History of CBD
Cannabididol, or CBD, is a so-called cannabinoid. It is found in the hemp plant (Cannabis satvia L.). This important component contains several properties that can be extremely beneficial to the body. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive properties. The substance has only been discovered relatively recently. Nevertheless, humans have been using the hemp plant for centuries and we can say with certainty that CBD has been regarded as a medicine in this way for a very long time. Almost 3000 years before Christ, the Chinese ruler Sheng Nung drank a tea made from hemp, to treat various ailments including headaches, oblivion, rheumatism and malaria. Findings have also been noted by the founder of Chinese surgery, Hua Tuo. He created an anaesthetic based on wine and cannabis in the first century BC.
In the 19th century the Irish doctor William Brooke O'Shaughnessy published his book On the Preparations of the Indian Hemp, or Gunjah, in which he writes about his findings of the effects of the plant on animals and patients.
It took quite some time before scientific research on the cannabis plant was carried out. It was soon noticed that the plant has a chemical structure that consists of many different substances.
It was not until 1940 that the British chemist Robert S. Cahn successfully identified a cannabinoid for the first time. This was the substance Cannabinol (CBN). A few years later, the American Roger Adams managed to identify CBD. At that time, this was not yet the case for THC.
It was in the 1960s, when Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam started his career as a researcher on cannabis. At that time, very little was really known about this plant. For example, people did not know which substance was responsible for the psychoactive effect, although at that time there was a fierce struggle to limit its use as much as possible. At that time, not all of his research was published. Raphael Mechoulam is seen as the grandfather of cannabis research and he and his team have received a lot of recognition for their work. For example, he has mapped out the structural formula of CBD. To find out which molecule from the plant was responsible for its psychoactive effect, he tested each individual substance on monkeys. In this way he discovered that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) brought the monkeys under the influence.
Years later, in December 1992, Mechoulam discovered a substance produced by the body itself. This body's own substance fitted as if it were a key to the lock he discovered years before: the cannabinoid receptor CB1. This receptor easily absorbs the molecules found in cannabis. So now a very interesting discovery has been made: the body itself produces a substance that resembles a cannabinoid. The substance was called anandamide, derived from the word 'ananda', which in Sanskrit means 'pure joy'. This is how Mechoulam discovered that the body contains several cannabinoid receptors, which together form a system.
The endocannabinoid system
Mechoulam called this the endocannabinoid system, where 'endo' stands for: (body's) own. The cannabinoids from plants are called phyto-cannabinoids. Phyto comes from the Greek word phyton and means 'plant'. CB1 receptors can be found all over the body, but mainly in the brain. Mainly in the areas related to coordination, movement, pain, memory, cognition, autonomic and endocrine functions. Furthermore, the body also contains CB2 receptors, these have more to do with reducing inflammation and certain forms of pain. These receptors absorb cannabinoids very easily. It is important to mention that although cannabinoids are substances that are very similar in structure, they affect these receptors in a very different way. For example, it has been discovered that THC strongly influences the CB1 and CB2 receptors and thus creates a mind-altering effect. CBD, on the other hand, has a much weaker effect on these receptors, so a 'stoned' or 'high' effect is out of the question. This is a great advantage for many users, since they can carry out their daily activities in this way without any problems.
Our body sees phyto-cannabinoids as substances specific to the body and absorbs them very easily by means of the endocannabinoid system. It does not produce antibodies because the substances are not seen as intruders from outside. In this way these substances are easily and quickly absorbed without negative side effects such as the production of antibodies. Since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, people have started to focus more on the effects of other cannabinoids, instead of research that previously focused solely on THC.
The operation of CBD
After a cannabinoid binds to a receptor, a certain reaction takes place in the body. As mentioned before, these receptors are mainly located in areas of the body that are related to, among other things, motor skills, pain and the functioning of the immune system. Other areas that are involved are memory, mood and appetite.
CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system in its own way. It does this indirectly by suppressing the enzyme FAAH. This enzyme ensures that the body's own substance anandamide is broken down. In other words, CBD ensures that more anandamide remains in the body longer. As a result, the CB1 and CB2 receptors are stimulated more and thus the endocannabinoid system can do its work better. But what exactly is this effect? In short, CBD can be used for numerous applications. Below is a first discovery made on the applicability of CBD.
Mechoulam and his team investigated how cannabidiol could be used to treat people with epilepsy. In this study 8 patients received a daily dose of 300mg CBD. Four months of treatment gave the following results: half of the patients no longer had epileptic seizures, the other half saw a decrease in the number of epileptic seizures. Although this small-scale study was not published at that time because of stigma, it has since caught up.
The number of CBD products continues to increase, as does the demand for them. More and more research is also being done. In 2018, the F.D.A (Food And Drug Administration) approved a CBD-purified extract, which is used to treat children from 2 years of age for a rare form of epilepsy. This followed two double-blind placebo-controlled studies in which 516 patients were given the drug with positive results.
CBD has an influence on the body in various ways, below is a grasp of its possible effect.
Possible effects of CBD
- Relieving PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Many women suffer from symptoms such as irritability, cramps, headaches, bloating and fatigue during their period. CBD can provide relief by stimulating the endocannabinoid system.
- The inhibition of inflammation.
- Reducing migraines
- Promoting the sleep rhythm and treating insomnia. CBD is not a sedative and does not act as a sedative as can be the case with THC. Many users experience a calming and stress-reducing effect that makes it possible to fall asleep better.
The Entourage effect
Hemp, as mentioned earlier, contains a very extensive profile of different substances. In addition to cannabinoids, it also contains terpenes, flavonoids, and other interesting substances that all combine to produce its effects. Although more research needs to be done, it is agreed that there should be a very specific collaboration between all these different substances, also called the Entourage effect.
Intake of CBD
CBD can be ingested in different ways. As oil, it usually consists of CBD, supplemented with hemp seed or olive oil. These can be ingested by means of a pipette bottle. Furthermore, capsules are available, for simple and accurate dosing and to increase absorbency.
Other applications of CBD
Not only humans can benefit from CBD, but (mammalian) animals such as dogs and cats can also benefit from CBD. This is because they have an endocannabinoid system just like humans.
CBD is further added to various skin care products and as an additional health ingredient in herbal teas.
There are several cannabis strains that contain high concentrations of CBD and very low concentrations of THC. Users who would like to grow their own CBD-rich strains can take a look here. Please note: several strains still contain an amount of THC that will give you a psychoactive effect. If you don't want this, keep it with CBD products.