new brain cells, a process known as neurogenesis. CBD is also widely recognized as having anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, which make CBD a promising therapy for a wide range of conditions, from neurological disorders to autoimmune diseases to chronic pain and depression.
While CBD oil, a non-psychedelic extract of industrial hemp, seems to offer healing benefits when ingested almost any way, for some types of chronic pain, skin conditions, and other localized problems, topical applications allow users to go right to the source. Topical CBD can also work faster, since it doesn’t have to travel through the digestive system first.
Recently, an interesting study performed in the Netherlands highlighted multiple issues that may be extrapolated to CBD products elsewhere . In this study, 46 different cannabis oil samples were collected directly from patients and analyzed for cannabinoid content. The obtained samples were home-made (n = 29) or purchased from a (web) store (n = 17). For 21 of the 46 products (46% of all samples), label information was available on CBD/THC content, so that the claimed content could be compared to the analyzed content as determined in the study. Results are shown in Table 1. In many cases the analyzed cannabinoid content strongly differed from the claimed content on the label, while in 7 samples no cannabinoids (CBD or THC) were found at all. Such deviations were found in home-made as well as commercially obtained products.
The legal status of CBD in the USA is extra complicated, because many individual states have introduced their own medicinal or even recreational cannabis laws, while the Federal Government does not accept any consumption of cannabis . In the USA , but also in Germany and the UK , CBD has been technically classified as a new medicine, requiring manufacturers to meet much stricter safety, quality, and effectiveness standards. The statement that CBD is simply “legal in all 50 US states” is therefore misleading, if not untrue. It should be noted that even in places where CBD is technically illegal, products may still be easily available because the authorities are lax about enforcing the law, or discussions are still ongoing on how to deal with the influx of CBD. In short, whether CBD is legal depends of how it was made, what is in the final product, and where you are located.
Users speak of a “body” high, as opposed to a mind-altering one. “Physically, it’s like taking a warm bath, melting the tension away,” said Gabe Kennedy, 27, a founder of Plant People, a start-up in New York that sells CBD capsules and oils. “It is balancing; a leveling, smoothing sensation in the body mostly, and an evenness of attention in the mind.”
“Among the many benefits that Charlotte’s Web customers experience are: a sense of calm and focus; relief from everyday stresses; help in recovery from exercise-induced inflammation; and support for healthy sleep cycles,” says co-founder Jesse Stanley. But he is obliged to point out that the product is a dietary supplement, and no clinical claims can be made for it.
Cannabis oils may contain various concentrations of CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and minor cannabinoids, mainly depending on the cannabis variety used for extraction. The most popular product currently is CBD oil, but for example cannabigerol (CBG)-rich oil has been spotted as well , and others will very likely follow soon. The THC-rich type of cannabis oil has already been known for some years, and is generally known under the name “Simpson oil” . Terpenes may or may not be present in these products, depending on the preparation method used . Because they are highly volatile, elevated temperatures (such as those applied during drying of plant materials, or during the evaporation of solvents) may result in a significant loss of terpene components . However, it is possible to capture evaporated terpenes by condensation, and reintroduce them back into the final oil. Additional ingredients may be added to further adjust properties such as color, viscosity, taste, or shelf-life stability.
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Some manufacturers ship CBD products nationally, an illegal action which the FDA has not enforced in 2018, with CBD remaining as the subject of an FDA investigational new drug evaluation and is not considered legal as a dietary supplement or food ingredient as of November 2018. CBD is openly sold in head shops and health food stores in some states where such sales have not been explicitly legalized.
“CBD is the most promising drug that has come out for neuropsychiatric diseases in the last 50 years,” said Dr. Esther Blessing, an assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine, who is coordinating a study of CBD as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorder. “The reason it is so promising is that it has a unique combination of safety and effectiveness across of very broad range of conditions.”
Different topicals have different benefits to offer depending on the way they are processed and the ingredients that are used, so experiment with various transdermal products to see what works for you. Medical marijuana states are seeing more and more options for topical remedies as time goes on, and for sufferers of pain and inflammation, it’s worth exploring. You’d be surprised the difference that one special ingredient makes.